Sometimes a fairy godmother comes in drag and it can be the best thing ever. That’s the underlying message in the hilarious and heartfelt new show “The Legend Of Georgia McBride” by Matthew Lopez, now at the Waterfront Playhouse. It’s a modern day fairy tale about the down-on-his-luck hero who needs a career change and suddenly (bippity boppity boo) finds himself swirling in sparkly dresses, wigs, heels and a whole new set of life choices.
Young married couple Casey, played by multifaceted Nate Janis, and Jo, played by the sweet Simone Bart, are dead broke and expecting a baby. Being an Elvis impersonator hasn’t really panned out for Casey, who can’t pay the rent after buying Papa John’s pizza. Performing at Cleo’s, the local club, Casey meets the dazzling Miss Tracy Mills, an extraordinary Christopher Peterson, and his world is turned on a size 12 high heel. Under Tracy’s guidance, Casey changes from an ugly Elvis duckling to an Edith Piaf swan. The comic factor between the two is immeasurable. It is like watching Scarlett O’Hara give advice to Cinderella and it’s phenomenal. As Tracy says to Casey, “C’Mon Sissy, Mama’s gotta get you ready for the BBQ” as she changes a straight man into a dazzling drag queen named Georgia McBride.
With supporting characters like hilarious John Reynolds as Eddie, owner of Cleo’s, and the gifted Phillip Cole White as Rexy – “Anorexia Nervosa” – as well as landlord Jason, the play feels like a wondrous revamp of the Carol Burnett Show. The cast’s outstanding comic timing and overall harmony make it the perfect production cocktail, easy to devour and delightfully uplifting.
But the play is not without its touching moments that characterize why director Danny Weathers would choose this final production as his directorship’s farewell to the playhouse. First, Peterson and cast are able to make the play their own with ad libbed lines and references to Key West. And second, the underlying message of inclusion, as well as exclusion, exists throughout the play. It’s not always just a fairy tale for people who live against the norm. The characters Tracy and Rexy illuminate the hardships with touching severity, making the fledgling Casey understand that his choice is not one that the others necessarily get to make. “I don’t get to choose,” said Rexy “I don’t get to opt out. Drag ain’t a hobby. Drag is a protest with a raised fist and not for sissies.”
Complete with original, fabulous costumes created by Sushi, Peterson and Carmen Rodriguez, the show is so entertaining everyone finds the glass slipper, no matter what size. For more info, go to www.waterfrontplayhouse.org.
The Legend of Georgia McBride
Running through May 26
The Waterfront Playhouse
Tickets on sale at: