BWW Interview: Denver Center's Matt McGrath on Making GEORGIA MCBRIDE a Legend!
Matt McGrath, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy theatrical schedule to speak with me and BroadwayWorld today.
So I know that you have been to Denver before for the reading of Georgia at the New Playwright's summit...What do you think of our fair city?
Oh, it's great! Being a part of this cast is a real joy and the fact that they picked two of the plays that we did from last year's summit to be a part of this year's season is just so great. You knew how well it went over just by the reactions and how a lot of the people who saw the reading are turning up now and saying how thrilled they are to see the production of something they really enjoyed so much.
Have you worked with the Denver Center Theater Company?
This is my first time working with the company. It's my first time in Denver since being really young. It's a thriving community, it seems, and a great place to live.
What are your thoughts on your cast of Georgia McBride?
Oh they're horrible! (laughter) No, I'm kidding. You know, it's been a really long time since I have dropped everything and just told everybody that I know, you know, sending emails and telling everyone that you have to see these three actors - Ben Huber, Jamie Ann Romero and Nick Mills. Its great building something together like this and with the playwright Matthew Lopez, Will Taylor as the choreographer and director, Mike Donahue, who made us feel like the building blocks are there. We've had a luxurious time in terms of the length of rehearsal, because it was little bit longer. I believe five weeks is the usual, and we really needed that because so many things were happening and so many things are happening backstage. You know there were times when we needed like a three minute change and we only had a one minute change. Then you might get an eight minute change and then you were like, "Oh my god, I'm going to read the newspaper!" (laughter). But it moves fast and the play and the audience just kind of get swept up in it. It's just perfectly constructed by Matthew Lopez and brilliantly kept at a pace by Mike Donahue that is both enjoyable and breathtaking.
Can you talk to me a little bit about your role in this fabulous show?
So the first time you see me I am coming on stage as Miss Tracy Mills, this female and I'm coming to this... my kind of busted up bar and it's on its last leg. So we decide to turn the place into a gay bar and have a drag show. You know, to really boost the interest. So it is a renovation and Tracy loves nothing but a renovation. So she meets the challenge and what she stumbles upon is somebody who is down on his luck who doesn't get to do his Elvis impersonation anymore at the bar, which was not bringing any customers in. So we first start him off as bartender. When Miss Rexy falls ill, he is quickly put to work by Tracy as the other drag queen in the show, cuz I can't do it all by myself. He steps up to the challenge and he makes some money for his wife and soon to be mother of his child. And it all stems from there, how it unfolds and where he takes it. It really becomes kind of like a rite of passage for somebody who is realizing their potential and achieving it.
Tell me about your drag experience that you have had to get ready for this show?
I knew from doing the summit last year that they were interested in me doing this production. I kind of booked myself out for this period because I really wanted to do this play so badly. I knew it would be quite a challenge. Because I had been doing Hedwig at the Jane Street Theatre which we can argue that it's not traditional drag per say, it's not just drag, you're really playing a character. It's a character that is abashed at transgender, and he's a little bit dead in the play. Tracy is full of life. Tracy has feelings and emotions and has the highs and lows of what it is to live a life on The Edge here and really needs to make that buck to get by. She's up for the challenge always. So in terms of doing this drag queen, we wanted to make a real life character but also in it was this person who is just at the top of her game.
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