BWW Review: THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE at Round House Theatre

BWW Review: THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE at Round House Theatre

Glitter rains down on The Legend of Georgia McBride, a raucous and heartwarming play about the unlikeliest of transformations.

Zack Powell (charming and high energy) is Casey, a dirt-poor Elvis impersonator sincerely devoted to his "craft". When he returns home from his Elvis gig to find his newly pregnant wife Jo (Yesenia Iglesias) geared up for a fight over a bounced rent check, his Teflon positivity holds fast and they end their night in each other's arms, dreaming of baby onesies.

Things go from bad to worse for Casey and Jo when Eddie (Charlie Kevin), a unrealistically tolerant redneck and the owner of the flailing bar Cleo's, nixes Casey's Elvis act in favor of the drag queen duo, Miss Tracy Mills (Rick Hammerly) and Anorexia "Rexy" Nervosa (Dezi Bing).

Down on his luck, Casey agrees to bartend until a sudden turn of events thrusts him back into the spotlight as the drag queen Georgia McBride. Miss Tracy is the fairy godmother to Casey's reluctant Cinderella. Watch Miss Tracy wave her magic wand, fit Georgia for her first bra, and teach her how to lip synch to Edith Piaf. Gradually, under Miss Tracy's tutelage, Georgia finds her groove and transforms into a bankable star.

Each queen has her own style and flare. Lopez's queens are witty and epitomize modern femininity. Hammerly's Miss Tracy is a classy, classic drag queen. Decked out in glittery, full-length gowns, she tackles old standards and oozes a 1920s va-va-voom sex appeal. Eye-catching and aggressively feminine, Bing's portrayal of Rexy will appeal to all the woke ladies in the audience.

Miss Tracy and Rexy are the backbone of The Legend of Georgia McBride and when Casey waffles in his commitment to Georgia and his newfound family at Cleo's, he gets a lesson in just how high stakes the world of drag can be.

The Legend of Georgia McBride relies heavily on the characteristically exaggerated femininity of drag queens. Happily, it is fifty percent actual drag performances, because, after all, a play about drag should actually feature drag. The drag numbers, boisterous and heart pounding, makes the performance fly by.

Set Designer Misha Kachman strikes the right note of Florida grit combined drag queen pizzazz. The Cleo's sign, glowing progressively brighter throughout the performance, shines atop an expansive and versatile set that features a palm tree (duh) and a rotating stage.

A happy-ending and a rousing finale are never in doubt for The Legend of Georgia McBride. But there is some light drama on the path to its inevitable happy conclusion. In the frankly superior words of playwright and native Floridian Matthew Lopez, The Legend of Georgia McBride "is about a group of people who don't really fit in anywhere else...they build a home together in a bar."

No one wants to be up past 10pm on a week night but I stepped out of The Legend of Georgia McBride Monday night amped-up and ready to take on the outside world.

Running Time: 2 hours, no intermission

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE plays through July 1 at Round House Theatre located at 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814. For tickets call (240) 644-1100 or click here.

Photo credit: Rick Hammerly as Miss Tracy Mills in Round House Theatre's production of The Legend of Georgia McBride. Photo by Kaley Etzkorn

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From This Author Jenny Minich

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