by joel martens
Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride, now playing at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse through Sunday, May 14, is a wonderful celebration of drag as performance art. Not only that, it’s an insightful tale about recognizing the specialness in oneself and finding family among people who are different than you…A topic which feels incredibly timely in today’s divided world. The New York Daily News called it, “Chasing buzzy themes of identity and transformation, Georgia McBride is by turns sweet and salty and deceptively deep.”
Casey, the main character has been fired after struggling for years as an Elvis impersonator inside a small-time club in the Florida Panhandle. Desperate for cash, this straight, soon-to-be-father, dons a wig and at the hands of Miss Tracy Mills, a self-proclaimed “Grand Dame of Drag,” discovers a talent for the art form. AM New York calls it “A heartfelt, feel-good comedy and a spirited defense of drag as a form of cultural protest and a way of life.”
Georgia McBride is a departure for Lopez, whose previous works are much more serious. His award-winning The Whipping Man explores the relationship between former slaves and Jewish slaveholders in the aftermath of the Civil War and is one of the most widely produced play of the last several years.
His Reverberation is a haunting drama about the loneliness of living in New York City. He was also a writer on HBO’s The Newsroom. His inspiration for Georgia McBride came from an old CD of Dolly Parton songs belonging to his husband and their interest in exploring the many nuances of drag.
In addition to Lopez, the Geffen is fortunate to have on its stage the original creative team from the New York production: Director Mike Donahue, Choreographer Paul McGill and cast member Matt McGrath.
The Legend of Georgia McBride runs through Sunday, May 14 at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Avenue in Los Angeles. For tickets and more information, call 310.208.6500 Ext. 159 or go to geffenplayhouse.org.