Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Legend of Georgia McBride - Music Theater of CT

Poor Casey, a so-so Elvis impersonator plying his trade at a rundown bar on the Florida panhandle.  The audience is sparse, the money negligible, and the sudden need to support a growing family is a pressing concern.  His luck suddenly changes when, due to unforeseen circumstances, he is literally thrust on stage in a drag show revue with a new guise and attitude.


Thus begins The Legend of Georgia McBride, a diverting, slender offering from playwright Matthew Lopez.  The show runs through March 3 at the Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC). 


There are moments of seriousness and poignancy and themes of sexual identity and self-acceptance are explored, but the material covered in the play offers only a smattering of dramatic substance that never really explores these issues in depth.  The highlight of the production is the lip-syncing performances that are enjoyable and comical.


Casey (Clint Hromsco) is at the center of the show.  His character, however, is hard to decipher.  Initially, he comes across as a very immature man-child, but in no time at all transforms into a more thoughtful, serious-minded individual.  He is married to an understanding, but rather exasperated wife (Teagan La’Shary).  Their neighbor/landlord Jason (Diva Lamarr), a childhood friend, drops in every so often about the overdue rent and provides sagely banter.  Eddie (Scott Mikita), the owner of the dive, looking to drum up business, brings in his cousin and friend, drag performers Miss Tracy (Russell Saylor) and Rexy (Diva Lamarr).  The interaction between the three performers, focusing on Casey’s slow-forming transformation, shapes the basis and modest dramatic arc of the show.


Any successful production of the show is based on the quality of the generous helpings of the drag performances.  For this staging, Director Kevin Connors has pulled out all the stops in delivering one outrageous, entertaining number after another.  Diane Vanderkroef’s inspired costumes, along with Jon Damast’s crisp sound design help the musical interludes completely shine.


While the scenes in the bar are mostly engaging, the at-home sequences are rather uninteresting and conventional.  The only truly emotional outburst comes late in the show when the character of Rexy delivers a fiery speech about the living the life of drag.


Overall, the cast is fine, as they provide enough definition and substance to convey a genuineness and conviction to their roles.   There are three notable performers.  Clint Hromsco as Casey in his guise as Georgia McBride, where his portrayal is more nuanced and appealing.  Russell Saylor, provides a world-weariness to Miss Tracy, and individual with sage advice and a heart of gold.  Scott Mikita’s Eddie, with his deadpan delivery and well-timed dance moves, was a crowd favorite.


Director Connors moves the play along at an agreeable pace, allowing the domestic scenes to provide information for the lackluster backstory.  He skillfully incorporates April M. Bartlett’s scenic design, which has adeptly sectioned the cramped stage into three distinct sets, not an easy feat of the small MTC performing space.


The Legend of Georgia McBride runs through March 2 at MTC.  Click here for date, time and ticket information.

No comments: