This is a reprint of my remarks about “The Legend of Georgia McBride” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater presented in their Quadracci Powerhouse during the 2019 – 2020 season. This originally appeared on my Facebook timeline January 18, 2020.
And then “The Legend of Georgia McBride” happened. And I laughed and I laughed and I leaned into this musical from beginning to end. This is the most fun that I’ve had in the theater this season and I wasn’t expecting it. Yes…the premise is a down and out bar fires its Elvis impersonator because of poor attendance and takes up with a drag show…and the situation twists around and around and Elvis eventually becomes the featured drag queen. Great start but it still didn’t prepare me for the fun ahead.
The cast for this show is absolutely perfect, Kevin Kantor as Casey (who is Elvis before she is Georgia), Shavanna Calder as Jo (aka Casey’s wife), and Courter Simmons as Miss Tracy Mills present truly stand out performances for the entire hour and 45 minutes! OMG!
And the next OMG…thank you to the audience who were totally into this…every single scene…every single musical number. Unbidden! Totally helped make the madness and mayhem a thing of beauty.
And then there are the costumes and choreography which are absolutely magnificent! Thank you Patrick Holt (costume designer) and David Roman (stage movement director)!!
Now this musical isn’t all glam and drag and humor. A number of serious themes arise around gay culture, homophobic trends in society, and personal relationships and marriage. There are some real conflicts but there is true redemption in the end!
And don’t miss Milwaukee’s favorite actor emeritus, James Pickering as Eddie, the MC and owner of Cleo’s, the Florida club where all of the major action takes place. He has his own transformations to experience!
Don’t be a drag, be a queen!
The Legend of Georgia McBride
By Matthew Lopez
Directed by Meredith McDonough
January 14 – February 9, 2020