Visitors

Sunday, June 12, 2022

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA McBRIDE AT ICT

You can't tell the players without a program and with this old switcheroo routine, ICT's "The Legend of Georgia McBride” is perfect for Pride Month. What I love about Long Beach's ICT is the intimacy of the space and how nice the staff is at first blush. Producer caryn desai makes first nighters feel right at home.

Casey (Taubert Nadalini)

 Taubert Nadalini
Photo by Kayte Deioma

drives forty miles each way to Cleo's on the Beach, a dive bar run by Eddie (Tom Trudgeon)  the least competent MC on the Florida Panhandle. He introduces Casey, a pretty darned good Elvis impersonator / lipsync artist.

Elvis does not disappoint!

Trouble at home? Yes. Casey has used up the debit card to quell a pizza jones and his wife, Jo (Karese Frizell) takes him to task for screwing up the rent payment. And?? And.. she's pregnant!

Matthew Lopez's somewhat loopy play is slightly over long, but the cast and the audience are all having a great time. The story moves along cinematically.  Director Jamie Torcellini's clever deployment of a quick change stage crew as well as an on stage makeup artist, works! We buy the transitions from back stage to on stage to Jo and Casey's apartment without batting an eye.

 Showing up for work with a new Elvis jump suit, Casey learns that Elvis is out and Drag is in. Miss Tracy Mills (Jeff Sumner)

MISS TRACY MILLS

and side kick Rexy (Donzell Lewis who also knocks it out of the park as Jason) show up at Cleo's and the real fun begins

  Big lip synced musical numbers are bright and colorful and Kimberly DeShazo's wonderful costumes bring the characters to life. There are feathers.

 It's a slow transition for Casey from reluctant conscript to becoming Miss Georgia McBride.  Miss Tracy has most of the one liners that include a long list of really horrible puns. One liners and the wonderful device of a guy virtually forced into a dress to lip sync to Edith Piaf crooning "Padam Padam Padam" is passing hilarious. Miss Tracy's lesson in lipsyncing when you don't know the words is far out!

The  ups and down, the conflicts and resolutions, succeed. It's a comedy with a taste of Mickey and Judy putting on a show in a barn. Cleo's on the Beach magically transforms from a beachfront dive to a Happening Drag Show Room just in time for Pride Month. I would like to credit the on stage makeup artist, but I cannot find his name. The transformations are really spectacular.

Lopez has an agenda. He's penned a script that juggles the broad world of Female Impersonation with the shame of a straight male coming into his own as a 'woman'. He lets  us know through an eloquent monologue by  Rexy that 'Drag is not for sissies!' And! To fully express one's self as a Drag Queen is nothing to be ashamed of. Revelations and amazing transformations float the plot with one major stumbling block hanging clouds over Miss Georgia McBride (Casey), but as in any eventually cheery story, the clouds part and the big, big finale has the audience on its feet.

This is a must see, especially for heterosexuals. Misconceptions regarding gender and female impersonation are nicely addressed. To be gay and proud and certainly not apologetic, is part of the theme. "Georgia McBride" is a play with music with strong performances and some magical quick change effects. It has a fantastic stage crew, and is certainly a show for our times. 

Please head to Long Beach and see this Legend of Georgia McBride.

Playwright  Matthew Lopez

Director  Jamie Torcellini  

Karese Frizell (Jo)

Donzell Lewis (Rexy/Jason)

Taubert Nadalini (Casey/Georgia McBride)

Jeff Sumner (Miss Tracy Mills/Bobby)

Tyler Scrivner (Scenic Designer)

Donna Ruzika (Lighting Designer) 

Kimberly DeShazo (Resident Costume Designer)

 

The Legend of Georgia McBride

by Matthew Lopez 

International City Theatre

Long Beach Performing Arts Center 

330 East Seaside Way

Long Beach, CA 90802

Performances: June 10 – June 26, 2022

Thursdays  at  8 p.m    June 16, June 23

 Fridays  at  8 p.m  June 10 (Opening Night), June 17, June 24

 Saturdays  at  8 p.m. June 11, June 18, June 25 

 Sundays  at  2 p.m.  June 12, June 19, June 26 

Tickets and Information  www.InternationalCityTheatre.org