Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Connecticut and the Berkshires

The Legend of Georgia McBride
Music Theatre of Connecticut
Review by Zander Opper

Also see Fred's recent review of 10X10 New Play Festival

Russell Saylor
Photo by Alex Mongillo
Music Theatre of Connecticut is currently presenting a delightful production of Matthew Lopez's The Legend of Georgia McBride. Focusing on a character named Casey (expertly played by Clint Hromsco), who specializes in his Elvis impersonation, and how he starts doing full out drag performing instead, this show is always a lot of fun. The intimacy of this theater adds to the pleasure of the show; there are more than a few moments when the performers get very close to the audience members. That being said, don't be afraid that The Legend of Georgia McBride is an audience participation show, because that is not the case at all.

One aspect of every new production of this play is to see how well it is cast. In the current staging, all five performers are terrific, and director Kevin Connors has staged the production flawlessly (he also provides the ebullient choreography during the several songs that are lip synced).

If the show takes a bit of time to really find its footing, that is more in the conception of the play rather than any fault of the production. When first seen, Casey is performing his Elvis impersonation and it is not going over very well with the manager of the bar, Eddie (perfectly played by the deadpan Scott Mikita). Without giving too much away, Eddie decides to hire two drag queens to perform in an effort to bring in customers. Casey has just bounced another rent check, and his wife Jo (the lovely and funny Teagan La'Shay) is pretty much at her wits' end. Through a series of events, Casey begins performing in drag and ends up loving it.

Though Casey is the main character (Hromsco is aces in the part), the shining diamond in The Legend of Georgia McBride is the character of Miss Tracy Mills, and Russell Saylor is simply sensational in this part. Looking dynamite and performing the drag numbers flawlessly, Saylor allows Miss Tracy Mills to be a mentor of sorts to Hromsco's Casey, and the results are exhilarating and touching. Tracy provides Casey's drag name of Georgia McBride and molds Casey into one hell of a performer. Saylor is stunning throughout, but the real bonus of his performance is that he brings a great deal of heart to the show, as well as more than a bit of levity. The fantastic Diva LaMarr plays drag performer Rexy, who really lights up the stage, as well as the character of Casey and Jo's landlord, Jason. LaMarr nails both roles excellently.

In addition to his fine work with his cast, the director also brings out the best in his design team. The scenic design, provided by April M. Bartlett, is ideal, with several different playing areas for the actors. RJ Romeo's lighting design is topnotch, and sound designer Jon Damast's work is perfection, which is especially needed when showcasing lip-syncing performers. But it is costume designer Diane Vanderkroef who is the real showstopper here–her assortment of glitzy outfits and gorgeous gowns are stunning for this play in which the clothes most certainly make the man.

The Legend of Georgia McBride is a laugh-out-loud comedy showcase, but playwright Matthew Lopez also brings to the forefront the behind-the-scenes life that drag performers face, especially in a moving monologue delivered late in the show by Diva LaMarr. As it is stated in the play, drag is "not for sissies."

The Legend of Georgia McBride is ultimately about creating a dazzling and divine world onstage, and Music Theatre of Connecticut delivers on that from beginning to end. The actors appear to be having the time of their lives onstage, and the same could be said of the audience I saw the show with. For an evening of fabulousness, I doubt you could do better than this production of The Legend of Georgia McBride.

The Legend of Georgia McBride runs through March 3, 2024, at Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509 Westport Ave., Norwalk CT. For tickets and information, please visit