Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

The Legend of Georgia McBride
Round House Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's reviews of Camelot, Hamilton and Botticelli in the Fire


Zack Powell, front, and Rick Hammerly
Photo by Kaley Etzkorn
Apparently, Lola in Kinky Boots was right when she said that drag queens are now mainstream. The Legend of Georgia McBride, Matthew Lopez's fun play now at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, takes an affectionate look at drag culture through both established performers and a newbie surprised by his success.

The setting is Cleo's, a rundown beach bar in the Florida Panhandle, where Casey (Zack Powell) plugs away as an Elvis impersonator. He's good, but almost no one comes to see him. When Eddie (Charlie Kevin), the redneck owner of the bar, invites his drag queen cousin Miss Tracy Mills (Rick Hammerly) and her sidekick Rexy (Dezi Bing) to liven up the entertainment, Casey needs to take action to keep from losing his job.

Director Tom Story has the good fortune to be working with Hammerly, a gender-bender from way back who received a 2003 Helen Hayes Award for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Miss Tracy is magnificent in her glittering, kitschy costumes (designed by Frank Labovitz), incorporating billowing capes and smothering boas, as she emotes with her eyes, her arms, and every other part of her body. (The Judy Garland tribute alone is astonishing.)

Powell brings an innate sweetness to his role: Casey has loved Elvis since childhood, and in a lot of ways he hasn't grown up. When his wife Jo (Yesenia Iglesias) lets him know that she's pregnant and they can't pay the rent, he realizes that taking responsibility sometimes involves learning to strut in stiletto heels and developing a down-home drag persona. Bing, who also plays Casey and Jo's landlord, has a knack for physical humor, while Kevin shows how Eddie takes to the drag aesthetic in his own way. Matthew Gardiner's choreography keeps the musical performances airborne.

Even the scenery seems to dance. Misha Kachman uses a turntable to allow easy shifts between Casey and Jo's apartment and the club's seedy dressing room.

Round House Theatre
The Legend of Georgia McBride
June 6th - July 1st, 2018
By Matthew Lopez
Casey: Zack Powell
Jo: Yesenia Iglesias
Miss Tracy Mills: Rick Hammerly
Rexy/Jason: Dezi Bing
Eddie: Charlie Kevin
Directed by Tom Story
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-564-1100 or www.roundhousetheatre.org


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