Thursday, April 20, 2017

            The Legend of Georgia McBride is a story about Casey (Andre Burnap), a good-looking young man who doesn’t take life too seriously.   He is married to Jo (Nija Okoro) and it is obvious that they are a very happily married couple.  The only problem with their marriage is the fact that they have money problems and find it difficult to keep up with their rent and other expenses which never seems to bother Casey,
            Casey struggles to earn a living by impersonating Elvis in a low-class lounge called Cleo’s in the Florida Panhandle owned by Eddie (Nick Searcy).  When Jo chastises Casey for using some of the rent money to buy a pizza, he doesn’t understand the problem.  He tells her he just purchased a new showy jumpsuit that should help his act bring in more money.   That’s when Jo gives him the news that she is pregnant.  Almost at the same time, Jason (Larry Powell), their landlord, informs them that if they don’t come up with the rent money, they are going to have to move out.
            When Casey goes to work, Eddie’s cousin, Miss Tracy Mills (Matt McGrath) and “her” sidekick Miss Rexy (also played by Powell) have arrived there and is told by Eddie that he can no longer afford to keep him because he is not drawing the crowds.   Miss Tracy and Miss Rexy will be doing their act as drag queens, and if he wants to keep working at the lounge, he can join them!
            Soon Cleo’s is rocking with customers and becomes a popular spot.  But one night, Miss Rexy doesn’t show up and Miss Tracy teaches Casey what it takes to become a drag queen.  At first, Casey is ambivalent about cross dressing and performing as a woman but soon he gets so good at it, he cuts up his Elvis jumpsuit and becomes a natural now known as the very popular Miss Georgia McBride.
            Casey is now bringing home a lot of money and their financial situation is settled.  But what isn’t settled is the fact that Casey doesn’t have the heart to tell Jo about abandoning his Elvis gig to become a drag queen.  However, in time, all is settled. 
            The entire cast is superb.  The acts are a hoot by Burnnap, McGrath, and Powell, and the audience becomes those in attendance at Cleo’s when Nick Searcy greets everyone at the opening of the performance.   Nija Okoro is sweet and enchanting as Jo and Andrew McGrath is a charmer.  Their scenes together are especially heartwarming.   Larry Powell handles both his characters with ease.  Matt McGrath is superb and is an original New York cast member who reunited with the outstanding director Mike Donahue and choreographer Paul McGill in this West Coast Premier.  Costumes by E.B. Brooks are flashy and beautiful, and the set design by Donyale Werle is miraculous in its efficiency to change from a home to a dressing room to a lounge.
            The Legend of Georgia McBride plays Tuesday through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 3 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM and 7 PM, through May 14, 2017 at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles.  Tickets are available in person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, by phone at (310) 208-5454, or online at  Fees may apply.  


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