Georgia McBride brings it on

By Eric George Tauber

Eric George Tauber

SAN DIEGO — A gig’s a gig.

At least that’s what folks in showbiz say when we accept a job that’s not our first choice. But just what are we willing to do when our stomach’s grumbling and the landlord’s knocking?

Lance Carter sets the tone as Eddie, the melancholy MC at a bar in Panama City, Florida. His star act is an Elvis-impersonating Casey. Casey doesn’t sing; he lip-syncs. He crackles with rockabilly energy and his jump-suits look fabulous, but Elvis just doesn’t draw the crowds like he used to.

The Old Town Theatre doesn’t have drop flies and movable sets like larger venues, so the designs have to be creatively concise. Sean Fanning creates Casey’s world in microcosm, from his humble little apartment to the dressing room at the bar to the checkered stage under a disco ball. The lines blur between these worlds …much like our lives.

When two catty drag queens enter the scene, it’s like Gypsy at the Burlesque. Miss Tracey Mills is determined to “make a silk purse” out of it while Anorexia Nervosa thinks Anne Frank wouldn’t take it.

An untimely crisis with Rexy–vodka and roller skates: not a good combo–puts them one drag queen short. But “the show must go on.” Casey’s transformation may be the funniest on-stage quick change I’ve ever seen. At first, he’s so terrible he’s a riot. But under Tracey Mills guidance, he really gets into it and Georgia McBride is a hit.

Costume Designer Jennifer Brawn Gittings presents a spectacular pageant. Six months fly by with seasonal, holiday-themed costumes that are just drag-tastic.

Alexandra Slade owns it as Jo, Casey’s wife. Clearly the adult in the relationship, she fell in love with Casey’s playful spirit, but his lack of maturity is giving her second thoughts. Only now, she’s soon to be a mama. While she’s happy with the money rolling in, Casey lies about where it’s coming from.

Spencer Bang is very likable as Casey/Georgia, a young man who wants to be in showbiz, but is really a small town boy at heart.

My one bone to pick is with Georgia McBride’s make-up. He was a man. In spite of his wigs and fake boobs, there was always a square-jawed, shadowed man’s face looking at us.

David McBean, however, was a woman. His lip-sync to Judy Garland is an act worthy of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Every word and gesticulation came from a feminine place. Even when he wasn’t in costume, Miss Tracy Mills was a lady. And we would all do well to heed her words of wisdom:

“You cannot move through life being good at cleaning up your messes. You have to make fewer messes.”

The handsome, broad-shouldered Chesley Polk probably never thought he’d be dancing in heels. Yet he’s very moving as he pulls aside his curtain of angry bitterness to reveal a world of pain and we realize why he’d rather go through life being somebody else.

The Torah teaches, “A man’s item shall not be on a woman, and a man shall not wear a woman’s garment; whoever does such a thing is an abhorrence unto Adonai.
”  — Deuteronomy 22:5

And yet … a gig’s a gig and all God’s children got bills to pay.

The Legend of Georgia McBride plays at Cygnet’s Old Town Theatre through Nov 12.

Tauber is a freelance writer specializing in coverage of the arts. He may be contacted via [email protected]




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