In this fantastic musical, the King meets Miss Tracy Mills in a small town bar in Florida, and we rock into life and legend. We’re talk’in real drag, here, in the middle of redneck Florida. It’s a success for the bar and for us too, when costumes and mime and rhythms come together at 6th Street Playhouse.
It’s not just new happy and spring all over again in this play. It’s drama, pure and simple, with a TFlorida lick. Boys become men and men come alive in drag with the music. As the play states, you don’t have to be gay to wear drag, but you do have to love dancing and makeup and good fun. 6th Street Playhouse makes it work on the Monroe Stage as the audience comes along for the wild ride.
Casey (played by Alexander Howard) started professional life as a nice Elvis Impersonator, complete with the glitz and music of the King. Eddie (played by Peter Downey), the owner of the bar, wanted more audience and excitement and sales. Looking in the face of poverty, Eddie brings in Miss Tracy Mills (played by Joseph Abrego*) in drag to liven up the place. Miss Tracy Mills brings in Rexy (played by Tyler Bertolone) to work as a partner in the act.
So Casey is out of his Elvis job and takes on bartending instead. However, his wife, Jo (played by Jamella Cross*) is looking at a baby and overdue rent. Casey needs to get some money, fast. After a fortunate change in plans, Casey becomes Miss Tracy Mills’ partner, with the name Georgia McBride as his handle. The legend begins.
Abrego captures the drag persona perfectly, from body to dance soul. He drives the show home with enough presence to bring the audience along quickly. He becomes the real thing; we are transported to Texas at Eddies bar. We become a part of the play as the bar’s clientele, and enjoy the role. Hang on and order another beer, ‘cause we’re here for the night.
Howard mimes a mean Elvis, with voice and movement. He makes the changes to become Georgia McBride literally onstage before our eyes. It’s fun to see the reticent Howard change his style and act on the fly. Howard is great as the new Georgia McBride, and partners well with the Miss Tracy Mills on stage.
Bertolone plays the drama “queen” of the story as Rexy, who tries her best to do things her way “under the influence.” Bertolone plays the disrupter perfectly to break the spell of Miss Tracy’s magic on stage. Some of us can identify with the process. Bertolone’s part is difficult and he excels at the part.
It was a joy to see Cross on stage in this show. As Georgia’s wife, she moves through the story gracefully, and is a great choice for the part of a strong woman with critical life choices to make for her family.
This legend came with a price for COVID. The original actor playing Eddie had to leave the show with COVID. Downey came in and learned his part in just 10 days. Also, most backstage crew were replaced at various times in rehearsal because of COVID. Yet the show went on. Such is the spirit of theatre at 6th Street Playhouse, and at the little bar in Florida.
Director Carl Jordan puts all the people together to create a show that shines. Not only that, but he personally brought most of the music into the show to give it life. Yes, the script does not define the music used in any one scene. All it does is ask the director to use appropriate music. The script gives the words to only one song: “Because of You.” Kayla Gold wrote the music for “Because of You,” and recorded it with guitarist Gary Vogensen. My hat’s off to Carl.
Paul Gilger designed a very effective set to be both backstage and downstage for the show. It worked like a charm; the only thing it lacked was sawdust and peanut shells on the floor. Amaris Blagborne brought forth Costumes galore for this play; all exotic and great for the roles, straight and drag. Finally, Davin Parker Sullivan and Jacob Gutierrez-Montoya kept the dances amazing, moving from back to front and back again, in a very limited space.
Congratulations to all for a stunning and fun production in these times of coming back to theatre.
The 6th Street Playhouse cast and crew and house are fully vaccinated for COVID-19; masks are required for all audience; reservations are for 100% of house.
“The Legend of Georgia McBride” continues at 6th Street Playhouse at 52 W. 6th Street, Santa Rosa, through March 20, 2022.
For further information and reservations: https://6thstreetplayhouse.com/
“The Legend of Georgia McBride,” by Matthew Lopez, Music provided by Carl Jordan and Kayla Gold, produced by 6th Street Playhouse. Director: Carl Jordan, Choreographer/Assistant Director: Jacob Gutierrez-Montoya, Set Designer: Paul Gilger, Light Designer: Carrie Mullen, Sound Design: Ben Roots, Costume Designer: Mae Matos and Tracy Hinman, Stage Manager: Luca Catazaro.
Cast: Joseph Abnrego* as Miss Tracy Mills, Tyler Bertolone as Jason/Rexy, Jamella Cross* as Jo, Alexander Howard as Casey/Georgia McBride, Peter Downey as Eddy. * Joseph Abnrego and Jamella Cross are members of Actors Equity Association.