Blog Review: ‘The Legend of Georgia McBride’ brings joy to the stage in Tucson

Review: ‘The Legend of Georgia McBride’ brings joy to the stage in Tucson

By Kathleen Allen. Originally published by The Arizona Daily Star.

This is a simple fact of life: Where there are drag queens there is joy. And there is an abundance of joy on the Arizona Theatre Company stage.

The Legend of Georgia McBride, ATC’s current offering, is about Casey, a failed Elvis impersonator who turns to drag to try to make ends meet and care for his pregnant wife.

The show, written by Matthew Lopez, is packed with laughs and talent.

Kevin Kantor made seamless Casey’s transition from a mediocre, swiveling-hips Elvis to a fabulous, high-kicking drag queen.

Courter Simmons was a hoot, especially when his character, the drag queen Miss Tracy Mills, did a song revue of Judy Garland through all her ages — and all her hair styles.

Armand Fields handsomely played the dual role of the outrageous, and usually drunk, drag queen Rexy and the very macho Jason, Casey’s neighbor.

Renea S. Brown did justice to the role of Jo, Casey’s wife and the one in the family who worries about, well, everything. Casey is so optimistic that she has to be.

James Pickering is the grungy club owner, Eddie, who turns to the drag queens in hopes he can save his club. Pickering is stellar, and his turn as a bearded drag queen was one of the funniest things we’ve seen on the ATC stage in a long time.

Meredith McDonough directed with the same joy that her cast exuded. Clearly, it was as fun doing Georgia McBride as it is watching.

It’s heartening to see Arizona Theatre Company be so brazen while drag queens are being denied their rights and threatened around the country.

But this play isn’t designed to make a political statement. It’s designed to make audiences laugh. And that it does very well.`