A down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator has an overdrawn checking account and a baby on the way. When a drag show takes over the entertainment at the Florida Panhandle bar where he performs, he’ll also be out of a job…unless he’s willing to step into some high heels. This heartwarming, music-filled comedy celebrates the unexpected path to finding your true voice.
Photos by Michael Brosilow
by Rick and Brenda McCain
September 26, 2017
Taking Total Command of your True Voice
There will come a time in everyone’s life when you would have to make a very important decision to help propel you into your future. Whether you take it or not is totally up to you. Discovering who you are along the way and what you have to offer is priceless not only to you but your family and society as well.
“The Legend of Georgia McBride” is not your typical drag queen story. It is a wonderful and electrifying story (musical comedy) with a lot of heart. This play introduced us to the world of drag, diversity, and personal success.
The transformation of being a “Straight Guy” venturing into a “Drag Queen” right before your very eyes was very significant to the character Casey (Nate Santana) to come into his own with an inspirational message of hope. “The Legend of Georgia McBride” was more than a wardrobe change it was a life-changing play to understanding the totality of self-expression.
Playwright Matthew Lopez and Director Lauren Shouse made sure of that when they presented a different world of the theatrical musical comedy of “we are more the same than not” unexpected message of love and hope.
We recommend this play because it was more than a feel-good play with remarkable talent on stage. The Legend of Georgia McBride came with a lot of laughable moments and sassy wit.
Even with the laughter, it was a play that asked you to become open-minded to the differences in the world that may ultimately bring you closer when your sense of benevolence and impartiality has been stimulated.
by Seth Arkin
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
More Than Fun: Humorously & Poignantly Debunking Presumptions, ‘The Legend of Georgia McBride’ is Never a Drag
Theater, at it best, not only shrewdly reflects our world, it shines new light–while affecting our way of thinking.
While the relatively new and rather comedic, The Legend of Georgia McBride, by Matthew Lopez may seem entirely disparate from the last play I saw–a stark take on Arthur Miller’s classic drama, A View From the Bridge–I found congruent potency and resonance in both.
And in providing a glimpse into the world of drag queens–which the show’s straight, married, southern protagonist unsuspectingly joins in the guise of the title character–the often LOL funny Legend of Georgia McBride powerfully reaffirms the folly of making assumptions about anyone we don’t know (or even those we do).
Playwright Lopez, whose The Whipping Man I very much enjoyed at Northlight in 2013, demonstrates his dexterity with a play far different from that intense post-Civil War drama about slaves and Southern Jews, although both works reflect well on the impropriety of preconceived notions.
And though the premise of The Legend of Georgia McBride isn’t quite as unique as that past play–many viewers may conjure up “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Kinky Boots,” “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” “The Full Monty” and other such musicals, though this technically isn’t one–not only is it uproariously funny and rather touching, Lopez’ fine script renders comparisons (and questions of originality) largely moot.
And though there are some imperfect aspects–including, perhaps, the depth with which he explores the world of drag and practitioners of it–I found it one of the better new plays I’ve seen in awhile. Given a raucous, instant standing ovation, the audience on opening night seemed to agree.
BUZZ CENTER STAGE
by Kimberly Katz
Monday, September 25, 2017
“The Legend of Georgia McBride” is Packed with Laughs and Pink Feather Boas
“The Legend of Georgia McBride” written by Matthew Lopez, is an adorable and entertaining piece brought to sexy, vibrant life by an exquisitely multi-talented cast of characters.
Sean Blake is amazing and seems born to play this role. Blake gets the most laughs and the most oohs and aahs with each stunning costume change or drag number and absolutely steals the show. Miss mills also brings with her another drag queen of the highest order but one with a serious drinking problem named Rexy.
I highly recommend this laugh a minute feel-good comedy with several smashing dance numbers about making your dreams come true “right where you are with what you’ve got to work with” for the whole family to enjoy.
Miss Tracy Mills
Sean returns to the Northlight stage where he was seen in Everything’s Ducky, A Civil War Christmas and Grey Gardens. Broadway/National tours: Showboat (1st National – Dance Captain/Swing) Showboat (Australia – Assoc. Choreographer). Regional: The Great Society and The Little Foxes (Asolo Rep); Smokey Joe’s Café (Drury Lane); Animal Crackers (Baltimore Centerstage); The Story, Purlie, Ain’t Misbehavin, The Rose Tattoo and Bounce (Goodman); Porgy And Bess (Jeff Nomination – Best Supporting Actor) and Raisin (Court); Carousel (Court and Long Wharf Theatre); Birdie Blue (Seattle Rep); Nobody (Alabama Shakespeare); Timon of Athens (Chicago Shakespeare) and Hot Mikado (Fulton Opera). Sean can be heard on the original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince’s Bounce. He is a recipient of a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Actor for his solo performance in Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis Jr. Story written by Tim Rhoze. Sean will be seen this fall on the upcoming season of Empire.
Keith’s theater credits include Cat Feet and The Old Neighborhood at Northlight; The Qualms, Good People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice & Men, Carter’s Way, Men of Tortuga; Things Being What They Are; Jesus Hopped The A Train and Tavern Story at Steppenwolf Theatre; The Humans at American Theatre Company; Support Group for Men, God of Carnage, High Holidays, Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play and The Old Neighborhood at the Goodman Theatre; Hilary and Clinton, Never the Sinner and Appropriate at Victory Garden’s Theatre; The Mystery of Love and Sex and A Streetcar Named Who Is Afraid of Virginia Wolf at Writers Theatre; Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; End Days at Windy City Playhouse; Execution of Justice with About Face; Desire Under The Elms, a co-production between Philadelphia’s Freedom Theatre and Chicago’s Court Theatre. Keith is a founding member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble where he was most recently seen in the critically acclaimed Chicago premiere of How the World Began, the world premiere of American Wee-Pie and 26 Miles. Other Chicago credits include The Unseen, The Meek, Canus Lunis Balloonis, (nominated for a 1998 Joseph Jefferson award for Best Ensemble), and The Physicists for A Red Orchid Theatre; and Big Lake, Big City, Trust and Hillbilly Antigone for Lookingglass Theatre. Film credits include the upcoming feature film Widows; The Dilemma; Dark Knight; Public Enemies; The Express; Stranger Than Fiction; Road to Perdition directed by Sam Mendes; Finding Santa; Fred Klaus; The Last Rights of Joe May; The Merry Gentleman directed by Michael Keaton; Resurrecting McGinn and Open Tables. TV credits include Showtime’s Better Call Saul; Shameless; Betrayal; Empire; Chicago P.D.; Crisis; Chicago Fire; Detroit 187; The Beast; Prison Break; The Jamie Kennedy Experiment; and Early Edition.
Jeff is so thrilled to be making his Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include Shakespeare in Love (Chicago Shakespeare); Support Group for Men (Goodman); Romeo and Juliet (Backroom Shakespeare Project); Julius Caesar (Brown Paper Box Co.); As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing (The Arc Theatre); Year of the Rooster, R+J: The Vineyard (Red Theater); Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista); One Came Home (Lifeline); All My Sons (Eclectic Theatre Co.); Amadeus (Boho Theatre). Regional credits include Richard III, Twelfth Night and The Tempest (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre). Television credits include Crisis (NBC). Mr. Kurysz is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf.
Nate Santana makes his Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include SS! Romeo and Juliet, SS! Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Marvin’s Room (Shattered Globe Theatre); Ironbound (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Balm in Gilead, Golden Boy (Griffin Theatre); White Tie Ball, Mommas Boyz (Teatro Vista); Comrades Mine (City Lit Theater Company); The Rainmaker (BoHo Theatre); The Merchant of Venice, (First Folio Theatre); What Happened When and Slipping (the side project). Television credits include Chicago PD and The Exorcist. Nate is a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista and artistic associate with Shattered Globe. He is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and received his BA from Valparaiso University.
Leslie Ann Sheppard
Leslie returns for her second Northlight production. She was last seen as Bessie in Eclipsed. Chicago theatre credits include Rosalind in As You Like It (First Folio); Pauline in Cinderella (Hypocrites); Bart in Mr. Burns (Theater Wit); Maddie in The Hundred Dresses, Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Tree, Lost Boys of Sudan and The Snow Queen (Victory Gardens); Harriet Jacobs (Steppenwolf) and House with No Walls (TimeLine). Regional/touring credits: Fall of the House (Theatre Squared), Julius Caesar (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Othello’s Furies (Chicago Fringe Festival), and Gershwin’s Magic Key (Classical Kids/Kennedy Center). TV credits: Chicago Fire (NBC), Mob Doctor (FOX). She is a former Artistic Director of The Suitcase Shakespeare Company, an Ensemble Member of The Hypocrites and represented by Gray Talent Group.
Matthew is the author of The Whipping Man, one of the most widely-produced American plays of the last decade. The Legend of Georgia McBride premiered at the Denver Center and then produced in New York by MCC and in Los Angeles at the Geffen Playhouse. Other plays include Somewhere (Old Globe, world premiere), Reverberation (Hartford Stage Company, world premiere), The Sentinels (London’s Headlong Theatre Company) and Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (upcoming world premiere at the Denver Center, 2018). Matthew holds commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, The Geffen Playhouse and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Matthew was a writer on the HBO series The Newsroom and is currently writing the biopic Dr. Q for Disney.
Lauren is the Artistic Associate and Literary Manager here at Northlight Theatre. Her recent directing credits include: Betrayal at Raven Theatre, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts, and A Christmas Story at Nashville Repertory Theatre, the world premiere of Long Way Down with 3Ps productions (nominated for American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award 2011); the world premiere of Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company; the world premiere of Rear Widow at Chaffin’s Barn Theatre, and Sylvia Plath’s 3 Women. As Artistic Associate at Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival, which developed new works by John Patrick Shanley, David Auburn, Steven Dietz and Victoria Stewart. Lauren also co-founded Ten Minute Playhouse, a company that produced short plays by local playwrights. Before moving to Nashville, Lauren lived in London, UK and worked with Producer/Director Hugh Wooldridge. Her work abroad includes: Production Executive for The Night of 1000 Voices (celebrating John Kander and Fred Ebb and starring Joel Grey with Avenue Q) at The Royal Albert Hall; Production Executive of An Evening with Michael Parkinson at The Theatre Royal – Windsor, Children’s Director/Assistant to the Director of A Gift of Music, and Assistant Director of The Night of 1000 Voices at The Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland. Lauren holds an MA in Performance studies from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill where she adapted and directed The Time Traveler’s Wife. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University where she directed Stop Kiss, Eurydice and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play. In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, Route 66, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left Theatre. www.laurenshousedirects.com
Chris is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and has traveled all over directing and choreographing. Select credits include: Five Guys Named Moe (Court); Hair (Mercury); Dreamgirls and In The Heights (Porchlight); Sweeney Todd and Godspell (Grand Valley State); A Christmas Story, Beauty and the Beast and Into The Woods (Grand Rapids Civic); Joseph …Dream Coat (Paramount); Oliver (Music Theatre Works) and The Wiz (South Bend Civic and Theater at the Center). Chris also serves as choreographer for the Grand Rapids Civic’s SRT program. As a former scholarship student of The Debbie Allen Dance Academy, he moved to Chicago in 2009 to expand his mind and resume. A fan of challenges and hard work, Chris always looks forward to new experiences.
Richard & Jacqueline Penrod
Richard and Jacqueline are very happy to be collaborating once again with Northlight, having previously designed Gee’s Bend, Pride and Prejudice, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Mystry of Irma Vep, At Wit’s End, and Over the Tavern. Recent designs include: Pygmalion, Northanger Abbey, Love and Information, and The Importance of Being Earnest (Remy Bumppo); Apartment 3A, and Stick Fly (Windy City Playhouse); Nice Work If You Can Get It, Big Fish, and All Shook Up (Theatre at the Center); Richard III (Gift Theatre at Steppenwolf); Mud Sky Blue (Red Orchid); Luck of the Irish and Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next); Hank Williams: Lost Highway (American Blues Theatre); Barnum and The Christmas Schooner (Mercury) and Around The World In Eighty Days (Lookingglass). They have received many nominations and awards for their design work. Jacqueline is an Associate Professor in the Theatre Department at Columbia College Chicago. Richard runs the technical theatre program for New Trier High School.
Rachel is honored to be joining Northlight for the 23rd time after last season’s By the Water and Relativity. Her designs have previously been seen Off Broadway at Pearl Theatre and regionally at Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf First Look, Writers, Court, Milwaukee Rep, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare, American Players, Florentine Opera, Drury Lane, Arizona Theatre Company, Resident Ensemble Players, Kansas City Rep, Utah Shakespeare, Actors Theatre Louisville, Illinois Shakespeare, Next Act, Peninsula Players, Remy Bumppo, Timeline, Chamber, Renaissance Theaterworks, Skylight Music Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare, Children’s Theatre of Madison and University of Michigan. Other professional credits include NBC’S Law & Order, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Garsington Opera. Rachel is a recipient of a 2011 Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan and a 2009 Joseph Jefferson Award for Voysey Inheritance. www.rachellaritz.com
Northlight credits include By the Water, Charm, Shining Lives, Outside Mullingar, White Guy on the Bus, Detroit ’67, The Odd Couple, Ten Chimneys, Season’s Greetings, A Life, Grey Gardens, The Retreat From Moscow, Lady, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide, Better Late and Chapatti (the last four also at the Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland). Other work has been seen at Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, About Face, Remy Bumppo, Writers, Steppenwolf and Walkabout. JR designed lighting for seven years of the Steppenwolf TRAFFIC Series, and five Steppenwolf performances in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He has served as head of the Lighting Department at Steppenwolf since 1995.
Kevin is thrilled be back at Northlight, where previous credits include You Can’t Take it With You, The Lady with All the Answers, and Inherit the Wind. As a composer and sound designer he has received 10 Jeff Awards (20 nominations), and is a company member with The House Theatre, and a Hypocrites community member. Locally he has worked with Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Lookingglass, Court, and many others. Regionally: The Seattle Rep, The Signature Theatre, A.C.T., The Olney Theatre Center, The Adrienne Arscht Center of Miami, and others. He is also a drummer.
Rita is proud to be starting her 11th season at Northlight, where she has been fortunate to be the stage manager for 27 productions as well as two trips to Galway. Recent credits elsewhere in the Chicagoland area include productions at Theatre at the Center (Munster, IN), Victory Gardens, Route 66 Theatre Company, Goodman, and the annual Christmas Schooner at the Mercury Theater. She is the proud wife of actor Tom Hickey and mom to four-year-old Charlie, and has been a member of Actors’ Equity for over 15 years. Thank you for supporting live theatre!
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