Theater Review: THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE (International City Theatre in Long Beach)

by William C. on June 20, 2022

in Theater-Los Angeles

  • A LOVE LETTER TO THE ART OF DRAG

June 10th on a lovely cool evening, my husband and I, after the third attempt of looking for the correct parking spaces, found ourselves seated in a beautiful theater space overlooking the convention halls of the Long Beach, The Beverly O’Neill Theater. We were treated to an evening of laughter and authentic joy – with makeup, wigs and dresses, of course!

The production is whimsical and immersive. As audiences, we were transported into a drag club, especially in Act II opening, back to back memorable drag numbers performed by Jeff Sumner (Miss Tracy Mills/Bobby) and Taubert Nadalini (Casey/Georgia McBride) for their fierce and memorable performances.

Ths subject matter was treated with reverence by the seasoned director, Jamie Torcellini. The story’s emotional arc was cared for, and the theme of ‘finding your authentic self’ through drag is homed in without being preachy. The usage of the theater space is effective and adds to an immersive show experience.

This ensemble is in their element. Both Donzell Lewis (Rexy) and Jeff Sumner are forces to be reckoned with. The duo steals the show with their first entrance. Lewis, an experienced drag performer, shined on stage with confidence and persona. Tom Trudgeon (Eddie) plays a wonderful sleaze bag. You can tell, the actor enjoys the role immensely. The lovers, Karese Frizell and Taubert Nadalini’s characters are both genuine and tender.

A huge congratulations must be given to the Costume Designer, Hair and Wig Designer, and wardrobe crew for this production. The number of quick changes and looks were expertly executed. From the costume rack on stage to all the various looks of drag icons, the design and execution served to ground the story very well. Brava to Kimberly DeShazo, Anthony Gagliaradi, Becca Roth and all the stage crew on stage. Also, a special mention must be given to scenic designer Tyler Scrinver who designed a very effective set. The on-stage and backstage reversible flipbook style set is effective and beautiful.

My personal favorite moments in the show are not the big glitz and glamor scenes. Instead, the quiet moments, when the characters are putting on their makeup and costumes, are tender and reflective of the playwright’s (Matthew Lopez) love for the drag came from being backstage. The dialogues and soliloquy in those scenes are beautifully raw and reveal the very human experience that is drag performances. 

If you want to celebrate the spirit of pride this June (instead of blindly worshiping at the altar of corporate performative allyship), go watch this play. Edu-tain, yourself and support theater, because that is where a lot of young queers and misfit find their safe spaces.

International City Theatre
Long Beach Performing Arts Center
300 E. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach
for tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit ICT

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