'Georgia McBride' will be staged in New York


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The DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere comedy The Legend of Georgia McBride will have its off-Broadway debut Aug. 20 and run through Oct. 4 at the MCC Theater in downtown New York.
 
The play, written by 2014-15 DCPA Playwriting Fellow Matthew Lopez, charmed Denver audiences last year with its sweet story of a straight Elvis impersonator named Casey who delves into the world of drag to help support his growing family – and finds that he very much likes it.
 
Matt McGrath in 'The Legend of Georgia McBride.' Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen. “It’s really exciting,” Lopez told the DCPA’s NewsCenter.

Essential lessons learned from the play’s development process in Denver, he added, have resulted in substantial improvements to the script. Notably: The cast will be expanded from four actors to five. The actress who plays Casey’s pregnant wife, Jo, will no longer also play Eddie – the fat, mustachioed man who owns the drag club. “It worked as a sight gag, but it doesn’t work in creating a real human being,” Lopez concluded.
 
(Photo: Matt McGrath will return to his role as Tracey in ‘The Legend of Georgia McBride’ when it opens next month in New York. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen.)

Matthew_Lopez_CircleAnother big change: Less drag … and more play. “I have learned to let the play do the work, and not rely on the drag numbers do the work,” Lopez said. “So now there are fewer drag numbers. But when they do come, they are really special.”
 
Sometimes development is valuable because it allows you to try changes, and then change things back if they don’t work. For example, Lopez (pictured right) conceived Georgia McBride as a 90-minute play, but just days before it opened in Denver last January, the creative team determined an intermission would be helpful, and inserted one. After the Denver run ended then, Lopez was able to approach the story anew. He made some important changes but came to the conclusion that the original 90-minute structure was best.

“I think perhaps some obstacles were overcome a bit too easily,” Lopez said of the Denver production. The journey is now going to be harder for Casey. Perhaps there isn’t such instant understanding from his wife, and the relationship will be a little more imperiled. He has to really fight harder now.”

None of these epiphanies could have happened without the play’s essential development time in Denver, Lopez said, which also yielded the happiest and most valuable of lessons: “We learned on both a technical and an artistic level that the play is actually technically feasible,” Lopez said. “That is huge. And just on an emotional level, we learned that the play really works with an audience.”
 
The New York director will again be Mike Donahue. The cast will include Matt McGrath, back to play the role of Tracey. The rest are new: Dave Thomas Brown as Casey, Wayne Duvall as Eddie, Keith Nobbs as Rexy and Jason, and Afton C. Williamson as Jo.

Bob Lupone, co-Artistic Director of New York’s MCC Theatre, saw the play in Denver, and he was fascinated by the juxtaposition of drag performance, music and storytelling in what he called the DCPA’s “wonderfully realized” production. He called Lopez a “touching, entertaining” playwright.

“After the affirmation from the Denver audience, I am very much looking forward to our Off-Broadway production,” Lupone said.
 
OUR GEORGIA McBRIDE DENVER PHOTO GALLERY:

The Denver cast featured Ben Huber, Matt McGrath, Nick Mills and Jamie Ann Romero. Photos by Jennifer M. Koskinen.

SELECTED NEWSCENTER COVERAGE OF GEORGIA McBRIDE:
Photos: Opening night of The Legend of Georgia McBride
Chairman and CEO Daniel Ritchie’s drag transformation
Matthew Lopez’s trip down the straight and fabulous
10 Ways Georgia McBride is going to blow your theatregoing mind​
Matthew Lopez named DCPA Playwriting Fellow for 2014-15
‘Georgia McBride’ team: ‘Subtlety is our enemy’
Video: It’s Waxing Day for Georgia McBride actors. Yelp!​

2015 Colorado New Play Summit expands to two weekends

 

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