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Glitter, Glamour, and A Little Bit of Heart

November 23, 2022

He’s low on cash, his wife Jo is expecting a baby, and he just found out he’s been fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator.

Meet Casey, a down-on-his-luck performer who is about to discover that he has got a lot to learn about show business—and himself. Desperate to drum up more business, Casey’s boss at Cleo’s Dive Bar gives “The King” the boot, replacing Casey’s act with a B-level drag show led by Miss Tracy Mills. When a performer goes down for the count and the show must go on, Casey finds himself with some pretty big shoes— heels—to fill.

“It doesn’t get more fun than a broken-down Elvis impersonator, a rundown bar, and a hit drag show all combined!” said Director Kate Alexander. “The utter joy and abandon—it’s the American Dream in a gilded flamboyant coach.”

Behind the glitz and glamour, The Legend of Georgia McBride is filled with heart.

“I selected the work because it’s deeply human and I think everyone will have their own view of the play,” said FST Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. “But for me, the play is about accepting ‘The Other.’ It’s an insightful comedy that helps us better understand the world we live in.”

The Legend of Georgia McBride was originally scheduled to run during FST’s 2019-2020 Winter Season. Just weeks before opening, FST was forced to cancel the production and send the artists home due to COVID-19.

“We were in rehearsals for only one week,” said Director Kate Alexander. “The world changed so markedly with the pandemic, and this play will forever be the emblem of that change for me. Coming back to this play is incredibly meaningful.”

Now, two years later, FST is thrilled to finally share The Legend of Georgia McBride with Sarasota audiences. Called “A stitch-in-your side funny new comedy” by The New York Times, this music-filled play has been performed all over the country from The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis to Geffen Playhouse Theatre in Los Angeles to MCC Theatre in New York City.

“I think Georgia McBride has been done a lot because it’s both challenging for audiences and FUN!! Which is so hard to do,” said Britt Michael Gordon, who plays the role of Casey in FST’s production. “And I think that is also what is so compelling about drag. Because it is such a bold art form, it requires a lot of passion and vulnerability, stamina, and versatility from the performer.”

The show has been a hit since 2014, and Kraig Swartz, playing the role of Miss Tracy Mills, has a theory as to why it has continued to make an impact on audiences.

“I think this play has been so widely produced because it deals with issues that are very much in the public discourse right now,” said Swartz. “Yes, we don fabulous dresses and sequins on stage, but we are faced with the idea of personal narrative and expression. And those concepts are absolutely universal.”

For Kate Alexander, The Legend of Georgia McBride is a tale of transformation.

“It’s Cinderella and her helpful Fairy Godmothers told with new characters,” said Alexander. “It’s a play for all of us.”