“The Legend of Georgia McBride” premieres Jan. 18 at the Garden Theatre. The show will run until Feb. 3.
| 6:27 p.m. January 16, 2019
West Orange Times & Observer
Before he was cast for the role of Miss Tracy Mills in the Garden Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” Simon Coulthard didn’t have much experience walking in high heels, wearing a bra or donning a dress.
But now, he can add all that to his theater résumé.
“I’ve never, ever in my life played a drag queen,” Coulthard said. “The makeup, I’m just going to say, takes forever. … It’s about two hours, and I’m hoping I can get it down.”
The Garden Theatre will be presenting “The Legend of Georgia McBride” from Jan. 18 to Feb. 3. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the Garden Theatre box office. Tickets range from $30 to $40 depending on seating, and discounts are available for students, seniors, military service members and groups.
“I think there are a lot of heart-warming messages (in the play),” Coulthard said. “It’s a comedy and it’s very, very funny, but it’s got heart to it.”
“The Legend of Georgia McBride” tells the tale of a young man named Casey who loses his job as an Elvis impersonator at a rundown bar. The bar owner replaces Casey’s Elvis act with Miss Tracy Mills’ drag act to bring in more business. With a pregnant wife and bills to pay, Casey must adapt to stay in the act.
Casey trades his signature rhinestone jumpsuit for high heels, lipstick and a dress to transform himself into the most popular drag queen in the Florida Panhandle, Georgia McBride. The story celebrates self-acceptance, self-confidence and the art of drag and features popular songs such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” and “Born this Way.”
“He gets thrown into (the world of drag),” Coulthard said. “Casey ends up falling in love with being another person and putting on the makeup. It’s not about being a woman. It’s about actually just being a different person, and you can totally hide within that character. … It’s not about sexuality in the show — it’s not at all.”
Fredy Ruiz is dual-cast for the roles of Rexy and Jason. Rexy is another one of the drag queens in the show, and the character of Jason is Casey’s best friend. As a longtime fan of the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Ruiz is familiar with the art of drag.
“When I get to lip-sync in the show, it’s like living my best 'RuPaul’s-Drag-Race' life — mostly because I don’t do drag,” he said, laughing. “It’s really cool to get into this role of Rexy, who is such a complex drag queen. … It’s cool to transform into these fierce drag queens.”
The other role Ruiz plays, Jason, can be thought of as a “typical guy” and the complete opposite of Rexy, Ruiz said.
“Not only do I play Rexy, who is a drag queen, but I (also) play Casey’s best friend Jason, who is a heterosexual (man) from the Panhandle of Florida with three kids,” he said. “If he is not the polar opposite of Rexy, I don’t know what is.”
Coulthard said the roles of Rexy and Jason are intentionally written in the script as a dual-cast role and shows that someone “can be a drag queen and a straight man.”
“I wanted to play Rexy/Jason, because I saw the character descriptions for both and I was like, ‘Holy moly, this is stupid challenging to play a heterosexual man' … and then to turn around and (play a drag queen),’” Ruiz said. “Jason is … open, and there’s zero judgment, which is what I think the world needs to be like.”