An Elvis impersonator, a couple of drag queens and a curmudgeon all meet up in a bar one night ...
Sounds like the beginning of a very bad or very good joke, depending on the ending, right?
In fact, it is the basis for a new production at Phoenix Theatre, Indianapolis. The Legend of Georgia McBride, written by Matthew Lopez, brings in dance expert Kenny Shepard as choreographer, and a few of the best local performers to rip up the stage with antics and talent.
Set in a dying bar, owner Eddie, the straight man in this comedic gem, is played perfectly by Ty Stover. The crotchety businessman is desperate to find that winning live show to draw crowds and save the venue. At first he hires a local guy whose passion is impersonating the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
Elvis impressionist, Casey, played by Sam C. Jones, just isn't popular with local patrons. Although Jones personifies the late music legend superbly, bar regulars aren't entertained. Casey returns home to reveal to his fiancee' (Bridgette Ludlow) he is fired, when she interrupts him to reveal she is pregnant.
Enter new performers Miss Tracey Mills and Miss Anorexia Nervosa --impersonators of a different sort. Drag Queens, to be precise.
Mills is portrayed impeccably by John Vessels. Vessels has wowed audiences in numerous roles and productions, including Smoke on the Mountain, Hello Dolly and Chicago. As a queen of dressing in women's clothing he is uproarious and outright fabulous.
Tutoring the Elvis he-man into becoming a she-man is seamlessly played by Vessels and Jones, with - let's call them feisty debates - is an interaction of pure joy for the audience.
Add in drama drag queen Anorexia, played royally by Jonathan Studdard, makes it's a performance definitely worth attending. Studdard, who's portrayal can only be described as fierce, is a feisty and welcome change to Indy's stage productions.Bottom Line: The Legend of Georgia McBride is an absolute must-see for anyone who has even an inkling of a sense of humor.
Side note: Complimentary parking across the street, intimate venue and efficient box office are pluses for visiting the new Phoenix Theatre.
Tickets: The Legend of Georgia McBride
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.