The Legend of Georgia McBride

Life’s a drag (queen): An Interview with Playwright Matthew Lopez

Question: What do you get when you cross an Elvis impersonator with a drag queen?

Answer: Georgia McBride.

Playwright Matthew Lopez.

Playwright Matthew Lopez.

Matthew Lopez, creator of the edgy and feel-good comedy The Legend of Georgia McBride, discusses how this unique world came to be.

What inspired you to create The Legend of Georgia McBride?

The play was inspired by a playlist I’d once been given.  It was filled with female country western singers: Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, etc. All very classic stuff plus some Elvis Presley covers. It turns out this playlist was created by the friend of a friend for her boyfriend, who was exploring drag as a performer. I was fascinated by the idea of a straight guy doing drag and I wondered what that might yield as a story. “What if…” is a great way to start thinking up any story. Of course, in my version I knew I needed the most unlikely candidate for that journey. That’s how Casey was born, a character about as far away from myself as I’ve ever devised.

 Which character in The Legend of Georgia McBride do you relate to the most?
Interestingly, I wrote my answer above before I saw this next question and I have to say the answer is Casey. I think in some ways his journey as a character mirrors my own as an artist and an adult.Casey must own his talents and bring discipline to the practice of drag in order to truly blossom. As a result of that, he also blossoms as a husband, as a friend, and ultimately as a father. He becomes, in essence, a fully-realized human being and it’s a result of finding something (as opposed to “someone”) in his life that he cares about so much he is willing to sacrifice himself and his time in order to be the best version of that he can. I can relate to that. My own maturation over the course of my 30’s very much resembled Casey’s in his 20’s.

What do you want audiences to take away from the show?
Joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. I genuinely have no higher goal than that.

What would your drag name be?
Barbra Ganoush

Describe The Legend of Georgia McBride in 4 words:
Rexy sums it up best in her speech to Casey about what drag is and what it isn’t: “drag ain’t for sissies.”


The Legend of Georgia McBride plays at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati September 6-25, 2016.
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.


Production images by Ryan Kurtz.

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