TM: Hi Stephanie, and thank you for taking time to chat about The Legend of Georgia McBride now playing at the Hippodrome. Why this play?
SL: Warhol Caldwell and I have been interested in this play for about 2 years – ever since it had its run in Denver. The main themes of the play, the hilarious script, and all coupled with the world of drag sounded like a match made in heaven to us. This season, Warhol decided that we had a time slot that would be perfect, and so we made it part of our season.
TM: Mark Chambers is such a larger-than-life personality who's often shared his talents at the Hippodrome both on stage, and behind the scenes. He's a bit of a prankster, isn't he, as well as a profoundly experienced sage. Give us a good Mark Chambers story.
SL: Mark Chambers will have to give you Mark stories. There are so many and they are so wonderful that they would lose their magic if I tried to tell them.
TM: Ah rats. I was looking forward to some spicy content. Maybe my next interview will have to be Mark Chambers. Am I ready for that? Ha ha. Stephanie, what would you say is your unique thumbprint as the director on this production?
SL: My unique contribution – Every director has to decide what story they are telling, and the most important part of this story to me was that every character in the play gets to find the person inside that they want to be, and they get to do that in this wonderful chosen family that they become. Also the transitions were my contribution. Staging on a ¾ thrust stage is always a bit tricky and I hate it when the action of the play has to stop so we can change locations. So incorporating the transitions into the story was something I worked on quite a bit.
TM: Actor Jon Kovach tells me he hasn't done anything quite like this before. What were his unique challenges and how did you help him find the characters of both Casey & Georgia McBride?
SL: Jon is a wonderful actor and he came in having done lots of research about drag and the drag world. Jon worked with Mark Chambers and myself to find the inner feminine movements; how to walk, stand, dance. It was a joy to watch Jon slowly incorporating the feminine into his movements.
TM: Were there any unique challenges of directing a musical for you as a director?
SL: Musical – well, this isn’t technically a musical, but it sure feels like one! Musicals are challenging because you have so many more elements to learn in the same amount of time. Not only do you have to stage the play and explore the characters, but you have to learn the songs and the dancing as well. In Legend we had the performance numbers and we took our time working out the choreography, wanting to bring that drag show feel to the stage while at the same time moving the play forward. I love directing musicals, but its challenge is that it is just that many more elements to juggle.
TM: Were you at all concerned about any negative reactions from the community concerning neo-genderism, neo-feminism, and transitioning all being such contemporary hot-button topics?
SL: Concern – No, I was never concerned about negative reactions. I always assume someone will be uncomfortable with something in every play we do, and that is a good thing. Theater lets us live in a world that might not be familiar, and as we know, the more people we know that are different from ourselves, the less afraid of those differences we become. Gender is a hot button topic, but the wonderful thing about this script is that it just presents people as who they are. The script does not try to make any political statement and neither did we, which is one reason audiences from all walks of life are loving the show.
TM: What is your one great take-away from the experience of directing The Legend of Georgia McBride at the Hippodrome?
SL: My one take away – I only get one? There is such joy in this play and I keep hearing from people seeing the show how much they need that joy in their lives, especially right now. Life is tough and rough and hard, but if we can come together then we can still have joy. So that is my take away. Just joy and warmth and happiness. Oh, and glitter. Lots of glitter!
TM: Stephanie, thank you for taking the time to tell us a little about the play. It's a terrific show with great acting and remarkable entertainment value. Don't miss it. My review can be found here: TOM MILLER REVIEWS THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE AT THE HIPPODROME THEATRE
FOR ADVANCE TICKETS TO THE SHOW:
Playing now through Nov. 5, 2017
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