ACT­ING OUT Drag cen­ter stage in ‘Leg­end of Ge­or­gia McBride’

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Ac­tor Nick Ara­poglou jokes that he of­ten finds him­self in roles where he has to do a lit­tle bit of every­thing, in­clud­ing some quirky re­quests. In Hori­zon The­atre Com­pany’s “Av­enue Q,” he han­dled ex­ten­sive pup­petry and in “The Toxic Avenger” (also at Hori­zon), he spent much of his time in a big green slimy cos­tume. In Matthew Lopez’s new mu­sic­filled com­edy “The Leg­end of Ge­or­gia McBride,” open­ing March 18 at Ac­tor’s Ex­press, he stretches again, play­ing the gui­tar, singing, do­ing drag and play­ing a char­ac­ter not afraid to make an ass of him­self.

His char­ac­ter Casey is an Elvis im­per­son­ator work­ing at a bar in the Florida pan­han­dle. Although he loves his job, the crowds are small. With a preg­nant wife at home and need­ing money (and more job se­cu­rity), he de­cides to fill in for a drag queen who is too drunk to per­form, de­spite the fact that he has no ex­pe­ri­ence.

“At first, he has no clue about what drag is, or about the culture,” Ara­poglou said. “He is ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fied. It’s a lot of fun, be­cause you can clearly see the char­ac­ter get­ting stressed out. It’s a lit­tle un­com­fort­able and his mas­culin­ity is be­ing threat­ened. The chal­lenge for him is the love of per­form­ing versus hav­ing a wife ask why he is do­ing what he does to make money. He is not ho­mo­pho­bic, but there is a fear of what you don’t know.”

The ac­tor ad­mits the ex­pe­ri­ence has been eye-open­ing, see­ing drag as the art form it is.

“I am still learn­ing about it,” he said. “There was much I did not know about it. I thought it was more about the makeup and cos­tume, but you have to get the walk down and the char­ac­ter. Ev­ery char­ac­ter has his or her aes­thetic. There are all shapes and sizes. You have to learn to walk in heels. It’s about mor­ph­ing into some­one else, but keep­ing some of your­self in.”

He has be­come a fan of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and he and the cast – in­clud­ing Jeff McKer­ley, who plays fel­low drag per­former Miss Tracy Mills – plan to visit lo­cal drag shows.

‘Exit Strat­egy’ com­ing to True Col­ors

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