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