September 9, 2015

A young Elvis impersonator barely eking out a living finds an unlikely path to prosperity in “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” a stitch-in-your-side funny, if improbable, new comedy by Matthew Lopez that opened on Wednesday at the Lucille Lortel Theater. The salvation of Casey, the play’s beleaguered hero, portrayed with winning boyish (and girlish) charm by Dave Thomas Brown, turns out to be equipment already in his proverbial toolbox: sequins, makeup and a highly developed skill in lip-syncing. All of these, of course, are part of the stock in trade of any self-respecting Elvis impersonator, along with a nice hip swivel. But Elvis’s appeal seems to be fading fast in the Florida Panhandle bar where Casey has been working. As his wife, Jo (a tartly funny Afton Williamson), complains early on, the careless Casey has caused the rent check to bounce after splurging on, yes, a pizza. In a contrapuntal conversation, Jo tries to shake him out of his relentless optimism, but Casey’s like a human bubble machine, and he keeps volleying back hopeful responses. When Jo emerges from the bathroom and announces, with proof in hand, that she’s pregnant, he’s elated, notwithstanding their financial distress.