On Monday night at the American Stage Theater in St. Pete, Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project’s (S.A.T.P.) production of the campy takeoff “Mommie Queerest” had the audience in laughter from beginning to end as Best of the Bay Awards Drag Performer, Matthew McGee, played Hollywood legend Joan Crawford.
Crawford was played by Faye Dunaway in the cult movie classic, “Mommie Dearest”, but McGee is a much more fun Crawford! Along for this hysterical send up was Scott Daniels as Christina Crawford. Actors Larry Alexander, Emanuel Carrero, Steve Garland, Jonelle Meyer, Carolyn Zaput, Roxanne Fay and Joe Parra who worked their magic reading multiple roles to add to the craziness! I laughed till I cried at times, but don’t want to give too much away. Music in the lobby was performed by the duo of Hannah Barrens and Gordon Harlow called WAND, which stands for We Are Not Dating! There is one more performance on Monday, June 24th, at the American Stage to benefit Metro Inclusive Health. A great night of entertainment!
Matthew McGee took time out of his busy acting schedule to talk to The Sarasota Post!
SP: What has been your favorite drag part to play?
MM: Mrs. Shinn in The Music Man at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Not really a drag role, but I had a wonderful time working with director Jeff Calhoun and the entire team.
SP: What has been your fav straight acting part?
MM: I’m originating a role next year in a new comedy by playwright Natalie Symons. The role of Todd is so funny and heartbreaking. Not a dress in sight! It’ll have its world premiere at American Stage in 2020.
SP: Do you know what gave S.A.T.P. founder Garry Allan Bruel the idea for “Mommie Queerest”?
MM: We had talked about doing that movie or Mildred Pierce after the huge success of Blown by the Wind, A Wizard of Oz and All about Steve. Garry loves classic Hollywood. As do I!!
SP: What does Pride month mean to you?
MM: I’m originally from a small town in Georgia. I wasn’t sure gay people even existed when i was coming to terms of my sexuality. Pride is about loving yourself and your community. When I see everyone together celebrating their families, marriages and lives, it touches me greatly.
SP: What is next for S.A.T.P.?
MM: Our plan is to continue Garry’s work with 3 events a year. A Fall Cabaret, World Aids Day play reading and a Pride Parody during the summer.
SP: Matt, what projects do you have coming up in the near future?
MM: Pippin at freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg, opening July 13th! Scrooge in Rouge at Hippodrome in Gainesville for the holidays!! I will be playing the Varla Jean Merman role in Scrooge in Rouge!
The Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project was founded by the late Garry Allan Bruel and these shows are dedicated to him. Thanks to Matthew McGee, all the actors and volunteers, Garry Allan Bruel’s vision will continue to help people with HIV/AIDS! Right now the Tampa area has the largest growing number of HIV cases in the 18-24 years age group in Florida! Our young people need education! HIV & AIDS is still very much alive in 2019! Since 2013, Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project, American Stage and Mattoc5 productions have raised over $35,000 benefitting Metro Inclusive Health to provide services to those living and infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS throughout Tampa Bay.
You can still get tickets for Monday night’s performance at American Stage.
Photos courtesy of Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post and S.A.T.P.