a film by Jeffrey Round

World Premiere:


In 1992, performer Rusty Ryan opened at the Fringe of Toronto Festival in Driving To Tatamagouche, a one-person stage show.
  Ryan was a well-known drag artist and former protégé of Craig Russell.  He appeared in the movies Outrageous, Too Outrageous! and 54, among others.  He was a founding member of The Great Imposters, a female impersonator troupe that toured Canada in the ’70s and ’80s.

The stage show was a metaphorical journey in the form of a cooking show hosted by a Julia Child-wannabee named Ginger LaRue (French for “the Red Street,” as Ginger blithely informs us.)  The audience watches Ginger whip up “a little something” to take to his sister's wedding in Tatamagouche.  Of course, it's more than just a cake (it turns out to be a Chocolate-Orange Chapeau.)  And they're not just any old stories we hear, as Ginger dispenses homespun wisdom along with tales of being a small-town queer with big town visibility in rural Nova Scotia.

The show was cited in the Globe And Mail as being among the ten most interesting fringe shows that year and became an unofficial hit of the festival.  Afterwards, director Jeffrey Round began a series of preliminary interviews with Ryan, intending to make a documentary on his life and career.  The project remained unfinished at the time of Ryan’s death in 2003.

In 2009, Round began piecing together archival footage from the stage show with the existing interview material to make Driving With Rusty.  Despite the primitive quality of the footage, the work stands as a tribute to the life and talent of Rusty Ryan, the big man with an even bigger heart.


Based on the original Fringe of Toronto Festival production “Driving To Tatamagouche,” presented at The Poor Alex Theatre June 26 to July 5, 1992

Starring The “Outrageous” Rusty Ryan.

Produced, written, directed and edited by Jeffrey Round

Technical production by Shane McConnell

Film/video footage by Lisa Logan and Arnon Melo

Original stage production produced by Jeffrey Round and John Davison for
Best Boys Productions

Original set design by John Davison

Costumes and accessories by Michael Daniel Designs

© 2010, 1992.







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