“MAME:” AS MAGNIFICENT AS EVER!


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Mame Dennis of 3 Beekman Place, New York City, prides herself on being unconventional, eccentric and free spirited, on giving spectacular parties and for wringing the last juicy and joyous drop from the sponge of life. When she finds herself the legal guardian of her late brother’s son Patrick, she incorporates the young lad into her pattern of living without missing a syncopated beat.

 

To experience a glimpse into her dazzling demeanor, delight in the spirited and engaging production of Jerry Herman’s “Mame” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, extended to Saturday, July 7 by popular demand.

 

Louise Pitre sparkles and shines as the adventurous Auntie Mame who only knows one way to live, with exuberance. When a cautiously timid Agnes Gooch, a deliciously timorous Kirsten Wyatt, delivers young Patrick, a sporting and game Eli Baker, to Mame’s doorstep, they are soon swept away in the glorious goings on. A starchy Dwight Babcock (Paul Carlin), Patrick’s legal trustee, casts a disapproving eye on the proceedings but he is powerless to control or tame the galloping goddess, Mame.

 

Patrick is quickly surrounded by the people who hold Mame dear, like her best friend Vera Charles (Judy Blazer), her houseboy Ito (James Seol), her new husband Beau (James Lloyd Reynolds) and her publishing friend Woolsey (James Beaman). As the roaring twenties progress through the Depression, the grown-up Patrick is portrayed by an understanding but conflicted Charles Hagerty, who still needs Auntie to set him straight.

 

A parade of great tunes sweep us along, like “It’s Today,” “Open a New Window,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Mame,” “Bosom Buddies,” “Gooch’s Song” and “If He Walked Into My Life Today.” For director Ray Roderick, “Delivering this lavish musical with its thrilling Jerry Herman score, big, bold and stylish dances and its smart and funny book to audiences at Goodspeed’s jewel box of a theatre seemed like a thrilling rideā€¦It is clearly a very special and unexpected love story that remains more than relevant today.”

 

Add in James Youmans’ versatile silver set, Gregg Barnes’ luscious costumes and Vince Pesce’s inspired choreography and you have a glorious production. For tickets ($27 and up), call Goodspeed Musicals on the Connecticut River in East Haddam at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (with select ones at 2 p.m.), Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. (with select ones at 6:30 p.m.) Check the website for special events.

 

Sit down at the banquet of life where stuffing yourself is more than permitted, it’s required, in this delightful family musical by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, adapted from the book written by Patrick Dennis about his life with his extraordinary Auntie Mame.

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