Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Mame"

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entire contents copyright 1998 by Don Gillis

"MAME"

Book by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
Music & Lyrics by
Jerry Herman
Directed & Staged by
LARRY REEDY
Producer: Mary Reedy
Musical Director: Stephen DeCesare
Choreographer: Sharon Auger
Stage Manager: Holly White
Set Construction: Victor S. Turenne
Assisted by: Peter F. Babiec, Normand Beauregard, Brian Mulvey, Lee Hakeem, Rene Letourneau, Fred Ganczar, Darlene Mixer
Costumes: Pam Jackson, Doreen Cabral, Vincent Lupino
Costume Dresser: Carol Varden
Set Design and Dressing: Larry Reedy

CAST(in order of appearance)
Agnes Gooch ..........................................Tracy Dorman
Patrick Dennis (age 12)............................Nicholas Laroche
Vera Charles............................................Pamela Jackson
MAME Dennis...........................................Judy Zaborowski
Ralph Devine/Gregor...............................Wayne A. Hawkins
Bishop/Mr. Upton....................................Ronn Marshall
M. Lindsay Woolsey................................Fred Reinhardt
Ito............................................................Fred Ganczar
Doorman/Uncle Jeff..................................Al Esposito
Dwight Babcock.......................................Bert Cayer, Jr.
Art Model............................................... Michelle Golda
Artist....................................................... Bob Gruslin, Jr.
Madame Branslowski............................. .Eva Kendrick
Beauregard Jackson Picket Burnside........ David Olsen
Cousin Fran............................................. Elisabeth Leach
Sally Cato................................................ Darlene Mixer
Patrick Dennis (age 22-31) ..................... Anthony P. Prichard
Junior Babcock...................................... .Joseph J.R. Sadlier
Mrs. Upton..............................................Pamela Poniatowski
Gloria Upson......................................... .Elizabeth Antunes
Pegeen Ryan......................................... .Heather Davis
Peter Dennis (age 9)................................Nicholas Howe
Ensemble: Stephanie Bobola, Aimee Bouchard, Carolyn Cimini, Norma Fothergil, Kathy Macedo, Liz Poli, Mary Jane Wonder, Elizabeth Antunes
Understudy for Bert Cayer, Jr. (Mr.. Babcock).................Lee Hakeem

Ten years after premiering their hilarious comedy based on Patrick Dennis' fictional account of this free-wheeling Auntie Mame, playwrights Lawrence & Lee joined forces with songwriter Jerry Herman to transform their play into a lively hit musical. Angela Lansbury, after years of first-rate stage and screen performances, finally achieved her long-deserved stardom in the title role, and went on to become the first lady of Broadway musical theatre. MAME opened on May 24, 1966 at the Winter Garden Theatre, and enjoyed a run of 1,508 performances.The Pawtucket Community Players opened with their version of this wonderful musical, directed by Larry Reedy.

You can count on having an enjoyable evening of entertainment if you go see The Community Players production of MAME. Veteran director, Larry Reedy, has done it once again! The lavish set alone is worth the price of a ticket! Mame is played by Judy Zaborowski who is not off stage in very many scenes, in this very demanding role. Judy handles it with ease, creating and capturing the role and making you believe she is Auntie Mame,, especially to Young Patrick her late brother's son, who comes to live with her. Her flamboyance's is fun to watch, and the episodes that she undertakes throughout the show are interesting, for example, she falls in love, loses all of her money when the stocks fall, has to go to work for a living (all of which are disaster's and still maintains that brassy elegance. Her performance was a joy to watch!. I wanted to ask her how many lines she had to memorize, and I will when I get to see her in person.

Young Patrick, played by Nicholas Laroche (age 13 in real life) is a real pro. I saw this young lad play in "Lost in Yonkers" a year ago, and he was outstanding. He did not disappoint me this time either, only he sings in this show(and very nicely too!!). His stage presence is like watching someone who has studying acting for years. He seems to be a natural, and when he teams up with Auntie Mame, its a show stopper. They're number "My Best Girl" will tug at your heart.

Vera Charles, Mame's best friend (yeah, right), played by Pamela Jackson, was noteworthy. She had the flair that was necessary to establish her character, and her vocals with Mame were very good. I particularly liked her "Man in The Moon" scene, ( a technical achievement for that small stage!) She also did a cute number with Mame, "Bosom Buddies" in the second act.

Mame has a live-in secretary called Agnes Gooch, played by Tracy Dorman. Tracy has been in local theatre for some years now- mostly in comic roles. But she also has a beautiful voice, and opens the show with "St Bridget", with Young Patrick. Agnes is a homely girl, and very naive about life and relationships. However, Mame and Vera change all that for her, spiffy her up so she no longer looks like Raggedy Ann, and they send her off in the big bad world all by herself ...lo and behold she comes back to them ..6 months later....very pregnant!. Her antics in one scene had me laughing ... she is going up the stairs(in her pregnant state) to her room and just the way she did that, was worth seeing this show. She is such a great talent and her solo "Gooch's Song" will entertain you.

David Olsen played Mame's husband, Beauregard Jackson Picket Burnside (could the name be longer?). He first meets her in a beauty salon when she had to go to work after the stocks fell, and does not know anything about manicuring fingernails, which Beau said he wanted. They fall in love( after she almost chops his fingernails to pieces--by mistake of course), and he eventually marries her. Unfortunately, they go on a trip and he falls off the mountain..its bye, bye , Beau! David played the role very well.

Anyone who has been to The Community Players has probably seen Lee Hakeem. Lee played the role of Mr. Babcock (usually played by Bert Cayer, Jr. who was unable to be at this performance). Mr. Babcock is there to make sure Mame gives Young Patrick the education that is required. Lee, as usual, gave the character life,and it was a joy to see him on stage once again.

Older Patrick, played by Anthony Prichard, acted the part very well. The scene when he introduces his girlfriend , Gloria, played by Elizabeth Antunes) and her parents, Mr.Upson, played by Ronn Marshall, and Mrs. Upson, played by Pamela Poniatowski were especially funny. He did not want them to see Gooch ( in her pregnant state) for he feared they would not accept her. When he tries to keep her from coming downstairs ( she forgot her pills in the kitchen)..its hilarious!

An excellent supporting cast rounds out this production. The ensemble did a great job, and the vocals were very, very good. Musical director, Stephen DeCesare, did a great job with the vocal direction.

What would a musical number be without choreography? Sharon Auger choreographed the musical numbers, and they were excellent!. The opening number was especially good, as was the rest off the show. Sharon's talents were displayed by this cast, and her accomplishments are evident this production.

I have to mention the set. Set is NOT easy to build on a small stage, like Jenks. But Larry Reedy and crew did an outstanding job.! I could not believe my eyes when the curtain opened...and I have been going to see shows there for the past 18 years. This set is a masterpiece.!!

Kudo's to all the cast, and production staff for a wonderful evening of entertainment. Don't miss this one. It will be playing for three weekends-- April 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, and May 1,2,3.Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm. Sundays at 2 pm.

"MAME"(till 3 May)
The Community Players of Pawtucke
Jenks Junior High School Auditorium, 151 Division Street, PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 726-6860


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