Saturday, June 03, 2006

"Mame" At The Kennedy Center

This may be the finest theatre review I have ever read:

Why? Because it acknowledges the religious dimension in musical theatre and bothers to analyze a performance beyond the usual fawning over an accomplished and immensely likeable star.

Jerry Herman's two musicals "Mame" and "Hello, Dolly!" are two of the most important cultural influences of my life. Mame Dennis and Dolly Levi were my first goddess archetypes, and I felt freed by them to live into the fullness of my own big personality. Believe me, when you're a little kid with as big and intense a personality as I have, you need role models who make your crazy intensity look fabulous! One of my stupid fantasies is to play Mame with my own obviously talented nephew Nicholas playing my nephew Patrick Dennis. I'll have to wait another 8 years or so, but that's fine, as it will give me time to lose weight and get my voice in shape. Any producers out there?! ;-)

I have long wanted to write a book about the female archetypes of the Broadway stage, focusing on Mame, Dolly, Mama Rose, Julie and Magnolia from "Show Boat," some of Sondheim's ladies (hard, because Sondheim inevitably infects his women characters with his own disgust and hatred for his own mother), and others from Rogers and Hammerstein (particularly Mrs. Anna from "The King And I" and Nellie Forbush from "South Pacific.").

Thanks to darling Fran for sending me the review.


Blogger boyinthebands said...

Should I (or should I not) mention that Hubby and I were in the orchestra Thursday? (Far enough down to have caught a glimpse of Ms. Baranski's unmentionables in one daring spin.)

It was a fabulous show, and since it was press night, it had to have been the same performance as in the NYT review, and agree with his assessment. ("My Best Girl" verged on the mawkish; of course, it gives me the creeps at best.) The dance was thrilling, so I was more pleased than the reviewer. The audience, in the main, was octogenarian.

A nice touch: Jerry Herman was there to take his bow, too. They don't make them -- the lyricists or shows -- like them anymore. I hope it gets transfered to Broadway.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

You breathed the same air as Jerry Herman!!?
I'm trying not to be wickedly jealous!!
So what do you mean, the audience was mostly octogenarian? I'm astonished! I would have assumed a crowd of delirious gay men, just as when I saw Ms. Baranski star in "Sweeney Todd" at the Kennedy.

"You're My Best Girl" definitely has to be directed with a deft touch, and performed with great affection with a little wink. It only works if it's *consciously* Oedipal, which makes it cute and dear rather than vaguely creepy.

Blogger boyinthebands said...

Go ahead, be wickedly jealous. I was going to get you a souvenir but the design was dead-dull. A shame, really.

And the audience was just full of old people. There, I said it. But it runs for another month, and perhaps I saw patrons rather than one-off ticket buyers.


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