Comscore

Mame needs a revival!

JoeKv99 Profile Photo
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 12:42pm
At the time Lansbury was not so universally beloved. Patrick Dennis, who created the character, lambasted her performance and many reviews compared her to the "original" Mame, Roz Russell and found Lansbury wanting. But I guess there will ALWAYS be those who insist on comparing what's on stage right now to their hallowed memories of what once was.

And the show was the star- Hello Dolly was such a monster hit and Auntie Mame was such a beloved character that the pre-sale was huge.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
darquegk Profile Photo
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 12:50pm
That point JoeKv just made is a valid one- Auntie Mame and Patrick Dennis were cultural names at the time of the original premiere, characters who generated buzz and awareness. (It is telling that neither the 1982 nor the 1998 revisals of Little Me included Patrick Dennis as character/co-narrator.)

My question is how old SHOULD our Mame be? The tradition is to cast a "great dame" of the theatre in the role, a sort of post-menopausal Dolly Levi figure. Yet Mame ages from early thirties to late fifties in the role, so is it necessary for Mame and Vera to set the bottom line for casting age at the top of Mame and Vera's age arc?
ComingUpRoses2 Profile Photo
ComingUpRoses2
Leading Actor
joined:3/14/11
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 01:48pm
Ideally for Mame, I'd like to have an actress in her mid 30's and then just changes wigs and costumes throughout to age them. It's so much easier to age someone than make a 70 year old look mid-30's. Still, if there's someone who could pull it off, age shouldn't be much of a concern especially on stage.

Mame is a really hard part to cast, possibly even harder than Dolly or Rose, IMO. There needs to be a certain spark that's hard to describe. An actress needs to be stylish, chic, and regal yet warm, which is surprisingly hard to do. I'm not sure why, but usually when a Mame fails, it's due to her being too cold.
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 01:53pm
Jane Krakowski, maybe?
Caring Soul Profile Photo
Caring Soul
Understudy
joined:10/4/12
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 02:46pm
Word on the street is that the former producers of "On a Clear Day" will be going full-bore drag queen in the role of Mame by bringing in either Charles Busch or Rudy Giuliani.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 03:17pm
In other words, if Mame premiered today with someone as perfect for the role and with the same degree of box office power as Lansbury had then, it would be a success. The same goes for a revival.

Except that musically and dramatically, MAME was very much of its time. Although musical theater fans may cherish the score, none of its songs really became standards, not even the title number.

And Auntie Mame is in every scene after the Prologue.

I'm not sure you revive MAN OF LA MANCHA without a well-known lead, but I certainly don't see a starless MAME.

Celeste Holm (vacation), Jane Morgan, Ann Miller, Janis Paige and Sheila Smith (vacation) all played Mame on Broadway. The Ann Miller tour did particularly well and business picked up when she came to New York; alas, her run there ended when somebody dropped a sand-bag on her head. (She recovered.)

I don't know why we're talking about Lady Gaga. For what? The 2030 revival?

It may seem easier to age somebody on stage, but it rarely works for extended musical roles. Mame's big dance number ("That's How Young I Feel") comes when she is in her 50s. Are you going to tell your 35-year-old actress to limp a little?

(I assume it's obvious I'm responding to several different posts here and not just to henrik.)

BTW, I don't know if they offered the role at Goodspeed to any true stars last year; but when they got down to the final choices, they were all 50ish women whom theater people would know but who were not stars on the level of Cher or Streep.
Updated On: 12/30/12 at 03:17 PM
Outoftowner2
Stand-by
joined:1/8/12
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 03:30pm
I'd love to see Mame on Broadway. Lots of great music. There was talk several years ago of a TV movie version. IMDB even had it listed as pre-production or something with Cher as Mame. I think they had even cast a few other roles. It was around the same time those other TV musicals were made, Music Man, South Pacific.. Anybody know what happened?

Anyway, it's a great show...bring it back!
lupone76
Featured Actor
joined:12/9/11
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 04:05pm
Bring it back by all means, but Lady GaGa??? Whoever suggested that GaGa play Mame must be on a pretty severe CRACK high. For starters, Gaga is no where near the appropiate age for Auntie Mame(way too young at 26). Secondly, theres absolutely nothing remotely classy or sophisticated about her. Finally, I doubt at this stage in her career that she would be looking to do Broadway. If they were gonna go into the pop diva superstar category then Madonna would actually be a much more appropiate choice.
If you ask me I actually think that a more realistic choice would be Bernadette Peters. I really think she has been miscast in cerain roles but would make a wonderful Auntie Mame. As much as I love Patti LuPone I dont see her as a Mame at all.

henrikegerman Profile Photo
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 04:18pm
It was Lansbury who suggested Lady Gaga.
angie's gaga endorsement
Will42 Profile Photo
Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 04:53pm
I think Megan Mullally would have been great in the role.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 07:59pm
"Look no further than the fact it lost the tony for best musical to, of all things, MAN OF LA MANCHA. "

?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

West Side Story? Why, look no further than the fact that it lost the Tony for best musical to, of all things, The Music Man!

Gypsy? Why, look no further than the fact that it lost the Tony for best musical to, of all things, Fiorello and The Sound of Music!

She Loves Me? Why, look no further than the fact that it lost the Tony for best musical to, of all things, Hello, Dolly!

Sunday in the Park With George? Why, look no further than the fact that it lost the Tony for best musical to, of all things, La Cage aux Folles!
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 08:02pm
"Although musical theater fans may cherish the score, none of its songs really became standards,"

I only heard "We Need a Little Christmas" like a thousand times this holiday season.
JoeKv99 Profile Photo
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 08:08pm
No wonder you're so cranky. You need an I-Pod.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
fashionguru_23 Profile Photo
fashionguru_23
Broadway Star
joined:4/21/08
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 08:09pm
I would have loved if Judy Garland was able to go through as a replacement Mame in the 1960's.

But, I've always said that Liza Minnelli should play Mame. I'd totally see Cher play it too.
"The 54th Street[theatre] had a rep as. . .where old musicals went to die." -Smaxie
goldenboy Profile Photo
goldenboy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/05
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 08:09pm
How bout Bette Midler as Mame? She has the rapid machine gun delivery of Rosaland Russel and the vocal belt of Merman. If she does some acting homework and not just play herself ( as she did in Gypsy_ --- that could be spectacular.
broadwayboy222 Profile Photo
broadwayboy222
Understudy
joined:5/6/12
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/30/12 at 09:38pm
I thought Christine Baranski and Christine Ebersole were perfect on the Jerry Herman tribute on the Kennedy Center honors!
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 01:47am
I only heard "We Need a Little Christmas" like a thousand times this holiday season.

Good point, After Eight. I forgot about that song. I don't think it's a draw in and of itself, but you are absolutely right: it has become a standard.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 01:49am
I think Megan Mullally would have been great in the role.

I adore Mullally, but I have never seen her as warm. I agree with the poster above who says Mame needs warmth as well as glamour. (In other words, maybe Mullally would be brilliant, but I haven't seen the necessary qualities in her.)
somethingwicked Profile Photo
somethingwicked
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 01:58am
Megan Mullally would be a much more appropriate Vera, though it would certainly be another Karen Walker-esque role for her. As the Kennedy Center production proved, the balance of the show is thrown off wildly if you don't have two very clearly defined "types" opposite each other as Mame and Vera. Christine Baranski and Harriet Harris were both too close to being right for both roles, and the result felt very odd, though they each certainly had some lovely moments.

Of the current crop of Broadway stars, I'm most surprised Donna Murphy has never played Mame. She seems the most natural fit of the many people who are constantly suggested on this board whenever the show comes up. Jan Maxwell also strikes me as someone who would be pretty dynamite in the role.
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
Tony Kushner: You can sing it at my funeral.
Updated On: 12/31/12 at 01:58 AM
carolineorchange21 Profile Photo
carolineorchange21
Leading Actor
joined:1/21/12
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 02:15am
You beat me to it broadwayboy. Christine Ebersole would be divine. Perfect height - perfect look - perfect voice. And I would love to hear her sing 'It's Today'

We can sandwich toast to orgasms and do our time in peace
somethingwicked Profile Photo
somethingwicked
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 02:20am
Christine Ebersole's already done the show, in a production that wasn't well received at the the Paper Mill Playhouse in 1999.
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
Tony Kushner: You can sing it at my funeral.
Will42 Profile Photo
Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 11:10am
I also haven't seen Mullally in a dramatic role, but she's such a great performer, I'm sure she can deliver given a chance.

Other actresses that could be good in the role:
Donna Murphy
Jan Maxwell
Toni Collette
Bebe Neuwirth

Oh, and Allison Janney could be awesome as Vera.
Will42 Profile Photo
Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 11:13am

Oh, if only there was a time machine.

madbrian Profile Photo
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 11:20am
I can attest to Ebersole being lackluster as Mame at the Papermill. Only Kelly Bishop as her Vera saved that production.

Ideally, I think Mame should be cast as a woman in her 40s. She should be believable as the aunt of a twelve year old as well as a guy in his early 20s. It's only in the closing scene that Mame is around ten years older than that.

Let's not forget how demanding the role is. Lucille Ball was in her early 60s in the movie, and I think casting actresses in their 60s would be a huge mistake.

Having said all that, of the names mentioned in this thread, I think Jane Krakowski makes the most sense.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
henrikegerman Profile Photo
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 11:40am
After Eigh, you got me. That was not my best argument. I still contend that this is not, at least now, a show that sells itself and that it seriously needs a great and very thoughtfully cast star to succeed. The fact that Ebersol, whom one would think on paper would at least be an adequate choice, apparently didn't fulfill expectations, might attest better to this.
darquegk Profile Photo
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Mame needs a revival!
Posted: 12/31/12 at 11:43am
Andrea Martin might have been right for the role a while ago. At sixty-six she is probably too old to play it ideally now, though heaven knows she still looks great and sings well.

What Mame also probably needs in today's casting tradition is a tour-de-force supporting male lead appearing as the episodic and mostly comedic male roles. Someone who can have his one moment as Beau, but also fill the Babcock et al. type roles.

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