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Cast Complete for Michele Ragusa-Led MAME at Riverside Theatre


Riverside Theatre, led by Producing Artistic Director/CEO Allen D. Cornell and Managing Director/COO Jon R. Moses, present the classic Broadway hit, Mame, which performs on the Stark Stage from March 7-26, 2017. Mame is sponsored by the O'Haire Fessler Group - Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Riverside Theatre's Patron Producers Group.

Mame Dennis is a larger-than-life personality living the high life in the Roaring Twenties in New York City. Patrick, her orphaned 10-year-old nephew, comes to live with her and she introduces him to an eccentric lifestyle and a madcap cast of characters. When the stock market crashes and Mame loses her fortune, she tries, with comically disastrous results, to find a job for the first time in her life, but perseveres with humor and style. Jerry Herman's delightful score is packed with musical favorites "Bosom Buddies," "We Need a Little Christmas," "Open a New Window," "Mame," and more.

Mame, the musical, is based on a book, Auntie Mame, written by PatRick Dennis. The book chronicles the adventures of a boy when he is brought up by the sister of his deceased father. The book, published in 1955, was an immediate hit and spent 112 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. The book sold more than two million copies in its initial printing and was translated into five different languages.

Dennis, whose real name was Edward Everett Tanner III, was inspired by his real life eccentric aunt, Marion Tanner. Aunt Marion's life and outlook are mirrored by Mame Dennis.

Mame is a wealthy, offbeat bon vivant. Living an arty, bohemian lifestyle in New York City in 1928, Mame's life changes when Patrick is orphaned and he comes to live with her. She includes Patrick in her fun-filled adventures, teaching him, "Life is a banquet and most are starving to death." Their good life ends abruptly with the stock market crash of 1929.

Mame comically and unsuccessfully tries to earn a living as an actress, operator and store clerk, but is rescued from her failures when she falls in love with a rich oil man. Patrick is sent to boarding school while Mame enjoys her new life with husband Beauregard Jackson. Mame and an adult Patrick are reunited once more after she becomes a wealthy widow.

In 1956, the novel became a successful comedy on Broadway starring Rosalind Russell. An Academy Award-nominated film version with Ms. Russell reprising her role, was release at the end of 1958. The film became the top money-making film of 1959 and with its success, thoughts of turning the play into a musical began to develop.

Mame hit Broadway in 1966, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and story by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, original authors of the 1956 play. Nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Mame won awards for Angela Lansbury (Mame), Bea Arthur (Vera Charles) and Frankie Michaels (PatRick Dennis). With 1508 performances over its four year run, Mame became one of Broadway's most successful musicals.

Jerry Herman's music and lyrics were instrumental in the success of the musical. After his incredible hit with Hello Dolly in 1964, Mame was his second mega-hit. He followed that a few years later with another hit musical, La Cage aux Folles.

A movie version of the musical starring Lucille Ball as Mame, Bea Arthur as Vera Charles and Robert Preston as Beauregard Jackson came out in 1974 with less than stellar results.

There have been several successful recordings of the songs from the musical. Eydie Gorme won the 1967 Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Performance for her recording of "If He Walked into My Life." "We Need a Little Christmas" and "Mame" were hugely popular recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin and Herb Alpert.

Riverside Theatre's production of Mame is directed and choreographed by James Brennan and stars Michele Ragusa as Mame Dennis. Other starring roles include: Laura E. Taylor as Agnes Gooch, Corinne Melançon as Vera Charles, Bergman Freedman as Young Patrick, George Dvorsky as Beauregard Jackson, Gail Bennet as Sally Cato, Jim Brochu as Dwight Babcock, Dan Fenaughty as M. Lindsey Woosley, Carl Hsu as Ito, Mark Banik as Adult Patrick, Nick Locilento as Mr. Upson, Stacey Scotte as Mrs. Upson, Celia Tackaberry as Madame Branislowski/Mother Burnside, and Peter Wixon as Peter Dennis.

The Mame cast also includes: Jordan Beall, Amanda Brantley, Michael Peter Deeb, Nicolas De La Vega, Joseph Fierberg, Jeremy James Miranda, SpenceR Ramirez, Jennifer Seifter, Elizabeth Troxler, Chelsea Turbin, Stéphanie Visconti, Scarlett Walker, Andrea Weinzierl, and Zach Williams.

The design and production crew includes: Anne Shuttlesworth (Music Director), Cliff Simon (Scenic Designer), Julie Duro (Lighting Designer), Kurt Alger (Costume/Wig Designer), Craig Beyrooti (Sound Designer), Mark Johnson (Production Stage Manager) and Amy M. Bertacini (Assistant Production Stage Manager). Casting was done in New York City by Wojcik / Seay Casting.

Mame performs March 7 - 26, 2017 on the Stark Stage at Riverside Theatre. Tickets start at $35. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30pm; Opening Night (the first Tuesday performance), Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm; with matinees on Wednesdays, select Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Riverside Theatre is located at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963.

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