Big, brash and wonderful, Mame sparkles. Its music races along, full of fun
and high spirits. It opened on Broadway in 1966 and ran for five years collecting
eight Tony Award nominations with wins for Angela Lansbury, Beatrice Arthur
and Frankie Michaels. Jerry Herman, himself, was rewarded with a Gold Record
and a Grammy for best show album. The film version appeared in 1974 with
Lucille Ball in the Lansbury role.
Mame is the incorrigible and irrepressible Aunt to orphan Patrick Dennis.
She plays the horn, she holds wild parties serving bathtub gin. She shows
Patrick much of her eccentric world as she becomes involved in nude art classes,
fires, nightclub raids and a 'visit' to the police station. In a play, she
takes the part of a lady astronomer and straddles a crescent moon as it rises
wobbling for the climax of the last act. She takes job after job, marries,
becomes widowed, rides a wild stallion (side-saddle of course) and that's
just for starters, as young Patrick grows up.
The jubilant, breathtaking overture sets the pace and we are treated to a
whole series of good tunes the most memorable of which are the title song
Mame; and the celebrated bitchy duet between Mame and her friend Vera (Beatrice
Arthur), 'Bosom Buddies' in which they promise eternal friendship yet tear
each other's character into shreds: "
your sense of style is as far
off as your youth
if I kept my hair like you do yours I'd
" etc. Then there is the lovely sentimental romantic waltz 'My
best girl' and Mame's poignant 'If he walked into my life.'
There are five interesting bonus tracks of the composer Jerry Herman singing
songs from the show to a piano accompaniment.
Quoting the title song - "You coax the blues right out of the horn, Mame
think you're just sensational, Mame!" A fun 65 minutes
[N.B. Rosalind Russell appeared in the title role of the 1958 Warner Bros.film,
Auntie Mame, from the book and play that pre-dated the film. Rosalind Russell
was Oscar-nominated. This film picked up many other Oscar nominations for:
best picture; cinemaphotography; supporting actress (Peggy Cass); art direction
and editing. In the event it won no Oscars. Bronislau Kaper wrote the music]