Carol Lawrence, Maria in the original Broadway production of West Side Story, will star as Mame in Musical Theatre West's production of the classic Jerry Herman musical, which begins the Long Beach theatre's 50th anniversary season.
Sally Struthers — of "All in the Family" fame — will star opposite Lawrence as Gooch, and Ruth Williamson will play the role created on Broadway by Bea Arthur, the boozy Vera Charles. David Galligan will direct the mounting of the musical about a flamboyant aunt and her ten-year-old nephew. Performances begin Nov. 2 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center; the run is scheduled to conclude Nov. 17.
The remainder of the cast includes Perry Stephens as Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, Tedd Szeto as Ito, Jakie Batinga as the young Patrick Dennis, Mark W. Smith as the older Patrick Dennis and Roger Eaves as Dwight Babcock. The creative team comprises Michael Borth (musical direction), Lee Martino (choreographer), Gary Wissman (set designer), Raun Yankovich (lighting designer), Julie Ferrin (sound designer), Carin Jacobs (costume designer) and Kimberly Wicks (period costume designer).
Carol Lawrence has starred in the stage productions of West Side Story; Saratoga; Subways Are for Sleeping; I Do! I Do!; and Sugar Babies. The actress-singer recently starred in the L.A. production of Follies and was also just awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Mame, based on Patrick Dennis' novel "Auntie Mame," features a score by Jerry Herman and a book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The original Broadway production opened in May 1966 at the Winter Garden Theatre with Angela Lansbury as Mame and Bea Arthur as Vera Charles. Both Lansbury and Arthur won Tony Awards for their work. A subsequent film version cast Lucille Ball as the vivacious Mame. The classic Herman score includes such tunes as "If He Walked Into My Life," "It's Today," "Open a New Window," "Mame," "Bosom Buddies" and "We Need a Little Christmas." The Carpenter Performing Arts Center is located at 6200 Atherton Street in Long Beach, CA. Tickets, ranging from $20 to $45, are available in person at the Musical Theatre West office, 1800 Palo Verde Avenue, Ste. E; by calling (562) 430-2324; or by going on-line to www.musical.org.
Musical Theatre West's 50th anniversary season will also include Me and My Girl, The World Goes 'Round and Crazy for You.
—By Andrew Gans