Chicago Tony Winner Joins Mame's Creative Team

News   Chicago Tony Winner Joins Mame's Creative Team Due to the change in performance schedule, the Kennedy Center's upcoming production of Mame — now set to begin its run May 27, 2006 — has a new lighting designer.

Ken Billington, who won a Tony Award for Best Lighting Designer for the 1997 revival of Chicago, has replaced the previously announced Dan Wagner. Billington was also Tony nominated for his lighting designs for The Visit, Working, Sweeney Todd, Foxfire and End of the World.

Billington joins a creative team that also includes Eric Schaeffer (director), Warren Carlyle (choreographer), Walt Spangler (set designer) and Gregg Barnes (costume designer).

Featuring Christine Baranski in the title role, Mame will officially open at the D.C. theatre June 1. The limited engagement of the musical — about the free-spirited Mame Dennis, her boozy friend Vera Charles and Mame's young nephew Patrick — will run through July 2 at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater. The cast also includes Max von Essen as Patrick Dennis and Emily Skinner as Agnes Gooch.

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."

Tickets for the Kennedy Center's production of Mame will go on sale to the general public Nov. 7. For more information visit www.kennedy-center.org.