The musical of Auntie Mame was originally titled My Best Girl and the part of Mame was offered to Mary Martin who turned the role down. Angela Lansbury eventually was offered the part. Beatrice Arthur co-starred as Mame's "bosom buddy" Vera Charles with Jane Connell as her secretary Agnes Gooch and Frankie Michaels as her nephew Patrick. Lansbury, Arthur and Michaels would all win Tony's for their performances.
|Lansbury and Michaels|
The show is set in New York from before the Great Depression to after World War II. When Mame loses her fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 she, Patrick and the rest of her household staff cope the only way they can, with Mame getting a series of jobs that she isn't that good at as well as celebrating Christmas in early December just to lift their spirits. Eventually she finds a wonderful man, Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, a wealthy Southern gentleman who loves her and she marries him. However, the trustees of Patrick's father's estate force Mame to send Patrick to boarding school, so she and Beauregard travel the world together on an endless honeymoon. She and Patrick exchange many letters while she is away and he is at boarding school so they always stay in touch. But after Mame's husband dies, she is now a wealthy widow when the grown Patrick returns home engaged to a debutante from a bigoted family. Fortunately Mame arrives just in time to set things straight for Patrick once again, making him realize how suffocating his engagement was and how pretty a girl Mame's new secretary is. The show ends several years later with Mame ready to take Patrick's son on a trip round the world and show him just how to live his life.
|Connell, Arthur and Lansbury|
Ginger Rogers starred in the 1969 London production and Broadway replacements for Mame were Celeste Holm, Ann Miller, Jane Morgan, and Janis Paige. Lansbury left the Broadway production in March of 1968 and toured the US with the show playing San Francisco and Los Angeles. Arthur and Connell would reprise their roles in the 1974 film version that starred Lucille Ball in the title role with Robert Preston as Beauregard. Lansbury returned in a Broadway revival of the show in 1983 but it only managed to run for 5 weeks. The Kennedy Center presented a 40th anniversary production in 2006 that starred Christine Baranski as Mame, Harriet Harris as Vera, Emily Skinner as Gooch and Max von Essen as the adult Patrick.
My favorite songs from the score include "It's Today," "Open a New Window," "My Best Girl," "We Need a Little Christmas," "Bosom Buddies," and "If He Walked Into My Life."
Amazon link for Dennis' original book Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade
Amazon link for the Original Broadway Cast recording cd of Mame (1966 Original Broadway Cast)
Amazon link for the MP3 download of the cast recording of Mame
Amazon link for the dvd of the movie Mame
Amazon link for the dvd of the movie Auntie Mame
Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur perform "Bosom Buddies" at the Tony's -
Arthur and Lucille Ball sing "Bosom Buddies" from the movie of Mame -
Angela Lansbury discusses Mame- great interview-
Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass perform "Mame" -