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re: If MISS SAIGON goes, MAME goes too.
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 03:43 pm EDT 04/26/21
In reply to: re: If MISS SAIGON goes, MAME goes too. - Michael_Portantiere 12:28 pm EDT 04/25/21

I've never understood what those lyrics are supposed to mean as applied to the character of Mame and what she's done here. There's nothing that we see about Mame or how she interacts with the Burnsides (or even the fox) that suggests reviving the old South. In fact, it's just the opposite. Their newfound admiration for Mame should have them singing about burying the old South and moving forward as liberal sophisticates embracing the changing times and looking at the world in new ways. Herman essentially has the characters saying "You've won us over and we love you, so now we're going to celebrate everything that you stand against." It's like Herman got caught up in a late night GONE WITH THE WIND viewing and forgot what his show was about. The song should be about all the ways that Mame is inspiring the Burnsides to change their ways and, given that the show touches on antisemitism and the plight of unwed mothers, both serious issues in this otherwise fluffy musical, it would not be out of place for one of the ways that the Burnsides are changing is a rejection of racism.

I've always found this whole thing interesting because this one scene is likely Mame's single interaction with the Burnside family. We see no indication that she keeps in touch with them or they with her after Beau's death, despite inheriting most or all of Beau's money (I've always assumed that the Burnside money is parceled out among all the branches of the family tree and that there's more than enough for everyone). So...how much impact could Mame have possibly had on these people? I'd have loved if passing mentions of the family could have been worked into various later scenes, just to lightly imply that the connection is still there and the family is carrying on all the lessons they've learned from Mame over the years.
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