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re: MAME in Regional Theaters
Posted by: Michael_Portantiere 11:23 am EDT 05/06/21
In reply to: re: MAME in Regional Theaters - BroadwayTonyJ 06:15 am EDT 05/06/21

I saw another production in '01 with Hollis Resnik as Mame and Alene Robertson as a terrific Vera. This time Paula Scrofano (at age 51) was Gooch. The production re-instated "St. Bridget" to give her more to sing. She definitely got all the laughs the character is supposed to get, but seeing a pregnant woman at her age was pretty jarring (although not as grotesque as seeing the 48-year old Jane Connell in the '74 film).

I would have loved to have seen Hollis Resnik and Alene Robertson in those roles! But what do you mean about "St. Bridget" being "reinstated?" When was it ever cut from any production?

Of course, in the film Agnes is not really an unwed mother-to-be, she just thinks she is.

Yes, as we clarified earlier: In the film of AUNTIE MAME, it turns out that Agnes is married to O'Bannion, even though she doesn't remember that having happened. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) But that's not the case in the stage version of AUNTIE MAME -- and it's not the case in the musical, because there is no O'Bannion.

Auntie Mame is a screwball comedy so every scene is played for laughs, but Agnes' pregnancy is not laughed at, only the bigoted Upsons and Babcock look at her situation with prejudice.

This is one of those cases where we'll just have to disagree. As I have always seen it, the supposed/intended "humor" of the situation is that Gooch is a completely repressed young woman, afraid of sex and not comfortable in her own body. At Mame's behest, she throws off her inhibitions, gets all dolled up, and goes out in the world to "live, live, live!" -- and, the next thing we know, she returns to Beekman Place because she did so much "living" that she got pregnant. The whole situation is clearly treated for (supposed) comedy, and I can't believe you don't see it that way. (I do agree with you that the Upsons are the only people who look down on Gooch for being an unwed mother, or a supposed unwed mother, but that's a separate issue from whether or not her pregnancy is played for comedy.)
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