Sunday, October 08, 2006

Visit for all your shopping and travel needs.
Shop for all your Ipod and mp3 related needs.

Must See Regional Production of Mame

October 8, 2006

Must See Regional Production of Mame

By Richard Kuper

The Op Ed Page

On October 7, 2006 I saw a wonderful production of Mame at the Barrington Stage Company Theater in Pittsfield, MA. If you are in the area or can get there before October 15, I recommend you do so. It is a "concert version," production (a la "Encores!"), so there are no fancy stage sets, just various guides every now and again on stage telling you what has taken place or how many years have passed or where the current scene takes place.

This production stars Sandy Duncan as Mame, and she does a fabulous job. In fact, everyone in the production does a fabulous job. Part of the production unintentionally comes right out of many Broadway tales - someone needs to be replaced and another star is born. Well, it seems that one of the actresses (Patti Perkins) had a mishap during the prior night's production and another actress (Megan Rozak) was volunteered (as I understood the announcement) to take over in the second act. I'm sure Ms. Perkins was doing a great job, but her substitute Ms. Rozak, which is who I saw, was terrific as both Madame Branislowski and Mrs. Upson.

There were a few stand-out performances (besides the fabulous performance by Sandy Duncan) that deserve special mention. Diane J. Findlay, who plays Vera Charles, was wonderful as Mame's foil. Joyce Chittick, who played the nanny Agnes Gooch, made the most of every moment she was on stage and was superb.

Finally, let me take a few moments to talk about the other star of the show, the 12 year old boy from PA named Johhny Shaffer who plays young Patrick Dennis. Before the show I happened to meet and chat with his parents. Dad had already seen the performance but this was going to be Mom's first time, and she was a bit nervous. It seems young Mr. Shaffer has been acting since he was 5, and his parents are very supportive and proud. And they should be very proud. He did a really wonderful job, and it was clear that Sandy Duncan was enjoying playing opposite him, and vice versa. I happened to bump into Mr. Shaffer's parents both at intermission and after the show, and my parting comment to them was that I would be watching to see their son appearing on Broadway. They beamed at the suggestion.

In fact, it is my opinion that this show should be expanded to a full production and find it's way to Broadway with the current cast intact. But until that happens, if you have the chance to see this very limited run production, do see it.

For more information, go to or call 413-236-8888.