Talent abounds with 'Mame'

WILLSBORO - One spring musical production is giving students and area residents alike the chance to see a professional musical theatre act right in their backyard.

The Willsboro Drama Club will present "Mame" Thursday, May 7 through SAturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 10 at 2 p.m. The production is a lighthearted and thoroughly entertaining Jerry Herman hit, featuring the performances of two accomplished Broadway stars.

Leslie Hearn of Broadway's "La Cage Aux Folles" stars as Mame Dennis, an exuberant and unconventional woman of New York City in the 1920s, who takes in her orphaned nephew, Patrick, and introduces him to her free-wheeling lifestyle.

George Hearn, Leslie's husband, stars opposite her as the Southern aristocrat Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside. George is also a veteran Broadway performer, having won Tony Awards for his performances in "Sunset Boulevard" and "La Cage Aux Folles," where he and Leslie met. He is also well-known for his Emmy Award-winning performance in the title role of "Sweeney Todd," as well as key roles in "Wicked" and "Putting it Together."

The two anchor a talented group of theatre performers from throughout the region. A number of students from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh join the cast, including Keene native Tyler Nye as a grown-up Patrick. Visual artist Ted Cornell, a former director of New York's Shakespeare Theatre Festival, stars as Banker Babcock. Other familiar faces include Julie Frisbie, Susan Richards, Erin Ganter, and Jackie Wardell. Whole families such as the Longwares from Willsboro and Balzacs from Jay are also featured.

"This year we wanted to do a full-blown community production; not just the kids," said director Derrick Hopkins.

As in previous years, high school and elementary students from Willsboro, AuSable Valley, and Keene make up a majority of the cast. Hopkins said adding so many adults has given the young theatre buffs a new learning experience.

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