Driftwood Players

"Auntie Mame" Sept. - Oct. 1982

By Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee, Directed by Raymond J. Phillips & Gloria Ingram

From Left: Annice Hogsette: (Sally Cato) Dave Schmidt: (Beauregard Burnside) Mike Wessell: (Ito) Shirley Grenfell: (Vera Charles) Carol Stubb: (Norah Muldoon) Nathan Williams: (Ralph Devine) Ernie Ingram: (M.Lindsay Woolsey) Geri Reynolds: (Mame Dennis) Darlene Blevins: (Radcliffe) Joey Kruft: (Patrick Dennis) Bill Garrison: (Claude Upson) Unknown: Unknown: Rich Lovgren: (Lithuanian Bishop) Unknown

Pictures by
Mike Bainter

From The Daily World, September 23, 1982

Driftwood takes on ambitious 'Mame' for premier production in new theater

World Arts Editor

    The 30 actors and dozens of production workers who opened the Driftwood Players' 24th season - and its splendid new theater - to invitational audiences last weekend will perform "Auntie Mame" for the public for four weekends beginning Friday.

    The theater itself, financed mostly by corporate, business and individual donations, somewhat overshadowed the play on its first weekend. This week, the actors will have a chance to do their best without the tension of coping with countless last-minute construction and touch-up tasks. And the theater will be a joy to behold for playgoers.

    The play is a festive one, celebrating Auntie Mame's" philosophy of "Life is a banquet - live, live, live!" So it was an apt selection for the new theater's opening production.

    But considering the large cast, including 13 who were new to Driftwood, one must admire director Ray Phillips' courage in choosing it to open the new theater, realizing that rehearsals would overlap a gargantuan effort to complete remodeling and move from the old theater in Hoquiam.

    He had a core of experienced persons with whom to work; assistant director Gloria Ingram, set designer Bill Davis, and actors like Geri Reynolds, who as the effervescent Mame carried the greatest share of responsibility for getting the production off the ground and keeping it afloat.

    Reynolds, a master of timing, accomplished her task well, assisted with truly remarkable aplomb by 11-year old Joey Kruft as the young Patrick Dennis, the nephew whose true-life adventures with Auntie Mame inspired the book that inspired the play, etc. (There have also been a movie and a musical).

    Many of the characters in "Mame" are caricatures, and the fun of playing them carries over well from the actors to the audience.

    Standouts in their roles were veteran performers Shirley Grenfell as the vain, usually inebriated Broadway actress Vera Charles; Micki Colwell as the briefly-blooming mousy secretary Agnes Gooch; Ron Richardson, played a flamboyant free-loading poet; Carol Stubb, the definitive Irish housekeeper; Jim Ball as a stuffy banker, Bunny Ronald and Bill Garrison as possibly the most disgustingly Babbitty couple ever portrayed on stage and Nina Morean as their frightfully tasteful daughter; Annice Hogsette as a poisonously sweet Southern belle, and Ernie Ingram as Mame's ever- faithful suitor.

    And holding their own with the experienced Driftwooders were newcomers David Schmidt as the Geo'gla millionaire, Beauregard Burnside; Mike Wessells as the Chinese houseboy Ito; Art Blauvelt, playing Patrick as a young man; Nathan Williams as a "creative" schoolmaster, and Roxanne Hood as the interior decorator who eventually becomes Mrs. Patrick.

    Their were many who added to the entertainment in smaller, one-line or walk-on roles; Bob Carver, who played three bit parts; Richard pickernell, in two roles; Darlene Blevins, Vella Garrison, Sandra Raffter, Rich Lovgren, Betty Lachel, Pat Cuff, Debbie Poitras, Mike Sartwell, Tina Kruft and Craig Bowman.

    Bill Davis designed and built (with assistance) two main sets and seven of what might be called "cameo" sets. The many 1920's and 1930's costumes were gathered by Jane Mazera, Davis and Janet Sprague, while Don Hurd, Jerry Keltner, Norm Sprague and Rich Lovgren did the lights and sound.

    Dorcas Richardson and Gary Morean were production and stage managers respectively. Bill Garrison created the decorative panels for Mame's apartment. Dozens of others were involved in the production and in the completion of the theater.

    There are four Friday and Saturday nights left in which to enjoy this light-hearted production and the remarkable new Driftwood Playhouse. Curtain is 8:15; tickets are at three area Rexall Drug stores.    

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