We've all discussed the unfortunate lack of a cd or dvd of Susan as Mame. But does anyone have a program? Who were her fellow performers? And was it full-length Mame or a diner-theater--usually abridged "Mame."?
I did have a program from the Vegas show that I sent on to Ginger, years ago, so I don't have anything other than a pic and newspaper clipping from the L.A. TIMES while she was doing the show.
YES..it was a dinner theater production..BUT...I can tell you it was the 'full version' of the show..and the FIRST show...ever..at Cesars Palace, so they did the entire show. I also know this to be true, because I had already seen the show starring ANN MILLER at the Huntington Hartford in Hollywood...5 times!
I do have the L.A. TIMES review on the show, which I was just reading, again, a few weeks ago, but now I can't find it. I had a lot of clippings out..on me and the Hollywood years that I have never put into albums..yet..and I have just gone through two chests, looking for that review I just had a few weeks ago, but I did not find it. I think it had some of the other cast members on it, but was focused on Susan.
The only actress I know..for sure..that was in this show was an up-and-coming actress who played Agnes Gooch. That was non other than..LORETTA SWIT, who would go on to be 'hot lips Hoolihan' on MASH tv series.
I will continue to search for that review and let you know if others in the cast were mentioned.
There was 'nothing' cut out of Susan's show and being the 'first' big musical show at Cesars, which was brand new, at that time, they wanted to have it be the full version, which it was.
I have mentioned, on here before, that my favorite songs were..BUSOM BUDDIES, IT'S TODAY and IF HE WALKED INTO MY LIFE. The show was 'glowing' and 'beautiful' with a good cast..period. Susan looked fantastic in the Gold gown, turban and horn....as she stood at the top of a winding staircase as she did the opening number..."IT'S TODAY"...(which is also done again in the second half of the show.)
I guess I am a 'lucky fan' to have seen her onstage doing this show. I had two friends (one guy..one gal)..who flew with me from LAX to Las Vegas to share this 'once in a lifetime' experience. I will always be thankful for this wonderful, magical experience. (The only thing wrong with the whole night was that 'awful' cold meal..with peas that were still thawing...BUT..the entire place was PACKED and to try and serve all of these people before the show had to be a 'not too easy task'..and they were A NEW HOT SPOT IN VEGAS..this being their 'first' for both dinner theater..and a BIG, BIG SHOW!!!....
SORRY BILL...your other question was did anyone know about a c/d or video of the show? As far as I have ever been able to find out....it just doesn't exist. But I am still looking...and hoping....
I had thought of flying out from New York to Las Vegas to see Susan in MAME. But I knew it was a strain on her, and it occurred to me that, if I had a ticket, and I got there and she had had to cancel because of illness, or throat problems, or....I would just kick myelf back to New York in such utter disappointment!!!!! So I didn't go.
I had seen Lansbury of course, and she was marvelous. But I DID also see Ann Miller and she really was terific and revived the show. And so great that they added that dance number--properly and in a good spot--for her to do. But I tell you, Errol. I brought a young friend with me--he was about 30--and not knowledgeable about movies or theater very much. I asked him how old he thought that Ann Miller was at the time--and he said--oh, she must be getting on--she must be about 40 or 45!
Annie lasted a long time--thought it should have been even longe. I did get to see her in FOLLIES at the Paper Mill Playhouse. And her "I'm Still Hear"
brought the crowd to their feet in ovations--which was especialy interesting because half the crowd were blue-haired suburban ladies and their husbands in checkered shirts and bermuda shorts; and the other half were leather-clad guys from New York. The looks that passed betwen the two groups when they realized they were both applauding the legend were priceless!
(My wife and I were neither, but much in the minority)
Bill...I know the number you are talking about that ANN MILLER did the 'tap' to. It is "That's How Young I Feel" and it is in the original show..but like YOU it seemed like a number 'put into the show'..because it was 'made' for MILLER do to a tap routine to this number. I also saw ANN MILLER and BEA ARTHUR do "MAME' together at the Huntington Hartford in Hollywood. Bea did Vera Charles, which she had done on Broadway with ANGELA LANSBURY..and "Bosom Buddies" with those two was terrific! BUT...this 'tap number' was done when Gloria's parents (THE UPSON-DOWNS) invite Mame to meet them, since she is 'the intended' to marry dear Patrick..Mame's nephew. I must admit that ANN MILLER was so wonderful as MAME and I saw it 5 times since it played only five blocks from where I was living in Hollywood...but have never seen 'anyone'on Broadway. I'm a stage actor who (it looks like) will never see Broadway in this lifetime.
I also saw FOLLES (my alltime favorite Broadway musical) and YVONNE DE CARLO sang "I'm Still Here"..another great moment in live theater for me!
But I can understand you NOT coming from New York to Las Vegas to see Susan, if it was after the news was out..that she was putting too much strain on her vocal cords for these big numbers (and with Vegas and it's horrible heat, it takes your vocal cords..even when you are a professional singer..FOR YEARS. The air is sooo dry..I feel it each time I go to Vegas, now only living two hours from there..in the So, Utah deserts around St. George, so I am used to 'some dry heat'...but VEGAS is a totally different 'dry heat' than any place else on the desert.
I can see 'why' Susan was having difficulty in working it so hard in this show.
I was lucky enough to see the show in the second week of its opening, so she was not showing any vocal problems at that time.
It was a DARING and BIG thing for Susan to do...to take on such a huge role (since Mame is onstage in almost every scene with no let-up)...and to sing, dance and play 'comedy' as she did.
If she felt 'insecure' in any way...the night I saw her..it 'never showed one bit'. Susan WAS...MAME...and the Susan from the movies was now even BIGGER AND BRIGHTER. She had taken on 'challenges' other actresses 'never' could have done and...done it darn well. (I remember RITA HAYWORTH opening on Broadway in a show that closed after (I think) two or three performances. Most movie stars are not cut out for the stage...but SUSAN was UNSTOPPABLE...and she did it ALL.
I KNOW she became very 'close' to her cast and they were very upset when she had to leave the show. Now..you have probably read this in books...but when CELESTE HOLM came in to replace her...it is said..that Susan warned Celeste, telling her...."Look...these are my kids..If you treat them badly, in any way, I'll come back here and kick your ass back to Bosie Idaho..where you came from"> (NOW those are not the EXACT WORDS...but close. I would have to find the book it is in..to get the 'exact wording'...but you get the drift.
The reason my Mom left that show had nothing to do with strained vocal cords, desert air or the heat. Norman Brokaw, who had signed her to the William Morris Agency and Jay Bernstein, concocted that story for the press. The real reason was - that she was suffering from a progressive disease that robbed her of her ability to show up on time and in condition to perform...it got a lot worse, just after that...She visited me while I was going through Medical training at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX right after she left the show and they had to pour her off the plane...
WOW!!...Tim...and all this time, the 'public' was told that story..of her loosing her voice..and taking her out on a boating trip, to tell her she was going to be replaced by Celeste Holm.
It just shows how the news and such..can cover things up with stories that weren't even true.
I am so sorry to hear that this was the real reason for her leaving the show. She must have been going through a 'lot of problems' during this time. Thank you for sharing this with us....
When we became aware that your mother had a problem with alcohol,I wondered
if that disease ever affected her ability to perform;the public was always
told that she was very professional in her work so I assumed her drinking
was keep private. Is this what happens as time goes on? Thank God I have no
personal experience with this addiction,so please forgive me for my naive
questions. When she was hospitalized,I'm assuming she was forced to dry out and during the progressive course of her illness,Im thinking she couldn't drink. I wonder if she then faced her demons;did she ever admit she needed
help? When she returned to Hollywood,obviously she continued to drink but
found employment. I'm wondering how far back this problem began and how
it would have ended if she hadn't died at 57? I'm amazed she didn't suffer
from cirrhosis. Not to be corny,but perhaps that HIGHER POWER stepped in
to prevent an even more tragic ending.
Like I said, it is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, it was already bad in 1955, before she met Eaton. I know, because I too have it. One of the denial systems that kept me from recovery for a very long time was comparing my drinking to that of my Mom (Valium was her other drug of choice) and Dad...I would rationalize that my drinking was not as bad as it was for them (pure B.S.).
Mom never got into recovery. When her brain tumors manifested through seizures, she was given Dilantin, which in combination with alcohol, would have immediately killed her. When she was doing both of her last two TV projects for Aaron Spelling, I can not tell you how many times I got phone calls from her agents at William Morris telling me that she had not come out of the house to be driven to the studio. I was handling 33 clients of my own, at the time, and would have to drive up Doheny from my office on Sunset Blvd. to find her lying on the floor - passed out...
A good enough reason to now have 18 years in Alanon...
Thank you for being so open and honest;this is tough to hear ahd was tough
for you to deal with. Your mom was never in recovery but was forced to quit
drinking because of her illness-forced to face herself without alcohol. I
think we all wish that she could have had a happy,contented life. I must
admit that I struggle with the notion that a woman who seemed so determined
and so strong could not have fought this addition. I'm trying to understand
this as a disease and one that must be fought and treated every day like
diabetes or MS. I guess she had the cards stacked against her because of
nature(genetics) and nurture. Bless you for being there for her and for
finding you own way back to sobriety.
Tim and I have discussed this problem (not at great length...but some)..because we both have the same disease...and are 'both' 18 years in recovery. It is not as easy as you might think...if you have this disease and 'go with the flow' never admitting that YES...you do have a disease that is killing you if you don't take charge of 'saving yourself' it will one day kill you.
I'm sure Tim will also agree...that YOU have to be the one to 'make the attempt' to admit..and then carry through..to recover. It is also 'not' a disease that goes away. It lies dormant..and that's why you work with it.."ONE DAY AT A TIME".
I am grateful that it has been 18 years of keeping this disease under control and I never think of having a drink any more. I have had to 'remove' friends from my life, in order to help 'me' keep control. I was told by some drinking (friends..??) that "I was no fun anymore..since I stopped drinking'..so I felt IF they were 'real friends' they would rather have me alive than dead (which I would be..now..if I had not found 'help' and continued to LIVE!)
It is a strange life...when you live around people with the disease and watch what it does to them..and VOW that you will NEVER be 'that way'...then find..years later...that YOU are the same, if not worse..than they had been.
You can be a strong person (like we saw Susan..in her films)..or any other type person with this disease..and see them all through your life. Then..one day..you find that they have this disease..and you can't see 'why' they can't control a simple thing..like..drinking! Well...sorry to tell you, but the disease don't work that way and just like any other 'disease'...it has to be corrected or you will finally die from it.
Thanks, Tim..for sharing. Now I felt like I should also 'share' and allow others on here to know that we have been there..and know what's all involved when you have this disease.
My sponsor reminds me that my disease is out there, in the parking lot, doing push ups....
HUP, HUP! GET OUT THERE AND GIVE THAT DISEASE TEN OF YOUR BEST!!!
Tim....I'm sorry to say...my sponsor 'crashed and burned' and I thought it would lead me back to the disease...but it didn't! I am so sorry for him, but he sort of 'dumped' me...The last I knew he was living in San Fransisco. I guess it made me stronger, by that time and so I continued on.
Alice...thanks for the 'encouragement'..and 'understanding' that many don't see. They figure "It's only booze or pills or whatever..so just STOP and get over it."
TIM and I...know it is..."ONE DAY AT A TIME"...
Tim...Love that your 'disease' is just doing 'push-ups' in the parking lot. I avoid 'parking lots' now...like you do!! Never can tell what you might find, lurking in the...shadows! Might be someone..telling you.."You're not fun anymore" now that you showed them the EXIT sign!!
I have experienced my first two sponsors "going out"...the first had not done the Steps the way they are suggested in the BB and the second, claimed that he was "not really" alcoholic, after 21 years in the program. Better them than me...their lives pretty much sucked after doing so...
Tim...I hear you..and think.."better them than me'....
What most people don't understand..is that IF you do go back to drinking (or any of the other 'abuse-diseases' you were on)..You don't..''start all over again'. You will 'start back'..at the place you left off..and that is a very scary thought, because 'you know' how bad it was when you finally 'stopped'.
But to start drinking again..(after 21 years of being sober)..you have just fallen off the cliff and it is a 'deathfall' from there and on.
Last year..I met a person who was a 'movie buff' like myself, so I invited him over to watch some great classics. He is also a fan of your mom's..so I thought it would be great. UNTIL he insisted I take him to the liquor store, so he could have a 'cocktail' while watching the films. I did it 'one time only'..but told him I would NOT be drinking with him..that I was an alcoholic. He got a big laugh at that..thinking I would surely join him.
Like i said..it was the 'first and last' time I invited him to watch movies. I felt like 'maybe I could help him, so I talked to him on internet about maybe going to some A/A meetings..and I would go with him. He showed 'his other side' when I mentioned this to him. Called me all kind of names..and then a week later was pleading to get together for some more 'movie watching'. I asked if he could do it without drinking.(because he truly was an alcoholic) I was told to 'SHOVE' the A/A meetings..(you know where)..that he now hated me.
I would have tired to help him...but first..YOU need to want to get cured. He was totally not ready..and I was not about to have 'the disease' close at hand.