A One-of-a-Kind Musical

By Daniel Jones | December 15th, 2014

BOOMER reviews the best show in town.

I’ll be honest here: I’m generally not a fan of musicals. In real life, it seems, people don’t just break out into song.

But Virginia Repertory Theatre’s production of Mame is a different kind of musical, one with fun, entertaining numbers filled with all the eye-popping excitement you’d expect from a Broadway play.

The lavish musical is set in New York City during the Great Depression. It’s certainly a high-energy production, one that will leave you wanting more.

And, by the way, it’s a perfect family-oriented play for celebrating the holidays. It’s also hilarious, with witty lines of humor thrown in at the most unexpected of times.

Also, in case you didn’t know it – or realize it: you don’t have to go to New York City to see world-class entertainment. Virginia Repertory Theatre is most certainly doing it right, right here. You can trust me on that one.

Mame tells the story of Mame Dennis, played by native Richmonder and a Tony-nominated Broadway actress Emily Skinner, who has been giving an absolutely dynamite performance night after night. She makes it look easy. Skinner’s just having fun, and it shows on stage.

And you couldn’t possibly forget about the Richmond-popular Desiree Roots Centeio, who plays Vera, Mame’s “bosom buddy.” Together, the two share the stage, and much of the spotlight, for the two-hour show.

Mame is the story of an eccentric woman of wealth whose 10-year-old nephew comes to live with her after his father – her brother – passes. She introduces the boy to her extravagant lifestyle and tries to keep up her usual flair.

Through the trials and tribulations of finding and losing love, as well as the ups and downs of the struggling economy, Mame comes out on top – and it’s all because of her boundless optimism and energy.

The show starts with a bang, a wild party at Mame’s New York home. Forget The Great Gatsby. With Mame, you’re thrown right into the Roaring Twenties, and you’re part of the party, with no other choice but to grab a seat and feel at ease while experiencing one of the best, live performances you may ever see in the River City.

It was like seeing a true Broadway production, with the lights, the music, the high-energy numbers. There wasn’t one second I wasn’t completely entertained and fully entrenched.

With a cast of 31 and a live band, Mame is one of the largest shows in the 2014-15 season at Virginia Repertory Theatre.

Mame runs through Jan. 11 at The Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre. Tickets are $30-$60.

For more information, visit va-rep.org or call 804-282-2620.

You won’t, and can’t, be disappointed by seeing this lovely Richmond musical.

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