Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre is to stage the first ever UK revival of Mame, starring Tracie Bennett.
Jerry Herman’s much loved musical is part of the theatre’s new season which also includes the Stephen Schwartz musical, Rags, and a new musical, The Astonishing Times Of Timothy Cratchit.
Rags is a heart-warming and powerful musical which tells the story of Russian immigrant Rebecca, who, with her son David, travels to America in search of a better life.
Rebecca must decide what matters more to her – staying true to her roots or adopting a new cultural identity in an attempt to ‘fit in’.
This will be the UK premiere of this new version of the musical, which has a book by Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof), lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and music by Charles Strouse (Annie), and it will be directed by Bronagh Lagan (Little Women, Putting It Together, Promises Promises).
Stephen Schwartz said: “I’m delighted that Katy Lipson and Hope Mill Theatre will be presenting our newly revised version of Rags in its first production.
“The show feels more timely than it ever has been, and my co-authors and I are enthusiastic about all the improvements we have made and excited to be sharing the show with the Manchester audience.”
Mame has not been seen in the UK since the original West End production in 1969 starring Ginger Rogers.
Set in New York City, and spanning the Great Depression and World War II, the musical focuses on eccentric bohemian Mame Dennis, played in this new revival by multi award-winning, Tracie Bennett.
The madcap life of Mame Dennis and her intellectual, arty clique is disrupted when her dead brother’s 10 year-old son, Patrick, is entrusted to her care.
Rather than bow to convention, Mame introduces the boy to her free-wheeling lifestyle, instilling in him her favourite credo, “Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death.”
Mame loses her fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and tries her hand at a number of jobs with comically disastrous results, but perseveres with good humour and an irrepressible sense of style, before marrying the Southern aristocrat and plantation owner, Beuregard Jackson Pickett Burnside.
The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit, written by Allan Knee, and music and lyrics by newcomer Andre Catrini, tells the story of a young man who sets out to find his place in an expanding and volatile world.
Inspired by the characters of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the story follows the plight of young Tim from the home of his benefactor, Ebenezer Scrooge, to the theatrical madness of the great comic, Giuseppe Grimaldi.
Producer, Katy Lipson, said: “We are extremely excited to enter our third year as a producing venue with three incredible musicals, which we hope will cement us as a leading regional theatre in the UK landscape.
“It’s a huge honour to present the newly developed Rags, working hand in hand with Stephen Schwartz, as well as welcoming back the works of Allan Knee to the Hope Mill and to have Tracie Bennett performing in our venue is a huge privilege.”
Rags, March 2 – April 6
Mame, September 27 – November 9
The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit, November 22 – December 29.