Contact:  Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120
or Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, 318-869-5242

Centenary's Marjorie Lyons Playhouse Announces Cast for "Mame," Opening July 18

SHREVEPORT, LA --  Seva May will appear as the life-loving Auntie Mame in the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse production of the musical "Mame," which opens July 18 for a two-week run.

Since the opening of the original production in 1966, "Mame" has been one of the most beloved musicals on Broadway. Based on the novel Auntie Mame, "Mame" follows the exploits of Mame Dennis, a free spirit who feels that life is a banquet and that everyone should eat heartily from it. She has become the caretaker of her young nephew, who has been recently orphaned. She sets out to show him that the world is a big, joyful place to be embraced and explored. 

All of this is played to a classic score written by Jerry Herman, the composer of such other Broadway classics as "Hello, Dolly," "La Cage Aux Folles," "Milk and Honey" and "Mack and Mabel." His score for "Mame" contains “It’s Today,” “Open a New Window,” “We Need A Little Christmas,” “My Best Girl,” “If He Walked Into My Life”and the banjo-strumming title tune, “Mame.”

May, one of the area’s favorite singing performers, is a veteran of summer musicals at the Playhouse. She has been seen as Eva Peron in “Evita,” Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl," Charity Valentine in "Sweet Charity," Aldonza in "Man of La Mancha," Velma in "Chicago," Sally Bowles in "Cabaret," Mrs. Johnstone in "Blood Brothers," and has had featured roles in "Grand Hotel," "Nine," "Applause" and "Smile."  May has won five Times Drama Awards and was selected as Shreveport/Bossier’s Favorite Stage Actress at the inaugural SB Magazine Awards.

Playing Vera Charles, the first lady of musical theatre and Mame’s best friend, is Peggy Byers. She has previously appeared at the Playhouse in "Nine" and "The Cripple of Inishmaan." Byers has numerous credits with the Cavalier Players of Bossier Parish Community College, including "Agnes of God," "The Foreigner," "Moon Over Buffalo" and "Noises Off." She also appeared as Doatsy Mae in a national tour of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

Bill Gallmann will portray Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, a Southern gentleman Mame meets while working at a roller skate counter at Macy’s.  He appeared as Emile De Becque in the Performing Arts Center’s "South Pacific."

Jim Montgomery will be seen as Dwight Babcock, the stern banker trying to keep Mame’s liberal influences from taking root. Montgomery, who has appeared in many local productions, has won four Times Drama Awards for roles in "The Heiress," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "A Little Night Music" and "Peter Pan."  Most recently, he has been seen in "Electra," "Art," "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde," and "42nd Street."

Tyler Krieg and Ryan Williams will appear as Patrick, Mame’s nephew, at 10 years old and as the grown-up Patrick at 19. Krieg played Peter in "Peter Pan" at University Elementary and will be attending Caddo Middle Magnet. He is a student with the Peter Pan Players. Williams won a Times Drama Award for Best Actor in a Musical for "Blood Brothers" at Marjorie Lyons. Additionally, he has had featured roles in "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," "Grand Hotel," "As Bees in Honey Drown," "A Perfect Ganesh" and "Cabaret."

Dot Hall will be seen as Norah Muldoon, young Patrick’s Irish nanny. Hall has appeared in "Oliver," "Nine," "How I Learned to Drive," "Pride's Crossing," and "Wit" at the Playhouse. She has won  three Times Drama Awards for "Fox Fire," "Anastasia" and "The Cripple of Inishmaan."

Mary Zapcynzski has the role of Agnes Gooch, the steno gal sent to help Mame write her autobiography. She has numerous credits, which include roles in "Grand Hotel," "Big River," "Merrily, We Roll Along," "Funny Girl," and "Oliver!"  Zapcynzski has also appeared in "Lillies of the Field" at  Eastbank Theatre and "The Exact Center of the Universe" at Shreveport Little Theatre.

Among the many colorful people who cross Mame’s zany path are Scott Green as M. Lindsay Woolsey, a successful publisher; Carol LaBorde and Leonard Yoakum as Mr. and Mrs.Upson, potential in-laws; Heather Peak as Gloria Upson, the elitist girl who has her eye on older Patrick; Janin Jones Pou as Sally Cato, Mame’s rival for Beauregard’s affections; and Anna Maria Sparke-Keele as Pegeen Ryan, a decorator who catches older Patrick’s attention.

Green has appeared in "Cabaret" at MLP and "Annie" and "Bye, Bye, Birdie" for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. LaBorde has been seen in "The Women," "The Royal Family" and "The House of Bernarda Alba," all at MLP. Yoakum has had roles in "Grand Hotel," "Big River," "Assassins," "On the 20th Century" and "Oliver!" at MLP. Peak was recently seen in "Three Tall Women" and has numerous credits, which include "Electra," "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," "The Devils" and "Camino Real." She won a Times Drama Award for "The Tempest." Pou appeared as Fraulein Kost in "Cabaret," as Lillianne LeFleur in "Nine" and as Jackie Kennedy in the world premiere of "Ladies First,"all at MLP. Sparke-Keele won  a Times Drama Award for "Merrily, We Roll Along" and starred as Annie in the Performing Arts Center’s "Annie Get Your Gun."

Other featured roles are being played by Alex Lu as Ito, Mame’s devoted servant;  Kay Phifer as Beauregard’s disapproving mother; Benjamin Maxey as Peter Dennis, Mame’s great-nephew; and Christy Bickham and David Bieler as Cousin Fan and Uncle Jeff, two Southerners on Beauregard’s plantation. Lu is making his stage debut and is a student at Centenary College. Phifer has been seen in "Nine" at MLP, "The Jungle Book" for Peter Pan Players and "Over the River and Through the Woods" at Shreveport Little Theatre. Maxey, who is 4 years old, was recently seen in "The Jungle Book."  Bickham has many credits, which include "Camelot," "Carousel," "Nine," "Little Women" and "Peter Pan," all at MLP. Bieler was last seen at the Playhouse in "42nd Street." Other appearances include "On the 20th Century," "Grand Hotel" and "God's Country."

Appearing in numerous roles as party guests, New Yorkers, shoppers and friends are Josh Porter, John Michael Strange, Adrienne Brooks, Jenny Warren, Sarah B. Wilkerson, Trey Jackson, Rob Laha, Laura Sentell, Garrett Moon, Lindsey Mayo, Lauren Bryan, Brandon Thorn, Tim Broderick, Don McCoy, Catherine Walsh, JoEllyn Gallmann and Patty Krieg.
Porter was recently seen in "The Seagull," "Electra" and "Wit."  He received a TDA nomination for "Grand Hotel." Strange won a TDA for "Greater Tuna" at Shreveport Little Theatre where he is the managing director. Brooks is  the artistic director for the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet Company. She is also serving as the dance captain for "Mame." Warren was seen in "Cabaret" as a Kit Kat Girl and was in this year's season opening "Wit."  Jackson has had roles in "God's Country," and "Assassins" at MLP and received a TDA nomination for "On the Wings of a Dream." Laha appeared in "The Tempest" and received a TDA nomination for his performance in "Blood Brothers." Sentell is a transfer student to Centenary and was in "Cabaret." Moon has been seen in "Electra," "Wit" and "Gross Indecency," all at MLP. Mayo appeared in "The Seagull," "Keely and Du" and "Wit." Thorn was a Kit Kat Boy in "Cabaret." Walsh also appeared  in "Cabaret." Wilkerson, Bryan, Broderick, McCoy, Gallmann and Krieg are making their MLP debuts.

"Mame" will be directed by Patric McWilliams. He has won five Times Drama Awards for directing "42nd Street," "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," "Nine" (co-directed), "Pride's Crossing" and "Funny Girl" (co-directed). This season he directed "Electra" and "Keely and Du" at the Playhouse.

Stephan DeGhelder of Washington, D.C. is the choreographer. His work has been seen previously at the Playhouse in the acclaimed production of "Grand Hotel." As a performer, he made his Broadway debut in "Hello, Dolly!" followed by "Celebration" and "A Chorus Line." New York credits include serving as the assistant choreographer for "Broadway" starring Teri Garr and Chris Sarandon, "Dance on a Country Grave" with Kevin Kline, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with John Goodman and Nathan Lane, and working with Agnes DeMille on "Come Summer" starring Ray Bolger.

Don Hooper is the set and lighting designer. He has won numerous TDA’s for his work at the Playhouse for such productions as "Into the Woods," "Costal Disturbances," "42nd Street," "Evita," "Angels in America" and "Grand Hotel."

The musical direction is by Kermit Poling, who is the concertmaster for the Shreveport Symphony. Poling’s work has been lauded for "Nine," "Cabaret" and "Smile," and for his underscoring of "Electra" and "As Bees in Honey Drown." Other technical duties are being served by Ashley Beckham as assistant director/stage manager; Heather Peak, properties; and Paul Belcher, sound design.

"Mame" opens July 18 at 8 p.m. and has additional performances July 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and a 2 p.m. performance on July 28. Tickets for "Mame" go on sale Monday, July 8. The box office is open daily from noon to 4 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 318-869-5242. All tickets are $20. There will be a preview performance on July 17 at 8 p.m. with tickets priced at $15. During the regular run, groups of 20 or more will receive a $2 discount per ticket.

"Mame" celebrates the 45th season of the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. There will be a reception at the Symphony House following the opening night performance.

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