BY CAMILLE GAVIN Contributing columnist
Stars production of "Mame!" is a happy show, one that left me singing -- well, mentally anyway -- the show's catchy Jerry Herman tunes long after the final curtain.
I saw last Sunday's matinee, and "We need a little Christmas" was still lighting up my brain cells the next morning.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Stars Restaurant Theatre, 1931 Chester Ave.
Admission: $47-$57; show only $30-$37
Sheryl Cleveland, as a madcap woman of the 1920s who laughs at society's conventions, approaches her title role with gusto. Her rich contralto voice and ability to stay in synch with the music are perfect for this lively musical comedy.
Yet she's not a scene stealer and shares the stage equally with Aidan Cline, a talented 10-year-old with a winning smile, who plays her orphaned nephew. The chemistry between them is palpable.
A strong supporting cast adds depth to the show. Pam Riel is delightful as Mame's "bosom buddy," Vera Charles.
One of the funniest scenes in the show occurs at a time when Mame has lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929, the forerunner of the Great Depression.
Vera has gotten Mame a bit part in Broadway show. The part requires Mame to sit inside a stage prop shaped like a crescent moon and be suspended from the ceiling. Cleveland's antics while she fearfully teeters and trembles as she's perched inside the thing are hilarious.
Bob Anderson's appearance as Beauregard Burnside, a wealthy Southerner whom Mame marries, is fairly brief but impressive; Joe Lowry and Kim Whitney are believable as Mr. and Mrs. Upson, the haughty parents of the grown-up Patrick's lovely fiance, played by Kelci Lowry.
Kenneth Whitchard has very few lines as Kito, the house servant, but his facial expressions and stage presence do a lot to propel the action. Tim Fromm is appropriately obnoxious as the stubborn trustee of Patrick's inheritance.
Adam Cline is the director of the show; Terri Cline, the choreographer; and Brock Christian the energetic leader of the 7-piece orchestra.
"Mame!" continues at Stars through Nov. 17.