Chevy Anz Tackles Mame

Christian actress Chevy Anz has taken on numerous larger-than-life characters. She has played Eva Peron, Tammy Wynette and a basketball playing nun in “Nunsense.” Her latest role brings her back to Knoxville’s Bijou Theatre to play Mame. Auntie Mame is the celebrated character of the 1966 musical based on the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, who based their work on the novel by Patrick Dennis.
The year is 1928 and Mame is the extravagantly free-spirited character who becomes the guardian of her nephew Patrick. Ill prepared to take on motherhood, Mame introduces the 11-year-old to her eccentric circle of friends and admirers, and the story is told from the youth’s point of view. From an 11-year-old’s point of view, his aunt, her friends and their adventures are exciting and glamorous.
As Mame raises her nephew she runs the gamut of life experience from poverty to wealth, from marriage to widowhood. Her message to Patrick as he grows from a child to a college man is to be true to himself and not care what others think.
Anz says about her character, “Even after she lost all her money in the stock market crash, she persevered. Live life to the fullest. Even without money have a great time and celebrate constantly.”
Anz has a special connection with Mame, as it was the first musical she ever saw. In 1968, she saw an in-the-round production at the Valley Forge Musical Theater starring Patrice Munsel, the opera soprano and television star. Anz saw the same actress perform as Mame again in 1989 and 1992, when the actress was in her late 60s. “She could still be playing Mame for all I know,” Anz says.
While Mame is usually cast around 40, Anz says actresses in the title role can range widely in age. Angela Lansbury was around 40 when she debuted the role of Mame on Broadway in 1966, winning a Tony Award for Best Actress in a musical. Lucille Ball, however, was 63 when she played the role in the 1974 film version.
The Bijou’s production of Mame starts May 21 and runs through June 11.
Related Stories & Links
Nunsense at Media Theatre
Evita Features Local Talent


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