Theater: Unflappable Flapper

Mame is the Mother Courage of Beekman Place. Stock-market crashes and depressions don't faze her. Pregnant unwed secretaries waddling down spiral staircases amid Japanese modern mobiles don't lift her eyebrows. When she meets a Southern aristocrat named Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, she promptly marries him, goes "Sooth," and teaches the hunting gentry a thing or two by bringing the fox back alive. Mame has gusto, gallantry, and an unshakable philosophy: "Life is a banquet, and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death."

To her orphaned ward, Patrick, and to millions of Americans,...

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