Shows "I"

I REMEMBER MAMA Music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Martin Charnin, book by Thomas Meehan, additional lyrics by Raymond Jessel based on the play by John Van Druten from stories by Katherine Forbes Majestic Theatre - 31 May, 1979 (108 perfs) SUMMARY: This musical version of the famous play was Richard Rodgers' final work before he died. Katrin, a successful writer, reads from her memoirs, reliving her memories of her Norwegian mother and family. She takes us back to San Francisco at the turn of the century when she was sixteen, and we learn that Dada has lost his job and may have to take his family back to Norway. Only when Katrin finally manages to sell her first story to a magazine do they manage to stay in America. THE STORY: Katrin Hansen is a successful writer but the scene she describes at the opening of the show is from a much earlier time - when she was a young girl in San Francisco. She recalls the house where she grew up describing her three sisters, Christine, Johanna and Dagmar, her brother Nils and her father but best and most of all she says, "I Remember Mama." We are transported back in time and we meet the family including Katrin at the age of 16. Papa, a worker at the local shipyard, brings home some violets and his hard-earned 22 dollars for Mama's household bank account. There never seems to be enough money - Katrin wants some new shoes, Nils needs books for high school - but Mama is ever the optimist. Katrin is determined to become a writer and begs to be allowed to stay up late so that she might be touched by the muse of inspiration. She tells her mother of all the wonderful characters who visit writers at night. The following day is Mama and Papa's anniversary and they are throwing a party. Most of the relatives are coming - Aunt Sigrid, Aunt Jenny and Aunt Trina, who has fallen in love with the local undertaker - and many of Hansen's friends. Katrin asks whether or not everyone will dance until dawn, just as they do in Dickens' novels. Mama tells that not everything is to be found in books - look around and observe the wonders that abound. After everyone takes their leave, Papa and Mama wander out onto the porch. Things aren't going too well at the shipyard and Papa is concerned. Mama realises that so much of her life is concerned with the welfare of the children that she completely overlooks the concerns of her husband. They drink a toast and reaffirm their love for each other. We move forward six months and Papa has lost his job. He thinks he might take his family back to Norway where work can be found but Mama wants to stay in San Francisco. The three Aunts arrive warning of the imminent arrival of Uncle Chris - the unofficial head of the Halvorsen family. Trina will marry her undertaker if Uncle Chris gives his permission even though Uncle Chris is a disagreeable man. The family take notice of him because he has the family fortune. He arrives but when he learns that the undertaker is Swedish he refuses to give his permission. Dagmar, the youngest daughter, has been complaining of feeling unwell. Uncle Chris and Mama take her to hospital where appendicitis is diagnosed and which necessitates an operation to remove it.