Five things to know about 'Mommie Queerest'
CAMDEN — The show will go on. On Nov. 2, Christopher Kenney and his alter ego drag sensation Edie, who also serves as host and emcee of Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity" in Las Vegas, was scheduled to come to Camden and put on a parody show of the cult classic film Mommie Dearest. However, that was the week of super storm Hurricane Sandy. Cancelled flights, flooding and several stranded Mommie Queerest cast members made it necessary to reschedule the show to Friday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. at the Camden Opera House.
This week, Kenney and the full cast are going to be in Camden, come hell or wire hangers. The stage parody, written by Jamie Morris, is directed by Kenney, who won the LA Weekly Theater Award as Best Comedy Director for his work on Mommie Queerest, and was named by Las Vegas City Life readers as Best Local Theater Director for his work on Jamie Morris’ trilogy of plays.
A new twist has been added to the rescheduled show. On Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. the Camden Opera House will host a free screening — with VIP seating — of the 1981 classic Faye Dunaway film, Mommie Dearest, for all ticket holders. (If you've ever been to a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening, you can just imagine what this will be like.) Cast members from Mommie Queerest will introduce the film.
In anticipation of the show, we interviewed Kenney via email. So then, here are:
Five Things You Need To Know About Mommie Queerest
1. You were the first to bring drag to Midcoast Maine and now have a loyal core audience from the multiple years you've come back. How is this show going to make us laugh, make us gasp and make us glad the kids are in bed by 8 p.m.?
2. Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. The eyebrows. The wire hangers. Please tell us there is going to be an epic scene about wire hangers.
OF COURSE the Wire Hanger Scene is in there! The audience would kill us if we left that out. I can't give it away but let me tell you that is is done BIGGER than ever.
3. The same-sex marriage referendum just passed by popular vote last week in Maine. Saturday Night Live characterized it in a skit about two gay lobstermen who want to get married. (View skit.) What about this skit strikes you as so wrong (or so right) about how the rest of the world views Mainers and same-sex marriage? What can you please tell them, apart from the fact that lobstermen don't sound like Fred Gwynne in "Pet Sematary?"
The skit is very funny. I love that SNL always has their finger on the pulse. And the fact that a show of its caliber is spoofing such a history-making event is a very big deal. The more the issue is in the public eye and is portrayed as the new normal means a lot. I can truly feel the tide turning and it's amazing. As far as the accent and the stereotype, we all know it's not THAT exaggerated but hey, it makes for good TV and great laughs. Oh, and we WON. That also helps!
4. In your production, Daniel Pintauro, known from the hit TV show “Who’s the Boss,” plays multiple characters including the maid, Carol Ann. In your show, who's the Real Boss?
Let me just say that Danny is great, a joy to work with on and off stage, but JOAN is the real boss. Always has been. Always will be. And in this version she truly gets the last laugh. Love ya, Danny, but you understand.
5. Jamie Morris is the playwright who wrote Mommie Queerest and you've won a number of awards for directing it, with your own particular brand of stage parody. What is the key to getting people to not take themselves so seriously in theater and find a way to translate that into laughs?
Parody is a very special art form. Most everyone in the audience knows the source material, which makes for a bit of a challenge. We have to honor the original, yet give the show a new spin. And these actors do it brilliantly. They inhabit their characters with a tremendous amount of respect for the actors who originated the roles and bring so much more! And they have a blast doing it. I think if the cast is having fun, then the audience cannot help but get swept up in the moment and go on this fun, fun, twisted, over-the-top journey.
The production and film are sponsored by the Camden Harbour Inn in support of Equality Maine and Yes on 1, a victory that is important to all of the actors as well as the owners of the inn, Raymond Brunyanszki and Oscar Verest. Kenney said he is taking time out of his busy performance schedule to return to Camden, due to his love of the village, the cause and his desire to bring a Broadway class act to town.
Individual and advance tickets are available through the Camden Opera House. Dinner packages at Natalie’s at Camden Harbour Inn are available and include a 3-course dinner and reserved orchestra seats for the show. Following the performance, all ticket holders are invited to an after party including complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a meet and greet with the cast at Natalie’s.
For tickets to Mommie Queerest, contact the Camden Opera House at 470-7066 or book online at camdenoperahouse.com. For information about dinner/ticket packages, call 236-4200.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org