Auntie Mame

Assuring readers it wasn’t a memoir, Patrick Dennis nevertheless wrote a character named “Patrick Dennis” into his 1955 novel Auntie Mame, creating a camp archetype out of the flamboyant free spirit charged with raising her orphaned nephew. The smash novel became a play, a 1958 movie, a musical, and a movie musical, the first two starring Rosalind Russell in all her bangle-braceleted, cigarette-holder glory. Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s wisecracking screenplay has Mame enrolling young Patrick in a “progressive” school (meaning the students run around naked and play “Fish Family”) and doing her best to save grown-up Patrick from marrying lockjawed prep princess Gloria Upson (raised on an estate named Upson Downs) and vanishing into the black hole of gray-flannel suburban Connecticut—while providing countless little gay boys ever since with lessons in fabulousness. (NR) GAVIN BORCHERT

Thu., Dec. 17, 6:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2009

 
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