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The Story of 'Mame'

The time is December 1928. Young Patrick Dennis, age 10 and newly orphaned, is being delivered by his nanny Agnes Gooch into the care of his only living relative -- an aunt, Mame Dennis of No. 3 Beekman Place in Manhattan. They pray for safe haven ("St. Bridget"). The innocent pair arrives in the midst of a wild party hosted by this mysterious relative. Mame makes her entrance with a blast of a bugle and an anthem of living for here and now ("It's Today").

After meeting her young charge, Mame agrees to shepherd the young boy but soon butts heads with his trustee from the Knickerbocker Bank, Mr. Babcock. Their ideas of education differ and though Mame pledges to provide a conservative education, she exposes Patrick to the more colorful sides of life ("Open a New Window"). Her deception is soon discovered and Patrick is whisked away by Mr. Babcock to boarding school in Massachusetts.

Back in Manhattan, Mame is left broke by the Stock Market crash and must resort to a string of menial jobs, none of which suit her. In a bid for something more dramatic, she accepts a non-speaking role as the Moon Lady in her best friend Vera Charles's latest musical ("The Man in the Moon"). The out-of-town performance is a disaster and Mame is depressed but Patrick, who hitchhiked to see his aunt's debut, assures her she's still "My Best Girl."

Back at Beekman Place, the bank account is empty and it's a month to Christmas but Mame insists on lifting everyone's spirits with an early celebration ("We Need a Little Christmas"). Beauregard Jackson Picket Burnside, a southern gentleman she met during a stint as a manicurist, comes to call. Smitten with Mame, he takes her to Peckerwood, his plantation in Georgia, to meet his formidable mother. Pressured into participating in a fox hunt on a wild horse, Mame becomes the first rider to bring the fox back alive. Her spunk and charm have won over everyone and the whole plantation sings her praises ("Mame").

Beauregard and Mame take an around-the-world honeymoon and Patrick stays in touch as he finishes school ("The Letter"). Tragically, Beauregard slips off an Alp and is killed. The newly widowed (and rich) Mame returns to Beekman Place where she decides to write her memoirs. Her old friend Vera joins her to reminisce about the good old days ("Bosom Buddies"). As a side project, Mame and Vera decide to refashion frumpy Agnes Gooch into a swinger. They send her out to "live" but she returns six months later pregnant ("Gooch's Song"). Mame takes care of Gooch but Patrick is worried what his fiancée's family will think. He agrees for Mame to meet them at their home, Upson Downs. Mame is horrified by the bourgeois affectations and blatant prejudices of the Upsons but behaves herself until they leave the party ("That's How Young I Feel"). Mame confronts Patrick about his choice of such a conventional girl but he declares he's had enough of his aunt's wacky friends and leaves. Mame is devastated and wonders what she did wrong ("If He Walked Into My Life").

In an effort to patch things up with Patrick, Mame invites the Upsons for dinner at her newly redecorated apartment. But when she serves flaming cocktails, eel and rattlesnake hors d'oeuvres, and the hugely pregnant Gooch comes down the stairs, it all proves too much for the Upsons. They leave abruptly, but Patrick's eye has been caught by Mame's pretty assistant, Pegeen Ryan. He thanks Mame for extricating him from a suffocating engagement.

Several years later, Patrick and Pegeen are married and Mame is now doting on their son Peter. Mame is about to embark on another round-the-world voyage and having taught the boy some Hindi and the art of wearing a turban, he begs to come along. His mother at first says no but then melts under Mame's incomparable charms ("Finale").