Only one woman but two comedic icons will step onto the Mishler stage May 22.
Emmy-award winning comedienne Vicki Lawrence will perform first as herself and then as the beloved character Thelma Harper, better known as Mama from the hit television show "Mama's Family" in the touring show "Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Woman Show."
Lawrence is "an enormous talent and we're thrilled that she's coming to the Mishler," Kate Shaffer, Blair County Arts Foundation executive director, wrote in an email.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Scott Hees
Vicki Lawrence (left) and the character Mama which she portrayed on “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Mama’s Family” will both perform at the Mishler Theatre on May 22.
Latshaw Productions, which has offices in Greensburg, is presenting the show.
Lawrence created the Mama character in the seventh season of "The Carol Burnett Show," which premiered in 1967, a press release said. She starred in "Mama's Family" for several years and the show had its series finale in 1990.
Among many other accomplishments throughout her life, the former daytime talk show host toured with Mama since 2002.
If you go
What: "Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two-Woman Show"
When: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22
Where: Mishler Theatre, Altoona
Tickets: $42 to $52, includes box office fees. Tickets are available at 944-9434 and www.mishlertheatre.org.
Lawrence recently spoke to the Mirror by phone from her home in Los Angeles, Calif.
"I knew when we put the show together that everybody wanted to see Mama because everybody loves her so much, and sometimes I get a little jealous of her and I feel the need to be me before I'm not anymore. ... I decided that I would be the opening half of the show, so basically I open for Mama," she said, with a laugh. "She's the rock star and I'm her opening act."
Lawrence said her half of the show is autobiographical, revealing much about the life she said "has been pretty comical and pretty serendipitous," while Mama tackles hot topics including politics, the environment and real-life annoyances such as "the toilets that flush three times before you can get your pants back up and women putting on their makeup in the car while they're driving and just all kinds of things that are driving her crazy."
Mama keeps it fresh.
"Yeah, it's fun to keep her sort of topical and in the moment and commenting on everything that's going on in the world," Lawrence said. "I kind of think that she's almost more relevant than she's ever been because everybody needs that good ol' grandma to tell you like it really is. It's great to push her into the new century and just watch her have to deal with it."
When asked what she hopes the audience will get out of the show, Lawrence recalled "one of the nicest compliments that I've ever gotten."
During shows in Laughlin, Nev., the man who had booked the show said to her: "'So do you want to hear what the word is out on the casino floor?' and I said, 'Sure, what is the word?' and he said, 'The word is, wear your Depends,' and ... I said, 'That's just about the nicest thing anybody's ever said.' So I hope that for my audiences that they will just laugh until they lose it."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.