|When I was barely a teenager, I was lucky enough to see Angela Lansbury, Bea Arthur, et al in the last pre-Broadway location for Mame. The show was pretty tight by then; I don't know of any major changes made before it hit New York.
I loved the show. Apparently many others were as enchanted as I because it ran for years. Jerry Herman outdid himself in creating the marvelous score. Angela Lansbury proved once and for all that she could sing. Bea Arthur created a character we hated to love, loved to hate, but somehow ended up both loving and hating.
Naturally, at 14, I could identify with Patrick, played by Frankie Michaels. My own family fell only a little bit short of the Dennis's craziness. I, too, had to be an adult at a very young age.
With wonderful music and an enchanting story that had already been successful in its own right, this show had to be a hit. And it was.