Big Mama

Big Mama

by Audrei Kairen

November 15– December 15, 2001

Jackie Richardson captures the essence of Willie Mae Thornton, her deceptive sensuousness, her mix of machismo and sensitivity. - Calgary Sun
Big Mama

The Blues ain’t nothing but life, good food, good times and good sex. – Willie Mae Thornton

A soulful blues revue set in the ‘70s in a L.A. nightclub pays homage to one of America’s premier blues singers, Willie Mae Thornton, know for such songs as Hound Dog, Ball & Chain, Sassy Mama, and Wang Dang Doodle. Jackie Richardson portrays the life of Big Mama, a rocky but ultimately triumphant life that came to an end in 1984. With a vocal style that is not easy to imitate, only a few vocalists (among them the late Janis Joplin), have been able to summon Thornton’s mix of raw power and coarse soulfulness.

Directed by: John Cooper
Starring: Jackie Richardson
Musicians: Tim Williams and Ron Casat
Musical Director: Tim Williams
Set, Properties and Slide Designer: Witek Wisniewski
Lighting Designer: Cimmeron Meyer
Stage Manager: Betty Hushlak
Production Manager: Gina Puntil
Head Electrician: Kate Bagnall
Carpenter: Kevin Humphrey
Scenic Painter: Angie Sotiropoulos
Production Crew: Ron Lavoie, Amanda Roth and Mike Ford



November 15– December 15, 2001

Previews November 13
Opening November 15




Cimmeron is alumna of the National Theatre School of Canada and an award-winning theatre designer.  Selected designs include: for The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, Famous Puppet Death Scenes, The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan, Ignorance, for One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre,  Dream Machine,  Featherland, A History of Wild Theatre, for Ghost River Theatre,  Sailor Boy, The Alan Parkinson’s project, Confessions of a Paper Boy, for Ground Zero Theatre Closer, Reasons to be Pretty, Urinetown, the Musical, Writer’s Block and The Full Monty, for Vertigo Theatre, Travels with My Aunt,  Snake in the Grass, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Shear Madness.



Betty is very pleased to be part of the company of WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUGHT TO KNOW. Betty has stage managed Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre’s production of CAFE DAUGHTER in Belgrade, Serbia, Herceg Novi, Montenegro, at the sPARK Festival/ Belfry Theatre, Victoria, BC, the National Arts and Cultural Centre, Yellowknife, NWT, and at CANADA SCENE at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, ON.  Other credits include: producer; WiLDLIFE — a video installation at River Valley Crossing in Edmonton, assistant stage manager; DON GIOVANNI, Edmonton Opera, stage manager for the Alberta Ballet.  She goes onto co-produce and stage manage Conni Massing’s, OH! CHRISTMAS TREE, as part of the Roxy Performance Series this December.



This is Gina’s second season back out in the freelance world of stage management. She is delighted to be on familiar territory for her first official apprenticing gig – a full circle moment. Gina was Theatre Network’s production manager from 2000 to 2004 giving her some of her favorite productions under her belt (A SKULL IN CONNEMARA, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, VINCENT AND BRIXTON, FOR THE PLEASURE OF SEEING HER AGAIN, LAWRENCE AND HOLLOMAN, …). She has also been the production manager for NEXTFEST for the past five years – a festival that takes place in June right where you are sitting. Other Select credits include BITCHSLAP! and the Tranny Trilogy, TRANNY GET YOUR GUN, L’IL ORPHAN TRANNY and TRANNE OF GREEN GABLES (Guys in Disguise) THE BLACK RIDER: THE CASTING OF THE MAGIC BULLETS (November Theatre), THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF MARY JANE MOSQUITO (Concrete Theatre) and looks forward to THE ANGER OF ERNEST AND ERNESTINE with George and Sharla and DRUNKEN F*CKER (Ground Zero, April 2006).