Life with Mother (2000)


Written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Based on the book by Clarence Day, Jr.
June 15, 16, 17, 22, and 23, 2000
The Palace Theatre
Director: Ray Bookmeier
Technical Director: Kevin Bookmeier
Assistant Director: Sue Freet

In June of 2000 we were pleased to have a return visit by the Clarence Day family as we presented our fifty-fifth production, the uproarious comedy Life with Mother. The play is a sequel to Life with Father, presented by ACT I in May of 1997. Eight characters from Life with Father returned and several of the actors from our original production returned in those roles. Many new characters also joined in the fun. Set in New York in 1885, the plot of the play turned on an engagement ring. Young Clarence, engaged and wanting to buy a proper ring, couldn’t get father to advance him the money for it because he considered engagement rings a bad investment. He had once given a young woman a ring and it was never returned when they broke up. Mother laments that Father never gave her an engagement ring. Then when Father’s old flame showed up, still wearing the ring he had given her years before, Mother would stop at nothing to get it, either for herself or for young Clarence!

Life with Father and Life with Mother are based on the books of the same title written by Clarence Day, Jr. in which he recalls his life growing up in a Madison Avenue brownstone in New York City with his parents, Clarence Day, Sr. and Vinnie, and his three younger brothers, John, Whitney, and Harlan. The blustery Clarence Sr. and the irrepressible Vinnie dominate the household in a quintessential battle of the sexes.

Life with Father opened on Broadway in 1939 and ran for nine seasons to make it the longest running non musical in Broadway history. Life with Mother opened on Broadway in 1949 and closed a year later. For the entire ten year period the two plays ran the roles of Clarence and Vinnie were played by the plays’ author Howard Lindsey and his wife, Dorothy Stickney.

The Set

Technical director Kevin Bookmeier had the daunting task of creating two complete Victorian parlors for this production, including having to plan the change from one to the other, and to figure out storage for set components and furniture for each set while the other was on stage! For one of the sets, Kevin also had to recreate the set for Life with Father.

Kevin’s set for the third act is a recreation of our set for Life with Father, performed at Tilford Middle School in 1997. The Day townhouse made the transition to the Palace Theatre very well!


Clarence Day, Sr. (Father): Steve Arnold
Lavinia Day: (Mother): Cathi Calderwood
Clarence Day, Jr.: Austin Karr
John Day: Matt Salger
Whitney Day: Josh Deutsch
Harlan Day: Ryan Calderwood
Cousin Vinnie: Nancy Beckman
Clyde Miller: Jim Hilliard
Michael: Ron Baldwin
Bridget: Dorothy Albert
Margaret: Nancy Stroschein
Hazel Willoughby: Elise Dickerson
Mrs. Willoughby: Bunny Feller
Bessie Fuller Logan: Lois Ewins
Kathleen: Josie Rundlett
Dr. Humpherys: Kurt Karr

Staff / Crew

Stage Manager: Kevin Bookmeier
Lighting Technician: Anita Yessack
Properties: Julie Long, Julie Clingman
House Manager and Publicity Coordinator: Lu Karr