Karamu House brings ‘Sassy Mamas’ back by popular demand


Their back and saucier and sassier then ever! Karamu presents the return of Celeste Bedford Walker’s Sassy Mamas in the newly restored Jelliffe Theatre. The show was last seen in the Karamu Studio Theater in February of 2018 to rave reviews and audience comments.

Three older professional women living in Washington DC who prefer the term “panther” over “cougar” are single, well to do and looking for some young action. Jo Billie (Sheffia Randall Dooley) is the administrator of a major hospital and a widow. Mary (Susan Lucier) is the ex-wife of an Ambassador who left her for a younger woman. Wilhemina (Jeanne Madison) is the current Secretary of Defense who due to her career has never had time for a husband or family.

These are women who know what they want...a no strings attached relationship of the physical kind with men much their junior...and have the ways and means of obtaining it. Enter three stud muffin boy toys ready to satisfy their every whim and desire.

For Jo Billie it’s LaDonte (Darelle Hill) a.k.a. Tey-Tey who is a very healthy custodian at the hospital she oversees. Mary hooks up with her young and muscular gardener, Colby (Peter Ribar) while dating another “older gentleman” named Bill and Wilhemina gets involved with a handsome reporter, Wes (Dyrell Barnett). It is all slap and tickle as the couples do what couples do. Complications arise when Tey-Tey’s baby mama begins to make an appearance, Mary gets engaged to Bill and Wes asks Wilhemina for her hand in marriage.

This is a superb cast who seems to work well together. Everyone is enthusiastic in their rolls and believable in their portrayal. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments throughout the play. One problem is the sound situation associated with the Jelliffe Theatre that is plagued with dead zones as far as being able to clearly hear the lines from the stage. Miking the cast would be a good idea as well as waiting until the enthusiastic laughter dies down before proceeding with the next line. The show is brilliantly directed by Tony F. Sias.

Be forewarned that this is an adult show with adult themes and actions and by no means sould be considered for children.

The stage set and costuming by Inda Blatch Geib is stunning with three distinct levels of two upscale apartments and a terrace garden. Everything is well appointed and laid out to allow ease of movement of the actors.

This show is absolutely hilarious in its concept and execution as three “hot mamas” seek out young companionship in this total role reversal. It is a laugh fest supreme that will have you feeling good all the way home.

Sassy Mamas runs through February 23, 2020 in the Jelliffe Theatre at Karamu House located at 2355 E. 89th Street, Cleveland, Ohio. For tickets and information visit www.karamuhouse.org or call (216) 795-7070.

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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.  

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