Victory Gardens is getting ready to cast its 2009 production of Jerry Herman’s 1966 musical, Mame. But if you’re thinking of auditioning, don’t bother to prepare a song and a monologue–just bring money. VG’s staging, directed by Dennis Zacek, will be performed February 20 and 21 at the Athenaeum Theatre, by an ensemble who purchased their roles at the company’s annual casting auction. “No stage experience (or talent) is needed to join the fun. Just a love of musical theater, a desire to support Victory Gardens, and if you want to win a part, the drive to be a star,” reads the press release.

The auction takes place Sat 11/15 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. The evening begins at 6 PM with a silent auction for supporting and chorus roles, as well as a buffet and open bar. At 7 PM, following a revue of musical numbers by local professional performers, “celebrity auctioneer” Aaron Freeman will tease the live bidding for the musical’s principal roles–including lovable, free-thinking eccentric Mame Dennis Burnside (currently portrayed in a Reader-recommended production at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace by Chicago theater veteran Barbara Robertston).

Admission is $60 in advance or $75 at the door. Attendees are encouraged to dress in Roaring Twenties or Art Deco Thirties attire. For reservations or more information, contact Kate Oczkowski at 773-549-5788, ext. 2140, or You can find complete details, and monitor the casting auction online pledge site, here.

As I noted in an earlier blog posting, Auntie Mame–the novel that inspired the hit play that inspired Herman’s musical–was written by Chicago-born, Evanston-bred Patrick Dennis, a 1938 graduate of Evanston Township High School.