One of the most beloved television personalities of her generation, Vicki Lawrence is best known for her endearing character “Mama” from the legendary “Carol Burnett Show” and the top-rated, long-running spin-off “Mama’s Family.” On stage, the multi-talented entertainer easily demonstrates her versatility, as we will detail below. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is thrilled to welcome “A Two-Woman Show” to the Bankhead Theater in late-January.
About Vicki Lawrence
Born in Inglewood, California, Lawrence had originally planned on being a dental hygienist. But things changed in high school when she auditioned for and got into the musical group “The Young Americans.” Lawrence gained much experience from touring, performing at the Oscars, coming into contact with the likes of Johnny Mathis and Louis Armstrong, as well as performing on the Andy Williams Show. Soon after completing high school, Lawrence entered the Miss Fireball of Inglewood contest for the local firefighter’s ball. Interestingly, a newspaper reporter wrote a story about the contest and stated that Lawrence resembled a young Carol Burnett. Lawrence’s mother urged her to write a letter to Burnett, which she did. As it turns out, Lawrence won the contest with Burnett in attendance to crown her. Ironically, Burnett was looking for an actress at the time to play her younger sister Chrissy in the “Carol and Sis” sketches. Both Burnett and Harvey Korman would take Lawrence under their wings, which Lawrence refers to today as the “Harvard school of comedy.”
Lawrence and Burnett were the only cast members to stay on the show from 1967 to 1978. Her portrayal of the Mama character on The Carol Burnett Show’s “The Family” sketches was so popular that NBC created the sitcom Mama’s Family to elaborate on the character. The series ran from 1983 to 1985 and then again from 1986 to 1990.
Lawrence has made appearances on other programs such as Laverne & Shirley, Major Dad, Roseanne, Hannah Montana, and Yes, Dear. In 1985, Lawrence starred in the comedy pilot Anything for Love, which co-starred Lauren Tewes and Rebecca Arthur. Not only that, but Lawrence has appeared with Burnett, Korman, and Tim Conway in the Burnett show retrospectives that were broadcast in 1993, 2001, and 2004.
In terms of music, Lawrence is most known for her number-one hit, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” a song first written by her first husband Bobby Russell. The song sold over two million copies after being released in November 1972 and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America the following April. Lawrence received her gold record by surprise from Burnett during the last episode of the sixth season of The Carol Burnett Show. Lawrence’s “He Did With Me” reached as high as number 75 in the U.S. and number one in Australia. She followed it up the next two years with “Ships in the Night (1974) and “The Other Woman” (1975). In 1979, Lawrence released a disco album called Newborn Woman in 1979.
On Friday, January 26th, you have the chance to see Vicki Lawrence & Mama at the Bankhead Theater. Ticket prices range from $50 to $100. Keep in mind that the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center offers student and active military prices for all performances. If you’re interested in booking these tickets, please call or visit the box office. We are happy to help.
The Bankhead Theater
There’s no other venue in the area quite like the Bankhead. For more than a decade, it’s welcomed a wide range of artists and audiences. Whether it’s live music, comedy, or theatre, the Bankhead provides a truly intimate experience for everyone. Our team at LVPAC understands that exposure to the arts has the potential to transform lives. It’s why our center for performing arts is dedicated to making the arts affordable and accessible.
The LVPAC Presents series includes more than 40 incredible performances throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in authentic western swing, classic rock, smooth jazz, world music, dance, acrobatics, or comedy, our performing arts center definitely has an event for you in 2018! Now is the perfect time to start taking in the arts.
Check out our events calendar for more upcoming performances.