published Friday, August 26th, 2011

Lawrence brings Mama to Life expo Saturday


What: Life: Boomers and Seniors Expo.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; Vicki Lawrence show at 1 p.m.

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza.

Admission: $5.


Chattanoogans have the rare opportunity to see a television legend bring to life her most beloved characterization Saturday when comedian Vicki Lawrence headlines the Life expo.

The comedian, who gained fame and five Emmy nominations during 11 years on "The Carol Burnett Show," will present "Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two-Woman Show" at 1 p.m. during the eight-hour expo.

Lawrence said in a telephone interview that she spends the first half of her show talking with the audience. Then the actress will pull on her sensible shoes and purple floral dress and return as Thelma Harper, aka Mama.

"Good Lord! Mama's a little exasperated," Lawrence warned. "Mama stays topical. She's a crazy old lady who says whatever she wants. She'll answer questions onstage and sing. Mama even raps about her life, and of course she does a big finale."

The expo, sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, offers more than 100 vendor booths with information on topics of interest to baby boomers and senior adults. On the expo floor will be Realtors, travel agents, estate-planning professionals and representatives of assisted-living facilities, health, beauty and fitness companies. Memorial Health Care System will offer free health screenings in its exhibit area.

Angela Doggett, Times Free Press events manager, said almost every vendor will offer either giveaways, free samples or the chance to sign up for a raffle in their booths. Doggett said concessions also will be available.

Door prizes to be awarded include a Country Christmas package for two to Gaylord Opryland, $2,000 dental implant, Olympus VR-310 camera bundle, Janome sewing machine and a two-night stay at Harrah's Cherokee Plus.

"My life has been nothing if not comical, so it's a fun show" Lawrence said. "It's fun to be me before I turn into Mama. I honestly think people love her so much that sometimes I wonder if they'd even miss me," she said.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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