published Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Actress Vicki Lawrence bringing 'Mama' to expo

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• What: Life Expo

• When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27

• Where: Chattanooga Convention Center

• Headliner: 1 p.m. stage show by Vicki Lawrence

• Tickets: $5 senior adults, $10 all others

• For tickets: Visit or the Times Free Press cashiers' counter, 400 E. 11th St.

Emmy-winning actress Vicki Lawrence will share the stage with her famous alter ego, Thelma Harper, better known as Mama, at an upcoming appearance in Chattanooga.

Lawrence's 90-minute stage show -- "Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two-Woman Show" -- will highlight the senior-adult Life Expo on Aug. 27, at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

The expo is sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Lawrence is a multifaceted artist who notched a No. 1 song in 1973 with "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia." She also is an author, talk show host, game show host and high-profile advocate for women's rights.

But her name is synonymous with the wise-cracking, blue-haired matriarch of the Harper family, which she originated on "The Carol Burnett Show."

"We are so excited to bring Vicki Lawrence's live stage show as a highlight of the Life Expo," said Jason Taylor, president and general manager of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "Her character of Mama is beloved by so many. Her humor is timeless."

After the Burnett show, Lawrence starred as Thelma Harper for six years in the sitcom "Mama's Family." The show still can be seen in reruns twice daily in most of the country, according to Lawrence's website.

Lawrence often has been quoted as saying playing Mama was her opportunity to "hide behind that old lady" and say what she wanted.

"I think people will get a kick out of the things Mama has an opinion about," Lawrence said in a news release.

In her stage show, she said she hopes "people will be pleasantly surprised by a side of Vicki they may never have seen."

"I know they will be looking forward to Mama, and for her part, that crazy old gal will be up to the challenge," 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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