When a show needs Dust Bowl-era eating utensils, or vintage suitcases, or a live lamb (!!), directors know to look no further than Mimi Little, PCT's prop lady since 1991. Her first show? "Gypsy," the first time around. Her son, Linden, was 10 and had been cast as a newsboy in Baby June's vaudeville act.
"I was a stage mom and they put me to work, as often happens," Mimi said. "I volunteered to help paint backdrops at rehearsals, since I was there anyway. The director, Bob Tindel, needed the help. When I came back the next day, there were four more for me to work on. I guess that was when I was unofficially hired."
Hired she may have been, but her work for PCT for the past 25 years has been as a volunteer because she has a passion for the arts and a love for the people.
"We don't have a large family — Linden is an only child — and PCT has become our family," she said. "The ladies of PCT helped raise Linden."
So much so that PCT cast and crew of all ages call her not Mimi, but Mama Little. She doesn't like the spotlight — we had to twist her arm to pose for a photo — and has been on stage herself just once, in an emergency.
"It was in 'Our Town,' and a person got sick so I had to fill in at the last minute," she said. "But I really don't like the limelight at all. I prefer to be behind the scenes — it wouldn't be a show without the crew."
Her favorite show to find props for: "Evita" in 2015, she thinks.
"I like period pieces, because I get to use antiques," said Mimi, who scours attics, basements, thrift shops and garage sales — and her own home — for just the right props.
The oddest thing she's had to find as a prop?
"A G-string for a funny moment in this show, 'Gypsy', " she laughed.
And as for that little boy she brought to the 1991 "Gypsy" to perform as a 10-year-old: He's now directing this year's production.
Come see Mama Little's handiwork for yourself! “Gypsy" runs July 28-31; tickets are on sale now at www.memorialauditorium.org and at the box office at 503 N. Pine, 620-231-7827.