“Cheers-Live on Stage”

Based on the CBS television Series created by Glen Charles, Les Charles and James Burrows.

Adapted by Erik Forrest Jackson

Directed by Matt Lenz

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and you’ll be awfully glad you came to see “Cheers-Live on Stage”!

You know you’re in Boston when Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” is playing in the background. Am I at a Red Sox game during the 7th inning stretch? No, I am at Cheers! Enter Cheers the basement bar in Boston (say that 5 times quickly after a couple of beers). The set design by Michael Carnahan looks just as I remembered it on TV, it is well-stocked and organized with nostalgic pictures hanging throughout the bar.

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If you were a fan of “Cheers” the TV show that ran from 1982 to 1993, then you are in for a treat. Explore the more simple times of the 80’s and take a trip down memory lane with Diane, Sam and crew. Now, if you have not seen the TV show you may just enjoy this show to see what it was like in the 1980’s and early 1990’s when your Mom and Dad were younger. You may even get some fashion ideas from the iconic Michael McDonald. I think I recognized one of those mid-length silk skirts that used to be in my wardrobe.

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The well-lit bar and spectacular lighting throughout the show, by Philip S. Rosenberg brought us into daytime and the evening hours seamlessly.  I was a lot younger when “Cheers” began in 1982, a mix of comedy, romance and some drama thrown in there kept audiences that captivated for 11 seasons. This is the show that truly is about nothing and is truly entertaining.

Diane (Jillian Louis), the overly ambitious graduate student enters with her soon to be much older husband named Sumner (Richard B. Watson), who used to be her professor but now she “works”  for him.  Sam (Grayson Powell) the good looking, fast-talking playboy, recovering alcoholic bar owner, is his hospitable self and welcomes his guests as if it were his own home. However, being the intuitive bartender that he is, Sam smells a rat! As Sumner prepares to get the ring off his ex-wife’s finger, Diane waits for him to return. Sure enough there is no return and he is off to his own honeymoon without Diane and with his ex-wife.

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This is a dilemma now because Diane is now in need of a job! Sam graciously offers her a wait staff position whereby she laughed in his face and then quickly took him up on it. A match made in heaven—or not?  Their love-hate relationship keeps us captivated. The characters we know and love include the scattered brain Coach (Barry Pearl) who was fantastic in his role, Carla (Sarah Sirota) the sassy, loudmouth waitress who deep inside is actually quite genuine and Norm (Paul Vogt) makes himself at home in his favorite bar stool daily and everyone in the audience does know his name! Each time he enters the bar the entire audience yells NORM.  Cliff (Buzz Roddy), the know it all mail carrier who has a factoid for everything, is very funny and we can all relate with him. All of the walk-on characters are great and add a lot to the ambiance of the show including the drunken tour guide (Justin R. Holcomb), haven’t we all met one of them?

It was very cool how they combined several of episodes into this 2 ½ hour show. You know that time has passed when you come back from intermission and Carla is about 7 months pregnant.  The story line solidifies a bit in Act 2 and seems to move more quickly than Act 1 and so, how does this episode end? You will have to see for yourself!

Recommended.

.Sally Jo Osbourne.

Date Reviewed: September 22, 2016.

At Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place located at 175 E. Chestnut

Chicago, IL   1-800-775-2000.

For more information check out www.BroadwayinChicago.com.

or visit www.theatreinchicago.com, tickets start at $35, Tuesdays – Friday 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays 2:00 and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Running time is 2 hours and 30 minutes, with intermission through October 23rd.

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