I Love Lucy Live on Stage

Adapted for the stage with new material by Kim Flagg  & Rick Sparks

Staged & Directed by Rick Sparks

Music direction by Alan Bukowiecki

Produced by Broadway in Chicago

At the Broadway Playhouse Chicago

Fun filled  glimpse into the filming of a TV show in 1952 rings with authenticity

In a  nostalgic trip to the Desilu Playhouse in Hollywood for the filming, before a live studio audience, of two episodes of the 1952 TV show”I Love Lucy,” the emcee, Maury Jasper (the delightful Ed Kross) warms up the audience with era references. He strikes up a conversation with two audience planted actors in a funny, heartwarming bit. We are taken back to the days when comedy TV show were filmed  in front of  live audiences much like the old time radio shows. With Chicago Equity players singing, dancing and managing the live shoot, this 95 minute reenactment of two episodes of the “I Love Lucy’ show is a humorous, fast-paced theatrical treat.

broadway playhouse

Lucy fans will enjoy Sirena Irwin’s take on Lucy – red hair and all. She has Lucy’s comedic facial gestures and eye movements done; she even has Lucy’s terrible singing in tow. Bill Mendieta plays Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnez) with just the right accent and personable qualities. These two played Lucy and Ricky in the LA stage production in 2011. The Episodes: “The Benefit” and “Luckygets her  eyes examined” are faithfully recreated here. True to Lucy’s ambition to be a performer, despite no talent, is the key to the magic comedy of the Lucy series.  Curtis Pettyjohn, as Fred Mertz and Joanna Daniels, as Ethel Mertz both nimbly play the neighbors with an old vaudevillian background. The teleplays are funny but dated.

broadway playhouse

The wonderfully sung and danced commercials for Halo Shampoo,  Brylcreem, and Chevrolet  with the era group, The Crystaltones, warbling hit tunes of the era, and the smart hosting by Ed Kross make this nostalgic trip back to the 1950’s sitcom TV a wonderful experience.  The production values of this show are first class: the live band is terrific, the comedy is a hoot, and singing  &  dancing commercials work well. All these elements make for  an enjoyable show. Old Lucy fans will laugh; newbie to the legend  will see what Lucy is really all about. All will be entertained by this show.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

For more info checkout the I Love Lucy page at theatreinchicago.com

At the Broadway Playhouse, 175 East Chestnut, Chicago, IL, call800-775-2000,www.broadwayinchicago.com, tickets &23 – $65, Wednesdays at 2 & 7:30pm, Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 & 6 pm, running time is 95 minutes without intermission, through March 17, 2013

 

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