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.
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.
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.
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, call