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"I Love Lucy Live" Stage Show

Sirena Irwin (left to right) and Bill Mendieta star as Lucy and Ricky, along with Ed Martin playing an episode eye doctor in "I Love Lucy Live," a stage tour coming to Chicago in fall 2012.

Happy April Fools' Day!

And no, this is not a joke...

Broadway In Chicago has announced "I Love Lucy Live on Stage," the brand new musical stage show adapted from the long-running, beloved CBS television program, starring characters Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz aka "America's favorite foursome," will play Chicago for the very first time, when it comes to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 East Chestnut St., Sept. 12 to Nov. 11, 2012.

The audience is invited to step back in time to the Desilu Playhouse soundstage.

It's 1952 and the audience is transformed into the studio audience that awaits the filming of two hilarious and "oh so familiar" "I Love Lucy" episodes.

Using a host personality to entertain and enlighten the audience about all of the "behind-the-scenes" moments and filming process, it's a look into the 1950s hi-fidelity technology for what's billed as "this brand new thing called television."

Each episode offers a recreation of what's described as "the side-splitting antics of that crazy redhead" in the Ricardos' New York apartment along with "the thrill of the Cuban sounds of The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra at the famed Tropicana Nightclub."

And in between scenes takes, The Crystaltone Singers perform live advertising jingles of the show's newest sponsors in perfect '50s style harmony, like the hair styling aide Brylcreem.

"I Love Lucy Live on Stage," under a license from CBS Consumer Products, premiered in Los Angeles 2011 for its initial five-month run.

I'm curious what Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball's children think of this project.

The last time I spoke with Lucie Arnaz, it was about this same time, back in 2010.

She has her own touring stage tribute to their legendary mother called "An Evening With Lucille Ball: Thank You for Asking," which played The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in May 2010.

Produced by TYFA LLC and Sunshine Productions, the Lucie Arnaz created tour is a touching, funny and uplifting one-woman play, which does feature one recreation scene from her parent's landmark series, when Lucy films a TV commercial for a terrible tasting elixir.

When I spoke with Lucie, she reminded me that her parents' estate does NOT hold the rights to the "I Love Lucy" series, which they opted to sell to CBS (allowing the network to make a bundle of money from syndication rights) when they purchased their Desilu Studios aka the old RKO Film Studios.

As for "I Love Lucy Live," it is staged and directed by Rick Sparks, and presented by S. Kahn Presents and Millrock Company.

Individual tickets, which have not gone on sale yet, range from $23 to $65.

A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. For more information, visit BroadwayInChicago.com or ilovelucylive.com.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

 

 

 

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