BWW Reviews: I LOVE LUCY LIVE ON STAGE Takes DFW Back in Time
If you're like me, then taking a trip to Hollywood and being a part of the live-studio audience for your favorite sit-com is on your bucket list. However, if you're also like me, you don't have money or time to jet off to LA, but I have a solution for you- or Bass Hall does, because in the third show for their "Broadway at the Bass" season, you are not just an audience watching a play, you have traveled back in time and are now studio audience members at a taping of "I Love Lucy" in "I Love Lucy" Live on Stage.
Everything plays a part in making sure you feel like you are at the Desilu Playhouse from the minute you walk in- from the three old time cameras (aside: something that Desi Arnaz came up with), to the cast member who acts as a quirky tourist from Illinois and actually sits in the audience to share banter with everyone.
There was even interaction between the actors and audience-and not just the fake, talking at you, interaction-real interaction with the house lights up. The playhouse host, Maury Jasper (played by Mark Tracy) asked the audience to yell out where they are from and at one point brought an audience member up on stage to play an "I Love Lucy" trivia game. Jasper was also there to tell us how the night would proceed: we would sit through the taping of two episodes of "Lucy" as well as the taping of some live commercials from sponsors like Alka-Seltzer.
The cast of the TV show is such an iconic one that it could be hard to find the right people that can pull off every joke and mannerism, but somehow Siren Irwin, Bill Mandieta, Peter Kevoian (this performance), and JoAnna Daniels pulled it off and at some point I almost forgot they weren't the real people. Daniels' and Kenovian's performances of Lucy's sometimes unwilling side-kicks Fred and Ethel Mertz were great-keeping in tune with everything else about the show. Mandieta was the perfect choice to portray short-tempered Ricky Ricardo. Not only, does he bare a resemblance to Arnaz, but everything from his hair to his dance moves were perfect, even the accent was spot-on. But it was Irwin's performance of Lucy that was truly impeccable. Everything that audiences everywhere loved about Lucy, Irwin had down to tee. The cry, the grandiose gestures and facial expressions, the "but Ricky," it was the embodiment of Lucille Ball.
The whole night was full of laughter, even the commercials had me laughing, I wasn't looking for my DVR remote at all. After the show was over everyone left upbeat and talking about what great memories they had of the show, so if you're looking for some nostalgia, or like me, were born in the 90's and only saw reruns on TV Land, but are still interested in seeing the show, it runs at Bass Hall through March 16. You can order tickets at www.basshall.com.
Photo Credit: Ed Krieger via I Love Lucy Live Media