BWW Reviews: I LOVE LUCY: LIVE ON STAGE Gives Nashville A Blast From The Past
Take a night and fly back fifty years to a live taping of the "I Love Lucy" show in "I Love Lucy" Live on Stage. This show began at a theater in Los Angeles in 2011 and then took to the road in July of 2013. It will be gracing Nashville with its presence from January 14th until February 2nd.
Lucy is unlike any show a regular theatergoer would expect, beginning with the moment one sits in his seat. If you are like me, you arrive a bit early and give yourself time to read your program, you also may be lucky enough that the woman who sits down in front of you wears a white dress patterned with cherries, a red hat, red gloves to the elbow and bright red lipstick. She turned around and greeted me saying how thrilled she was to be taking her first trip to Hollywood but before the conversation could go much further someone walked on to the stage and the show had begun.
With the house lights still up Maury Jasper, the Desilu Playhouse Host (played by Mark Tracy) welcomes the audience to Hollywood asking us where we are from and how far we had traveled. He proceeds to explain the way the rest of the night will unfold: two episodes of the I Love Lucy show will be taped as well as commercials from the sponsors. This is just as if we were the studio audience decades ago. The set was like a studio television set complete with cameras and a sign to notify us when to applaud. Needless to say, there was plenty of interaction between the viewer and the cast.
It's no small feat pulling off the jokes and personas of these four classic characters, however Sirena Irwin, Bill Mendieta, Kevin Remington and JoAnna Daniels' portrayals had you believing they were the original gang. They did not try to impersonate the originals, but brought their own touches and interpretations that were extremely well received by the audience. Irwin, had Lucy's every mannerism impeccably refined from her grand gestures of wailing and crying to the way she pointed her finger and sauntered across the stage. Daniels, played the perfect partner in crime delivering every line as any true fan would expect of Ethel Mertz. Her husband Fred, played by Remington patted his stomach at all the right times. The performance of Mendieta as Ricky Ricardo, kept me in stitches from the start of the show to the finish. Between his accent, his frustration with Lucy, his singing and his perfectly gelled hair, there was no way not to love him.
The whole night was filled with laughs of an audience spanning from ages six to sixty. Everyone was charmed by the by the tap-dancing girl dressed as an Alka-Seltzer tablet and the man costumed as a tube of toothpaste singing retro jingles. It was these sideshows that made it feel like 1952. A feeling also enhanced by minor details such as the reference to "the invention of color television" and "maybe one day landing a man on the moon."
If you are feeling nostalgic or that you were born in the wrong era, do not miss this opportunity. Get tickets online at http://www.tpac.org/ or through stopping by or calling the box office at 615-782-4040.
Photo Credit: JustinBarbin.com via I Love Lucy Live Media