“I Love Lucy” Live on Stage Review
Tonight, I had the great opportunity to attend a PNC Broadway performance of “I Love Lucy” Live on Stage. According to Showbiz Chicago, this is an “out-of-body experiences for ‘Lucy’ fans” and I can tell you that it certainly was. I was not sure how they were going to take television and turn it into a Broadway production, but they came up with an ingenious idea to take the studio members back to 1952 as members of the Desilu Playhouse studio audience where they await the filming of the “I Love Lucy” episodes “The Benefit” and “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined.” Having watched these episodes more than I care to admit, I was curious to see how those who wrote the stage adaptation (Kim Flagg and Rick Sparks), would take us into this unseen world.
The episodes begin and you witness, firsthand, the side-splitting antics of that crazy redhead in the Ricardo’s New York apartment and thrill to the Cuban sounds of “The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra” at the famed Tropicana Nightclub. In-between scenes? The Crystaltone Singers perform live advertising jingles of the show’s newest sponsors in perfect 50s style harmony. You are led through this whole journey by the wonderful Maury Jasper, the Desilu Playhouse Host, played by Mark Christopher Tracy.
This television show is considered one of the most popular programs in the history of television, due to it’s relatable characters, sharp comedic writing and Lucille Ball’s signature zany charm. I wondered how this would translate onto stage, but Thea Brooks, who played Lucy, and Euriammis Losada, who played Ricky, brought to life these characters beautifully. They were bright, funny and on point. I thought I was watching a real taping of the shows. The Crystaltone Singers were delightful in their renditions of the jingles from Chevy to Brylcreem, along with Speedy the singing and dancing Alka Seltzer tablet. It was a wonderful romp back in time.
L.A. Examiner’s Ron Irwin says I LOVE LUCY® LIVE ON STAGE is “an absolutely brilliant and utterly engaging tribute to that iconic television show!” and TV Guide’s William Keck calls it, “the most entertaining stage production I’ve seen in years – including Broadway!”
The show has won numerous awards in both Chicago and Los Angeles and was The Los Angeles Times ‘Critics Choice’ for 12 weeks in a row. (2011-2012)
I still love Lucy, and you will, too!
- Jacqui Rapp