One of the most successful theatre events in Los Angeles is I Love Lucy Live at the Greenway Court Theatre. It opened on October 1 and, except for a break for the holidays, has been going ever since. When they announced their reopening on January 11 for four weeks, they sold out in a matter of hours.
Other shows have been theatricalized, like The Brady Bunch, but that was a campy spoof. The idea behind the Lucy show was to give an audience a chance to see two familiar I Love Lucy episodes acted out, including cameras and commercials. Stephen Kahn and David George developed the show after seeing the lines outside their traveling exhibit of the recreated I Love Lucy set. So apparently Americans still love Lucy, and some have traveled across the continent and beyond to see the show, which lives up to anyone’s expectations.
Now, the show is more a tribute than an exact characterization, but the spirit is certainly there. Sirena Irwin’s Lucy and Bill Mendieta’s Ricky are really quite accurate and one must admire the effort they put into developing this tribute. Bill Chot and Lisa Joffrey catch the essence of their next-door neighbors, Fred and Ethel.
Some of the biggest joys of the evening are in the recreated commercials and in interviews with select audience members. Here they do allow a little campiness to shine through but it is all in good fun. There are eleven performers in all and they attack the material with an obvious relish. And, oh yes, there is a live seven-piece band.
The show is directed by Rick Sparks. Sparks and Kim Flagg provide additional material. Set design is by Aaron Henderson, lighting by Jeremy Pivnick, and the colorful costumes are by Shon LeBlanc. Sound design is by Cricket Meyers and the impressive wigs are by Byron Batista. Also featured in the cast playing multiple roles are Noel Britton, Tom Christensen, Steven Connor, Gregory Franklyn, Kerri-Anne Lavin, Ed Martin, Denise Moses, Cindy Sciacca, Amy Tolsky, Gina Torrecilla, and Mark Christopher Tracy.
There are possible tours in this show’s future. A delight all told.