"I LOVE LUCY" LIVE ON STAGEAdapted for the stage and with new material by Kim Flagg and Rick Sparks
The original episodes of “The Benefit” and “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined” were written by Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll, Jr.
Bass Hall, Fort Worth
Staged and Directed by Rick Sparks
Musical Director and special Lyrics – Wayne Moore
Original Music Composer – Peitor Angell
Scenic Designer – Aaron Henderson
Lighting Designer – Chris Wojcieszyn
Costume Designers – Shon LeBlanc, Kelly Bailey
Sound Designer – Cricket S. Myers
Hair/Wig Designer – Diane Martinous
Makeup Designers – Karina Branson, Desiree Falcon
Production Stage Manager – Sarah Hall
Sirena Irwin – Lucy Ricardo
Bill Mendieta – Ricky Ricardo
Peter Kevoian – Fred Mertz
Joanna Daniels – Ethel Mertz
Sarah Elizabeth Combs – Crystaltone Singer “Gertie”/Fern/Dinah Beach/
Pleasant Peasant /Gal on the Go Gregory Franklin – Crystaltone Singer “Grant Bosworth” / William Parker / Laboratory Tester
Jayme Lake– Crystaltone Singer ‘Ruth-Anne” / Makeup girl “Ernestine” / Headache Sufferer / Pleasant Peasant /Gal on the Go
Carlos Martin – Crystaltone Singer “Buck” / Laboratory Tester / Eye Doctor
Tyler Milliron – Stage Manager “Gerald” / Chevy Dancer
Denise Moses – Mrs. Birdie Mae Figg / Speedy / Pleasant Peasant / Charwoman / Dorothy
Day spokesperson / Dance Captain / Dance Assistant
Cindy Sciacca - Crystaltone Singer “Patsy” / Stomach Ache Suffferer / Pleasant
Peasant / Daisy Davenport / Gal on the Go / Bill Parker’s Date
Richard Simmer - Crystaltone Singer “Chester”/ Fever Sufferer / King Katt Walsh / Assistant Dance Captain
Mark Christopher Tracy - Maury Jasper, Desilu Playhouse Host / Laboratory Tester
Carolynne Warren - Eugenia
Tamara Zook - Frannie
Wayne Moore – Musical Director and First Keyboard
Andy Belling – Alternate Conductor and Second Keyboard
Ron Barrows – Trumpet
Steve Bringelson – Bass
Dave Lotfi – Drums/Conga
David Olivas – Saxophone
Nicholas Stankus – Guitar, Banjo and Conga
Reviewed Performance: 3/11/2014
Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to step back in time and watch the I Love Lucy TV show being filmed, then this show is for you. I Love Lucy takes us to the studio set of the filming of two of the original TV show episodes. In the Live on Stage version you get a glimpse into the happenings as I Love Lucy films “The Benefit” and “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined”. The stage production not only includes behind the scenes action but also vintage commercials and audience participation.
The set design was phenomenal. Half the stage was the Ricardo’s apartment while the other half served as the back drop for Ricky’s Tropicana Club. The furnishings in the apartment looked similar to that of the original TV show and added a great deal of authenticity to the sound stage feeling. Additionally, the Tropicana Club scene was replete with live musicians cranking out the music behind the main stage.
The costume design was superb. The clothing of ALL the actors and musicians was period and reflected the style and dress of the 1950’s. The costuming reflected the feel of the original TV show down to the apron worn by Lucy Ricardo.
Lighting and sound was reminiscent of the original TV show and added to the overall look and feel of a live TV performance complete with “Applause” sign.
Wayne Moore did an outstanding job as Musical Director. The music, whether part of the advertisements or part of the Tropicana Club Big Band numbers was perfectly tuned and seamlessly meshed with each dance number.
Sirena Irwin managed to channel the late, great Lucy Ricardo. Irwin had a top notch accent and her mannerisms were well done. Irwin was hilarious when she attempted to sing the high notes in the episode “The Benefit”. Additionally, Irwin did a perfect imitation of Lucy’s trademark grimace at being caught in the act. Bill Mendieta was excellent as Ricky Ricardo. He had a great Cuban accent and a wonderful singing voice. His dance gyrations and actions were similar to Ricky Ricardo’s. There was a genuine warmth and chemistry between Mendieta as Ricky and Irwin as Lucy.
Peter Kevoian was remarkable as Fred Mertz. He had both the gruff voice of Fred Mertz as well as the comic timing. Kevoian was able to breathe life into old 1950’s jokes and gags as well as show the audience the lovable side of Fred.
Joanna Daniels was Ethel Mertz, simply Ethel Mertz. Daniels had the look, mannerisms and comic charm of the original actress down perfectly. From the way she interacted with Lucy to the witty banter between her and Fred, Daniels owned the part. Daniels was able to demonstrate perfectly-timed eye rolls at Fred’s lighthearted jabs in addition to whining about being dragged into yet another of Lucy’s schemes.
Sarah Elizabeth Combs was phenomenal. Combs displayed an amazing singing voice in her Chevy song as Dinah Beach. She too had wonderful comic timing as the assistant Fern.
Tyler Milliron’s portrayal of Stage Manager “Gerald” was outstanding. Milliron had a geeky way in which he carried himself which made Gerald both endearing and laughable. When Milliron was carrying the score card for the game show part of the play he had both a disgusted and put upon air that you could feel in the way he hunched his shoulders.
Mark Christopher Tracy as Maury Jasper, the Desilu Playhouse host was realistic and endearing. Tracy’s actions and mannerisms were reminiscent of an aging game show host which was perfect for the character. The style of his dress and the way in which Tracy’s voice boomed as he yelled out “I Love Lucy” at the beginning of the episodes was perfect for an announcer.
The truly amazing part of this performance was that each member of the ensemble cast was able to shine in other areas of the show. Whether it was singing in a faux commercial for Brylcreem or dancing the Jitterbug, each member of the cast gave an expert performance.
“I Love Lucy” Live on Stage is more than a simple performance. It is a show to be felt, a show to be lived. It is a performance that is both engaging and rewarding, and a time machine for I Love Lucy fans of all ages.
Bass Performance Hall
4th and Calhoun Streets, Fort Worth, TX 76102
****Limited engagement through March 16th
Wednesday – Saturday at 7:30 pm, Saturday/Sunday at 1:30 pm, and Sunday at 6:30 pm. Ticket prices range from $44.00 -$93.50. For further information and to purchase tix go to http://www.basshall.com/
You may also purchase by phone at the Bass Hall Box Office, 817-212-4280, or toll-free at 1-877-212-4280.