You gotta love Lucy. I know I love Lucy. Who wouldn’t? She’s a warm and funny redhead who always manages to get herself into some kind of jam.
You can relive the joy of Lucy at the Broadway stage show, “I Love Lucy,” currently on tour around the country. The show is on stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place in Chicago through Nov. 11.
I loved nearly everything about it–everything, sadly, but Lucy.
Played by Sirena Irwin, who originated the role in Los Angeles in 2011, the Lucy on stage at the Chicago opening was more Audrey Hepburn than Lucy Ricardo. Her physical comedy was spot on–the jitterbug number where she couldn’t see had a real Lucy feel–but her voice, face, and slighty ridiculous red Wilma Flintstone wig was a distraction.
Her partners, however, nailed their impersonations of Lucy’s husband, Ricky, and her neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz. Bill Mendieta as Ricky rocked the house as the talented Cuban singer and nightclub owner, and Joanna Daniels and Curtis Pettyjohn (Ethel and Fred) were perfect in voice, body and mannerisms.
The show, which runs nearly two hours without an intermission, is set up as a recreation of the taping of two “I Love Lucy” episodes before a live studio audience–the people watching the play. Set in 1952, the best part of the show is the breaks between taping when the live host banters with the audience (including a couple of funny plants dressed in period garb, one of them from “Kankakee, Illinois) and when the Crystaltone Singers perform the commercials live on stage. I dare you to get “See the USA in your Chevrolet” out of your head after you leave theater.
Is the show worth the $23 to $65 ticket price? Definitely. Especially if you remember Lucy and crew fondly. It’s a fun, light-hearted show at a small theater with great sight lines and acoustics.