For more than 60 years, audiences have cracked up at the physical comedy of Lucille Ball and her cohorts on “I Love Lucy.”
They watched as Lucy and Ricky got into hilariously relatable marital spats, and Lucy and Ethel packaged candy on an assembly line with side-splitting results. Each airing of the show was an appointment that wasn’t to be missed.
The show has now been relegated to reruns and video collections.
But even the youngest Lucy lover will have the chance to experience the show’s special blend of chemistry and comedy in “I Love Lucy: Live on Stage.” Audiences get the experience of sitting in for two actual “Lucy” episodes, reliving the mad-cap antics of Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred as they break into song, crack jokes on each other, and dance across the stage.
“It’s funny, we find that our audiences are generally children and grandparents. These are people who loved the show when it ran, and who have shared with younger people close to them. It really spans the generations,” said Joanna Daniels, who portrays Ethel in the show.
“I Love Lucy: Live on Stage” will run for eight shows Tuesday through Feb. 16 at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre in Indianapolis.
After premiering in Los Angeles, and enjoying a nine-week run in Chicago, the show has taken to the road. Stops in Atlantic City, N.J., and Nashville, Tenn., have led to Indianapolis.
The show is built as if the audience is attending the shooting of a pair of “I Love Lucy” episodes.
They’ll be seated in front of a soundstage, and watch as the actors move from Lucy and Ricky’s apartment to the Tropicana Nightclub.
They’ll get to hear some of their favorite jokes, given a new spin through the cast tasked with recreating such classic television.
There will be ’50s-era live action commercials for products such as Brylcreem and Alka-Seltzer, and intermission entertainment from the Crystaltones Singers doing do-wop style classics.
The show will have that comforting nostalgic feel that long-time Lucy fans will love, Daniels said. But seeing it live, with a cast of actors doing the original material, will give a fresh spin.
“It’s a fine balance of having the very familiar parts of these characters and bringing in things that aren’t known to our audiences,” Daniels said.