Who doesn’t love Lucy? The hit television series I Love Lucy aired on CBS from 1951 to 1957, setting the bar for television comedies that continues to be the standard to this day. This is one show that has endeared itself to generation after generation, with absolutely no sign of slowing down. I was not yet born during the original airing of I Love Lucy. In fact, my mother wasn’t even born until the series reached its end… but I grew up loving Lucy. Lucille Ball was the first female actress that truly made an impression on me. Growing up, Lucy was my hero. I continue to watch episode reruns any chance I get – and they simply never get old. Though my own children have very little appreciation for entertainment dated before their time, they have always loved the series. Frankly, this is the only pre-80s show that they have ever enjoyed. It’s also one of the very few series that sparks hysterical laughter from every member of my household, every single time we tune in. As a Lucy fan, and as a mother, I appreciate this immeasurably. Last night, I found myself living a dream. I sat in on a live taping of my lifelong favorite series – I Love Lucy.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Perhaps it took just a tiny smidge of imagination, but my family was quite literally transported to a time we never knew as we visited 1952 Hollywood and the Desilu Playhouse! Last night was opening night for I Love Lucy Live on Stage at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts here in Orlando. This brilliant stage show debuted in Los Angeles at the Greenway Court Theatre in October 2011 to rave reviews, with many subsequent performances nationwide.
The premise of the show is quite unique. Guests are invited to serve as the live audience for a taping of two well-known episodes of I Love Lucy – “The Benefit”, and “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined”. The performance is rounded out with era-authentic product endorsements in the form of catchy jingles, and a behind-the-scenes style glimpse of real production processes. All the while, a lively and jolly host leads the audience through the experience.