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Paul Sheehan

Play about "I Love Lucy" by Gregg Oppenheimer: LA at Last!

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I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom, a new comedy from Gregg Oppenheimer (son of I Love Lucy creator-producer-head writer Jess Oppenheimer), will receive its world premiere as part of L.A. Theatre Works’ 2017–2018 season.

 
The audio theatre season concludes with the world premiere of Oppenheimer’s I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom (July 12–15). The comedy will tell the behind-the-scenes story of how Ball and Arnaz battled a network and a sponsor who didn’t believe the show’s potential.
 
All regular LATW performances take place at the James Bridges Theater, located on the campus of UCLA in West Los Angeles. To purchase season subscriptions or single tickets, call (310) 827-0889, or visit LATW.org.
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As he did at the Loving Lucy convention(s), Gregg has for years put on various radio plays in LA and environs as well as in Palm Springs for years with "all-star" casts, performing in radio "versions" of ILL as well as other recreations of famous vintage radio broadcasts, and the several I was lucky enough to attend were quite enjoyable and always professionally produced with TLC and obvious affection for the material.

 

While sad that I'll miss this latest endeavor due to logistics and other factors I'd rather not go into, I heartily encourage any- and everyone who can to attend this latest Oppenheimer production, as I have no doubt -- especially for a hardcore "Lucy" fan -- it will be time well spent and a good time had by all! ;)

 

Plus...the UCLA campus is absolutely gorgeous...just allow extra time should you get lost because it can be somewhat like a maze if you're not familiar with where you're going!! :blink:

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The hurdle of any Lucy-related stage or movie production is the casting of Lucille Ball.  I give the actresses, portrayers and imitators credit for trying but I've not seen anyone replicate the magic that is Lucy's portrayal of Lucy Ricardo.   No fault of the actresses.  It's just a near-impossible task. 

I enjoyed Jess's book very much.  He went from I Love Lucy to NBC who never really utilized his tremendous talent effectively.   My favorite of his post-ILL projects: the universally-panned Desilu production "Glynis", cancelled in mid-season back when that was unusual. 

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The hurdle of any Lucy-related stage or movie production is the casting of Lucille Ball.  I give the actresses, portrayers and imitators credit for trying but I've not seen anyone replicate the magic that is Lucy's portrayal of Lucy Ricardo.   No fault of the actresses.  It's just a near-impossible task. 

I enjoyed Jess's book very much.  He went from I Love Lucy to NBC who never really utilized his tremendous talent effectively.   My favorite of his post-ILL projects: the universally-panned Desilu production "Glynis", cancelled in mid-season back when that was unusual. 

Agreed... and based upon my memories of those actresses who tried gamely but ultimately, IMHO were for the most part unsuccessful, there has been no one yet who has come close to having that certain "something", that "it" factor that Lucy had that so few before her and even less after her had or needed to portray her convincingly...

 

The gal pictured in the ad for this new Oppenheimer Opus is made to look Lucy Ricardo-ish, but I have no idea whether she's just a model for the ad art or the actual actress cast in the role (it doesn't premiere for another year, so that seems unlikely); either way, she looks even less like LB than the actress initially cast to play her in that I Love Lucy Live thing that toured for awhile a few years back...heard she was replaced at one point but the original actress is the one I got to see in LA and truthfully ...I was not impressed. 

 

While I have little faith based on past experience that the actress ultimately cast for this production will have anywhere near the talent, pathos, range and comedic skills to faithfully portray our favorite Leading Lady, I'm hoping since they literally have a year to pull it together, that they will.

 

In the meantime, I'm still hoping the biographical film version of this true story that is sanctioned by Lucie and Desi Jr. with Cate Blanchett still comes to pass.  It's certainly got to be miles and away superior to the two prior TVMs thrust upon us before! :blink:

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