Lucy’s fantastic four come to the Merriam

Show­time: I Love Lucy — Live On Stage will be at the Mer­ri­am Theat­er un­til Dec. 29.

The four­some you’ve known and loved for years — Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Eth­el — come to life again at the Mer­ri­am Theat­er Dec. 26-29.

Ad­ap­ted from one of the most be­loved pro­grams in tele­vi­sion his­tory, I Love Lucy — Live On Stage, takes the audi­ence back to 1952 where they be­come mem­bers of the Desilu Play­house stu­dio watch­ing the film­ing of two hil­ari­ous I Love Lucy epis­odes.

Sirena Ir­win plays Lu­cille Ball, re­pris­ing the role she cre­ated in the ori­gin­al Los Angeles and Chica­go pro­duc­tions, a role for which she re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards. But, Ir­win ad­mits, she took on the role without know­ing much about the show or its star.

“I had worked with Rick Sparks (the show’s dir­ect­or) be­fore and some of the cast mem­bers in oth­er shows. They re­com­men­ded me for the role and I au­di­tioned for it without know­ing the show very well,” Ir­win said. “I was told I re­minded people of Lucy, so I guess this was meant to be.”

Ir­win says she’s now hav­ing more fun than ever be­fore play­ing one of Amer­ica’s first grand TV comedi­ennes. But it wasn’t al­ways so.

“In the be­gin­ning, I was ter­ri­fied. On open­ing night, I thought I was go­ing to pass out. Step­ping in­to the shoes of this icon­ic char­ac­ter that people had loved for years made me ter­ribly afraid of fail­ing. I didn’t want to dis­ap­point the audi­ence.”

Today, those fears are gone as the show and its star have been em­braced by audi­ences every­where.

Ir­win, who has lived in many places grow­ing up due to her par­ents’ di­vorce, found en­cour­age­ment from sev­er­al teach­ers who got her in­ter­ested in act­ing. Even­tu­ally, she went on to study and re­ceive de­grees in in­ter­na­tion­al re­la­tions and theat­er from San Fran­cisco State.

Ir­win, 36, went on to ap­pear with the San Fran­cisco Shakespeare Fest­iv­al and vari­ous sketch com­edy groups. She’s also been heard on an­im­ated shows in­clud­ing Nick­elodeon’s Sponge­Bob Square­pants and Warner Bros’ Bat­man The Brave and the Bold. She’s writ­ten and dir­ec­ted mul­tiple short films that have been broad­cast and dis­trib­uted in­ter­na­tion­ally. But for now, Ir­win says, she totally loves Lucy.

“I’ve learned what a hard­work­ing wo­man she was. She nev­er took any­thing for gran­ted and worked hard every mo­ment of her ca­reer. She was nev­er one to rest on past laurels.

“And I don’t take do­ing the role of Lucy lightly,“ Ir­win con­cludes. “It’s a priv­ilege and an hon­or to bring her back to ad­or­ing audi­ences every­where. Lucy brought a great deal of joy to people around the globe, and it’s my job to keep that love, that joy, that hu­mor alive in our pro­duc­tion.” ••

For in­form­a­tion, call 215-731-3333. 

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