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.