In ‘I Love Lucy’ Lucille Ball gets to do some ‘splainin’ once more

ENTB_Lucy2_1204

When we watch television shows of the ‘70s and ‘80s, it’s easy to say, ‘that really wasn’t such a long time ago.’ However, when it comes to “I Love Lucy,” which first aired in 1952, well, it really is starting to feel a bit like ancient history.

“The early 1950’s were so vastly different,” says Sirena Irwin, who stars as Lucy Ricardo in the hit production “I Love Lucy,” which opens tonight. Irwin, who spent much of her childhood in Western Massachusetts and is best known for her work as a voice actress, cites elements like the dynamic between the sexes as one of the biggest differences between 1952 and 2013. And then there are the clothes. “They are just beautiful and beautifully constructed. “After [a performance], have audience members who are extraordinarily expressive about how they’d love to wear them!”

The stage production of “I Love Lucy” recreates the world of the Desilu Playhouse, where classic episodes were originally filmed in the ’50s. Rather than focus on the real-life stories of stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez (the production only has the rights to the TV characters), the show transports its crowd into the studio audience while actual episodes of “I Love Lucy” are being filmed. Irwin and co-star Bill Mendieta (as Ricky) lead the cast as they recreate the live shooting of noted episodes, complete with the Cuban sounds of “The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra” and intermittent commercial jingles performed by the Crystaltone Singers.

If you’re not familiar with the original show, which starred one of the most groundbreaking and iconic female comics television has ever seen, you’re not alone. Irwin admits that she was only slightly familiar with the work of Lucille Ball until she experienced a huge dose of kismet in a class with actress Paula Stewart, who played Ball’s little sister in “Wildcats” on Broadway.

“She said to me, ‘you really should check out ‘I Love Lucy’ because there is something that is ringing a bell with you and Lucille,’” recounts Irwin of her encounter with Stewart. “And shortly thereafter I got the audition for the show. [Stewart] even called me up after she saw the show and said ‘this is too insane for coincidence. I think it’s pretty weird that Lucille was one of my best friends and that you’re somebody that I love and now you’re playing [her]!’”

But getting acquainted with Lucy has been more than just laughs for Irwin. Ball’s irrepressible personality has begun to seep into her own.

“I certainly do a lot more ‘ewwws’ than I ever did before,” jokes the actor. “I can’t believe I ever got through my life without having that expression!”

As anyone who loves the show can attest, whatever Lucy was feeling, she couldn’t help but show it.

“The thing I love so much about Lucy Ricardo is her willingness and desire to just feel very full of life. She has this incredible willingness to go anywhere and try anything,” says Irwin.

If you go

Through Dec. 22
Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre
106 Boylston 
St, Boston
$24-$996, 617-482-9393
citicenter.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Grimm choice: Tax fraud trial could dog NY…

Rep. Michael Grimm may be splitting his time between the campaign trail and a courtroom where he is due to face tax evasion charges.

Local

Met Opera, unions extend talks for 72 hours,…

Met Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout, the organization said late Thursday.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures August 2…

Summer Streets, the NYC Triathlon, the Ecuadorian Parade and festivals will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on 'Calvary' and his very…

Brendan Gleeson discusses how "Calvary" began over drinks and how his priest character is the opposite of the officer he played in "The Guard."

Movies

Interview: Chris O'Dowd does funny and serious in…

Chris O'Dowd talks about "Calvary," an Irish comedy-drama about a priest (Brendan Gleeson) under fire.

Movies

'Alive Inside' and 'Code Black' are documentaries with…

Two new documentaries — "Alive Inside" and "Code Black" — portray different issues but suffer from the same problem.

Music

Caught a Ghost catches a soul/rap vibe

Jesse Nolan says Caught a Ghost's sound aims for two things everybody likes: soul music and '90s rap.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…