Friday, March 14, 2014

YOU ALL WILL NEVER BELIEVE THIS! The I Love Lucy Live Stage Show...

(The Casablanca's treasured autographed, limited edition Show Poster!)
I am STILL in shock over our A-mazing "I Love Lucy Live on Stage" experience. Patricia and I were invited by friends Teresa and Kate (with Joy and Jacqueline) to attend Tuesdays Opening Night performance of the "I Love Lucy Live on Stage" show. Friend Teresa had booked us excellent floor seats and we were about 20ft away from the stage! It was JUST like being in a 1952 taping of "I Love Lucy" at the Desilu Playhouse. I Just, I'm still grinning over it.Thank You ladies for including us on this outing!
(Kate with the limited edition poster 
she won for dressing 1950's to see the show.)
The evening festivities began almost as soon as we entered Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth TX, friend Kate was awarded this neat poster because she came to the show dresses so cute!  HOW COOL!  
 (Claire, Jaqueline, Joy, & Kate!)
Next when we entered the auditorium we were met with delight...
(The Ricardo's Living room!!!)
 Not only were our seats close, but I discovered that the couch and chair set they use in the show is the EXACT same color blue as OUR couch and chair set at the Casablanca! (Even the legs are the same color.) Once the show began the audience was whisked back in time for the next two hours. It was a trip!  The "musical" isn't a musical persay, as it is a play with music numbers in it,  in the show you were part of a studio audience filming two episodes of the "I Love Lucy" show. We laughed till our sides hurt. (Even without the "applause" signs prodding us!) During the scene changes a singing group preformed commercials, at one point there was a quiz show portion to the evening, even actors out in the 'live studio audience'! Let me tell you readers, I was beaming ear to ear as was the rest of our group.  It was a wonderful evening that I was so thankful and glad Teresa and Kate had included us in! I highly insist if the "I Love Lucy Live on Stage" show plays near you, GET TICKETS! It is well worth the cost!
(Lucy, Ethel er Patrica, Ricky, and Fred Mickey!)
After the show was over and we had clapped our hearts out for the actors, we all had our pictures taken in the photo stand and we hit up the gift shop for another show poster. 

*  *  *
The next part of our evening is where the REAL "Casablanca Magic" begins... 
It was such a nice evening, out little group decided to walk around Sundance Square near the theatre. We had been enjoying the warm evening air when suddenly the wind picked up and was blowing us all over the place!  We were crossing the street to the parking garage when I see the girls do a double take, and then I did a double take and "Ricky" (Billy Mendieta) was passing us crossing the street! I wasn't 100% if it was him, but I said "You were fantastic!" and he STOPPED right there in the street and started talking to me!!! The Ladies asked if we could get a picture and graciously agreed...
(Me, Patricia, Billy, Jacqueline, Kate, and Claire!)
While we were standing there, I asked if he would sign my poster and he said of course. Kate had given me the Special poster she had won, and Billy asked if I would like that one signed as well.  I asked it he we personalize it "To the Casablanca..." and he did! 
 ("To the Casablanca, thank you for all your support 
& love for all things Lucy and Ricky!")
SO, then he asks "What's the Casablanca?" and we all go tripping over words telling him its a club, a vintage club, with all these great parties, and for the local theatre elite! And he said he thought it was pretty cool! I COULD HAVE DIED! After thanking him for everything he picked up his backpacks, I handed him his Jamba Juice, and headed over to his hotel across the street.
He told us if we wanted five or ten minuets Lucy and Ethel should be coming out and would gladly sign our poster.
So naturally we wait, everyone excitedly talking about meeting "Ricky" from the show and after about 10 minuets we see him coming back out way! (He had left is wallet in the dressing room of the theatre.) He stopped and talked to us again (he is so nice!) and said "I'll try and hurry them up for you." Well, he goes in and comes back out and says "I'm sorry, but it looks like they ran off..." and we were all saying "oh that's okay, it was nice meeting you.." and THEN he says- "The Cast is actually having a private Opening Night party at PFChangs, would you all like to come as my guests and meet them?" I am pretty sure all seven of our mouths dropped open, and we totally accepted the invitation! So away our group went walking down town Fort Worth with Billy Mendieta chatting the night away.
(Oh, ya know... just chilling with the production at PFChangs...)
When we get to the restaurant, Billy doesnt dump us at the door but instead takes our group around and PERSONALLY INTRODUCES us to everyone in the production! Sirena Irwin (Lucy Ricardo), Peter Kevoian (Fred Mertz), Joannah Daniels (Ethel Mertz) makeup people, hair, costumes, lights, sound...EVERYONE!  If I am dreaming, I don't want to wake up! 
 I was completely star struck! Thank goodness for friends Teresa and Kate, while I was in a showbiz stupor they went around asking everyone to sign our poster for the Casablanca! (Thanks Ladies!) Which prompted the question from almost everyone "What is the Casablanca?!" and we all started telling them about out vintage club, and the fabulous themed parties we throw. The cast thought it was all pretty cool and asked if we had any pictures, so we showed them picture of the house and Drive-In and told them all about our upcoming formal dance. I was in PURE. SHOCK. all these famous people talking about OUR Casablanca, and not just "talking about it" but REALLY being interested and loving it!
(Kate, Sirena (Lucy Ricardo), Billy (Ricky Ricardo), Jacqueline, & Claire)

What was REALLY cool was that not only were these people "theatre people" but almost all of them had a love for things 1950's! We stayed nearly two hours chilling and chatting with them they were all really sincerely interested in what we were telling them about the Casablanca!

I met actress, Tamara Zook and we talked for about 45 min about all things Mid Century I showed her pictures of the Casablanca, and she in turn showed me pictures from her Californian friends house that has been featured on Apartment Therapy! She was so great and I really enjoyed talking to her. I showed her a picture of a ticket stub that I have from when the Set of "I Love Lucy" exhibit was at the Texas State Fair and she said GET OUT! The Traveling exhibit is actually what got the ball rolling for the "I Love Lucy Live on Stage" show! Tamara introduced me to Mark Christopher Tracy (He plays the announcer for the Desilu Playhouse in the show) Because he has been with the show since the concept was born.

Mark is SUCH a neat guy! We talked for about 30 min on the subject of Drive-In Movie theaters (He is in a car club and loves them!) and I showed him pictures of the "Worlds Smallest" Drive-In Theater- the Casablanca's own Flamingo Drive-In and he said "That was the neatest thing he'd ever seen" and he "LOVED My vintage lawn chair collection!" He showed me his 1955 Buick and joked "I don't drive this every day." to which Patricia said "YOU SHOULD!"  He was so great! He told me "Being a set dresser was a great job!"

 (Sirena Irwin (Lucy), Mick, & Patricia!)
One of the many highlights of the night was getting to meet Sirena Irwin! The girls had been telling her all about our fabulous parties and "Playground for the Theatre Elite" when she came over and said- "Are you the famous Mick?!" I said "yes!" and we talked and I showed her picture of the Casablanca, was telling her all about it and in passing I said "It's not a big deal" to which Sirena says "I have to disagree with you, it IS a big deal! You are doing a lot of good for people in a really neat way."  
What a compliment! She is such a wonderful actress, and sounds JUST like Lucille Ball (and not just and act for us, it's her real voice!) She is such a nice person, everyone there was! She posed for pictures and hugged me and listed to all our crazy stories from the Casablanca, it was magical! Our little group of seven CANNOT thank Billy Mendieta enough for inviting us as his special guest to the casts private Opening Night Soriee! Thank you! You made this "Lucy Lovers" Life! haha the entire Company did!
Truly a night we will NEVER  forget!



1/3 of the 3 Maries said...

It was a very memorable evening! It was lovely having you as our I Love Lucy and all things mid-century expert to answer all our questions at dinner. The show was incredible. I loved every minute of it! The marvelous Billy Mendieta was so gracious to us all. He treated us like old friends, introducing us to cast and crew when we arrived. Later in the evening, Joanna Daniels (who played Ethel) approached me and asked if I was with Billy's group. It made me feel special. :) I'm so happy to have shared such a wonderful evening with friends!

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

I'm go glad you got to go! I know how much you love Lucy.

Jim said...

I'd say it was a night to remember, Mick!!
I could feel your enthusiasm and joy all the way up the eastern seaboard to Nova Scotia! I am thrilled for you Mick and for Patricia and the others.
I 'grew up' with 'Lucy and Ricky'. They are a part of me that still chuckles when I see a clip as if it was the first time!
So happy you have had this experience.....what goes around, comes around.

CherryPicked said...

How cool was this night?! I know you were loving it:) I am a big Lucy and Ethel fan so I know this show was just perfect.

Jessica Cangiano said...

I was on the edge of my seat throughout this whole marvelous post. What a thrilling experience for all of you! If ever there was a night to remember! :)

♥ Jessica