March 31, 2006

Raising Money for the Arts

Lucie Arnaz, Brooke Shields, Anjelica HustonThe Palm Springs Art Museum held a celebration of art and music with laughter with Eric Idle as emcee and Lucie Arnaz, Brooke Shields, and Anjelica Huston in the Annenberg Theater, Saturday, March 25th. The event, sponsored by the Museum Associates Council, presented the Awards for Artistic Excellence to artists who have reached the pinnacle of being legends in their chosen artistic fields.

Lucie Arnaz performed after the awards presentations along with her band. Arnaz performed many show tunes and legendary standards beginning with, "If They Could See Me Now." Her parents, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, would have been proud. She was funny and warm, charming the audience with several personal anecdotes.

Many stars and legendary artists gathered including Merv Griffin and Nancy Reagan. Awards were presented to celebrity phtographer Michael Childers, fashion designer James Galanos, sculptor Robert Graham and glass artist Dale Chihuly. Palm Springs Mayor Ron Oden proclaimed the day to their honor for the occasion.

The museum raised $550,000 that will go to bring arts education to 20,000 valley children in Palm Springs.

March 28, 2006

I Love Lucy Scrapbook

Since the debut of "I Love Lucy" in 1951, Lucy and Desi have brightened the world be sharing their gift of comedy with millions of fans worldwide. Now you can relive the laughter of the classic TV show in 64 pages of a new one-of-a-kind scrapbook!

During their marriage, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz filled over 100 scrapbooks with all manner of memorabilia. Now fans can take a rare peek at the details of the famous TV couple's lives with this fantastic replica composite.


I Love Lucy Scrapbook
Written by Elizabeth Edwards, "Lucy & Desi: The Real-Life Scrapbook of America's Favorite TV Couple", chronicles the many special moments in the lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz along with the historic "I Love Lucy" TV show. This amazing collection of unusual mementos creates a truly unique interactive history. Each episode is remembered with hundreds of photos, fun facts, and authentic, personal notes. The book contains 25 interactive, three-dimensional paper-engineered replicas of actual items--from Desi's report card to important telegrams--which have never been published before. Vintage snapshots of happy family moments, touching love letters, passports, and other precious minutiae, with more than 150 photographs, both black-and-white and color, fill this wonderful, engrossing look back at the golden years of television comedy, when Lucy and Desi charmed America with humor and song. This official scrapbook is a must-have for the millions of devoted fans.

It also features reproductions of such never-before-seen rarities as Little Ricky's birth certificate ("Lucy Goes To The Hospital"), a candy wrapper ("Job Switching"), and Lucy and Ethel's sightseeing tour bus tickets ("The Tour"), you can relive your favorite moments!

Read the label on Lucy's favorite vitamin tonic ("Lucy Does A TV Commercial"), or laugh at Ricky's frantic telegram to the Marriage License Bureau ("Hollywood Anniversary").

Historic materials and detailed narrative of Elizabeth Edwards, longtime author and friend of the families, combine in the ultimate "I Love Lucy" book for the true fan!

You can obtain your copy of this unique book at Amazon.com!

March 24, 2006

Lucie Arnaz Joins Broadway's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Lucie Arnaz is set to star in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. She succeeds original star Joanna Gleason on May 29th. Before she enters Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, she is scheduled to star in Melinda Lopez' Sonia Flew at Florida's Coconut Grove Playhouse.

Lucie ArnazArnaz will return to the Imperial, where she made her Broadway debut in the 1979 musical They're Playing Our Song. Arnaz who made her first Broadway appearance nearly 15 years ago, will star as the wealthy divorcee 'Muriel Eubanks' of Omaha, Nebraska, in the Jeffrey Lane / David Yazbek hit.

Actress Joanna Gleason, who was Tony Award-nominated for creating the role in 2005, let the cat out of the bag in a WOR radio interview March 22nd. After Playbill.com reported the news, the producers confirmed Arnaz joined the troupe.

In addition to Gleason, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels currently stars Jonathan Pryce, Norbert Leo Butz, Rachel York, Gregory Jbara and Mylinda Hull.

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is my favorite Broadway musical of last season!" Arnaz said. "Joanna Gleason is leaving and I couldn't be happier to be filling her Feragamos. Jonathan Pryce and Rachel York have just recently joined the company, Norbert [Leo Butz] is still knockin' 'em dead every night and the show is hotter than ever. ...But, please give me a week or so not to be tripping on the turntable. After taking over a role in My One And Only, I know what it feels like to leap onto these moving trains-thrilling and horribly scary!" Arnaz continued.

Arnaz also appeared in Broadway's Lost in Yonkers and toured with Tommy Tune in My One and Only. They're Playing Our Song played the Imperial Theatre, where Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is holed up.

Arnaz received the Theatre World Award for her performance in the Neil Simon/Marvin Hamlisch/Carole Bayer Sager musical, They're Playing Our Song. She returned to Broadway 13 years later to star in Simon's Pulitzer Prize/Tony Award-winning play Lost in Yonkers. She starred opposite Tommy Tune in the national tour of My One and Only, and in the national tours of Whose Life Is It Anyway?, and Social Security. She also appeared in the West End premiere of the musical The Witches of Eastwick. Film and TV credits include Down to You, The Jazz Singer, as well as her famous mother's (Lucille Ball) TV series, "Here's Lucy" and her own headlined show "The Lucie Arnaz Show."

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opened on Broadway on March 3, 2005. The show won the 2005 Drama League Award as Best Musical, and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards. With a book by Jeffrey Lane and music and lyrics by David Yazbek (em>The Full Monty), the show stars Jonathan Pryce, Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Rachel York, Gregory Jbara and Mylinda Hull. The production is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell. The musical is based on the 1988 MGM film.

The original cast recording is available on Ghostlight Records. Visit the website of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to learn more. To purchase tickets online, visit telecharge.com.

March 20, 2006

New Book from Davis and Carroll

Laughing With Lucy: My Life With America's Leading Lady of Comedy by Madelyn Pugh Davis with Bob Carroll Jr. (Emmis, 288 pp., $19.95). Madelyn Pugh Davis has collaborated with her longtime writing partner Bob Carroll Jr. to produce a gracefully written memoir of the five decades she and Carroll spent churning out hundreds of scripts for Lucille Ball's radio and television shows, most notably I Love Lucy.

Davis warns in the first chapter that her book is not a tell-all about the people she used to work with. She steers far away from any discussion of Ball's stormy relationship with costar and real-life husband Desi Arnaz or his high profile drinking, gambling, and womanizing, which have been chronicled by Ball's biographers. (One of the reasons they decided to create I Love Lucy was to save their marriage. They had filed for divorce once before.)

One thing about Ball is clear: Though in the public eye her persona collided with her character's, Ball had little in common with the bubbly, child-like Lucy Ricardo. Davis offers flashes of insight: "Everyone is complicated and Lucy was more complicated than most. . . . She wasn't exactly known for her tact. She was often blunt and had trouble expressing herself." Still, Davis writes, Ball was "a beautiful clown . . . a comedy writer's dream. She made whatever you wrote look great."

You can find this book for sale on Amazon.com.

March 16, 2006

Free Admission at Desilu Playhouse

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is joining the Jamestown, New York community this weekend in the “Wearing of the Green” celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

The Desilu Playhouse, Jamestown’s newest Lucy-Desi attraction, will offer free admission on Saturday, March 18, and the Lucy-Desi Center will be part of the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade will begin at 1 p.m. in Baker Park on Fourth Street, heading down Main right past the Playhouse, and culminating in Brooklyn Square with the Jamestown Leprechaun’s turning the Chadakoin River green.

Center Events Coordinator Libby Nord said excitement is building for Lucy-Desi’s participation in Saturday’s activities. “St. Patrick’s Day is all about having a good time,” Ms. Nord noted. “It’s a great fit for all of us in Lucille Ball’s hometown!”

The Desilu Playhouse, at 2 West Second Street, will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Named after the studio where “I Love Lucy” was filmed, the Playhouse opened last August and is the permanent home of the 50th Anniversary Tour that traveled the country in 2001-2002 to celebrate the most popular sitcom ever on television. It features exact replicas of “I Love Lucy” studio sets - TV’s most famous apartment and the Hollywood hotel where Lucy pantomimed with Harpo Marx and set her nose on fire with William Holden - plus “Vitameatavegamin,” screenings, a gift shop, and much more.

Other “Wearing of the Green” events include a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner and entertainment at the Holiday Inn on Saturday night. The O’Sullivan School of Irish Dance, the Molly O’Muir Band and the world famous Glengarry Bhoys are all “on tap” for the evening. For further information and reservations, call the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation at (716) 664-2477.

For more information about the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, call or visit the Lucy-Desi Gift Shop, 300 N. Main Street, Jamestown, NY 14701, (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) or online at www.lucy-desi.com. Hours for the Lucy-Desi Museum at 212 Pine, the Desilu Playhouse at 2 W. 3rd Street, and the Lucy-Desi Center Gift Shop are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

March 13, 2006

Lucie Arnaz reminisces, sings in Ridgefield Playhouse

Lucie Arnaz is a classy lady. And why wouldn't she be. Her mom and dad were show business royalty: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Saturday, March 10th, Arnaz brought her zest for life and love of the stage to The Ridgefield Playhouse in Danbury, CT in "An Evening with Lucie Arnaz". From a tribute to her Latin roots and her father, to a touch of Irving Berlin, Arnaz performed the songs she loves, and then joined the audience at a champagne reception.

Lucille Ball, left, is joined by her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, in a hastily produced talent show about the liner S.S. Lurline in the "Lucy Goes Hawaiian" episode of "Here's Lucy."

Arnaz delights in being in films as much as she loves the Broadway stage.

"If I could always find them and make a living at it, I'd be in a great play on Broadway for six months and then in a top film for the rest of the year," she said. "They're such different experiences. On the stage, it's all in your head, in your eyes, in how you carry yourself. It's bigger, immediate — you and the audience. It lasts for a minute and then lives on in the memory.

"In film, the director tells you, 'That's what I want.' And you do a few frames. They photograph you and touch it up — make you look good. And when they make you look good, it's there forever," Arnaz said.

Arnaz makes a living in almost every facet of the entertainment business. She's an actress, singer, dancer, producer, director and Broadway star. She's proven herself as a business executive too, managing Desilu, which she formed with her brother, Desi Arnaz, Jr., to oversee their parents' vast legacy.

She also helps run "Education Through Entertainment," which she formed with her husband, actor Larry Luckinbill. Married in 1980, they have three children — Simon, Joe and Kate Luckinbill, plus Luckinbill's two sons, Nicholas and Ben.

Arnaz's Broadway hits are many, including "Annie Get Your Gun" (in which she played Annie), "Educating Rita" (with Luckinbill), "Whose Life is it Anyway," and the Neil Simon/Marvin Hamlisch hit, "They're Playing Our Song."

She also performed for 15 months in London's prestigious West End in "The Witches of Eastwick." And her first album, "Just in Time," was released in 1993 by Concord, Jazz, Inc.

As for Arnaz's appearances on television, they're too numerous to list; she got her start on her mother's hit series, "The Lucy Show," at age 12. In 1968, at 17, she became a regular on "Here's Lucy," starring with brother Desi. She went on as an adult to have her own series, "The Lucie Arnaz Show" in 1985.

"My mother was a pretty smart lady," Arnaz said. "She never would have put her kids on her show if we weren't talented. From age 7 to 9, I was making up plays and putting them on in the back yard. Then I picked my high school because it had the best drama department. She (Ball) knew that's where my heart was."

While Arnaz had acted for family, friends and school chums, going on a national TV show was another matter. "It was putting me out in front of millions of viewers," she recalled, adding she knew she could have blown her career if she performed poorly. "I literally made by writers and executive producers, my aunt and my step-dad, and made them promise that if the reviews and word of mouth were asking 'What is this kid doing on the air?' they'd write me out and save my career."

That wasn't necessary. Each year, Arnaz's performances became better and better. And they gave her more and more to do in the series.

"I learned my craft in front of millions of people," Arnaz said. "But I went back to the stage, thanks to Vivian Vance."

Vance, who played Ethel Mertz on "I Love Lucy," told Arnaz she should never forget that her first love was the stage.

"'Don't' get stuck playing the same character year after year on a TV show,' Vivian said. 'Be diversified.' She was a dear friend and the very first time I opened on the stage in Hartford, there was Vivian, standing in the wings applauding," Arnaz said.

March 10, 2006

I wrote for Lucy

Former Marion resident Madelyn Pugh Davis recalls her years screenwriting - and testing stunts - for Lucille Ball in a new book.

Lucy's old boyfriend turns up - played by Frank Sinatra. Lucy raises chinchillas. Lucy visits her hometown of Jamestown, N.Y., and the audience discovers that all of her relatives look like her.

They may sound like I Love Lucy shows seen on television, but these plots never happened.

They come instead from the now-tattered spiral notebooks Madelyn Pugh Davis and writing partner Bob Carroll Jr. filled with ideas and observations from daily life that they could pass onto their bosses, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. From those notebooks came hundreds of episodes the pair wrote for I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Showand Here's Lucyduring the 1950s and 1960s.

An Indianapolis native and a former Marion resident, Davis worked with Carroll to create stories of Lucy's quests to make it in show business, her ill-fated stints at a pizza parlor and a candy factory, the birth of Little Ricky and other incidents in the fictional lives of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

"We tried to write shows people would identify with, that happened to them or to their brother-in-law," says Davis, speaking by phone from her home in Los Angeles. "We did a lot of shows about money and being afraid to tell your husband what you spent and thinking 'Well, I'll go into business for myself.'"

Now Davis has turned her memories from days with Lucy and Desi into a book, Laughing with Lucy: My Life with America's Leading Lady of Comedy. The book details exploits that, although lacking chinchillas and Sinatra, did include Davis rolling along the floor inside a rug, getting ready for bed wearing handcuffs and crushing eggs inside her blouse - all in the name of coming up with gags that would draw laughs on the show.

If the laughs were extra long and loud, however, it was usually thanks to Ball, Davis says.

"We wrote everything out, all the physical stuff, (Lucy) used to call it the 'black stuff,'" Davis says. "She would then add little touches. Like if we said, 'She takes her nose and puts it on a teacup,' instead she put it on so it looked like a bird. It was a marvelous little funny touch and sometimes I'd say, 'You did that, do that again,' and she'd say, 'What did I do?' She was just naturally funny."

Working with Lucy and Desi

After Davis graduated from Indiana University in 1942 with a journalism degree, she planned to become a news reporter. But she was turned down by all three of the Indianapolis newspapers and ultimately landed a job with a local radio station.

She moved to California a year later and eventually became the second woman staff writer hired by CBS. That's where she met Carroll. The pair met Ball when they wrote for one of her radio shows and were asked by the actress to write her first television show.

They shot the pilot for I Love Lucy in March 1951. In her book, Davis describes how Arnaz convinced network executives to let them tape the show in California and on film in front of a live audience, all of which were rarities in those days.

"He thought that there's got to be a way to do everything," Davis says. "He had great optimism. Sometimes we would go ask him, 'We've got this idea and we thought we would run it by you because we don't know if we can do it on stage.' He would say, 'Let me call the guys,' and he'd call the special effects guys and they'd say, 'Sure.'"

Arnaz also had a good sense about what would work for Ball as a performer, Davis says.

"She would listen to him," she says. "One time she didn't like something and was sort of upset about a script and he'd always say, 'Now, honey, if you try it out and if it doesn't work and you don't like it then they'll think of something else, but give it a try and see.' And then she tried it and almost all the time, it was OK."

Davis' friendship and working relationship with the couple lasted longer than their marriage did, but she said the two always remained affectionate toward each other.

"They were crazy about each other," she says. "I can tell you this, whenever I was meeting with him in the office, he didn't take any calls except hers. And when she called, I knew he was talking to her by the tone of his voice, and they were divorced."

Writing the Lucy show

Davis and Carroll wrote 39 scripts for the first season of I Love Lucy - almost double the 22 or 24 episodes a television program typically airs today.

"We didn't know any better," Davis says. "We didn't have room for shows to fall out because we started four or five weeks ahead and by the end of the season, we were almost handing it to them on the set because we'd get so close to the deadline."

That meant that gags written for the actors couldn't fall through at the last minute. So Davis and Carroll tried out the stunts they wrote for the programs, with Davis recreating a lot of Lucy's antics to make sure they wouldn't put Ball in an unsafe situation.

She and Carroll tried to get ready for bed while handcuffed together for an I Love Lucy gag in which Lucy accidentally traps Ricky and doesn't have the right key to unlock them. Davis wrapped herself in string and had Carroll simulate that string being caught in an elevator door for a stunt in which Lucy's dress unraveled.

Later, they tested an incident intended for The Lucy Show, in which Ball's character was to roll herself in a rug and roll out of a room.

"It sounds funny, but you don't roll frontways in a rug, you roll sideways," Davis says. "So you can't get through the door. That kind of thing, we wrote it and said, 'That's a scream,' and it didn't work at all."

The famous episode when Lucy and Ethel run amok in a candy factory came after Carroll, Davis and producer Jess Oppenheimer consulted the yellow pages and had an "Ah ha!" moment when coming to the "C" section. They would later recruit a candymaker from See's Candy factory so Ball could imitate, and ultimately find a funny way at bungling, her actions.

"I like the candy show a lot, everybody does," Davis says. "Then another one I like is where she was hiding the eggs in her blouse and they were going to do the tango and he was pulling her toward him. In the end, that was the longest laugh we ever had."

Life in Marion

Davis moved to Marion in 1964 after marrying Dr. Richard Davis, a Marion resident she first met while attending IU.

The two held their wedding at the Hostess House; in the book Davis describes Ball calling a Marion florist to order yellow tulips for a centerpiece at the reception luncheon.

"The florist almost had a nervous breakdown," Davis writes. "Lucille Ball had ordered tulips, and there were no tulips to be had for miles around. So they substituted yellow roses and I thanked Lucy for the yellow tulips."

They moved into the Frank Lloyd Wright house in the Shady Hills development, which made for frequent visitors wanting to take a look at the famous architect's work.

"The people were very, very friendly and nice," Davis says. "We were sort of oddities. People sometimes kind of drove by."

Carroll would come to Marion so the two could work on writing projects. One of those visits coincided with the Palm Sunday 1965 tornadoes, which seriously damaged parts of South Marion. The Davis' and Carroll had no electricity for two days and cooked the food left in the freezer in the fireplace.

"It was a beautiful house, but it was a little difficult to live there, the kitchen was very small. I don't think Mr. Wright was a cook," Davis says. "So it took a little getting used to. Workmen would come in the house and say, 'Wow.' In small towns like Marion, everybody knows everybody and they'd say, 'Did you really write the Lucy show?"

Although she moved away after only a few years here, a lot of Marion residents still remember Davis, says niece Tracy Lester, who remembers watching the candy episode in their living room.

"We were always very proud of the fact that she did this," Lester says. "Its even more amazing that she's come up with all these stories. She's very humble about it and very low key and never really sensationalized the whole idea of it. It was just what she did and those were the people that she was close with."

Lucy's legacy

Fans still stop Davis and tell her how much they loved the Lucy shows.

"People tell me they still look at the Lucyshow and love the look of it because it makes them laugh and it makes them feel better," she says. "I'm very thrilled when I hear that."

But she doesn't see a lot of I Love Lucy in today's television shows.

"It seemed to me in the earlier days, usually you had a star and you wrote for the comic," Davis says. "And now they seem to get an idea and just cast it, which is OK. When you have a comic you tend to write everything toward them and feature them."

Although comedies of today are moving from a focus on families toward programs set around businesses or groups of friends, Jerry Katzman, director of industry relations and professor of theater, film and television at the University of California-Los Angeles, says Lucyis still an influence.

"They did adult slapstick and each character had their good points and their foibles," Katzman said. "If you're young, you could identify with the Lucille Ball character, the clown. If you're older, you could identify with (Fred and Ethel Mertz) and their problems.

"Today's shows are really just replications of I Love Lucy in different forms."

Originally published February 26, 2006 in the Chronicle-Tribune by Rachel Kipp.

March 06, 2006

Lucille Ball in Ziegfield Follies coming to DVD

Coming April 25 from Warner Home Video is "Ziegfeld Follies of 1946," the splashy MGM musical that features Lucy in the opening number as a glamorous "lion tamer." The feature is part of Warner's "Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Collection," and will also be available separately.

This video is a collection of five newly-remastered favorites from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Golden Era. The titles featured, which are all making their debut on DVD, include "It's Always Fair Weather," "Summer Stock," "Three Little Words," "Till the Clouds Roll By," in addition to "Ziegfeld Follies" and contain some of the most memorable numbers by the greatest stars of the genre.

The famous M-G-M slogan "More Stars Than There are in Heaven" was never truer than in this spectacular collection of the fabled studio's vintage musicals which features some of the most eye-popping numbers in the history of the film musical. In addition to Judy, Fred and Gene, the studio piles on Lena Horne, Esther Williams, Cyd Charisse, June Allyson, Frank Sinatra, Van Johnson, Kathryn Grayson, Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, William Powell, and too many to name them all!

Each feature film in this collection has been meticulously restored and remastered from its original elements by Warner Home Video and complimented with new featurettes, rare outtake musical numbers, audio only bonus outtakes and vintage cartoons. The titles will be available individually for $19.97 with the five-disc collection selling for $59.92.

Two years in the making, Ziegfeld Follies was a distinct departure from musicals that preceded it. Presented in a revue format with no storyline, Ziegfeld Follies allowed the stars to shine in a musical extravaganza without that pesky plot getting in the way.

With the “crème de la crème” of credited and uncredited Hollywood creative talent, this all-star revue is heaven to fans of movie musicals. Fred Astaire dazzles not once, not twice…but four times, including The Babbitt and the Bromide with Gene Kelly, the first time the two greatest dancers in musical history dueted. Red Skelton reprises his funny Guzzler’s Gin skit. Esther Williams swims, Lena Horne sings and Judy Garland spoofs snobbery. Add to this a Verdi opera and the legendary Fanny Brice (who rose to stardom under the Ziegfeld touch) enacting one of her inimitable comic numbers and the result is the musical form at its purest.

DVD Special Features include:

  • New featurette Ziegfeld Follies: An Embarrassment of Riches
  • Vintage MGM Crime Does Not Pay short The Luckiest Guy in the World
  • 2 classic MGM cartoons:
  • The Hick Chick
  • Solid Serenade
  • Audio-only bonus: outtake songs If Swing Goes, I Go Too, This Heart of Mine and We Will Meet Again in Honolulu
  • Ziegfeld movies trailer gallery
  • Both remixed Dolby Surround Stereo and original Mono English Audio
  • Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (feature film only)

March 02, 2006

Room Service coming to Stage

The 1938 movie "Room Service", which stared Lucille Ball and the Marx brothers is coming to the Avo Playhouse in Vista, California by the Moonlight Stage Productions. Starring actor, Frank Remiatte will be the lead and directed by the former Renaissance Theatre Company founder, George Flint.

"I read the script and loved it," Remiatte said. "It's got so much to it. So much humor and a little romance to go with it."

Set in 1930s New York City, "Room Service" is the story of Sasha Smirnoff, a Broadway producer who is living in a hotel with most of the cast rehearsing the show "Godspeed." Unfortunately, he can't find a backer for his play and his bills are getting so overdue that he and the cast are in danger of being thrown out of the hotel.

The similarity between this fast-talking producer and the one played by Nathan Lane in the Mel Brooks musical "The Producers" isn't lost on Remiatte.

"Nathan Lane is one of my idols," he said. "And yes, the character does remind me a little of him. I hope I bring some of him to the role."

Even though the role requires a lot of lines and a quick delivery, Remiatte is enjoying the experience.

"It hasn't been all that challenging," he said. "The cast and crew have been really supportive. In fact, the most difficult thing has been the commute from Poway to Vista in rush-hour traffic. But I've always wanted to work at Moonlight."

And he's happy to work with Flint again, even if it's probably for the last time.

"I enjoying working with George," he said. "He has a great vision and really knows how to cast a show. I'm going to miss him when he leaves."

Meanwhile, Remiatte is having fun with "Room Service."

"There's so much going on onstage," said Remiatte, who works as an operations manager for a worker's comp company. "There are doors slamming, people running all over and food flying. It's really a screwball comedy."

No wonder there is a film version of the play that starred the Marx Bros. and Lucille Ball, but it deviated greatly from the play. The stage version is much funnier, Remiatte said.

"The show has such good, fun humor," he said. "It's one of those shows where the audience can sit back and be entertained for two hours."

Room Service" opens March 2 and runs through March 19; showtimes, 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Avo Playhouse in Vista, California. Tickets are $23, general, $21, seniors, students and military. For more information call (760) 724-2110 or visit the Moonlight Stage Productions website.

March 01, 2006

Remembering the Mayor of Kildoonan

Larry Orenstein (pictured here to the left of Uan Rasey, who played the Mayor of Kildoonan in the I Love Lucy episode, Lucy Goes to Scotland has passed away. Larry also wrote the episode's songs, which include "A McGillicuddy Is Here," "I'm in Love With a Dragon's Dinner," "Two Heads Are Better Than One," "'Tis Nae a Braw Bricht Nicht," and "Dragon Waltz."

Larry was a guest during the summer of 2004's Jamestown Lucille Ball Birthday Celebration. He traveled with his close friend and I Love Lucy scriptwriter, Bob Schiller to take part in the festival weekend.

Born Lawrence Neill Orenstein on Aug. 30, 1918, in St. Paul, MN, he played the the bugle before getting his first trumpet at age 11 and is best known for his Jazz music.

As a kid, Orenstein listened to recordings made by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, Cab Calloway, and his trumpet idols, Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. These records became his "teachers."

Orenstein and his family moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1930's where attended UCLA, and where he acted in plays and built on his natural vocal talents by studying voice with Robert Hurd.

After graduating from UCLA, Orenstein joined the Shep Fields band in August 1940, as trumpeter/vocalist. Coming up with something fresh is exactly what Orenstein has done time and time again throughout his career in both the music and business arenas. In addition to being a veteran musician of the big bands, he has written lyrics for motion pictures, radio and television, most notably putting words to The General Jumped At Dawn, a Jimmy Mundy composition that made its way into the 1944 film, Hollywood Canteen. He's written musicals, worked as an actor appearing on I Love Lucy, performed on Broadway and ran a successful advertising agency.

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