The world has been loving Lucy Ricardo since long before Thea Brooks or Euriamis Losada were born. Still, the stars of “I Love Lucy Live on Stage,” which opens Tuesday at the SHN Curran Theatre, know the iconic status of their roles.
“A family friend who was a Lucy fanatic sent us various fridge magnets, so Lucy was always around when I would go get milk,” says Brooks, whose natural look is more folk singer than crimson-tressed comedy icon. “My mother was a hippie and I was sort of raised without television. I learned more [about the show] in my comedy research when I was in college and really started to enjoy her then.”
Born in Santa Fe, Cuba, Losada was 6 when he emigrated to Miami. “I remember my dad being very proud that a Cuban had made such a success in American entertainment.”
Before it was called binge-watching, teenage Losada did just that with “Lucy” DVDs and a secret ingredient. “Every time I watch an episode now I get a craving for ice cream,” he laughs, “but I have to resist so I can lift those congas every night!”
Considered by many to be one of the best and most important television series ever made, “I Love Lucy” blazed myriad trails in the expanding television industry of the 1950s. It offered a revitalized career path for “Queen of the Bs” film star Lucille Ball, it made a household name of Cuban-American her then-husband bandleader Desi Arnaz, and it led a number of production innovations that are now industry standards, including filming with three cameras in front of a live audience.
All these elements contribute to the touring production that builds an evening around the filming of two “I Love Lucy” episodes where the audience in the Curran fills in for the Desilu Studios audience of almost 65 years ago.
Adding to the recreation are onstage musician filling in for Desi’s band and allowing Losada, a gifted singer, to croon a few signature Arnaz tunes. Both Brooks and Losada have been touched by how much the characters of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and their neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz, portrayed in the show by Kevin Remington and Lori Hammel, mean to people.
“I met a young married couple recently,” says Brooks. “The girl had grown up in India and she said that ‘Lucy’ was one of only two shows that were dubbed into Hindi and that it had been a huge part of her childhood. That’s just really cool!”
IF YOU GO
I Love Lucy Live on Stage
Where: SHN Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., S.F.
When: Tuesdays-Sundays; closes Nov. 23
Tickets: $45 to $115
Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com