‘Laughter On The Lake’ A New Era For Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center
POSTED: August 20, 2010
Thursday evening may have marked the end of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center series of comedians, "Laughter on the Lake," but it is also a clear sign of a new beginning for the center, according to board president Tom Benson.
"The board is committed to an aggressive expansion plan for the center that will see the strengthening of its Lucy Desi Museum and I Love Lucy Playhouse operations and the development of an over-arching Legacy of Laughter program that will be designed to promote comedy and laughter on a much broader scale," Benson said. "We want to preserve the incredible contributions of Lucy and Desi through the transformation of Jamestown into the Comedy Center of America.
Dan Dalpra of Bemus Bay Pops, left, and Tom Benson, president of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center board, promote the partnership that resulted in Laughter on the Lake.
The Legacy of Laughter platform will have four segments. The first will be the Legacy of Laughter Award and Hall of Fame. This award will be given annually to the comedian who, as determined by the judges, most exemplifies Lucy and Desi and the mission of the Center. The initial award will be presented in August 2011 during Lucy's 100th birthday celebration.
The second Legacy of Laughter segment will be the Festival of New Comedy which will return the center to its roots when the likes of (then unknowns) Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres and Paula Poundstone played in Jamestown during the early Lucy Fest programs.
"We want to get to the point where every up-and-coming comedian feels that they must play the Legacy of Laughter Festival in order to make it to the top," said Benson.
Legacy of Laughter's third part will be a Short Comedic Film Festival that will inspire new artists to follow Lucy and Desi's footsteps and delve into comedic theater. The fourth will be the development of a comedic education program in conjunction with an accredited university that will have satellite programs in Jamestown and the surrounding region. Part of this program will focus on the healing power of laughter and will eventually provide services to local health care institutions.
''Our plans are very ambitious, but we have a great deal to work with. As evidenced by the Laughter on the Lake Series, we will develop close collaborations with the other local attractors so that we can share marketing and public relations functions for the overall benefit of all and we will be much more global in our thoughts and actions,'' Benson said. ''At the same time we will reach out to the Jamestown and regional community and ask for input and participation in meaningful ways.''
Plans are in the works for Lucy's 100th birthday celebration next August and details will be released over the coming months.
In addition, a new robust website complete with social media and state-of-the-art merchandizing will be launched in about six weeks.
"My brother and I are thrilled at the direction the Center is taking, and we fully endorse it," said Lucie Arnaz. "We are committed to helping Tom and the board make our mother's 100th birthday celebration a huge success, and to getting the Legacy of Laughter platform off to a great start.''
The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center's purpose is to promote and develop comedy as an art form, including new forms of comedy, and the mission is to preserve and celebrate the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter.
For more information on the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, call 484-0800 or go to their website, www.lucy-desi.com.
Showbiz Memoir I Loved Lucy Will Star Jeffry Denman and Diane J. Findlay in California
By Kenneth Jones, 19 Aug 2010
Laguna Playhouse's world premiere of I Loved Lucy, the stage version of Lee Tannen's book about his friendship with aging actress Lucille Ball, will star Diane J. Findlay as Ball and Jeffry Denman as Lee.
Performances under the direction of Todd Weeks will play Oct. 5-31 in Laguna Beach, CA. Opening is Oct. 9.
According to production notes, "Comedienne Lucille Ball left an indelible imprint on fans throughout the world, but most saw only the public persona. Now, go behind the scenes and get a glimpse of the personal side of Lucy. Few people knew America's comic sweetheart the way Lee Tannen did. Though distantly related by marriage and 40 years apart in age, Lucy and Lee became the nearest and dearest of friends during the last decade of Lucy's life. It was a time Lucy spent out of the spotlight and around a backgammon table, and Lee was lucky enough to be sitting across from her for much of that time."
"Lee Tannen has a unique insider's knowledge of Lucille Ball," Laguna Playhouse artistic director Andrew Barnicle said in a statement. "He spent years as her friend and confidant, and he saw her through many of the ups and downs in the last decade of her life. Yes, she was a comic powerhouse. She was also stubborn, philosophical, affectionate, mercurial, vulnerable, and very human."
Denman appeared in Off-Broadway's Yank! (for which he was a 2010 Drama Desk nominee) and Broadway's White Christmas, The Producers, Cats, Dream and 1995's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Findlay appeared in Off-Broadway's Flamingo Court, Paper Mill Playhouse's Funny Girl and Goodspeed Musicals' Dear World and They All Laughed.
For more information, call (949) 497-2787, or visit LagunaPlayhouse.com.