August 14, 2008

2008-09 Season: You’Ll Love This ‘Official’ Lucy


By Frank Roberts



Lucille Ball and Red Skelton will be making appearances during the Suffolk Center For Cultural Arts' 2008-09 season.

Well, reasonable facsimiles.

The artists representing two of the world's best-known funny folk have the blessings of the esteemed redheads' estates. Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz, even refers to Suzanne LaRusch as "Mom" - a compliment supreme.

The actress/impressionist first played Lucy Ricardo during a Universal Studios assignment. Lucie, Desi Jr., and the production company, Desilu, recognize her as, "the official Lucy performer."

The other redheaded comic is portrayed by Tom Mullica. Mullica made friends with Skelton after the latter saw his variety act, which included some suggestive stuff, a Skelton no-no.

"If you clean up your act, you can use my material," Skelton, a film and television star, said. The act was sanitized and Mullica was off and running as such characters as the "Mean Widdle Kid" and "Clem Kadiddlehopper. "

Another faux also is on tap. Allen Harris will come to Suffolk on Dec. 11 in a Christmas show a la Nat King Cole.

The jolly season will be further aided and abetted by the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts as they bring in Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers on Dec. 19 with their seasonal show.

The "poorly behaved" Herdman family kids are the main characters in "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," which will open Dec. 20.

Of course, there will be two performances of "The Nutcracker," courtesy of the Virginia Ballet on Dec. 13 and 14.

There will be more singing and dancing, via two current favorites: "Disney's High School Musical" opens the season Sept. 2, and "Honk: The Musical" arrives April 26.

One of the country's most popular singers, Patsy Cline, has about 50 people representing her in shows around the country. For three big days in May, Julie Johnson will portray the star in "A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline."

For a little variety, rocker Bo Bice, runner-up to Carrie Underwood during season four of "American Idol," will show why he came close to being No. 1 when he does his thing on Nov. 9. Even Cyril Neville, Aaron's brother, will arrive April 24.

Coko will run the gamut from gospel to hip-hop on Dec. 6, and the soulful Stylistics will bring Jimmy "J.J." Walker with them in January.

For country and/or pop fans, The Bellamy Brothers will light up the stage on Feb. 21. For more variety, check out The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who will perform on April 18.

Another well-known band, the Average White Band, rocks in January.

Bluegrass music will take center stage as the Center closes its season May 17 with the Dixie Bee Liners.

There also is plenty for children, including two daytime matinees. On Jan. 17, they can enjoy alphabetician Steve Weeks, and on Jan. 13 "Fish Face," part of the "Kids of the Polk Street School" series, will come to town .

A biggie will be the March 14 and 15 Hurrah Players' version of "Peter Pan." Similar offerings are "Rumpelstiltskin" from Richmond's Theatre IV on May 28, and on April 5 the English National Ballet will present "Alice In Wonderland."

If you want to be a part of the season, call the Suffolk Center For Cultural Arts at 923-0003 for tickets.

Frank Roberts,

[email protected]

Here is a "post-it-on-your-fridge" schedule of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts 2008-09 season. The Sun will keep you up to date on the events as they come to town.

Sept. 21 "Disney's High School Musical"

Oct. 5 Tribute To Charlie Byrd

Oct. 18 Rita Coolidge

Oct. 26 "Seussical the Musical"

Nov. 8 Todd Rosenlieb Dance

Nov. 9 Bo Bice

Nov. 15 An Evening with Lucille Ball

Nov. 22 "Ralph's World"

Dec. 6 Coko

Dec. 11 A Nat King Cole Christmas

Dec. 13-14 "The Nutcracker"

Dec. 19 Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Christmas Show

Dec. 20 "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"

Jan. 17 Steve Weeks

Jan. 17 Average White Band

Jan. 24-25 "A Tribute To Red Skelton"

Jan. 31 "Fish Face"

Feb. 7 The Stylistics with Jimmy Walker

Feb. 14 "Pinkalicious"

Feb. 21 The Bellamy Brothers

Feb. 27 Maria Muldaur

March 14-15 "Peter Pan"

March 27-29 "A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline"

March 28 "Rumpelstiltskin"

April 5 "Alice In Wonderland"

April 18 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

April 24 Cyril Neville

April 26 "Honk: The Musical"

May 2 Catherine Russell

May 7 Dixie Bee Liners What's coming up?

Originally published by BY FRANK ROBERTS.

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