Performer ensures audience loves Lucy

FUNNY GIRL: Elise McCann stars on stage in Everybody Loves Lucy.
FUNNY GIRL: Elise McCann stars on stage in Everybody Loves Lucy. Kurt Sneddon

AN AUSTRALIAN musical theatre performer is paying tribute to TV's pioneering funny woman Lucille Ball.

Elise McCann is the star of acclaimed one-woman show Everybody Loves Lucy.

After sold-out seasons in Sydney, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Melbourne, the show is making its way to Queensland. Theatre-goers might recognise the NIDA graduate from her supporting roles in South Pacific and Doctor Zhivago.

But the spotlight belongs solely to Elise in Everybody Loves Lucy.

"When it's just one person on stage, you have to be there 100%. Once I start I don't go off," she tells APN.

"Lucille was so phenomenal; so intelligent and iconic. It's a massive one-woman show. There's lots of singing and dancing in it and it can be quite physically exhausting."

Luckily Elisa is an accredited ballroom and Latin dance teacher.

The cabaret show follows Ball from her early days as a B-movie actress to her starring role in her own TV sitcom I Love Lucy and the deterioration of her marriage to Cuban husband and collaborator Desi Arnaz.

During her research for the show, Elise developed a newfound respect for Ball and the many differences between the savvy redhead and her on-screen housewife character Lucy Ricardo.

"I used to watch re-runs when I was a kid, so I knew how funny she was," she says.

"When you haven't done much research you think you know everything and then when you start you realise how little you know.

"She set a new standard for women in the 1950s and now I have this new respect and love for the shows I watched as a kid. I watch them with a knowledge of all the work that went in behind it."

Elise has also been cast in Channel 7's Peter Allen biopic. She plays Allen's sister Lynne Smith in the mini-series and is fitting her filming in around the Everybody Loves Lucy tour running through the end of March.

Everybody Loves Lucy plays QPAC's Cremorne Theatre from February 24 to 27.

Topics:  nida theatre

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