Monday, June 21, 2021

On Stage: March 9th-11th, 15th-18th (Nightly at 7:30pm, Sundays at 2:30pm)  at Tyler Civic Theatre is located at 400 Rose Park Dr., Tyler, next to the Tyler Rose Garden Center. For more info call (903)592-0561 or tylercivictheatre.com.

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Before you take in a celebration of green beer, green attire, and green…almost everything, take a trip to Tyler Civic Theatre, as they are bringing big laughs this St. Pattie’s Day with the comedy, “The Lucky O’Learys.”

Set in the New York apartment of Peg O’Leary (Vickie Tindale) and her son, Brian (Ryan Ormandy). Peg is an overprotective mother that often says the wrong word from time to time but everyone knows what she means. Since her husband Brian (Brad Echols) left three years prior, she has been focusing on Brian ending his brief 12-year break from Seminary and becoming a priest. Brian, however, is set on marrying his fiancée Amy (Kacy Combest). Peg is against the marriage, partly because she thinks Amy’s father, Frank (Stan King) is in the mafia.

Adding to her troubles, Peg finds out that her apartment building is going contra (her word for “condo”) and she is going to be kicked out. She asks her sister Rose (Rebecca Hill) for a $50,000 loan so she can try to buy the apartment. Rose, whose husband runs the corner newsstands, can’t lend her the money. So, she decides to call upon a miracle from St. Genevieve, the Patron Saint of Over Protective Mothers. With the local lottery set for a record $116 million jackpot, Peg decides to buy a ticket, or 5,000, and try to win the big fortune.

The only problem is, everyone is buying a ticket, from Peg to Brian to Frank to Monsignor Rafferty (Roger Pharr), who prayed to St. Michael to win so he can build a new health center. As everyone gathers for Peg’s birthday dinner, which is the same night as the lotto numbers are announced, someone will hit it big, the question is who?

“The Lucky O’Learys” was written by playwright and actor, Jim Brochu, best known for the plays “Cooking With Gus,” “The Last Session,” and his one-man show, “Zero Hour,” about the life of actor Zero Mostel. The play actually began as a TV pilot that Brochu has written for his friend, Lucille Ball, but unfortunately, her health prevented the project from moving forward as a series. The TCT production was directed by DeAnna Hargrove, who recently directed “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” and special guest director, Sarah Pharr, who has worked as stage manager for “Rock of Ages.” With a cast of veterans and newcomers to the Civic Theatre stage, they have assembled a wonderfully funny cast that will crack up the audience.

Making her return to the Civic Theatre for the first time since 1992, Tindall is delightful, bringing life to life a little bit of a mother I’m sure we’ve all had to one degree or another. Ormandy is great as Brian, selling the slightly exasperated but loving son very well. Combest, in her TCT debut, is wonderful and hopefully, we see her in future productions. As Rose, Hill is awesome as she also makes her debut on the Civic stage, and gets big laughs playing off almost everyone in the cast. As for our veteran cast members, Echols, King, and Pharr, it’s a tossup at times on who steals the show. Every single member of the cast does a great job and with this much talent treading the boards, the show is an absolute must see.

“The Lucky O’Learys” is a warm, funny comedy that you don’t have to be Irish, Italian or even “Costa Rican” to enjoy. Go see it and give yourself a good laugh.