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Tag: Vivian Vance

THE ALBUQUERQUE MUSEUM PRESENTS: EVERYBODY’S NEIGHBOR: VIVIAN VANCE

Posted by on March 18, 2014 | Comments Off on THE ALBUQUERQUE MUSEUM PRESENTS: EVERYBODY’S NEIGHBOR: VIVIAN VANCE

Vivian Vance exhibit in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, NM– So many of us grew up watching I Love Lucy throughout the years, and we probably do our best to catch re-runs on TV whenever we get the chance. There is something about the nostalgia of it all that proves irresistible. But I bet that most of us never knew that one of this famous TV show’s beloved stars was actually an Albuquerque talent.

Everybody’s Neighbor: Vivian Vance features the history and popular culture of vaudeville star and actress Vivian Vance, who appeared regularly at Albuquerque Little Theater (ALT) and the KiMo. Vance, who spent part of her young adult life in Albuquerque, eventually won her most endearing role as Ethel Mertz on the TV situation comedy, I Love Lucy. The exhibition will be on view at the Albuquerque Museum from March 29, 2014 – January 31, 2015.

Vivian Roberta Jones, known as “Viv” to her friends and family, was born in 1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas. As a teenager she decided to pursue acting career, against the wishes of her religious mother, Mae. Vivian’s large family eventually moved to Albuquerque and Vivian and her husband Joe Danneck joined the Joneses. She found a job modeling clothes, but in 1930 she defiantly announced that she had landed a role in the racy vaudeville show, Cushman’s Revue, playing at the KiMo Theater. She traveled with the show, then returned to Albuquerque.

Under the guidance of ALT director Kathryn Kennedy O’Connor, Vivian appeared in the theater’s first two seasons. Convinced that she had potential, O’Connor and the theatre held a benefit in 1932 by selling tickets to The Trial of Mary Dugan. Critics raved, writing, “Whether Vivian Vance can make good in New York will be decided next month, but the Albuquerque actress…showed that she can make good before a hometown audience.” With the proceeds, O’Connor sent Vivian to New York to study under actress Eva Le Gallienne.

Soon Vivian started landing chorus roles, eventually graduating to supporting roles in Hooray for What! and Let’s Face it! with Danny Kaye and Eve Arden. In between productions Vivian returned to Albuquerque. Vivian always felt that she owed a debt of gratitude to the people of Albuquerque for supporting her early career, and returned often to appear at the ALT free of charge. By the early 1940s, Vivian was living in New York but had also purchased a small adobe ranch house in Cubero, west of Albuquerque near Grants.

Vivian then moved to California to work on film and theatre projects. While visiting the La Jolla Playhouse in 1951, Desilu Studios producer Desi Arnaz watched Vivian’s amazing performance as Olive Lashbrook in Voice of the Turtle. Convinced that she was perfect for the role of Ethel Mertz in I Love Lucy, Desi Arnaz brought Vivian into the studio for a surprise introduction to his wife and star of the show, Lucille Ball. Because of Vivian’s good looks, impeccable comedic timing and a street-smart sense of how to play to an audience, she shined throughout the run of I Love Lucy. The 1953 episodes brought her an Emmy® Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, with additional nominations in 1954, 1956, and 1957.

I Love Lucy secured Vivian Vance’s place in television history. After a wondrous career in theater, film and television, the accomplished actress passed away in 1979. Many of her family members still live in New Mexico, and her sister Lou Ann holds local comedy workshops. Their stories, awards, photographs, and memorabilia contribute greatly to the exhibition, celebrating a small-town girl who hit the big-time.

Public Programs

The Museum is excited to be offering the following programs based around the Everybody’s Neighbor: Vivian

Vance exhibition:

Public Opening: Everybody’s Neighbor: Vivian Vance
Saturday, March 29, 2014
2 – 5 p.m.

Programs will celebrate the life of Albuquerque resident and actress Vivian Vance, known for her role as Ethel Mertz on the sitcom I Love Lucy.

Music in the lobby from 2-5 p.m. by Swing Duo, featuring Cole Porter tunes sung by Vivian Vance. Enjoy a short montage of scenes from plays Vance appeared in, performed by the Vance Players, and introductory remarks by Henry Avery, Director of Albuquerque Little Theatre at 3 p.m. Get creative with an art activity in the Museum School from 2-4 p.m. Free event.

Performance: Vance Players
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
11 a.m.

Vivian Vance’s career included theatre performances at the Albuquerque Little Theatre, summer theatre festivals and Broadway. The Vance Players will perform a 30-minute montage of scenes from plays that featured Vance. Free program.

3rd Thursday: ABQ Ladies of Comedy
Thursday, May 15, 2014
5 – 8:30 p.m.

In honor of the Museum’s Vivian Vance exhibition, come celebrate Albuquerque’s current funny ladies. There will be performances by music comedy trio JeeZ LaWeeZ and local stand-up comediennes. This program is sponsored by Las Ventanas Homes.

Performance: Vance Players
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
11 a.m.

Vivian Vance’s career included theatre performances at the Albuquerque Little Theatre, summer theatre festivals and Broadway. The Vance Players will perform a 30-minute montage of scenes from plays that featured Vance. Free program.

The Albuquerque Museum and Casa San Ysidro is a division of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. The Museum is located at 19th and Mountain Road NW (in Old Town);

505-243-7255 (311 locally, Relay NM or 711); www.cabq.gov/museum -or- www.albuquerquemuseum.org.

Casa San Ysidro is located at 973 Old Church Rd. in Corrales.

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Get your piece of an Albuquerque Legend and help build on a foundation for its future

Posted by on July 29, 2012 | Comments Off on Get your piece of an Albuquerque Legend and help build on a foundation for its future
AlbuquerqueArtEventsNMStage

Going on now!

Celebrate the 2012 – 2013 season and new stage floor dedication at The Historic Albuquerque Little Theatre!

What: Open House and New Stage Floor Dedication
When: Sunday, July 29, 2012 from 1p – 4p
Where: Albuquerque Little Theatre
Cost: FREE!

Come enjoy FREE entertainment and refreshments. Take a tour backstage. Meet ALT staff, board members, and actors. Check out special ALT memorabilia like our cookbook and tote bags. Get your chance to win one of four themed baskets from our 2011 – 2012 season musicals — The Wizard of Oz, Xanadu, Singin’ In The Rain, and Cabaret! And be sure to pick up YOUR piece of ALT history — a beautiful commemorative plaque made from our old stage floor — honoring our past and the celebrities who have performed on our stage! Small plaques are $25, large plaques are $40. All proceeds help ALT!

*The final performance of Spring Awakening starts at 6pm.

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