an original solo musical
based on the life of Lucille Ball
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Jillann Gabrielle

There are three versions of the show: two hour, 90 minutes, and 60 minutes.

Setting: A living room in Lucille Ball’s Beverly Hills home

Time: 1974

A psychiatrist is waiting for Lucille. The doctor is made known throughout the show through voice over. Lucille enters, distraught, and explains that her third incarnation of her Lucy TV show has just been cancelled.

Lucille the clown

And right before that she flopped in the film version of the musical Mame. She bemoans that when she starred in I Love Lucy, she was always in the top five. Dressed in a clown suit she sings and dances Everybody Loves Lucy, as she

explains that she is not funny, she is brave. The doctor asks her what her childhood was like. She describes growing up in Jamestown, New York.

A very young Lucille

Her mother was called Dede. Her father, Henry, who was a wonderful guy, was related to George Washington. He treated Lucille as if she were a boy and roughhoused with her, which made her unafraid to do strenuous physical comedy. Unfortunately, he died when he was very young, and at four years of age, young Lucille never got over it. But she was one of the few people from the Chautauqua area who dared to dream. She dons a turn of the century hat and staff and sings I Want to be Somebody Special Three families ended up living in

Teenage Lucille

one larger house, owed by her grandfather, whom they all called Daddy. When Lucille was eleven her grandmother died, and she found herself in charge of the household, which included a younger brother, Freddy, and another younger child, Cleo. Now living in Celoron they were very close to an Amusement Park, which included theatrical

Lucille as a model

productions, which came through town. Lucille and her siblings would put on plays in their front parlor. When she was fourteen she fell in love with an older Italian boy of twenty-three. To get her away from him, her mother decided to get some acting instruction for Lucille, and enrolled her in a dramatic school in Manhattan. The instructors told her mother that Lucille couldn’t act, or sing, or dance, and that she was wasting her money. Lucille never forgave them. Not having much luck on the stage, she tried modeling at Hattie Carnegie’s Dress Shop. Wearing a cloche and a

Desi the conga player

long jacket she dances and sings her story. Somewhat successful, but burning the candle at both ends, she developed rheumatoid arthritis—thought at the time to be incurable, and would confine her to a wheelchair. Hattie sent her to her own doctor who tried a new radical treatment on her. She went back to Jamestown to recover—

Desi carrying Lucille over the threshold

and by some miracle the treatment worked. She returned to modeling in Manhattan. A Hollywood agent discovers her looking at herself on a billboard in Time Square and urges her to go to California—Hollywood—Eddie Cantor was in need of another poster girl for his new movie. She is chosen and her career takes off. She becomes known as ‘Queen of the Bs,’ B pictures that is. She meets Desi Arnaz who is fresh off Broadway, now in Hollywood shooting Too Many Girls. He is the Elvis Presley of his time and Lucille flips for him. Wearing an outrageous jacket and hat she jubilantly congas and sings Desi—My Cuban TNT! 

Lucille’s hair gets dyed tango red at MGM

She and Desi are gaga for each other, but they soon realize that they are so unalike, that a marriage would be ill-advised. But Desi insists, and their fighting

Desi and Lucille during WWII

continues, as a kind of lovemaking. They want to star in a movie together, but the studio bosses said that they are not a typical American couple. They put together a vaudeville act, and go on the road. They are invited to the London Palladium twice, and have to cancel twice because Lucille is pregnant—she loses the baby twice. She changes studios and goes to MGM where they die her hair tango red. World War II hits and Desi goes into the Army, touring, playing and singing in a band—and is blatantly unfaithful to Lucille. Booze, & Broads, & Gambling! She files for divorce, but they make up, and Desi is a better husband—for a

My Favorite Husband, the radio show

while. After the War, movies were not as popular—radio and Television begin to surge. She stars in My Favorite

Jack Benny, one of the many Hollywood Gays

Husband, which becomes a highly successful radio show. The producer sends her to observe Jack Benny’s radio broadcast for his comedic-timing. She spouts off about all the gay men in Hollywood, included Benny, in Lucille, the Gossip! The doctor gets her

back on track and she spouts off about how in 1946 CBS wanted her to star in a domestic comedy for TV, but they did

not want Desi as her husband. Finally, in 1950, she and Desi formed their own corporation to promote themselves—Desilu Productions. She gets pregnant again, when suddenly CBS gives Desi the green light for a television sitcom featuring the two of them. They go on the road again with their vaudeville act, even though she is

pregnant. They risk everything for I Love Lucy, in Lucy’s mind, so that she and Desi could work together and save their marriage. The show is a huge hit, but then Walter Winchell, the columnist, reports that Lucille is a Communist. She is beside herself when she has to appear before the HUAC. Wearing Americana apparel she sings and dances I Am Not a Commie! Fortunately, her

story is believed, about her registering as a Communist, just to make her grandfather happy, and she and I Love Lucy are saved from destruction. She and Desi hit their

zenith in 1954 with a hit TV show and a hit movie, The Long, Long Trailer. Later that year Desi really started to drink heavily. But he never missed a beat in his support of her in her talent and stardom. One day he offered them an out,

The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour

financially. They could cash out and retire, or grow Desilu even bigger—on parr with the other major Hollywood studios. Lucille replied, “I don’t want to quit.” She realizes that is when she traded her marriage for the continuation of her career. Then we ‘graduated’ to an hour format with the Lucy/ Desi Comedy Hour. The critics were brutal, but the audience still loved them. Desi burned the candle at both ends, as he built Desilu into an empire—he had no stomach for maintaining an empire. She found it increasingly difficult to continue to uphold the façade of a happy marriage. She dons a red plaid shirt, straw hat, and chews on a staff of wheat while she sings the countrified Why Can’t I be Happy? They try to save their marriage by going on a

Lucille and Bob Hope in Facts of Life

European tour, but Desi is falling down drunk all the time, and gets called ‘Mr. Ball’. They finally divorce. Lucille dives right back into work and stars in the Facts of Life with Bob Hope. And on Broadway in Wildcat, which is a box-office success and critical

Lucille in Wildcat on Broadway

failure, and almost kills her. She has to quit. But while in NYC she meets and falls for the Borscht Belt comedian, Gary Morton. She puts on a straw

Lucille and Gary Morton, husband number two

hat and picks up a cane and sings and dances about how she went From Cuban to Reuben. She extolls the praises of Gary and his

addition to the family. She thought she was through with Hollywood, but then CBS came knocking at her door

about a series for her. And she received thousands of letters from fans asking her to return to TV. And Desilu needed her to save the studio with a successful TV series. She stars in The Lucy Show, with Vivian Vance,

and Desi produced and directed. It was slapsticky like I Love Lucy, because she wanted to play it safe. Then Desi wanted to sell his part of the corporation, and she had the right of first refusal on the stock, so she ended up President of

Desilu. She sings and acts her way through A One Woman Dynamo about the TV and film productions for

that were produced under her directorship of Desilu. She called Desi regularly for advice. They remained close, even though he remarried. She returned for

another season of The Lucy Show, in color this time. She hires Gale Gordon as her ‘threat’ on camera. Desi was the threat in I Love Lucy. But Desi was no longer producing or directing, so the show quality suffered. Lucille became dictatorial on set, after all, she was the one responsible for the product. She dons a German Army officers cap and a German accent as she sings and dances her way through Frau Himmler, a

nickname her staff gave her. She bemoans the fact that Vivian Vance left the show.

Liz and Richard and Lucille and the ring

She wanted too much money. After number of years of second rate, yet highly watched The Lucy Show, she received an Emmy for her performance. Then she

revamped show and titled it Here’s Lucy, which starred both her children and herself, as well as her beloved Gale Gordon. She turns down help offered from a CBS executive about making

Lucille in the flop, Mame

the show better. She gets into an argument with the doctor. She apologizes, and says that Desi used to knock her across the room—and she liked it! Then she rails on her children’s romantic interests in A Mother’s Lament. She bemoans her success as a TV star, as

opposed to a movie star. She dons costumes from all The Movie Roles That Got Away, which ends with her

flop in Mame. Desi had urged her not to do Mame. She ruminates over not getting any of those roles which could have given her a crack at an A-list movie star career. The doctor tries to make her see that she has been making the right decisions all along. But she is tired of Hollywood. And now she has nothing—no TV

Curly, the Stooge, and Lucille

series and she won’t return to the big screen. She is past her prime. She confesses how it feels to be over the hill in You Can’t be Twenty-One Forever. The doctor tries to make her feel better

Lucille and Harpo Marx

by pointing out that everyone gets older, and asks how she got herself through the stress during her heyday? She confesses that she told herself, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” The doctor encourages her to use that philosophy now. She reviews her life and accomplishments in A Ball of Contradictions. She ends with a reprise of

The World’s Favorite Clown and then cries ‘Lucy’ style and asks for an appointment next week.

The cast of I Love Lucy

Jillann Gabrielle as Lucille Ball in ‘The World’s Favorite Clown’

‘I Want to be Somebody Special’

‘Hattie Carnegie’s Dress Shop’

Lucy and Ricky Ricardo

‘Desi—My Cuban TNT!’
‘Booze and Broads and Gambling’

‘I am not a Commie!’

‘Why Can’t I Be Happy?’

‘From Cuban to Rueben’

Lucy and Ethel

An Untouchable from
‘A One Woman Dynamo’

‘Frau Himmler’

Lucille commenting on her flop in Mame

I Love Lucy
‘California Here I Come’