JAMESTOWN - Blue Collar Comedy is going to be taking over Jamestown this summer when Bill Engvall and Kathleen Madigan, along with a "Comics to Watch" showcase of up-and-coming talent presented by Pandora, headline the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.
Aside from the festival's headliners, there will be plenty of other entertainment for attendees. The leads from the touring stage show hit "I Love Lucy: Live on Stage" will be part of the four-day festival, running Aug. 1-4, thanks to a recent partnership with Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. Visitors will also enjoy three nights of late-night comedy that will be co-produced by Rooftop Comedy and recorded as a live comedy album, appearances by Lucille Ball's former personal secretary Wanda Clark, Greg Oppenheimer and the GI's of Comedy.
"We're very pleased to have been able to announce today a collaboration between Shea's and the comedy center that will revolve around the festival in August," said Tony Conte, CEO of Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. "We're very excited and hope to do this with more performances down the road."
Photo by Ryan Atkins
Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, discusses the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. Among those to be in attendance include: Bill Engvall, Kathleen Madigan, and a showcase of “comics to watch.”
Bill Engvall, who will be performing at the Reg Lenna Civic Center on Aug. 3, is a headlining member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Touring alongside the likes of Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, and Larry the Cable Guy, Engvall's Blue Collar Comedy movies have sold more than 9 million units, and are among some of the most watched specials in Comedy Central history.
Kathleen Madigan, who will be performing at the Reg Lenna on Aug. 2, is a frequent performer on Leno, Letterman, Conan, Ferguson and nearly every other late night talk show. Her stand-up show has been featured in three-hour-long specials on HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central; and she has also performed for American soldiers overseas on multiple tours with the likes of Robin Williams and Lewis Black. She's a regular on SIRIUS-XM Radio, and recently won the listener determined "SIRIUS Challenge Cup," deeming her the number one favorite comedian played on SIRIUS-XM radio.
On the evening of Aug. 1, The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy and Pandora will be teaming up to present the stand-up showcase, "Comics to Watch." According to Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, Pandora and the center are working together to develop an interactive exhibit with data from Pandora's Comedy Genome Project. The exhibit will be located at the Jamestown Gateway Train Station during the festival.
"Pandora is very excited to be working with the Lucy Desi Center on this first-of-its kind comedy attraction," said Kelly Anneken, comedy curator at Pandora. "Helping Jamestown visitors learn more about America's rich humorous history is perfectly aligned with Pandora's mission to connect our listeners to comedy they love. We're also thrilled to carry on the legacy of one of American comedy's greatest stars by presenting a showcase at this year's Lucille Ball Comedy Festival."
Pandora Comedy was launched in May 2011, and currently features more than 20,000 comedy tracks in its catalog from more than 1,500 comedians.
The lead actors that portray Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in the hit, "I Love Lucy Live: on Stage," will also be visiting Jamestown during the festival. They will be giving an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at what goes in to making their show.
Gregg Oppenheimer, son of "I Love Lucy" creator Jess Oppenheimer, will also be returning to Jamestown to direct radio comedy onstage at the Crown Theatre. Oppenheimer's live radio shows at previous festivals have been featured on SIRIUS-XM Radio. This year's show will feature two episodes, Baby Snooks and Liz Changes her Mind, and will be performed in the style of old-time radio.
Rooftop Comedy, which has co-produced late-night comedy shows in the Tropicana Room in previous years, will be recording a live comedy album for this year's late-night shows. Rooftop Comedy produces original event programming, from local comedy festivals to national comedy events and tours. Past year's performers include Harrison Greenbaum, Adam Newman, Joe Machi, Phoebe Robinson, Kyle Grooms and more.
Tickets for the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival will go on sale on April 24, and can be purchased by visiting www.lucycomedyfest.com or calling 484-0800. Committed partners and museum members receive access to a pre-sale period beginning April 17.
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