ALBERT LEA, MN – It’s a story we’ve been telling you about for months now. Now “Happy Days the Musical” is just days away from coming to life on a local stage.
Final rehearsals are underway at the theatre. The show opens next week and the cast and crew are getting ready to welcome a very special guest.
After a few warm-ups and a couple quick reminders from the director, rehearsal is underway.
With opening night less than a week away, the cast and crew are rockin’ around the clock. It’s the kind of controlled chaos that’s to be expected leading up to any production.
And like every show, this musical has its challenges. One being that the majority of cast members are young and some aren’t familiar with the sitcom Happy Days, which this musical is based on.
“The teenagers, most of them weren’t even born when it was on. You know, I think some of them have caught re-runs,” said Steve Kinney, the director of show.
But there’s one person who does remember Fonzie, Richie and the rest of the gang.
“You know, I watched it all the way when I was growing up,” said Diane Heaney
Heaney is pulling double duty. Not only is she vocal director, she’s also taking on another very important role.
“Yes, I get to play Mrs. Cunningham,” said Heaney.
The character Marion Cunnigham was played by Marion Ross on the TV series. Ross grew up in Albert Lea and the theater is named in her honor.
And in just a few days, Ross herself will be sitting front and center, watching the story that made her famous come to life on this stage. So, no pressure.
“It’ll be fine. She’ll love the show. And it’s been fun to just bring that character back to life,” said Heaney.
“Well yeah, of course, you gulp a little bit,” said Kinney.
Note by note and step by step, the pieces are slowly but surely falling into place. And those nerves are turning into excitement as they get ready to welcome their guest of honor.
“We’re her namesake theater and her hometown. And she’s excited herself to be here which is just as pleasing as can be,” said Kinney.
The show opens on Wednesday, July 10th and that’s also when Marion is coming into town. She’ll be introducing and attending every show for the first week.
There are still some tickets left, but they’re going fast. To get yours, click here: http://actonbroadway.com/