Colorado Springs actors to stage old 'Mary Tyler Moore' episode

By Jen Mulson Updated: March 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm • Published: March 8, 2017 0

7 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, The Modbo Gallery, 17C E. Bijou St., $10, reservations recommended, email themodbo@gmail.com; 650-2381

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Mary Tyler Moore, naturally.

The world lost a feminist icon when the 80-year-old Moore died in January. She was best known for her role as the fictional TV journalist Mary Richards, star of the sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" that aired from 1970-1977. The series was lauded as the first modern woman's sitcom.

A few Moore fans closer to home came up with a creative way to celebrate and memorialize the famous lady. Susan Edmondson, CEO and president of Downtown Partnership, purchased a script autographed by Moore at a charitable silent auction years ago. The 1975 script by writer David Lloyd was titled "Chuckles Bites the Dust." Edmondson pitched the idea of holding a staged reading of the script to Lauren Ciborowski, owner of The Modbo Gallery, and suggested they cast local actors in the iconic roles.

"She's such a beloved actress," said Ciborowski, director of the upcoming Moore tribute. "The show was so groundbreaking, especially in a time when feminism is rising again yet in another form."

The episode revolved around the death of Chuckles the Clown, an often mentioned but seldom seen character. It was ranked No. 1 on TV Guide's "100 Greatest Episodes of All Time" in 1997 and No. 3 on its "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time" in 2009. Lloyd earned an Emmy award for outstanding writing in a comedy series.

"It's 22 minutes of comedic fluff," Ciborowski said.

Sally Hybl will star as Moore, Scott Levy as Lou Grant, Max Ferguson as Ted Baxter, Phil Ginsburg as Murray Slaughter, Birgitta DePree as Georgette Franklin, Ashley Crockett as Sue Ann Nivens and Jim Jackson as Reverend Burke.

"What a great role model she was," said Ciborowski about Moore. "Whenever I've had a major change in life I picture myself throwing a beret in the air and thinking 'you're going to make it after all.'"

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