Jamestown loves its favorite daughter, Lucille Ball, and is launching a four-day comedy tribute in her name next spring.
"LucyFest," to be known officially as the Lucille Ball Festival of New Comedy, will be held in late May 1991 at the Reg Lenna Civic Center.
The idea of a new comedy festival was unveiled last May by then-Mayor Steven B. Carlson, at a memorial following Miss Ball's death a month earlier. It was to have been announced during her visit here to accept a degree at Jamestown Community College.
"The idea of naming a festival for a new comedy in Lucille Ball's honor is a wonderful way to keep the spirit of Lucy alive for generations to come," said comedian Art Carney.
An administrative team for the four-day festival was announced Saturday by Phillip Morris, executive director of the Arts Council for Chautauqua County.
The team includes Charles Ferrero and David Munnell, directors of American Vaudeville Inc., of New York City. They will be managing producers.
"AVI offers us both the administrative side and festival management, and the artistic vision for such an undertaking as a comedy festival," Morris said.
Lucyfest will feature non-stop comedy with nationally-known celebrities. The core of the festival is a live stage-comedy production at the Civic Center. Four or five short comic plays, selected or commissioned from established comedy writers, will showcase new works and performers.
Script selection, by a committee of entertainment professionals, will occur between October and December, followed by hiring of production personnel, designers and casting.
Also, a live radio program performed in front of an audience will be taped or broadcast live for a national listening audience, probably broadcast by National Public Radio.
A short comic film festival will feature 10 to 12 segments, selected in a nationwide competition of professional filmmakers.
There also are plans for 18 comedy-related seminars, workshops, panel discussions, staged readings and developmental projects, and an optional tribute to Lucille Ball including a stage testimonial featuring appearances by Lucy's friends and colleagues which would be taped for later television broadcast.
Morris called LucyFest "an enormously risky undertaking." Yet, "this idea is hot, it's good, and we're going for broke with it," he said.
Seed funding for the project, which calls for a $422,400 budget -- $518,650 with the optional tribute -- includes a $300,000 commitment from the Lenna and Sheldon local foundations, to be given over a three-year period.