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A powerful "One-Broad" Comedy about the Ethel Mertz you never knew!

After years of playing Ethel Mertz, the housecoat-wearing sidekick to America’s favorite sit-com star on I Love Lucy, Vivian Vance has a lot she needs to get off her chest. In her dressing room on the night of the show’s final filming, she issues an SOS to her long-time analyst: help me understand who I really am before I’m stuck being Ethel forever. And she relives it all: the Good, the Bad, and the Lucy.


It’s Friday night, March 2, 1960, and Vivian Vance is about to turn herself into Ethel Mertz, America’s most beloved neighbor, for the very last time. After some nine years, I Love Lucy–and the subsequent The Lucy/Desi Comedy Hour–is coming to an end.

As Vivian gets into character and costume in her bungalow dressing room, 90 minutes before the final filming, she’s faced with a huge dilemma: Desi Arnaz wants her to stay on and do a new-fangled thing called a spin-off: Fred and Ethel. Just one problem. By now, Vivian Vance has grown to hate Ethel. And she definitely hates Fred. What to do? Stick with what’s made her rich and famous–or try something else. But can she even PLAY anyone else anymore? What if IT happens again? “It”–the darkest period of her life. A paralyzing nervous breakdown she had early in her career, while performing John Van Druten’s The Voice of the Turtle. It’s the thing that would ultimately lead to her being discovered to play Ethel–the biggest success in her life, and the very thing she wonders if she can ever live without.

Talking to her longtime analyst–an unseen presence in her dressing room–she revisits her life, trying to figure out how she got to this place in time. Her Bible-thumping mother who convinced her she’d go to Hell for wanting to be an actress; her philandering father; her two marriages and divorces before the age of 23; and her third marriage during I Love Lucy to an actor who physically abused her, causing her to have to disguise her black and blue marks with make-up. And most of all, her love/hate relationship with the one and only Lucille Ball.

The play is a tour-de-force that will take Vivian, and the audience, through the heights of hilarity and heartbreak. It’s about the woman we all think we know—but whose real life couldn’t have been more unlike the worn-out, housecoat wearing Ethel, sidekick to the star. Along the way, we begin to see Vivian as an early television pioneer–standing up for her rights long before the word feminism, speaking out about mental health, and surviving in the studio system, decades before #metoo.


A moving and memorable portrait of America's favorite sidekick.


A triumph! Absolutely the best-selling show in our thirty-two-year history.

–Roy Steinberg, Producing Artistic Director, Cape May Stage


Vivian Vance: a tour-de-force role for an actress from late 40s – early 60s. Funny, deadpan, mid-western; must be able to embody the famous actress, with the acting chops to pull off comedy AND a nervous breakdown!

Off-Stage Stage Manager's Voice: Only heard, never seen.

Setting: A 1950s bungalow dressing room on a Hollywood TV studio.

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups, please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“A moving and memorable portrait of America's favorite sidekick.” –BroadwayWorld

"Sidekicked was a triumph for us at Cape May Stage. Not only did we sell more tickets than to any production in our thirty two years of producing Equity theatre, but it brought new patrons to our venue because they were fans of I Love Lucy. Young and old audiences were entertained by the hilarious and smart dialogue and audiences reported that they learned so much about Vivian Vance who they thought they knew – but didn’t. A surprisingly poignant and universal story, Sidekicked is the epitome of what theatre does best – make us understand ourselves a bit more fully while providing an escape from our daily routines." –Roy Steinberg, Producing Artistic Director, Cape May Stage

"Paints a vivid picture of the troubled real life of Lucy's best friend and cohort." –BroadwayWorld

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative.

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for Sidekicked are all fulfilled digitally and consist of:

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script