Originally Published: March 21, 2013 7:55 p.m.
The inimitable Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and their music and comedy as an unforgettable pair is bound to have the audience rolling in the aisles Sunday in a tribute to them at the Elks Opera House.
Presented by Lonely Street Productions, "The Best of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis" stars Robert Shaw and Nicholas Arnold, who will re-enact the signature songs, skits and hilarity of the iconic duo in their hey-day. The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $22 to $25 and are available at the Elks box office, 777-1370, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or by logging onto www.elksoperahouse.com. The box office also will open an hour before the show for at-the-door sales.
Shaw, who lives in Tucson, produces a variety of tribute shows through his Lonely Street Productions company, and he happened upon a video of Arnold doing his solo version of Jerry Lewis in shows he performs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he lives.
Shaw enticed Arnold to Tucson, where they have been rehearsing almost around the clock for their Sunday performance, Arnold said, adding it's a great break from the dark and dramatic films he writes and directs in Canada.
Arnold, 22, began his Lewis tributes when he was 13 years old and participated in a talent show. "The last year and a half, I have been buckling down and doing solo theater performances," he said, noting that Lewis was 18 when he and Martin first teamed up. "I've always had a love for physical comedy and truly Lewis is the master of that."
Together, Martin and Lewis "were so incredibly talented. They could do everything from dancing and singing to ridiculous amounts of comedy. I think that whole era has a certain class to it," Arnold said of the years Martin and Lewis performed as a duo. "It was clean comedy but still very cutting-edge."
And, Arnold said, it appeared that Martin and Lewis had no script for their performances, so audiences were "watching two guys have fun with each other... anything could happen and usually it did. It seemed like it was going to go off the rails any second. Yet, they towed the line and kept it together anyway."
"We are working very had on this show. The audience will be able to sense the energy coming off the stage," Arnold said. "The blend of comedy and music will be something special - like watching it on TV.
"We've re-created many specific routines from the Colgate Comedy Hour, when Dean sings and Jerry conducts and acts like a fool," Arnold said of what the audience might expect Sunday. "There will be a lot of duets and we'll be dancing and singing."
Arnold devotes a lot of his time to filmmaking, he said, dealing mostly with "dramatic and dark" topics. "I stay behind the camera," he said, adding he looks forward to Sunday's show "rather than being stuck in a cave," filming.
The Prescott show "will be a nice balance," he said. "It's fun to get away from the filmmaking and do comedy."