No later than the very first time Norm walks to his usual spot beside the bar during “Cheers: Live On Stage,” all of his buddies (along with the bulk of the crowd) collectively shout out his name. And regardless if someone saw every single episode of its record-breaking run on NBC from 1982-1993 or is strolling into this recreation of the famed Boston watering hole for the very first time, it’s instantly apparent that perhaps more than any other place on earth, this is the spot “where everybody knows your name.”
Despite the name calling, door slamming and tension-tipped slapstick along the way, “Cheers: Live On Stage” is the paramount place for its patrons to take “a break from all your worries,” and no matter how many times that lyric has been sung over the years or in this unique adaptation, who wouldn’t want to keep on drinking to that?
Of course, those who have at least a passing understanding of the aforementioned customer (Paul Vogt), carefree bartender Sam (Grayson Powell), studious newcomer Diane (Jillian Louis), zany waitress Carla (Sarah Sirota), aloof postman Cliff (Buzz Roddy) and that crazy Coach (Barry Pearl) will be able to fully soak up this sizzle reel through several of the sitcom’s most enduring scenes. But even for those who somehow missed the 28-time Emmy Award winner, it’s an absolute synch to pick up on the plot lines surrounding one of the funniest shows to ever grace the airwaves.
Many of the roars come from the interplay of Sam and Diane, who basically thinks she’s above all the other blue collar characters, but has no choice other than to join their team when she gets dumped by her much older fiancé (who also happens to be her boss). Within a flash, she leaves behind life as a professor’s assistant to become a server, though she’s quick to correct everyone on their misinformed ways, particularly Sam, who despite their extreme differences in temperament, is clearly falling in love with her.
The feeling turns out to be mutual, but neither will come right out and admit it, especially as the focus shifts to snippets from other episodes, such as a business tycoon who lays down a multi-million dollar offer to buy the bar or a visit from Sam’s all too perfect brother (who he’s desperate to avoid). However, it’s the latter scenario that puts Diane right in the middle of two siblings where she’ll have to choose between the wealthy visitor’s guaranteed stability and the spontaneity of her deeper affection who’s average by comparison.
It’s probably not too hard to imagine which road she takes, but it’s naturally a knock down, drag out fight to get there with several false alarms prior to the partial resolution. Despite the name calling, door slamming and tension-tipped slapstick along the way, “Cheers: Live On Stage” is the paramount place for its patrons to take “a break from all your worries,” and no matter how many times that lyric has been sung over the years or in this unique adaptation, who wouldn’t want to keep on drinking to that?