Afternoon everybody. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and any original dramatic production that’s not Hamilton is wearing Milk-Bone underwear. But rather than talking about what’s going on in the world of theater, let’s talk about what’s going in to theaters this September: Cheers Live On Stage, a new script based on the first season of the long-running NBC sitcom. The show—set in the fictional Boston bar owned by fictional Red Sox pitcher Sam Malone—will make its debut in real-life Boston, where fans can forego the experience of downing a pint at the pub that inspired Cheers and instead take part in the play itself, which will cast a group of audience members to play background barflies every night.
With its mostly static setting, door-slamming punchlines, and minimalist plots, Cheers makes an obvious candidate for a screen-to-stage adaptation. (Sadly lost in translation: The understated camerawork of director James Burrows.) The will-they/won’t-they romance between Sam and grad-student-turned-waitress Diane Chambers won’t have quite the same impact when it’s confined to a standalone story, but Diane would be quick to point out that this sort of relationship has roots that trace back to the earliest days of an art form that she would certainly, pedantically spell with the extra “e.”
Little known fact: Cheers is far from the only TV show to receive this type of adaptation, as the characters of I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch, and SpongeBob SquarePants have all trod the boards. Following its Boston engagement, Cheers Live On Stage will embark on a full U.S. tour, where everybody in the audience better yell out “NORM!” as soon as the show’s surrogate George Wendt enters the scene.