Bill Irwin gets his Randy Pausch on with ‘The Happiness Lecture’

Nyack resident Bill Irwin is about to premiere of his own ensemble show, “The Happiness Lecture,” down in Philadelphia. And much as I kid with the title, from the description on the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s website, “Happiness” actually has next to nothing to do with Pausch’s now-famous Carnegie Mellon speech, “The Last Lecture” — other than both being titled “lectures” and about happiness, more or less.

tjndc5-5b4h37×89yw1i9anunb6_layout.jpgIn case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Irwin has had a long, and at times schizophrenic career on Broadway, in the movies, and on TV. By turns ultra-dramatic and then ultra-clown-y, Irwin won the Tony for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” and also starred for a long time as Mr. Noodle on “Sesame Street.”

This new show, which Irwin himself conceived, will run from May 16 to June 15 at PTC’s new home, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Says the PTC website:

“Irwin has created a unique and imaginative evening of delightful vignettes and physical comedy. This world premiere is a wild and entertaining ride that spoofs theatrical pretensions while exploring the sheer joy of laughter. Featuring some of Philadelphia’s finest actors and dancers.”

Presumably, this means Irwin’s clown persona will be on stage. Nothing could make us happier.

“Philadelphia Theatre Co. Premieres Master Clown Bill Irwin’s Happiness Lecture” [Playbill]

(AP Photo/Carol Rosegg)

Ted Mann

Ted Mann aspires to join Stephen Baldwin’s Breakthrough Ministry, more commonly known as “skateboarding for the savior." Before becoming a Senior Editor at InTown, he worked at The Atlantic Monthly, the Philadelphia City Paper, and the University of Pennsylvania Press. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Press, and The Pennsylvania Gazette.