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‘Marymania’ hits Torch Theater

Obviously, even after all these years, people in the Twin Cities still love Mary Tyler Moore. Torch Theater’s benefit run of three classic episodes from the 1970s-vintage TV show has completely sold out its original performances (three additional ones have been added), and Friday’s packed house greeted each episode like an old friend.

There’s a reason the show has endured: While the original cast was instrumental in crafting the characters, it was the tight and funny scripts that brought viewers back week after week. Here, there are three episodes: “Love Is All Around” (the pilot), “A New Sue Ann” and the legendary “Chuckles the Clown Bites the Dust.”

A high-quality cast — led by Torch leader Stacia Rice as Mary — slip easily into their roles, though it is hard to forget the original, iconic performances. What the performance loses there is mostly made up by the cast, which also includes Edwin Strout as Ted Baxter, Patrick Coyle as Lou Grant and Mo Perry in a dual role as Rhoda and Georgette.

The show does suffer from some pacing issues, mainly because they’ve taken TV scripts and moved them to the stage. Though the transformations are quick, it still doesn’t have the immediacy of a quick cut.

The show soaks with a 1970s vibe, from Stacia’s Mary hair to the epic patterns on the clothes to the vintage commercials used to break up the scenes (including a rather racy one for Dole bananas set to the strains of Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky”). “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” makes for a quick, fun evening — and also helps to keep one of the Twin Cities’ small theaters doing quality work.

Tickets are available for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage, 711 W. Franklin Ave. Tickets are $25 and $35. For information and tickets, call 952-929-9097 or visit online.

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