September 20, 2011 Library of Congress Opens Concert Season With "BABALU!"

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302

The Library of Congress opens its 2011-2012 concert season with a spectacular evening celebrating the iconic entertainers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and their legendary contributions to American culture. “BABALU!: Celebrating the Library’s Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Collection” will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium, located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E., Washington, D.C. The concert is presented under the auspices of the Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund at the Library of Congress, with the generous support of Adrienne Arsht, philanthropist and business leader.

The concert will feature performances by Ball and Arnaz’s children, singer-actress Lucie Arnaz and percussionist Desi Arnaz Jr., joined by musical theater stars Valarie Pettiford and Raúl Esparza. Music director Ron Abel conducts The “New” Desi Arnaz Orchestra, a 16-member ensemble, in arrangements originally performed by Desi Arnaz and now housed within the Library's Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Collection. The concert celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lucille Ball (born Aug. 6, 1911) and the 60th anniversary of the debut (on Oct. 15, 1951) of Ball and Arnaz’s television show, “I Love Lucy,” one of the most popular and best loved shows in television history.

The Library's concert series is presented free of charge to the public but requires reserved tickets for admission. Tickets are distributed by TicketMaster at (202) 397-7328, (410) 547-7328 and (703) 573-7328. Each ticket carries a nominal service charge, with additional charges for telephone orders and handling. Tickets will also be available at TicketMaster outlets and online at External. Although the supply of tickets may be exhausted, there are often empty seats at concert time. Interested patrons are encouraged to arrive at the Library by 6 pm on the evening of the performance to wait in the stand-by line for no-show tickets. For further information about concerts, visit

“BABALU!” coincides with the recently opened Library exhibition, “I Love Lucy: An American Legend,” which explores the show’s history through photographs, scrapbooks, scripts, printed and manuscript music, and other memorabilia drawn from the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Collection. The exhibition is free and open to the public and on view in the foyer adjacent to the Library’s Performing Arts Reading Room, located on the first floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through January 28, 2012. The exhibition can also be viewed online at

Emmy-Award-winning actress Lucie Arnaz has been admired for her performances in such shows as “They’re Playing Our Song,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Writer, producer and recording artist, Arnaz has made nightclub appearances at venues like Rainbow and Stars, Feinstein’s and Birdland, among others. The versatile Raúl Esparza is equally distinguished in musical theater and drama, from Sondheim to Shakespeare; the Tony Award-nominated star has won kudos for his performances in “Company” and “Cabaret,” as well as Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming” and David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow.” The award-winning stage and television actress, dancer and jazz singer Valarie Pettiford has starred in Broadway productions of “Dancin’,” “Fosse,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “West Side Story” and “The Wiz,” with a spring 2011 appearance in the feature film, “Jumping the Broom.” Actor and musician Desi Arnaz, Jr., is noted for film and television roles and as the founder and producer of the Boulder Theatre in Boulder City, Colo.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent research institution, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress, the American people, and to the world. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at


PR 11-166
ISSN 0731-3527