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'Will & Grace' to pay homage to 'I Love Lucy'

Eric McCormack, left, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and

Eric McCormack, left, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally pose for a photo from the set of their "I Love Lucy"-themed episode of "Will & Grace." Credit: NBC / Dave Bjerke

NBC's "Will & Grace" will air a full-scale homage to the classic sitcom "I Love Lucy" this spring. 

The network announced Monday that the episode "We Love Lucy" will include three dream sequences in which the roles of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo (Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz) and Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley, Vivian Vance) will be played by "Will & Grace" stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.

Using scripts of three classic scenes from the 1951-57 CBS series, the episode, filmed Monday, features Grace (Messing) as Lucy in the "Vitameatavegamin" scene; Jack (Hayes) as Lucy in the chocolate-factory scene; and Karen (Mullally) as Lucy in the grape-stomping scene. Will (McCormack) plays Ricky Ricardo in each, with the others rotating as Fred and Ethel.

"I know my parents would be over the moon to be honored in this way and by such similar talents who bring the same kind of joy to audiences as they did in 'I Love Lucy,' " singer-actress Lucie Arnaz, 68, said in a statement from NBC. She has a cameo in the chocolate-factory scene as the floor boss originally played by the late character actress Elvia Allman.

"I'm thrilled to be invited to the party and will do my best to honor the memory of Elvia Allman's iconic performance," Arnaz added. On Monday, she posted a photo on Instagram of herself in character at Universal Studios Stage 22. "Speed it up a little!" she wrote, echoing a famous line from the "Lucy" episode "Job Switching." "Elvia Allman, eat your heart out [heart emoji]. A little behind-the-scenes fun from today's filming of Will & Grace!"

While numerous shows have staged homages to "I Love Lucy," NBC said this is the first time that scenes from "I Love Lucy" episodes have "been recreated for modern television."

The "Will & Grace" midseason finale aired Nov. 21. New episodes resume Feb. 6.

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