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George Wendt, left, starts in the Stage West production of “Fox on the Fairway,” which runs until November. Photo: John Watson.

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George Wendt stars in Fox on the Fairway at Stage West Theatre

Krista Sylvester for The Beacon News
George Wendt surprised people still recognize him from his days on TV sitcom “Cheers”

Everybody knows his name. And while Stage West theatre may not be his usual stomping grounds, actor George Wendt (also known as, of course, the lovable Norm from “Cheers”) is making himself quite comfortable in Calgary during the run of the Fox on the Fairway.

Wendt is starring in Stage West’s 2014/15 season opener, a high-paced comical farce about golf and love that elicits laughs and cheers from the crowd, and he is joined by none other than his wife and fellow actress Bernadette Birkett who is also starring in the play.

“My wife is on board with the show and she’s quite the explorer so she’s always out walking all over town and she has a great eye and nose for the good bakery shops and markets and things like that,” Wendt says. “Now that we’re done with rehearsals and the notes and all that I’ll be out looking for bars to go out to after the show.”

And while Wendt is known for his lovable and popular Cheers character Norm – a role he played for 11 years – he’s been busy working on other television sitcoms, movies and theatre. He even has a new sitcom coming up next spring.

“I love theatre, whether it’s New York City, Chicago or Calgary, I love it. I love being able to perform in front of a live audience because they make the whole experience much more fun,” he adds. “It’s a lot of work to rehearse and it’s a lot different than filming movies but it’s something I’ll always love. I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon.”

Fox on the Fairway runs until November so Calgarians will have a lot of chances to spot the recognizable Wendt around the city and he expects he might be recognized for his Cheers role more than any others.

“I do get recognized quite a bit, which I find unusual because I’m so much older now, but it’s kind of flattering to be recognized.”

As for the show, Wendt isn’t much of a golfer anymore but he had a lot of fun playing the role of Dickie Bell, a swarmy golfer with womanizing ways who will do anything to win a golf bet. The comedic romp that ensues is hilarious for the not only the audience but the actors, too.

“It’s a ridiculous, completely over-the-top comedy y with a capital K,” Wendt laughs. “It’s balls to the walls fun and I think the audience will enjoy the shenanigans.”

Fox on the Fairway runs until November 4th at Stage West.

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