CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s the place where everyone knows your name.

Sam, Diane, Carla, Cliff, Norm and Coach are back. Twenty-three  years after the final episode of Cheers aired, the characters are back live on stage.

“At first the audience might be nervous but when we come out, they’re seeing their friends are back,” said Paul Vogt, who plays Norm, iconically played by actor George Wendt.

“I’m friends with George and when I told him I’d be playing this part we went to lunch before I started rehearsals and he said you’re playing a guy who likes beer and it’s your home. It’s that simple. Have fun with it,” he said. “We aren’t doing impressions but that’s why it makes it better. We bring your own mix to it.”

The play is based on scripts from the first season of the sitcom.

“This is one of those classic, funny, family shows. Cheers is like its own family made from people who weren’t related. It was bunch of people who own a bar, work in bar, come to a bar and everyone can relate to that,” said Sarah Sirota, who plays waitress Carla Tortelli.

“I’m from New York, I’m short, I’m 5,2″. Little but fierce. I related to Rhea Pearlman. She’s untouchable in this role. I was able to find that it was returning to my roots for me. We have a lot in common. It was a chance to embrace at the core of who I am. I was able to embrace my height and I was able to embrace my true New York accent,” said Sirota.

Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago

“One of the greatest things about being on stage, you see everyone’s reactions. On TV, the cameras controlling where your eye looks.” she said.

“When you think of those episodes, it was so well crafted it was like watching a play. You don’t stay on 11 years without doing something right. Yeah, this is basically a play, there’s a beginning, middle and an end. It’s fantastic material.” said Vogt.

The sitcom aired from 1982 to 1993.

“We hope everyone has a great time laughing. You can watch it on TV and get that experience but there’s something so different when you see it live. It’s the energy, the comedy, the getting to know the characters again, it’s electric,” said Vogt.

Cheers Live in Chicago stars Carla Tortelli and Paul Vogt visited WBBM studios. | Lisa Fielding

Cheers Live in Chicago stars Sarah Sirota and Paul Vogt visited WBBM studios. | Lisa Fielding

“I hope the audience gets that feeling of coming home because that’s what the show is so much about. It was about going somewhere where you belonged,” said Sirota.

And to really give the bar life, several audience members at each performance are invited up on stage to be bar patrons. You can go online to apply to be a participant and be part of the show. Drinks are also served at the bar during intermission.

Cheers Live on Stage is at the Broadway Playhouse through October 23rd.