Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor is one of those plays where you need to suspend your disbelief just a little bit. The entire show takes place in the same upscale hotel suite that Dirk Durosette created with exquisite detail, complete with two rooms and six doors. Whenever you see six doors on a set, you know you're in for one funny show. Lend Me a Tenor is the most heavily produced farce by a living playwright, and it's no wonder! This show will leave you in stitches.
Jonathan Silver as Max. Photo credit: Matt Urban, Möbius New Media
The show opens waiting for the arrival of the famous "Il Stupendo," Tito Merelli (John Plumpis) from Italy, who is supposed to be performing the title role in Verdi's Otello at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company in front of a sold out house. When he finally arrives with his fiery, passionate wife Maria (Tracie Higgins), things begin to unravel—if they hadn't been unraveling already. The opera's producer, Saunders (Tony Braithwaite) and his gopher, Max (Jonathan Silver) do everything in their power to keep Merelli happy so that he will perform, but it's not that simple. Maggie (Eileen Cella) idolizes Merelli and wants to meet him; Diana (Sarah Litzsinger), his leady lady Desdemona, is extremely ambitious and will do whatever it takes to further her career, and Julia (Marcia Hepps) from the Opera Guild wants her fifteen minutes with Merelli. Even the harebrained Bellhop (Howie Brown) doesn't know when to leave well enough alone.
The Bellhop (Howie Brown), Julia (Marcia Hepps), and Maggie (Eileen Cella) all trying to get their moment with Merelli. Photo credit: Matt Urban, Möbius New Media
All of the characters in Lend Me a Tenor are a bit over the top, very passionate, and all funny. I don't mean over the top in a bad way—this is a farce, after all. Everything is a bit over the top. Bud Martin'sLend Me A Tenor is careful not to cross that line from farce to absolutely too ridiculous to believe. From Alicia Kleckner's beautiful costumes to the unusual but very fitting curtain call, Lend Me a Tenor is an absolute delight and a must-see.
Maggie (Eileen Cella) eavesdropping on Tito(John Plumpis, center) and Maria Merelli (Tracie Higgins, seated), while Max (Jonathan Silver, left) and Saunders (Tony Braithwaite, right) try to convince Tito to go to rehearsal. Photo credit: Matt Urban, Möbius New Media
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