A hilarious zany comedy is now on stage at the Music Theater of Connecticut. Lend me a Tenor was first produced on the West End (London) in 1986 and on Broadway in 1989. The play was nominated for nine Tony awards, and won two. It also was nominated for six Drama Desk awards and won four. Now this comedy is on stage until November 20th. It is truly in the style of modern British comedy with exaggerated acting, physical comedy, over the top characters and a clever set that is a vital part of the story.
Hold on to your armrests as you may just fall out of your seat from laughing too hard! The play is set in a hotel suite in Cleveland Ohio in 1934. An internationally famous opera tenor, Tito Merelli is coming to Cleveland to perform the famous role of Pagliacci the clown. His anticipated arrival is a huge event for the local theater which is betting their season on this performance. Merelli is quite the ladies man and when he arrives we discover that all the women in the play are all trying to seduce him with the exception of his wife who storms out of the hotel after she suspects him of an affair. Act One soon gets turned on his head as Merelli mixes too many sleeping pills and wine. The theater manager fearing that his star is dead asks his assistant Max to don the make up and costume of Pagliacci and assume his role that very evening on stage. If the play is cancelled it could spell disaster for the theater.
The stage design is an integral and very important part of the comedy. The stage is one large hotel suite with a partial wall that divides the bedroom from the sitting area. The audience can see all the action in both rooms but the characters cannot. There are also 5 doors that exit the room, two to closets, one to the bathroom and two to the corridor. These doors are part of this very over the top physical comedy as the actors race in and out of the doors. Act Two turns the whole story on its head. Is Merelli the word famous tenor really dead? Or just in a deep sleep? Is there room for two operatic clowns in this comedy? Will Max overcome his fears and appear on stage as Pagliacci and save the day? You will have to see to find out.
Direction of this witty, fast moving comedy is essential for its success. Timing in comedy is everything and director Pamela Hill brings out the comedic best in this ensemble of fine actors. From rapid fire delivery to exaggerated facial expressions, the delivery is right on target.
Lend Me A Tenorstars Frank Mastrone (B’way- Phantom, Jekyll & Hyde, BIG) as Tito Merelli, Jeff Gurner(B’way- The Lion King, MTC- Sunset Boulevard) as The Bellboy, Michael Damian Fasano (Tour of Jersey Boys, Summer Theatre of New Canaan- West Side Story) as Max, Cynthia Hannah (TV- The Guiding Light, All My Children) as Maria, Jim Schilling(Hamlet with Tony Roberts, South Pacific with Jamie Farr) as Henry Saunders, Jo Anne Parady (Players Club- The Life of Shakespeare, Stratford Shakespeare Festival– Othello) as Julia, Emily Solo (Charlottesville Opera- Sound of Music, New Camerata Opera- Infinite Energy) as Diana, andAlexandra Fortin (Red Monkey Group- HeddaGabler, Gallery Players- Steel Magnolias) as Maggie Saunders.
Lend Me A Tenor is stage managed by Abbey Murray. The creative team includes fight and intimacy choreography by Dan O’Driscoll, scenic and prop design by Sean Sanford, lighting design by RJ Romeo, costume design by Diane Vanderkroef, and sound design by Will Atkin.
Ticket prices range from $40-$65 plus fees and can be purchased online. Support local theater!
Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC)
509 Westport Ave Norwalk Ct
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