Rod Lewis/News-Sun Merelli (Bill Farmer, left) and Max (Trevor Long) share a duet in ÔLend Me A Tenor,' which opens tonight at Highlands Little Theatre.
click any photo to view this story's photo gallery
published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
'Lend Me A Tenor' opens tonight at Little Theatre
By ROD LEWIS
SEBRING -- Audiences will be transported to the 1930s in Cleveland, Ohio, when Highlands Little Theatre raises the curtain on its production of "Lend Me a Tenor" tonight.
Alan Grosman, the play's director, says to expect "mistaken identities; slamming doors; sharp, witty, crisp dialogue; and humor that is reminiscent of the Vaudeville theaters."
The libretto was written by Ken Ludwig.
"One thing that makes this play so successful is the skillful way that Ludwig combines the opera world and all of the high emotions with the characters. Everything is very cleverly constructed," Grosman said.
The play centers on Max, played by Trevor Long. Max is the assistant to Saunders (Pete Pollard), who is the general manager of the Cleveland Opera Company. The play opens with Max and Saunders waiting for the great Italian tenor, Tito Merelli (Bill Farmer). Everything seems well enough until Saunders utters the notorious words, "Nothing could go wrong now."
Then it does.
Merelli's wife Maria, played by Jillian Febres, finds Maggie (Erika Weaver) hiding in Merelli's closet wanting an autograph. She leaves and writes a note to that effect. Merelli becomes suicidal, but accidentally takes a double dose of his medicine to help him relax. When it is time to go to the theater, however, Merelli can't be awakened.
Saunders arrives, and a plan is hatched for him to save his career and skin. He convinces Max to dress up like Othello (complete in black face) and to sing in Merelli's place. Max reluctantly agrees.
What happens next is like a roller coaster ride. Both Merelli and Max are dressed identically and have black face make-up on, so the mistaken identities, confusion and quick wit comes very quickly.
As if the plot is not thick enough already, Maggie becomes emboldened to make advances on Merelli and Diana (Amanda Mercer) also makes advances to try and further her career.
Does Diana succeed in furthering her career? Does Maggie get to be with the one she idolizes? What about Maria, Merelli's wife? Does Saunders save his career? Does Max convince Maggie that he is the one she should be with? To find the answer to these questions and more, you will have to see the play.
Lend Me A Tenor rounds out HLT's summer of comedies and runs thorough Sept. 22.
For a complete list of show times, go to http://www.highlandslittletheatre.org/ or call 382-2525.
Small Banner Ads