The cast of Lend Me a Tenor take a break from rehearsal for a photo-op on Sunday, April 14. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Lend Me a Tenor offers laugh-your-face-off fun

Shuswap Theatre’s lastest begins April 26 and runs to May 10

By Barb Brouwer

Contributor

If the state of the world is bringing you down, head over to Shuswap Theatre for a dose of hilarity.

Directed by Julia Body, the theatre’s latest main stage production, is an adaptation of playwright Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor.

Body has directed two other Ludwig plays – Moon Over Buffalo and Leading Ladies.

“I love his style and his humour,” she says. “His characters are fun to act and fun to direct.”

Calling it a typical farce, Body sets the scene: It’s 1934 and opening night at the Cleveland Operatic Society’s special 10th anniversary production of Pagliacci.

Saunders, the general manager of the opera company, is thrilled that world famous tenor Tito Merelli, also known as Il Stupendo, has agreed to perform the title role.

Read more: Quantum physics and popular music collide for theatre offering

Read more: Royal Purple shows its support by the thousands to Shuswap non-profits

But he’s late to arrive and is accompanied by his wife whom nobody was expecting.

“He’s a bit of a womanizer and likes to drink, and so, when he arrives he’s not feeling well and the manager of the operatic society is beside himself because things are falling apart,” says Body. “And it all goes downhill from there.”

Merelli needs to sleep but can’t nod off so Max, who has been tasked to take care of the touchy tenor and get him to the opera in time, gives him one too many phenobarbital tablets.

“The combination of wine and medication knock Tito out and when Max is unsuccessful in his attempts to waken him he believes he is dead.

In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into Merelli’s costume and fool the audience into thinking he’s Il Stupendo.

Max succeeds admirably, until Merelli awakes and gets ready to perform. Now two Pagliaccis are running around in costume and two women in lingerie are following them, each believing they are the lucky one with Il Stupendo.

The opera company’s soprano thinks Tito will further her career and the manager’s daughter, Maggie, just idolizes the soprano.

“It’s a madcap play with mistaken identities, people in and out trying to see and talk with Merelli,” laughs Body, who notes the play takes place in the tenor’s hotel room. “There are six doors on stage, which are constantly slamming and outrageous situations just like all farces.”

Many members of the cast will be familiar to Shuswap Theatre fans: Fred Green – who also appeared in Leading Lady – plays the manager; Alex Delaney is Max; Ali Foster-Balloun is Maggie; Brook Derksen plays the career-minded soprano Diana; Hilary Brown plays Julia, the owner of the opera, Ann Skelhorne is Tito’s wife and newcomers Chris Iversen is Tito and Patrick Larsen plays the bellhop.

“The cast is having a great time; the set is divided into two halves, a bedroom and living room, and there’s lots of action,” says Body. “Everyone’s having a blast.”

Lend Me a Tenor was produced on both New York’s West End and Broadway. It received nine Tony Award nominations and won for best actor and best director. A Broadway revival opened in 2010. Lend Me a Tenor has been translated into 16 languages and produced in 25 countries

“Vernon and Kamloops have done it too,” says Body. “It’s absolutely hilarious – great lines, great characters and a kind of laugh-your-face-off play.”

Read more: Shuswap Theatre play looks at unintended relationships

Read more: Jake McIntyre-Paul and guests take to the Shuswap Theatre stage

Read more: Legal odd couple resolve personality conflicts in Trying

Lend Me a Tenor plays at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from April 26 to May 10. Sunday afternoon matinees take place at 1:30 on April 28 and May 5. May 2 and May 9 are “Pay What You Can” Thursdays. Cash at the door only, no reservations.

The play is Shuswap Theatre’s entry for the Okanagan Zone Festival, which takes place in Salmon Arm this year and opens on May 17.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rockslide obstructing traffic in Sunnybrae

Large boulders rolled onto Sunnybrae Canoe-Point Road in the South Shuswap.

Island road trip unkind to playoff-bound Silverbacks

As the ‘Backs hit the road, the chase for a better playoff berth in the Interior was heating up.

South Canoe Elementary made K-8 for one year

The motion was passed to keep students from making multiple transfers

Word on the street: What is your biggest pet peeve regarding cellphone use?

In light of Unplug and Play Family Literacy Week run by the… Continue reading

In photos: Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet at Larch Hills

The race saw over 700 athletes take to the ski trails

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Communities in Bloom: Resolutions to make 2020 bloom

Along with work in the garden, Sicamous residents can help out with the annual banner project.

Snow angels: B.C. volunteers shovel for those who can’t

‘They’ve helped me make it through the rest of the winter’

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Most Read