Firmly planted in the eclectic midway between comedic opera and farce, Ken Ludwig’s 1989 comedy explores the trials and tribulations of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company management team. Set in a luxurious hotel suite in 1934, company manager Henry Saunders and his long suffering assistant Max have prepared everything for the grand gala opening of their production of Otello. A thirty piece orchestra, twenty-four member chorus, fifteen stagehands, eight principals, fifty pounds of rotting shrimp, and a sold out thousand seat black tie audience of potential donors are all standing by.
The only thing missing is famed Italian tenor and star, Tito Merelli. As Saunders attempts to quell the rumors and fear backstage—as well as the unabashed excitement of Opera Guild chair Julia—Max juggles the demands of Tito’s fiery and unexpected wife Maria, lascivious soprano Diana, and an obnoxious bellhop … all while trying to keep Tito’s appetites for wine, women, and food in check.
As the comedy of errors goes from bad to worse, Max desperately tries to keep things under control, as well as win the hand of his adventure-seeking girlfriend, Maggie. As Saunders concocts a devious plan to cover for Merelli’s absence, however, Max is caught in the cross hairs and may just give Maggie more adventure then she ever could have imagined.
With a deep love and respect for the art form—as well as a keen sense of humor aimed at its practitioners—Lend Me a Tenor is an opera all its own. A labor of love, it overflows with a cartoonish air of excitement, sweeping up everyone in its hilarious wake.