Archikulture Digest

Lend Me A Tenor

Lend Me A Tenor

By Ken Ludwig

Directed by Trevin Cooper

Starring Colton Butcher, Shanel Sparr, and Russel Trahan

Athens Theatre, Deland, FL</strong></strong>

Here’s a show where you keep waiting to hear someone shout “Third Base!” It’s a door slamming farce with sex and fame and opera, all driven by a seasoned crew of comic actors whose timing makes this show fly. It’s 1934 in Cleveland (and when isn’t it?) and famous Italian Tenor Tito Merelli (Thomas Muniz) appears for his North American debut. Take THAT, Metropolitan Opera! But he’s late and Opera manager Saunders (Trahan) freaks out. His kicking boy Max (Butcher) does what he can, but the facts are the facts: Merelli is missing in Cleveland and rehearsal started already. When he does show up with his equally dramatic wife Maria (Monica Titus) in tow he’s feeling poorly and as for rehearsal – he’s sung this show 50 times so what’s to rehearse? Being famous, all the women fall for him from Saunders’s daughter Maggie (Sparr) to the leading lady Diana (Bernadette Siudock) to the opera’s patroness Julia (Pat Justin) who is cleverly disguised as Margret Dumont. It’s all sex, drug and slamming doors as Merelli gets misplaced a second time, the women stake out closets and bathrooms, and Max makes his stage and casting couch debut. He may not be famous yet, but boy he will be once this story gets out.

The doors are all sturdily built and vaguely Art Deco, and the timing couldn’t be tighter. Trahan’s Saunders went well beyond a slow burn; he’s more like a Santa Anna fire storm as he bounces off Max’s well timed gags. Sparr’s Maggie is kooky yet flexible; she excels at falling out of couches and into beds and always flashes her undies at the crowd. Muniz’s Merelli is funny enough with his Chico Marx accent and excellent physical presences while Justin’s Julia is the cougar you always hope to meet. Poor Ms. Titus spends most of her time off stage; her job title is “Looming Presence” and while she may not keep Merelli pure she does keep him guilty. Is this show over acted? Damn square, it is NOT subtle and when I’ve seen casts aim there, it was no fun for anyone. We are off to a good year of comedy and this “Tenor” is worth the drive to Deland, a town full of funky little restaurants and a theater full of good sight lines. Unlike Cleveland.

For more information on Athens Theatre events please visit www.athensdeland.com/


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