Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Energy and fun surround "Lend Me A Tenor"

I missed the opening show of the Players Theatre's "Lend Me A Tenor" last week because I was ill. Then a busy weekend out of town kept me away from the theater. So I made arrangements to see Tuesday's show.

I was surprised at the turnout for a weekend night performance. It was one of the largest crowds I had seen in a while at the theater, which usually pulls fairly good crowd numbers. Last night's crowd was more than I expected, though.

After the show began, I could see why attendance was high. "Lend Me A Tenor,"directed by Roberta MacDonald, is a marvelous comic production. There's never a dull moment as the energy remains high from beginning to end.

"Lend Me A Tenor" is set in a snazzy hotel room where Cleveland Grand Opera company general manager Saunders (Bob Trisolini) and his geeky assistant Max (Jeffery Kin) eagerly await their superstar guest Tito Merelli - the world famous opera singer. Through a series of off-the-wall events, Tito passes out before his all-star performance of "Otello." No, that's not a misprint. There really is an opera called "Otello." It's the opera version of Shakespeare's play "Othello." With Tito out of commission, Max goes on stage in his place, pretending to be him. The fun really begins after the opera is over, when Tito, not knowing Max and Saunders' plan, walks around in a hilarious daze of confusion.

The cast members are a delight to watch in this show - everyone from the bellhop (Toph McRae) to the glittering Julia (Patti O'Berg). It was especially grand to watch Tito (Berry Ayers) and his wife Maria (Kaylene McCaw) converse on the stage with their comic appeal and Italian accents. Kin played the nervous, underconfident Max to a T while Trisolini had a great command of the stage as the no-nonsense Saunders. Rounding out the cast was Lilian Moore, who plays the saucy soprano and Andrea Kinal who plays Max's girlfriend. Together, they bring a quirky element to the play.

Audiences will thoroughly enjoy "Lend Me a Tenor," as well as the exetremly entertaining surprise at the end, too. It's worth seeing.

- January Holmes

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