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Lend Me a Tenor

by Ken Ludwig

I'll never forget when I saw this play at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center years ago.. it was practically 100 degrees in the middle of summer and at the time the theatre had no air conditioning.. the actors were sweating bullets, the audience was stripping and using their programs as fans, and it was STILL one of the funniest shows I've ever seen (which is a great tribute to the play itself and especially to those dedicated actors!)

A good farce is a favorite among theatre-goers and I have to report that besides playing Juliet, the most fun I ever had on stage was doing Neil Simon's Rumors so I understand the appeal. This play has it all, mistaken identity, phony accents, six doors... complete with opera singing! And to top it all off, it's the story of an underdog. Max, our "hero" is charged with taking care of the legendary opera singer Tito Merelli as he makes his debut at the Cleveland Opera Company. Unfortunately, things go awry, leaving Tito supposedly "dead" and Max wearing his costume and makeup prepared to go onstage for him. This might sound like a nightmare to any amateurs out there, but lucky for us Max happens to have a gorgeous opera voice and the whole evening go off without a hitch. So much so that Max's own girlfriend, Maggie, doesn't recognize him! In fact, she is so moved by "Tito's" performance that she comes to his hotel room and the two of them end up in a passionate affair. At this time Tito, aka Max, says to Maggie, in a terribly wonderful Italian accent:
There are some, few moments when we done look back, and we done look ahead. And for that a-one moment, we have a-music, we have a-happiness, we have a-hope. Eh? That's all.
It is a beautiful moment because even though Maggie thinks she is having a romantic affair with a star, we know that she is in fact sleeping with her own boyfriend, so all is well. Eventually, all is resolved, and everyone is happy!

Has anyone seen the current Broadway revival? I'd love to hear your impressions of the show!

Wednesday Play-a-day: Betrayal by Harold Pinter

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