Cleveland Play House
Professional Equity House Theatre
This show is very, very funny. This is a sequel to Ken Ludwig’s “Lend me a Tenor”, however, this show has legs of its own, and is just as entertaining for a newcomer to the characters that are revisited. What a beautiful way for Laura Kepley to start off the programming for the 100th season.
Playbill shares the following synopsis of the evening’s festivities.
“Amidst the glitz and glamour of 1930’s Paris, producer–and former mayor of Cleveland–Henry Saunders is attempting to stage the concert of the century with three of the world’s greatest opera sensations on the bill,” according to press notes. “Straightaway, Saunders hits a snag when Italian superstar and notorious male diva, Tito Merelli, threatens to quit the show after finding his wife, the hot-blooded Maria, in the arms of another man. But as in any good comedy, things aren’t always what they seem. Reluctantly thrust into the action, Saunders’ ex-assistant Max tries to navigate the situation as Tito and Maria’s passionate and fiery relationship begins to cause chaos on an operatic level. As opening night draws near, flaring tempers, mistaken identities, and bedroom hijinks bring new meaning to the phrase ‘the show must go on.’
Embodying these hilarious characters are Ron Orbach (Saunders), Antoinette LaVecchia (Maria), Bradley Dean (Tito/Beppo), Kristen Martin (Mimi), Bobby Conte Thornton (Carlo Nucci), Tony Nominated Rob McClure (Max) and Lisa Brescia (Tatiana Racón). All are directed by Stephen Wadsworth, who crushes the material by creating a very humorous evening of great funny feels. His sense of timing, physicality, and the understanding of timeless classic comedic bits, create magic.
Orbach is a scream as he huffs, puffs and exasperates all over the stage. LaVecchia is a fierce hot flash of Italian sizzle. Looking sharp at every turn, she is a beautiful cog in the comedic wheel. Dean is the rudder of this hilarious romp. His command of comedic timing, dynamic energy, and crisp characterizations is a joy to behold, and very funny. Martin is a beautiful highlight to this cast. She has classic Carol Burnett timing, and a dash of Chenowith, that provides some great chuckles throughout the evening. Conte provides plenty of matinee idol presence, while he effectively handles the romance and tenor diva shtick to great delight. McClure is a theatrical gazelle as he bounds and leaps around the stage with wild abandon. All the while exercising his incredible comedic chops. He is so much fun to watch, as he navigates through this insane plot. Racon looks like she came out of a Bond film. She serves severe entertaining Russian angst, and handles the comedic hardballs thrown at her with aplomb.
My favorite scenes are the wedding, and the slap off between Mimi and Carlo, which is just brilliant physical comedy.
The production scenic design by Charlie Corcoran is fabulous, lighting design by David Lander is spot on, a luscious costume design by William Ivey Long, and deft sound design by Joshua Horvath.
Jennifer Matheson Collins, stage manager, and assistant stage manager Tom Humes, called a terrific show.
If you need a good laugh, and don’t mind silly humor, this is your prescription.
September 5 – October 3
7:30pm Wednesdays (10:30am matinee 9/30)
7:30pm Thursdays (1:30pm matinee 9/17)
2:30pm and 7:30pm Saturdays (9/12 6pm show only)
2:30pm Sundays (9/6 6:30pm show only)
$20-$80 Reserved Seating
Order Tickets Online
Allen Theater Complex
1407 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115