Lend Me A Tenor

by Ken Ludwig

Directed by Tony Muscarello

Fall, 2003 Season


This night in September of 1934 is the biggest in the history of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company—world-famous tenor Tito Morelli is to perform Otello, his greatest role at the gala season-opener. Saunders, the General Manager, hopes this will put Cleveland on the operatic map. Morelli is late; when he finally sweeps in it is too late to rehearse with the company. Through a hilarious series of mishaps, Il Stupendo is given a double dose of tranquilizers which  mix with the booze he has consumed and he passes out.  His pulse is so low that Saunders and his assistant Max believe he is dead. What to do? Max is an aspiring singer and Saunders persuades him to get into Morelli’s Otello costume and try to fool the audience into thinking he’s Il Stupendo.  Max succeeds admirably, but Morelli comes to and gets into his other costume. Now two Otellos are running around in costume and two women are running around in lingerie, each thinking she is with Il Stupendo! A sensation on Broadway and in London’s West End.

A jolly play. N.Y. Times.

Non-stop laughter. Variety.

Uproarious! Hysterical! USA Today.

A rib-tickling comedy. N.Y. Post.

Screamingly funny! CBS Radio.
 

Quoted from Samuel French, Inc. Play Catalog 2003.

Director's Notes:

Lend Me A Tenor is a recent (1985) addition to a long tradition of classical farce which can be traced back at least as far as the Roman dramatist Plautus. By definition, farce is simple, basic, broad comedy, with lots of slapstick, misunderstanding and mistaken identities. It aims at gales of laughter rather than the kinds of snorts and snickers of understanding and amusement you might expect from Oscar Wilde or Tom Stoppard. As we should expect from farce, there’s not much room for subtlety. Characters are caricatures, without apology, and actors are called on more for gymnastics and split-second timing than for nuances of expression. I am happy to say that the actor’s and technicians that I called upon dedicated themselves proudly in the continued tradition of “the farce”, and I thank and congratulate all who helped us produce our creative ensemble.
Tony Muscarello

Cast

Anna Zimowska.....Diana
Kyle-Jason Schwarz.....Max
Angela DeMarco.....Maria
Andrew Berlien.....Bellhop
Whitney Lynn.....Maggie
Renata Schloss.....Julia
Jonathan Fah.....Tito
Bill Esbrook.....Saunders


Profiles: Cast
Anna ZimowskaAnna Zimowska (Diana) is a Music Education major and a Dance minor, currently in her fourth (but not last) year at NEIU. She is thrilled to once again be on the NEIU stage. You might have  seen her in Little Murders just last month, We Won’t Pay!, We Won’t Pay! a year ago, or in a number of studio series shows in the last three years. She would like to thank all her friends and family members for their continued support.
Kyle-Jason SchwartzKyle-Jason Schwartz (Max) is very excited to make his debut with the Stage Center Theatre. He is currently a student at N.E.I.U. where he is studying drama. Some of his theatre background includes performing with The Young Shakespeare Players, The Piven Theatre, The Cornservatory, and The Key Hole Players. He would like to thank his family for their support and dedicate his performance to the memory of his mother.
Angela DeMarcoc is so excited to join this talented cast of Lend Me A Tenor. As a graduate of Northeastern, you may have see her in Musical Comedy Murders of The 1940’s, The Importance of Being Ernest and Dancing at Lugnasa to name a few. Other credits include Jan in Grease at Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre, Ado Annie in Oklahoma and Shelby in Steel Magnolias. She is also a graduate of Second City Training Center where she performed in the graduate ensemble show Joe Has NO Pants. Thank you to my supportive husband and all my friends and family. I Love You!
Andrew BerlienAndrew Berlien (Bellhop) is a freshman at N.E.I.U., Andrew was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from Roycemore School, in Evanston, and upon graduation won the Rebecca Ashley Thatcher Award for Excellence in Drama. Lend Me A Tenor is his first performance at Northeastern.
Whitney LynnWhitney Lynn (Maggie) is originally from Topeka, K.S., where she was cast as Emily in Our Town and Mrs. DeWinters in the drama Rebecca, before relocating to Chicago. This will be her first performance since that move. Whitney loves the city and art in all its forms, she currently resides in Logan Square and works downtown.
Renata SchlossRenata Schloss (Julia) has been performing in the Chicago area for over twenty years, after receiving talent scholarships from Second City and U. of I.. Her favorite roles include Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Mae West in Mad Dog Blues, Lillian in I Hate Hamlet, and Mrs. Vile in Absolute Tabloid because Mr. Vile made her Mrs. Schloss. She hopes you enjoy Lend Me A Tenor as much as she does.
Jonathan FahJonathan Fah (Tito Merelli) a.k.a. Jonny Fah a.k.a. Jonny Kash a.k.a. Garbage Man. Well … After selling his soul ten years ago to be a karaoke host, Jon makes his way back to his first love… The Stage! Jon would like to take this time to thank Lynn Minich for being supportive for over nine years. He would also like to thank the director for him this opportunity.
William EsbrookWilliam Esbrook (Saunders) has performed for over twenty six years in over forty  productions, appearing in shows as diverse as Oklahoma (Jud), Bye Bye Birdie (Conrad Birdie), The Murder Room (Inspector Crandall), and The Wizard Of OZ (Lion) among others. This is Bill’s sixth production with Tony Muscarrello. William is also a special effects makeup artist.

Crew

Director.……………………………………..……….Tony Muscarello
Stage Manager………….……………………..…….…….Will Aragon
Sound Design….………………………………….......Ron Suwanski
Sound Operator………………………………………..Ron Suwanski
Light Design………………………………………….John Rodriguez
Light Operator…………………………………………..Elias Morales
Set Design…………………………………………....Robert G. Smith
Costume Design………………….….…………….Elizabeth Shaffer
Costume Assistant  …………………………………M’rald Calhoun
Stage Crew………………..Giselle Khoshaba, Derek Stawikowski
Prop Master………………………………….……Brandon Weninger
Box Office Manager……………...…………………..…….Eric Steier
Assistant Box Office Manager………………………..Brigid Blume
Publicity Coordinator…………………..…………………. Zach Neff
Assistant Publicity Coordinator…………………...Viviana Belisle

Profiles: Crew

Tony Muscarello (Director) is proud to be directing his second Mainstage production at N.E.I.U. Tony has directed and acted in over 65 productions throughout the Chicagoland  area, and is an alumnus of NEIU (M.A. Speech and Performing Arts, M.A. Special Education). By day Tony is employed as a high school teacher / drama director with the Jewish Children's Bureau, and is excited to be working at their new facility, The Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center. Tony is honored to be associated with such a talented and dedicated cast and production staff.   

Will Aragon (Stage Manager) is a student at NEIU and will be graduating this May. He hopes to go on to a prosperous and wonderful career in the performing arts. He is delighted to have had the chance to work with a great and talented cast and crew. Also, he would like to thank Tony for giving him this great opportunity and to everyone that made this show possible— “without your help we wouldn’t be here”. He also would like to thank everyone that helped him become a stage manager for this production. “Thank you for all your help, I couldn’t have done it without you”. Will would especially like to thank the one person that gave him all the needed support; “Tatiana, without your help I would be lost; you are the one that drives and inspires me. Oh, before I forget, would you like to have dinner with me?”

Elizabeth Shaffer (Costumer) received her Masters Degree in Design from Penn. State University in 2002, after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been designing and draping in the Chicago area for several years. Her credits include: Bailiwick Arts Center, L’Opera Piccola, Opera Theatre Highland Park, Chicago Jewish Theatre, Reverie Theatre, and Lifeline Theatre (where she is an Artistic Ensemble member). She eagerly awaits a call from the Lyric. She is also the Assistant Designer / Head Draper for the annual Baroque Handel Opera Festival in Gottingen, Germany.


From the Tuesday, December 2, 2003 issue of the
REV Section Theater Review, NEIU Independent
By Izzy Moskovits, Staff Writer

Lend Me A Tenor is a "ten," or very close

    There is nothing quite as much fun as those movies in which two or more characters are unaware of a big secret throughout the film's duration that the audience is in on. What is even better than seeing it on screen, though, is seeing it in person. This idea is the key of a new play now playing at the NEIU Stage Center. As a big theatre fan, I was present on the opening night of "Lend Me a Tenor," a farce written by Ken Ludwig.

    The play is set in a hotel suite in Cleveland Ohio, in 1934. The story is.that the world famous Opera tenor, Tito Merelli, has come to town to perform. Saunders, the show's coordinator, as well as Max and Maggie, his daughter and son-in-law, are eagerly awaiting his performance. He arrives at the hotel and everyone quickly becomes intrigued by Tito, especially Max, who, as it turns out, is an aspiring Opera singer himself. Tito and his wife are having marital difficulties, and after a particularly rough feud, she decides to leave him. Tito reacts to this news in shock and falls into a heavy sleep after excessive drinking. Saunders finds him sprawled out on the bed and believes him to be dead. This leaves him in a terrible predicament. If Tito is not able to perform, the audience will be fumed and Saunders could lose his job.

    But Saunders suddenly has a brilliant idea. He pleads with Max to impersonate Tito and save the performance, to which Max reluctantly agrees. The show goes on as planned and no one notices the switch. The next morning, Tito awakens, not knowing what has happened and leaves the hotel. Saunders and Max quickly realize what could happen to both of them if their secret is revealed. They need to find a way to allow the show to continue without anyone finding out their scheme. Let's just say that a good word for this show is "double entendre."

    This play succeeds on many levels. For starters, the script written by Ludwig is superb, filled with witty lines and punctual retorts. Each character's personality is so wonderfully unique that we quickly come to love them, and empathize with their zany predicaments. The real reason this play succeeds though, is the casting. Each actor perfectly fits their role. It was almost as if each character was made to play each particular part. One particular role that caught my attention was that of the Bellhop, played by Andrew Beriien. Though his character had a minor role, his lines were delivered so perfectly that he stuck out when he appeared on stage. Though the play was over two and a half hours long, it passed very quickly. Another impressive bit was the ending of the play, which involved complicated choreography that was carried out flawlessly. This is one of the finer plays shown here at Northeastern, and a crowning achievement for the Stage Center.

...
The Cast and Crew
The Cast and Production Crew

William Esbrook (Saunders)Kyle-Jason Schwartz (Max),
  Jonathan Fah (Tito Merelli)

Jonathan Fah (Tito Merelli), Whitney Lynn (Maggie)

Jonathan Fah (Tito Merelli), Anna Zimowska (Diana)

Jonathan Fah (Tito Merelli), Angela DeMarco (Maria)

Renata Schloss (Julia), Jonathan Fah (Tito Merelli)

Angela DeMarco (Maria), Whitney Lynn (Maggie),
Andrew Berlien (Bellhop), Kyle-Jason Schwartz (Max),
William Esbrook (Saunders)

William Esbrook (Saunders), Kyle-Jason Schwartz (Max)

William Esbrook (Saunders), Andrew Berlien (Bellhop)

Kyle-Jason Schwartz (Max), Whitney Lynn (Maggie)

Cast with Caption




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