Photo Flash: First Look at LEND ME A TENOR, Opening the 2014 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tonight

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The wildly hilarious Tony-Award winning comedy Lend Me a Tenor opens tonight, July 11 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Running in repertory with Shakespeare''s Macbeth, the production continues through August 3 in the PSF Main Stage theatre on the campus of DeSales University. Get a first look at the cast in action below!

Written by Ken Ludwig, an internationally-acclaimed playwright who was raised in York, Pa., and whose work has been performed in more than 30 countries and in more than 20 languages, Lend Me A Tenor won two Tony Awards and was nominated for seven when it debuted in New York 25 years ago.

The Cleveland Opera Company is buzzing with anticipation as world-renowned tenor Tito Merelli is scheduled to play Otello for a single night. But the superstar takes the wrong dose of the wrong stuff and can't go on. But of course the show must go on -- even in a whirlwind of comic calamities.

Jim Helsinger returns to direct, following last season''s hit The Importance of Being Earnest, leading a cast that features some of the Festival''s comic masters.

The famed opera singer Tito Merelli is played by Perry Ojeda, who starred on Broadway in On the Town. PSF veteran Carl N. Wallnau plays Saunders, general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, who assigns his assistant Max, played by Jacob Dresch, to take care of Merelli.

Deanna Gibson portrays Maggie, Saunders'' daughter and Max''s sometime girlfriend, who hides in Merelli''s closet hoping to get his autograph. Maria, Tito''s hot-tempered wife, will be played by long-time PSF artist Suzanne O''Donnell.

Anthony Lawton plays an opera-obsessed bellhop, also bent on getting Merelli''s autograph-at any cost. Throw in the vivacious Chairman of the Opera Guild, played by Susan Riley Stevens (who wowed PSF audiences as Katherine in last year''s Henry VIII), and a sultry soprano played by Eleanor Handley, and chaos of operatic proportions ensues.

Scenery is designed by six-time Emmy winner Bob Phillips; lighting by Thom Weaver, costumes by Amy Best and, sound by Matthew Given. J. Bennett Durham serves as the actors'' vocal coach and Lynne Innerst as dialect coach. Stacy Renee Norwood serves as production stage manager.

The production opens tonight, July 11 and runs through August 3 in the Labuda Center's Main Stage Theatre. Lend Me a Tenor and Macbeth play in repertory with the same cast. Additional Lend Me a Tenor performances are: 7pm Tuesday, July 15 and 29; 8pm Wednesday July 16 and 23; 8pm Thursday July 31; 8pm Friday July 25; 2pm Sunday July 20 and 27; 2pm Saturday July 26; 8pm Saturday August 2; and 7:30 pm Sunday, August 3. Lend Me a Tenor includes some mature situations; recommended PG 11+. To order tickets: 610.282.WILL [9455] or go online to www.pashakespeare.org.

Photo Credit: Lee A. Butz

high res photos

Photo Flash: First Look at LEND ME A TENOR, Opening the 2014 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tonight
Perry Ojeda portrays the world-famous tenor who has come to the Cleveland Grand Opera Company for a special one-night appearance (and accidental disappearance)

Photo Flash: First Look at LEND ME A TENOR, Opening the 2014 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tonight
Yes: They can really sing. Perry Ojeda, right, as Tito Merelli, a world-famous tenor, offers some pointers to Max, the assistant at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, played by Jacob Dresch

Photo Flash: First Look at LEND ME A TENOR, Opening the 2014 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tonight
Max, the assistant at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, played by Jacob Dresch, left, tries to cover for a missing tenor to Diana, the soprano scheduled to practice with him, played by Eleanor Handley

Photo Flash: First Look at LEND ME A TENOR, Opening the 2014 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tonight
What�s going on with the visiting tenor? Deanna Gibson as Maggie, Susan Riley Stevens as Julia, and Anthony Lawton as the bellhop perform

Photo Flash: First Look at LEND ME A TENOR, Opening the 2014 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tonight
Is there a tenor in the house? Anxious to meet the world- famous singer making a special one-night appearance with the Cleveland Grand Opera Company are: (left to right) Deanna Gibson as Maggie, Susan Riley Stevens as Julia, the Chairman of the Opera Guild, Anthony Lawton as the Bellhop, and Carl N. Wallnau as Saunders, the general manager

Photo Flash: First Look at LEND ME A TENOR, Opening the 2014 Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Tonight
Perry Ojeda, left, as the world-famous tenor Tito Merelli, and Susan O’Donnell, as Maria, his wife, arrive in their hotel the day of his one-night performance at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company

high res photos

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