BWW Reviews: LEND ME A TENOR Hits a High Note



By Ken Ludwig

Directed by Penni Willen

May 19th, 2013 at 3P.M.

The farce "LEND ME A TENOR", hits a high note, at the Carrollwood Players in Tampa, through June 8th.

"LEND ME A TENOR" opened at the Royale Theatre on Broadway in 1989, directed by Jerry Zaks, and ran for over a year. It received nine Tony Award nominations and won for Best Actor in a Play and Best Director of a Play. It starred Philip Bosco as Saunders, Victor Garber as Max, and Ron Holgate as Tito. There was a Broadway revival in 2010, at the Music Box Theatre.

The story takes place in Cleveland, 1934, in a swanky hotel suite. Renowned tenor, Tito Merrelli arrives to make his American singing debut in Verdi's "Otello", with the Cleveland Grand Opera.

When madcap misunderstandings and mistaken identities begin, this hilarious farce takes flight and never stops.

Tall, lanky, nerdy, Derek Ruhlandt Buchanan as the bespectacled Max, (assistant to the opera company manager), lives the role and is perfectly cast. He fusses and fidgets, charming the audience, while landing every laugh line. Mr. Buchanan has great physical comedy abilities as well, providing gales of laughter throughout the farce.

A winning performance.

Arrogant, Thomas Pahl as Saunders, the general manager of the opera company), is a study in "Panic Attacks". He enters on stage, "like a bull in a china shoppe", at a constant boiling point. Mr. Pahl's seething frustration, provokes laughter at every turn.

Handsome, Miguel Rodriguez as Tito plays his role to perfection. His accent and mannerisms bring life to the endearing, Italian Divo. Mr. Rodriguez commands the stage with sheer delight. His battling scenes with Jeanene MacLean as the angry, yet passionate Maria, (his wife) are played to hilarious dramatic heights.

Poised and pretty, Brianna Lynn Filippelli portrays Maggie, Saunders daughter (and Max's "would-be" fiancée).

Miss Filippelli has created multiple levels in her role and is simply lovely.

Susan Belliveau as Diana, (a young, "wanna-be" opera diva), slinks onstage in a form fitting sexy, evening gown, only to land in a seductive pose. The laughter begins as she vamps her way through every scene.

Toothy, cherub faced, Brandon Rathbone as the sassy, young, energetic, Bellhop, is delightful.

As haughty, socialite, (and opera company chairman), Petra Sussman's Julia, is pleasantly silly and affected. Miss Sussman's flirtatious and comically seductive scene with Tito, was a highlight.

The Art Deco Set Design and decor by James Cass and Properties by Denise Deneen, were elegantly period. Costumes by Chris Dietz and James Cass were pedestrian. Sound Design by John Gustafson was even and clear. Lighting tech, Rae Schwartz ran a solid show. Stage Manager, Kim Welch kept the production moving smoothly.

Kudos to director Penni Willen. As a comedic actress, she was able to bring her knowledge of pace, timing, and physical comedy to the stage, now as a director. She kept the show moving at a brisk pace, which is essential for a successful farce.

If you want to have fun and laugh yourself silly...

Go see the Carrollwood Players production of "LEND ME A TENOR"!

You will be glad you did!

Please support Community Theatre and all of the volunteers, that put in endless time and talent, to make the magic happen, simply... "for the LOVE of the theatre".

Go see it!

"LEND ME A TENOR" runs May 16th through June 8th, 2013 Ticket Prices $18.00 There are special Student/Military and Senior discounts are available upon request CALL - (813) 265-4000 The theatre is located at 4335 Gunn Hwy Tampa, Fl, 33618 The next production at Carrollwood Players is "LOST IN YONKERS", July 12th - August 3rd, 2013

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From This Author Jimmy Ferraro

Jimmy Ferraro is an Award Winning Actor and “Theatre Veteran”. His professional career spans over 40 years in every aspect of show business. Ferraro’s credits (read more...)

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