Lend Me A Tenor
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA FOR THE CIVIC PLAYERS
Never let it be said that the Civic Players shy away from a challenge. For their next production, in what is something of a departure for the society, they are doing a musical. Well, sort of. Director andand society chairman Andy Meadows explains “Lend Me A Tenor is set in the international world of opera, specifically a production of Pagliacci by Leoncavallo, and so throughout the play, excerpts from this and other operas are sung. Fortunately there are ways of getting around this, which will come as a relief to anyone who has heard the Civic Players try to sing!”
Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig is set in 1930s America and the scope for art deco styling will undoubtedly play to the Civic Players' strength of well researched and detailed set design. Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is primed to welcome world famous Tito Merelli, Il Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as the star of the opera. Tito arrives late and, through a hilarious series of mishaps, is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. His pulse is so low that Saunders and his assistant Max believe he’s dead. In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into Merelli’s costume and fool the audience into thinking he’s Il Stupendo. Max succeeds admirably, but Merelli comes to and gets into his other costume ready to perform. Now two opera stars are running around in the same 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, this madcap comedy is guaranteed to leave audiences teary-eyed with laughter.
The Civic Players are famous for the quality of their farces and comedies, but Andrew admits that this is ambitious, even for them. “Not only do we have the usual ingredients of rapid-fire dialogue, entrances and exits that have to be timed to perfection and visual humour, but the cast have to be able to sing some pretty demanding pieces of music. I'm so lucky that I have a cast who are up to the challenge.”
Over the last 50 years, the Civic Players have earned an impressive reputation for the quality of their award-winning productions, especially comedies. Vice-chairman Rich Walters is perfectly happy with this: “It's a proven fact that laughter releases feel-good chemicals into the brain, so why wouldn't we want to do something that makes our audience feel happy? Seems perfectly logical to me! The feedback we have recieved from our audiences after our recent productions prove that they really enjoy an evening of fun and Lend Me A Tenor is perfectly designed to provide more of the same. Let's hear it for farce, I say!”
Lend Me A Tenor will be presented by the Civic Players at the Swan Theatre, Yeovil in December 2022.