|by Jim Amidon • September 27, 2011|
The Wabash Theater Department opens its 2011-12 performance season this week with a four-night run of Lend Me a Tenor. Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday nights in Ball Theater in the Fine Arts Center.
Directed by Professor Michael Abbott, Lend Me a Tenor is a classic American comedy that has been produced all over the world since its premier in 1986. Written by Ken Ludwig, Lend Me a Tenor was nominated for seven Tony Awards when it premiered in the West End (Philip Bosco won for Best Actor). It was produced on Broadway in 1989 and again in 2010.
The year is 1934 and the Cleveland Opera Company is hosting a blockbuster fund-raiser backed by renowned tenor Tito Merelli (Il Stupendo) for a performance of Otello. In a wild case of mistaken identity and classical farcical turns, Merelli’s wife leaves him.
In an effort to calm down, the singer pops too many tranquilizers and is down for the count. But the show must go on — and does — in a fast-moving madcap farce that delights opera lovers and opera haters alike, and leaves all audiences in stitches.
“I've especially enjoyed introducing a talented young company of actors to the technical and physical demands of farce, and they've responded with tremendous energy and devotion to the project,” Abbott said.
Starring in the Wabash production of Lend Me a Tenor are Joe Mount as Max and Patrick Stroud as Tito. Not only does Mount play his own part, he doubles as a stand-in for Il Stupendo when the famous opera singer nods off. Jake Peacock stars as Saunders, Max’s would-be father-in-law and the head honcho behind the Cleveland Opera’s big event. Another Wabash student, Chris McCloskey, plays the Bellhop.
In addition to the Wabash students, Maria Fraczek stars as Diana, Niki Hutson as Maria, Claire Jagla as Maggie, and Terry Swift as Julia. Fraczek is a Modern Languages Intern, Jagla is a senior at DePauw, and Hutson and Swift are veteran actresses from the community.
“This production showcases the talents of actresses from the local community, the Wabash campus, and even our neighboring rival to the south,” Abbott said. “It's been a terrific joy for me from beginning to end, and I hope everyone will make plans to see the show. It's a blast!”
Lend Me a Tenor at Wabash College features stunning scenic and lighting design by James Gross and gorgeous costume design by Andrea Bear. Joe Reese is the stage manager and Gus McKinney is the properties master.
Tickets are free, but should be reserved by contacting the box office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-361-6411).