‘Lend Me A Tenor’ Now Staging At Bay Street


Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor begins the 2013 Mainstage Season with the comedy “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig.

Set in 1934, the play tells the story of the renowned “Il Stupendo” and his visit to Cleveland, Ohio. While there, he is accidentally given a double dose of tranquilizers, causing a chain reaction of mistaken identity, double entendres and musical mayhem. The farce, directed by Don Stephenson, features an ensemble cast. Judy Blazer, Scott Cote, Betsy DiLellio, Donna English, Nancy Johnston, Noah Plomgren, Steve Rosen and Roland Rusinek star.

Last Thursday afternoon, before even setting their sights on the stage, members of the cast gathered at Bay Street to discuss the show. Mr. Rusinek, who stars as Tito Merelli, aka “Il Stupendo,” said that “Tenor” is an actor’s dream.

“I’ve been dying to do it for so many years,” he said, adding that his favorite part is when he gets drugged. “I get to lay down for about 45 minutes of the show,” he laughed.

Ms. Blazer, who plays his wife, Maria, also lauded what she called a “Marx Brothers Italian” comedy. She said that her part has always been a favorite, though not necessarily an acting stretch.

“She’s loud. She’s Italian. She’s loud,” the actress emphasized. “My mother’s name is Maria and she’s from Italy, but I’m basing the character on cousins of mine.”

Though the show is a farcical comedy, full of madcap adventures, misidentity and slamming doors, according to Mr. Cote—who plays the bellhop—it’s also got a tender soul. At the center of the play, is a love story between the characters Max and Maggie.

“It’s the heart of the show,” Mr. Plomgren, who plays Max, said.

But that doesn’t mean that audiences should count out the silliness either, Ms. Johnston—who plays Julia, who thinks herself to be the grand dame of the Cleveland opera scene—said.

“The residents of Cleveland always need to prove that it’s a place of great art,” she laughed. “The tenor coming is a real feather in their cap. They are tumbling over themselves, to great comic effect.”

In all, the show’s got a bit of something for everyone, according to Ms. DiLellio, who plays the ingénue, Maggie.

“I have enormously high expectations, the show is so strong,” she said. “We all think it’s hilarious. But the real test is that we just had some friends in and they were roaring! The cast is great and the show is so strong.”

“Lend Me a Tenor” received nine Tony Award nominations and won for Best Actor and Best Director during its original run on Broadway. Mr. Ludwig’s other plays include “Crazy For You” and “Moon Over Buffalo.”

“Lend Me A Tenor” will stage through Sunday, June 23. Performances will be held Mondays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. Tickets start at $59. For more information, call the box office at 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

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