WBT's Lend Me a Tenor Hits a High Note

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2020 By: Margaret Carey Source: Hamlet Hub

Westchester Broadway Theatre's season opener, Lend Me a Tenor, is an enjoyable evening of farcical comedy.  It's 1934 and the Cleveland Grand Opera Company is primed to welcome world-famous singer Tito Merelli, known as Il Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as the star of the opera.

This award-winning play is not a musical nor a dance extravaganza, but this fantastic octet of actors are extremely entertaining. We are treated to a few little musical interludes by Tito (Joey Sorge) and Max (J.D. Daw). Their duet was entrancing, and Daw's solo operatic vocals were outstanding - leaving you wanting more. These poor guys are put through a comedy of errors thanks to the engaging cast of characters. Kathy Voytko played Maria, Tito's beautiful and fiery Italian wife. Voytko's comic timing was perfect, as was the touching scene as she silently deals with her decision to leave her husband. Tregoney Shepherd's Julia was captivating as the grande dame of the opera. Rounding out the cast are Molly McCaskill as Maggie, Phillip Hoffman as Saunders, Hannah Jane McMurray as Diana, and Sam Seferian as the Bellhop.

For those familiar with the play, you'll notice a few changes including the Opera is Pagliacci instead of Othello - which thankfully eliminates the use of blackface. The use of clown makeup and costume fits the play to a T. However, I was disappointed that the traditional post-show elaborate curtain call where the actors pantomime the entire action of the play in less than 3 minutes was illuminated from this production.

Once the exposition is laid out, the play is fast-paced as the characters come in and out of the multi-door set designed by Steve Loftus. The costumes, especially the ladies' attire, by Keith Nielsen epitomized the era stunningly and, as always, Lighting by Andrew Gmoser set the mood perfectly for each scene. 

If all this wasn't enough to entice you to see the production - the Westchester Broadway Theatre has a generous Special Offer for Free Dinner with Show Tickets for Lend Me a Tenor. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to see this production running through January 26, 2020.