Lend Me A Tenor at WBT

Published: Monday, January 6, 2020 By: GARY CHATTMAN Source: Westchester Arts & Education Review

So, Westchester Broadway Theatre, this month you’ve decided not to present a musical!  What a departure, for your 215th show!

You made the right choice!

There is a two-act opera, by Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.  The opera concern a clown named Canio, who finds out his wife is having an affair. This is very distressing to Canio, obviously!  The aria,

Vesti la giubba”  tells of his anguish.  It says, “Turn the spasms and tears into jokes.  The tears and pain into grimaces!  Ah!  Laugh, Pagoliaccio (meaning clown) and everyone will applaud!  Turn the spasms and tears into jokes/..the tears and pain into grimaces.  Ah!”  That brings us to the farce, “LEND ME A TENOR”, the current presentation of the magnificent Westchester Broadway Theatre.  Playwright Ken Ludwig fashioned a play about such a clown (really two!).  We have, at the WBT, a great presentation of Ludwig’s play—for we don’t have tears or spasms, but loads of laughs at the jokes and the crazy situations!

The reason there are two clowns is that the main star, Tito Merelli, who is supposed to star as Pagliacci,  is entrusted to the care of Max, who is an assistant to Saunders, who is the General Manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company.  Tito becomes despondent when his wife, Maria, leaves him, so he overdoses on pills—and alcohol.  So Max, who is a tenor as well, dresses up as Tito, and plays the opera perfettamente!

Such shenanigans ensue, with the two clowns, the upset wife, the lovesick Maggie, who is Max’s girlfriend, and the bellhop, who also sings opera perfectly, and Diana, who is a soprano who sings in the opera.

Do you understand the plot, now?   I guess it’s kinda hard.  So you know what you gotta do?  Call and reserve a ticket IMMEDIATELY!  Do not miss this show!  I repeat—do not miss this show!

Director Harry Bouvy knows how to move his characters—and the plot exceptionally well.   The setting, but resident set design artiste Steve Loftus, is the perfect background for this farce. 

I don’t know how Lisa Tiso constantly finds such wonderful cast members for these shows (AN AMERICAN IN PARIS was better than Broadway), but she does!  Molly McCaskill (Maggie) is an empathetic actress; J.D. Daw (Max) is phenomenal in this show—showing his many character sides.  Joey Sorge (Tito) is a consummate actor, as is Philip Hoffman (Saunders).  I didn’t mention yet Kathy Voytko, Sam Seferian, Hannah Jane McMurray and Tregoney Sheperd, but now I did!  All are perfect for this play.

So, as I have said many times, WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATRE in Elmsford has great food and free parking and exceptional pricing.  Why travel to Manhattan, where the fare there is re-treads of past shows, big, elaborate musicals centered on pop stars, and high prices, no parking, and no dinner?  It’s 2020.  It’s time to go to WBT. 

Next up is the jazz musical FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE.  Then you can see ALL SHOOK UP—with Elvis’ music.  Then you can see 9-5, with music by Dolly Parton.  Then you can see KINKY BOOTS, fresh from Broadway.  I repeat—it’s time to go to WBT.  Call them at 592-2222- NOW!  You won’t be disappointed—I promise!