Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Lend Me A Tenor"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2002 by Tony Annicone

"Lend Me A Tenor"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Granite Theatre's current show, "Lend Me A Tenor", takes place in Cleveland, Ohio on a September night in 1934. The world famous opera singer, Tito Morelli is to perform Otello but since this is a farce, chaos ensues. The general manager of the opera, Saunders gets his assistant, Max to dress up as Otello. Saunders daughter, Maggie, opera diva, Diana and chairwoman of the opera board Julia, all pursue Max and Tito dressed up as Otello. Throw in Tito's hot tempered Italian wife, Maria and a tres gay bellhop to complete this 8 member cast. Director Gary Sullivan does wonders with this show by throwing in some clever sight gags and slapstick moments to give the audience the needed ingredients for this madcap comic romp.

Keith Brayne as Max leads the troupe in merriment with his clever dialogue and disguised as Tito, he fools the audience to obtain the woman of his dreams. Keith once again shows his comic prowess and handles the role with ease. The real opera singer, Tito is played by Peter Buchi who has a fantastic singing voice in real life. Not only does Peter's voice soar in the musical moments of the show but his comic antics will keep you in stiches,too.

The mean general manager, Saunders is played by Bruce Celico. He captures the hard edge of this character but also infuses him with many comic moments including his jumping on Tito's body in bed while choking him is very funny. Maggie is played by Michelle Johnson who gives this ingenue a backbone. She stands up to her father while thinking she is love with Tito, she finally realizes it is Max she really loves after all. (The scene where they finally make love builds to a climax with operetic music and a quick blackout. Tito and Diana do it on the opposite side of the stage at the same time.)

The tres gay opera loving bellhop is played by Wayne Alan Hawkins. He is a bundle of energy every time he enters the scene. He uses many facial expressions and times his jokes in the correct manner leading to much laughter. The opera diva, Diana is played by statuesque, blond haired, Courtney Leivers. She does a great job portraying this slutty woman. Tito's hot tempered wife is played by Sharon Miceli who does a very funny comic burn at her cheating husband. She and Peter do excellent work with their Italian accents throughout the show. Last but not least is Sue Staniunas as Julia. She wears a heavy sparkling dress resembling the Chrysler building. Sue plays the part of this much older woman wonderfully reminding you of Mrs. Howell from Gilligans Island.

So for a fun filled evening be sure to catch, "Lend Me A Tenor" at the Granite. The set by David Jepson is black and white while the colorful costumes are by his wife, Beth. Morgan Ban Droi as stage manager and Skeeter Staelens who runs the lights & sound help Gary make this a show not to be missed.

"Lend Me A Tenor" (till 29 September )
GRANITE THEATRE
1 Granite Street, WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |