Entertainment

South Okanagan Actors and Players present Lend Me A Tenor

Opera house manager Saunders (Ted Osborne) frantically tries to rouse drugged operatic tenor Tito Merelli (Nathan Linders) in the South Okanagan Actors and Players production of the madcap comedy, Lend Me a Tenor. - Submitted Photo
Opera house manager Saunders (Ted Osborne) frantically tries to rouse drugged operatic tenor Tito Merelli (Nathan Linders) in the South Okanagan Actors and Players production of the madcap comedy, Lend Me a Tenor.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

In a world of luxury, chaos is about to ensue as the South Okanagan Actors and Players bring the screwball comedy, Lend Me A Tenor to the stage.

“Staging as high-energy farce as this with eight characters is a lot of hard work and cast and crew are stepping up to play an important part of our success,” said Tom Szalay, a 10-year SOAP veteran who is making his directorial debut.

Tito Merelli (played by Nathan Linders) is Il Stupendo, the world-famous Italian tenor that the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company is primed to welcome. The singer arrives at his hotel suite, ready to open the Cleveland Opera’s 1934 season starring in Otello. Tito is not only famous for his voice but for his charming ways with women. He soon attracts Maggie (played by Tracey Granger), an adoring fan and daughter of the Cleveland Opera’s general manager Saunders (played by Ted Osborne). Also vying for Tito’s attentions is his ambitious co-star Diana (played by Robin Stille), who aims to start a romantic relationship with the tenor and advance her career.

A stomach ache and his hot-tempered wife Maria (played by Carrie Lyle) put the tenor’s plans on hold. Concerned that his performance is in jeopardy, either by his illness or ways with women, the fiery Maria orders him to rest. She wants him safely tucked up in bed, alone. In a furious exchange of words Tito gulps back a handful of tranquilizers with wine and passes out cold.

The role of Otello is left without a replacement and opera house manager Saunders is justifiably worried about his sponsors, but has a cunning plan to fool the opening night audience. His hapless assistant (played by John Guiliano), an aspiring, albeit amateur tenor might be up for the challenge. A whirlwind of frantic costume changes, mistaken identities, slamming doors, hilarious sight gags and romance ensue.

Also featured in the Lend Me A Tenor cast are David Badger, as a sassy singing bellhop and Louise Szalay as Julia, a regal opera patron. Among the talented crew who helped put the production together are stage manager Jen Jensen, producers Patrick Turner and Jennifer Mapplebeck, costumes Bernice Myllyniemei and set props Robert and Marla Wilson.

Lend Me A Tenor is a comedy written by Ken Ludwig and received nine Tony nominations.

Lend Me A Tenor runs at the OSS theatre in Osoyoos May 23 to 24 and in Oliver at the Venables Theatre May 30 and 31. Tickets are available at Sundance Video (Oliver) and Your Dollar Store with More (Osoyoos). Prices are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors or students.

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