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‘Lend Me A Tenor’ to take stage this week

January 11, 2017
By MEGHAN McCOY (mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A wild and zany comedy with lots of energy, mistaken identities, love triangles and many slamming doors will keep audience members captivated during an upcoming performance at the BIG ARTS Strauss Theater.

"Knowing it was such a heated year that everyone has had with the election and all of the things happening in this world, this is the time that I think everyone needs a laugh," Artistic Director Bobby Logue said about choosing "Lend Me A Tenor" as one of the productions for this season. "This is one of the shows that will give you a good belly chuckle."

'Lend Me A Tenor' will take the stage Jan. 12, and run through Feb. 10. A preview performance, the casts final dress rehearsal will be held Jan. 11. There is one scheduled matinee for the show, Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m. The other performances are held at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Article Photos

Rob Summers and Christopher Russell rehearsed their roles of Saunders and Max at the BIG ARTS Strauss Theater last week to prepare for opening night of “Lend Me A Tenor.”

MEGHAN MCCOY

"We really like to have the final dress rehearsal with the audience there, so we know where the laughs are. In a sense they are almost apart of the production staff that evening," Logue said.

The "Lend Me A Tenor" cast includes Christopher Russell as Max; Joel Stigliano as Tito; Katie Pankow as Maggie; Megan Orlowski as Diana; Rob Summers as Saunders; Nancy Antonio as Julia; Samantha Rotella as Maria and Tommy Short as the bellhop.

"You are not going to find a finer cast than what you'll see on this stage," Director Ann Nieman said.

Logue said Nieman is a perfect fit for the show because she is an established choreographer.

"It's all about someone missing that person by just a split second as they are coming through one door and the other person leaving the other door," Logue said. "It's very symbiotic in terms of the cast as well. There is a rhythm and a flow in this show that will sweep the audience up and just take them along for the ride. A lot of that starts with the heart of what the performers are putting in, but also the guidance of such a wonderful talented director like Ann."

The premise of the show is that the Cleveland Grand Opera Company has hired the world's most famous tenor to perform.

"This show starts off waiting for this tenor to come and being very nervous because of not knowing what they have to do to keep this guy in line, so he can do the show that night. Of course, he is everything they thought he would be when he shows up," Logue said.

This is the first time Strauss Theater has produced "Lend Me A Tenor." Logue said it was last seen on the island 18 years ago at the old Schoolhouse Theater.

Saunders, who is the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, was successful in getting the tenor to come to the company.

"He knows that the singer has a reputation and he is going mad because the person is late and it goes downhill from there," Summers said. "He's just frantic trying to make things right."

Max, Saunders assistant, Russell said mirrors a lot of people who have great ambitions, but they do not know how to achieve them.

"He has the opportunity to achieve his dreams and sing in front of an audience for the first time," he said.

Diana, Orlowski said, is willing to do anything, which includes sleeping her way to the top of the opera world.

Short, who is also the Strauss Theater stage manager, said his character really wants to meet Tito Merelli and he will do anything to get his autograph.

Stigliano, who performs the role of Merelli, said his character is great.

"He's one of those guys that has his own gravity. He walks around and has this atmosphere about him and these people sort of gravitate towards him," he said. "It just so happens that the majority of the people that are attracted to him are young women."

In addition to the cast, Logue said they also have a very talented scenic crew - Adam Trummel the scenic designer and technical director and Erin Peter, scenic artist. He said Janet Scully, the box office manager, is another great member of the team.

"We are now getting to rehearse all of our shows day one of the rehearsal on the actual set, which is a luxury not many theaters get to have," Logue said, which was headed up by Trummel.

To purchase tickets, visit bigarts.org, or call (239) 395-0900.

 
 

 

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