Saturday, July 2, 2016

review - LEND ME A TENOR: THE MUSICAL - Fountain Hills Theater

Alex Gonzalez, Michael Stewart, and Roy Hunt
Photo by Patty Torrilhon
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through July 10th.

 "...Ken Ludwig's hilarious farce Lend Me a Tenor...has a tightly constructed plot, larger than life characters, and split second, door-slamming incidents that deliver big laughs. Fountain Hills Theater presents the Arizona premiere of the musical version of Ludwig's play, appropriately titled Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical.. filled with plenty of new twists and turns...Fountain Hills' production has a talented cast and solid direction that result in a hilarious and very enjoyable experience. ... Ludwig's play...uses two white actors in black face to achieve many of those laughs. This is something that caused a bit of an uproar on social media last season when two theatres in town produced the play, due to the very un-politically correct nature of that plot device. Fortunately, Fountain Hills' Artistic Director Peter J. Hill, who also directs this production, knew he was in for a possible problem, so he did what he needed to do—he rewrote parts of the script and lyrics to eliminate the need for blackface, submitted the changes to the company that licenses this musical, and had his changes approved.  It's 1934 and Tito Morelli, world famous tenor, has been booked to perform Pagliacci at the Cleveland Opera Company. After accidentally receiving a double dose of tranquilizers and drinking too much wine, Tito passes out and is believed to be dead by Max, the nervous assistant to the opera company's general manager, Saunders. Fearing all is lost, and dreading having to return the ticket sales money if they are forced to cancel, Saunders comes up with a plan and enlists Max to help him out of his bind. ...Bookwriter/lyricist Peter Sham smartly kept several of Ludwig's more ingeniously written scenes intact but also includes plenty of original touches. ...Brad Carroll's music is bouncy and fun, though not that memorable. Hill's smart and solid direction and his more than capable cast elicit several perfectly timed moments that farces require. ...Michael Stewart as Max, Alex Gonzalez as Tito, and Roy Hunt as Saunders...achieve a heightened level of lunacy with Hunt especially superb as the frazzled manager Saunders. Stewart brings a sweet and gentle demeanor to the meek character of Max...Gonzalez appears to be having a blast as the larger than life opera star. ...
Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical is a nice updated take on Ludwig's classic comedy. While the musical score may not linger in your memory, the show is still fast paced, fun, and has a great plot. Fountain Hills Theater's production features a very talented cast and direction that keeps the action moving at a fast clip without detracting from the humor, and the end result is an exceptionally fun time with expertly delivered comical performances"  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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