El Stupendo Is Right… Lend Me A Tenor At The Palace Is Magnificent!
By Olin Meadows
Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor, currently at the Georgetown Palace Theatre, is one of the best productions I have ever seen at this historic theatre. The most difficult part of every director’s job is not in the staging, the design, or even the marketing of a show; it is in the casting. Director Lannie Hiboldt tackled that challenge head on and with skill. The entire ensemble casting of this show is perfect for every role. Especially notable is the choice of Michael Dominguez as the comic lead Max.
This show is a tour de force, filled with slapstick humor and timeless comedic situations copied and reused by every iconic comedy show, team, or duo. Mistaken identity, phony accents, the classic switching of doors tricks, and overzealous women fill this two-act comedic romp, making it perfect for a night of entertaining, enjoyable theatre. Watching this show was one of the highlights of my weekend. In addition to the star performance of Dominguez is Joseph Burg David. David’s performance as the famous opera star Tito Merelli, who is at the center of the story, shows he is not only a talented actor but also a talented singer and comedian. Rick Smith as the temperamental and over-stressed Saunders executes each line with skill and thought. However, one of the stand outs for the night is Wes Cheers as the Bellhop. His performance reminds us of a young Will Forte of MadTV fame.
The show is not just about the men. The ladies in this show are hilarious, all pining after Tito, who is not always who he seems to be. Sarah May Jewell as Maggie is charming, beautiful, and full of spunk. Diana, the dramatic soprano of the Cleveland Opera played by Annie Violetta, is like a living Veronica Lake. The jewel of the show is Marsha Sray, who plays Maria, the hot-headed Italian wife of Tito Merelli, Sray is a gifted actress and holds her own against a tower of talented men as the only woman on stage bolder than the temperamental Saunders. A real joy and surprise is Nikki Bora as the fussy and snooty Julia, head of the Opera Guild. Bora’s performance shows she has a lot of spunk and some sassy legs.
The entire show from the beginning to the end is well-directed, well-designed and superbly acted. The comedic timing of the entire show is better than a Bugs Bunny cartoon (which is one of the best, in my opinion). This show is a MUST SEE for everyone! I give this show a full 5 out of 5 stars. It is the best show I have ever seen from the Palace Theatre.
And Just for Laughs here is a Bug Bunny Cartoon about Opera to get you in the mood!