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A & E

Stage Coach Players to present ‘Lend Me a Tenor’

Classic comedy opens community theater’s summer season

Rehearsal is underway for the Stage Coach Players June production of "Lend Me a Tenor." Pictured (from left) are Greg Anderso, Steve Challgren, Barb McCaskey, Blythe Schwaller and Ryan Morton.
Rehearsal is underway for the Stage Coach Players June production of "Lend Me a Tenor." Pictured (from left) are Greg Anderso, Steve Challgren, Barb McCaskey, Blythe Schwaller and Ryan Morton.

Stage Coach Players will produce Ken Ludwig’s popular comedy “Lend Me a Tenor” as its first show in its 2018 summer season.

Directed by Bernie Schuneman and Jan Booth, “Lend Me a Tenor” opens June 7 and runs through June 17.

Set in 1934, the story revolves around the arrival of Tito Merelli, “Il Stupendo,” the greatest tenor of his time, to the Cleveland Grand Opera to perform the lead role in Verdi’s opera “Otello” for one night. Merelli and his wife, Maria, arrive late, causing fits with the Opera’s general manager, Henry Saunders.

Saunders gives the job of tending to Merelli to his assistant and aspiring opera singer, Max.

When Maria discovers Saunders’ daughter Maggie hiding in the closet hoping to get Merelli’s autograph, she angrily assumes Maggie is romantically involved with Merelli and storms out of the hotel, but not before leaving a “Dear John” letter. Through a hilarious series of mishaps, Merelli is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. His pulse is so low that Max and Saunders believe he’s dead.  

In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders makes Max get into Merelli’s Otello costume to fool the audience into thinking he’s Merelli. When Merelli comes to and gets into his spare costume ready to perform, there are now two Otellos are running around in costume and two women each thinking she is with “Il Stupendo.”

“Lend Me a Tenor” was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 1989, winning two awards including best actor in a play won by Philip Bosco as Saunders. It also won four Drama Desk Awards. Among Ludwig’s many comedies is a sequel titled “A Comedy of Tenors,” which premiered in 2015. 

Performances for “Lend Me A Tenor” will be at 7:30 p.m. June 7, 8, 9, 15 and 16 and 2 p.m. June 10 and 17.

Tickets cost $15 for adults or $13 for seniors and children age 13 and younger. Tickets are available online at www.stagecoachers.com. The box office opens June 3; call 815-758-1940.

The theater is at 126 S. Fifth St. in DeKalb.

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