Lend Me A Tenor
January 23, 24, 30, 31, February 1, 6, 7, 8, 2009

MaxSeth Rohrbach
Maggie SaundersKelly-Ann Suarez
Tito MerelliRalph Montesano
Henry SaundersNick Enlgesson
Maria MerelliElizabeth Buss
Julia LaveretteVicki Montesano
DianaJudy Evans
Frank the BellhopJimmie Long
Production Staff
DirectorMark Breiner
Stage ManagerBecky Trollinger
Assistant Stage ManagerMandy Trollinger
Lightboard OperatorMandy Trollinger
Lighting DesignDan Lewis
Set Design/Construction
Ralph Montesano
Vicki Montesano
Mark Breiner
Michael Quinn
Marc Montesano

Cast Photos
Click on any image for a larger version, if available.


"Lend Me A Tenor' a winter treat at Pennsylvania Playhouse

By Myra Yellin Outwater
Special to The Morning Call

January 28, 2009

The Pennsylvania Playhouse has a winner with its production of ''Lend Me a Tenor,'' Ken Ludwig's comedy about mistaken identities, jealous wives, obsessive opera fans and a larger-than-life Italian tenor who suffers from indigestion, fatigue and the complications of too many women in his life.

Simple events crescendo into crisis through farcical circumstance, coincidence and mistaken assumptions. And director Mark Breiner is blessed with actors who know how to ham it up and exhaust all the play's many comic possibilities.

The play takes place in a two-room hotel suite with a living room, and an adjoining bedroom and six doors leading to a bathroom, a closet, outside corridors and back hallways. It begins as the Cleveland Opera Guild awaits the arrival of world famed tenor Tito Merelli, who is making a one-night appearance.

Unfortunately Tito is late and Max, a meek and mild Clark Kent go-fer, played in the first act with plodding indecision by Seth Rohrbach, tries to calm down his overly volatileboss Henry Saunders, played by Nick Englesson.

Saunders is a male divo who resorts to dramatic gestures, which add a comic frenzy to the evening. He yells, overacts, loses his temper, resorts to physicality and then effortlessly assumes an improbable serenity and professional smile.

Ralph Montesano plays the flamboyant, histrionic tenor with a very believable Italian accent and a physical agility. Montesano is an imposing physical presence who overpowers the stage with his emotions, facial agitation and his constantly gesturing hands and arms.

Tito arrives exhausted from touring and with a stomach ache from over-indulgence. Montesano is particularly funny in his scenes with Max, who in the second act drops his meek demeanor and assumes the mantle of a burgeoning Superman.

The scenes in which the two first warm up for an aria and later, dressed alike in preposterous costumes, mimic each other as they stand against doors in separate rooms, are among the highlights of the show.

Montesano's scenes with his emotionally volatile wife, Maria, also are great fun. Maria, played with dramatic flair by Elizabeth Buss, constantly nags him and assails him with her suspicions and questions.

Buss plays the jealous wife to the hilt, taking over the stage as she assumes the worst and then tries to prove her husband's guilt.

Jim Long takes a cameo as a bellhop and turns each of his entrances and exits into a comic tour de force. Each time he stands up and adjusts his jacket, the audience erupts into laughter.

Vicki Montesano also has a gift for projecting the ridiculous. As the officious and haughty Julia, the chairman of the Opera Guild, she sweeps into the room with a regal hauteur and self- assurance and then becomes giddy as she reveals her infatuation with Tito.

Rounding out the cast are Kelly-Anne Suarez (a Morning Call reporter) as the youthful and immature Maggie, another one of Tito's admiring fans, and Judy Evans as the diva Diana, an aggressively forward flirt.

''Lend Me a Tenor'' is pure entertainment and will send you back out into the winter cold with a smile on your face.

Myra Yellin Outwater is a freelance writer.
Copyright © 2009,
The Morning Call


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