Playcrafters opens season with laughter and "Lend Me a Tenor"

Originally Posted Online: Jan. 06, 2011, 12:35 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 06, 2011, 12:41 pm
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Submitted press release.

MOLINE -- Playcrafters Barn Theatre next production is the Ken Ludwig comedy "Lend Me a Tenor." The show runs Jan. 14-15-16 and 21-22-23 with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays evenings and matinees at 3 p.m. on Sundays.

"Lend Me a Tenor" first premiered in London in 1986 and then on Broadway in 1989; it has since been translated into 16 languages and has been produced on stage in 25 countries around the world. Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a musical based on the play by Ken Ludwig in London, 1988, and the original version of the play enjoyed a Broadway revival in 2010.

The plot centers on opera star Italian tenor Signor Tito Merelli—known to his fans as "Il Stupendo"—whose arrival is cause for great excitement at the 1934 gala fundraiser for the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. Merelli is slated to sing the title role in Othello, and the company views him as a savior. Saunders, the company's general manager, anticipates huge income, someone else hopes for back-stair influence, and a fan longs for a chance to express her admiration.

Things begin to unravel when the star's hot-headed wife leaves him and the distraught tenor is accidentally given a double-dose of tranquilizers to calm down, rendering him comatose instead. Desperate, Saunders presses his hapless assistant Max into filling in for Il Stupendo. Dressed in costume and wearing the blackface makeup the role calls for, Max seems set to play a passable Othello—until Merelli wakes up. What follows is a door-slamming chain-reaction of mistaken identity, farcical plot twists, double entendres and innuendoes.

Donna Weeks, Moline, directs the play and also designs lighting for the show. Cast members include Tom Naab and Cindy Ramos-Parmley, Moline; John VanDeWoestyne and Diane Greenwood, Geneseo; Angie Keeney, Blue Grass; Vincent Briley and Sara Laufer, Davenport; and Chris Tracy, DeWitt.

Production staff includes co-producer Gale Smith, stage manager Karen Dubberke, music consultant Laura Crumbleholme, lead set builder Dean Spillum, light board operator Jordan Smith, production assistant Sydney Crumbleholme, set construction/painting helpers Craig Cohoon, Jesse Cohoon and Jeremy Koester, all of Moline; co-producer Lexi Holtzer, set dresser Alex Wolking, props/backstage crewperson Alysha McElroy-Hodges, Rock Island; sound designer Paul Workman, Silvis.

Tickets for the show can be reserved by phoning Playcrafters at (309) 762-0330 or by visiting the website at


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