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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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.

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