Lend Me A Tenor, a hilarious farce by Ken Ludwig, directed by Nancy Curran Willis and designed by Brian Milauskas, will open July 15 and run through July 23 at the NextDoor Center for the Arts. The cast features two outstanding equity actors from the Boston area, Robert Antonelli in the role of Max, who appeared NextDoor as Snoopy last summer and IRNE award winning actress Shana Dirk in the role of Maria, recently seen in SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of NINE. Other familiar faces from the local community theater scene appearing onstage are Jim Ansart (Saunders), Deavid Berti (Tito Morelli), Alaina Fragoso (Maggie), Kim McClure (Julia), SaraJane Mullins (Diana) and Ronny Pompeo (Bellhop).
The play takes place n 1934 when the renowned tenor Tito Merelli, known to his fans as "Il Stupendo," is scheduled to sing the lead in Otello. The opera is being produced as a gala fundraiser for the Cleveland Opera Company. Unfortunately, even before the star leaves his hotel room, everything begins to unravel. Chaos ensues when Merelli's wife, who has mistaken an autograph-seeker hidden in his closet for a secret lover, leaves him a "Dear John" letter. The distraught Merelli accidentally is given a double dose of tranquilizers to calm him and passes out. Saunders, the company's General Manager, is determined that the show will go on (for his own financial sake), so he asks his assistant Max to impersonate the opera star. Max puts on the blackface makeup required for the role of Otello, and his disguise succeeds admirably – until Merelli, also in blackface, wakes up and heads for the stage. What follows is a chain-reaction of mistaken identity, farcical plot twists, double entendres, innuendoes, and constant entrances and exits through many doors.
Shows Friday and Saturday are at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. Thursday July 21 is a special “pay what you can” performance at 7:30 PM. For details and tickets please visit the website at www.nextdoortheater.org or call the box office at 781 729 NEXT. Reserved seating is $20/adult, $15/seniors and students. The NextDoor Center for the Arts is air conditioned and located at 40 Cross Street with convenient off street parking in the adjacent lot at 50 Cross Street.