North Coast Rep opens Season 30 with sidesplitting ‘Lend Me a Tenor’

Max fools the cast as ‘Tito,’ from left, Ted Barton, Albert Park, Courtney Corey, Jill Drexler and Christopher M. Williams. Photo: Aaron Rumley

By Diana Saenger
Let’s Review!

The slam, slam, slamming of doors has never been funnier than in North Coast Repertory Theatre’s (NCRT) current production “Lend Me A Tenor.” Think the Three Stooges chasing themselves through a hotel room or Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in an absurd farce, and that’s the pace of this thoroughly hilarious show.

The show opens in the living room of a hotel suite in Cleveland, Ohio were sits Maggie (Courtney Corey) and Max (Christopher M. Williams). It’s obvious the two are involved, but Maggie is gushing about Tito (Bernard X. Kopsho), a famous Italian opera tenor coming to their town to star as Othello in a benefit performance. Maggie, who met Tito once before, claims to Max that she needs to have a fling before she settles down. She wants to hear bells when she kisses the right man. Williams puts on one of the best snit-fits I’ve seen on stage in his distress over Maggie’s statements.

That’s about the tamest moment in this winner of three Tony Awards. Entering the living room next is a frazzled Saunders (Ted Barton), Maggie’s father and the man in charge of handling Tito who is, so far, a no-show. Saunders insists that guy-Friday Max must sing the opera in disguise and save the show, and Max is about to have another meltdown until Tito and his fiery wife Maria (Jessica John) show up.

From this moment on nothing is predictable and there’s barely a minute when the audience is not roaring. Obviously it’s Tito’s strong romantic voice (not his portly physique) that enthralls women to fall at his feet. Coming in and out of those slamming doors and ducking into closets and bathrooms to avoid each other include Maggie, singer Diana (Jacque Wilke), and the opera show manager Julia (Jill Drexler).

Maria, tired of women hiding in his closets, tells tenor Tito in her Italian accent, “Someday you gonna wake up in bed and you gonna be a soprano!” Then she abruptly leaves the suite.

When Tito insists he must sleep before the evening’s concert, Max helps him by spiking his drink. Hours later, Tito will not wake up, and a distraught Max has to tell Saunders that Tito is dead.

Barton portrays the overwrought Ted perfectly, never far from a heart attack and creating a tension that can be felt in the last row of the theater. Williams easily takes Max through several traumas, and quickly works his way out of one situation into another, all with outrageous gestures. Corey is adorable in her “innocent” pursuit of a fling with Tito and trying to avoid Max and her father. Her facial expressions intensify every evolving emotion.

Wilke, Drexler and John pull off their roles with precision, and adding yet another layer of humor is Albert Park as the hotel bellhop. He, too, is infatuated with Tito and does all he can to intrude into the hotel room to get a picture and autograph of the tenor.

Director Matthew Wiener has raised “Lend Me A Tenor” far off the written page. It’s a spectacular screwball comedy that will have patrons smiling long after they’ve left the theater.

If you go
What: Lend Me A Tenor
When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays; 7 p.m. Sundays to Oct. 9
Where: North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach
Tickets: $32-$49
Box office: (858) 481-1055
Website: northcoastrep.org

Related posts:

  1. Solana Beach North Coast Rep to mark 30th season with eight shows
  2. New season tickets on sale for North Coast Rep
  3. North Coast Rep Theatre ready for new season
  4. McMurtry takes next role in the premiere of ‘Heroes’ at North Coast Rep
  5. North Coast Rep celebrates new season

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=27254

Posted by Staff on Sep 14, 2011. Filed under A & E, Featured Story, Theater. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “North Coast Rep opens Season 30 with sidesplitting ‘Lend Me a Tenor’”

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RSS LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Horizon Prep in Rancho Santa Fe graduates from cottages to new campus building
    Horizon Prep dedicated five new grammar school classrooms on Monday, Aug. 25. Donor contributions have allowed the Rancho Santa Fe school to grow from 14 little green cottages to a school with 29 state-of-the-art classrooms and more to come. “We couldn’t be more excited about the opening of this school year,” said Dr. Bob Botsford, Horizon Prep president and […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Republican Women to present candidates forum
    The Rancho Santa Fe Republican Women, Fed., members will present Republican candidates for federal, state and local races at their “Best Party in Town” event from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Morgan Run Resort & Club. The candidates have been invited to speak and meet with the voters. Cost is $25; light refreshments will be served. Please send check […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Library to present Alzheimer’s series
    Taking aim at Alzheimer’s, the county Board of Supervisors in May launched the Alzheimer’s Project, an effort to create a regional strategy to improve caregiver resources and to support research efforts to find better treatments and ultimately, a cure for the disease. […]