Lend Me A Tenor - The Comedy 1986
Previewed 21 February 1986, Opened 6 March 1986, Closed 10 January 1987 at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre)
Ken Ludwig's comedy farce set in the Cleveland Opera House Lend Me a Tenor in London
The cast features Denis Lawson as 'Max', Jan Francis as 'Maggie', Ron Holgate as 'Tito - Il Stupendo' and John Barron as 'Saunders'. Directed by David Gilmore. This comedy was originally titled Opera Buffa, the new title was suggested to Ken Ludwig by Richard Stilgoe. David Gilmore's West End credits include Denise Deegan's comedy Daisy Pulls it Off at the Globe Theatre in 1983.
"On first acquaintance Ken Ludwig seems a farceur who gets trigger-happy with bedroom doors, and who can never relinquish a double-meaning until he has flogged it to death. He also has verve, a sound grasp of plot mechanics, and a rare ability to couple high art and low comedy... Mr Ludwig is no exponent of farcical thrift, he writes in passing gags that go nowhere; his women are heavily over-written vamps and climbers; motivation is never allowed to get in the way of fun, which is laid on with a sledgehammer. Hence the particular joy of David Gilmore's production which caps the excessive over-writing with its own explosive vitality. The timing is superb, particularly when it comes to the art of the slow burn... Comic invention repeatedly pushes panic to fearless limits, especially when characters abruptly turn into inanimate objects to be propped up or hauled about like planks. With typical verve, Mr Gilmore rounds things off with a prestissimo pantomime recap of the whole plot." The Times
Lend Me A Tenor in London at the Gieldgud Theatre (was Globe Theatre) previewed from 21 February 1986, opened on 6 March 1986 and closed on 10 January 1987
Lend Me A Tenor - The Musical Comedy 2011
Previewed 2 June 2011, Opened 15 June 2011, Closed 6 August 2011 at the Gielgud Theatre
A major production of the musical Lend Me A Tenor in London, based on the award winning West End and Broadway hit comedy by Ken Ludwig.
It's 1934, and the world's greatest tenor Tito Merelli has come to Cleveland, Ohio, to save its Grand Opera Company by singing Otello. When he is unexpectedly incapacitated, Max, the opera director's meek assistant, is given the daunting task of finding a last minute replacement. Chaos ensues - including a scheming soprano, a tenor-struck ingénue, a jealous wife, shrimp gone bad and the Cleveland Police department.
This uproarious new musical comedy by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll is a riotous, unpredictable explosion of mistaken identities and unexpected romance. The musical Lend Me A Tenor is adapted from the hit comedy by Ken Ludwig of the same name which enjoyed a ten month run at the Gieldgud Theatre in London (then called Globe Theatre) in 1986, and a 13 month run on Broadway in 1989 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (then called Royale Theatre), winning two Tony Awards - for Best Direction of a Play for Jerry Zaks and for Best Actor in a Play for Philip Bosco.
The cast for the musical Lend Me A Tenor in London features Matthew Kelly as 'Henry Saunders', Cassidy Janson as 'Maggie Saunders', Michael Matus as 'Tito Merelli', Joanna Riding as 'Maria Merelli', Damian Humbly as 'Max Garber', Sophie-Louise Dann as 'Diana DiVane', John Stacey as 'Bernie Guter', Gay Soper, Jane Quinn and Michelle Bishop. This brand-new production, originally seen at the Plymouth Theatre Royal in September 2010, is directed by Olivier award winning director Ian Talbot with choreography by Tony award nominated choreographer Randy Skinner, designs by Paul Farnsworth, lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Terry Jardine.
"It is always a good sign when a musical understands that musicals are a bit ridiculous. This occurs when - in a glorious 1930s grand-hotel set - the staff welcome the Italian tenor Merelli, whose gala night must save the local opera. Instead of leaving him and his wife in their room, the bellhops, maids and hosts tap, twirl, warble and imprison them in a forest of jazz hands... There are some lameish jokes, gags about Jewishness and a breezy acceptance that black-up greasepaint and a woolly wig will fool anybody... but hell, this is farce: and once you get into the door-slamming, French knickers, wrong beds and silly accents, such a deception feels fine... For it's a good-hearted show with real laughs: not to be sniffed at." The Times
"Want to feel hap-hap-happy? Then skip-skip-skip along Shaftesbury Avenue to this musical version of the 1980s award-winning comedy. You get great singing, stunning sets and a silly story that's turned into a fabulous farce... And Sophie Louise Dann brings the house down as the diva who combines the most famous few bars from a dozen different operas into an audition piece from heaven - or maybe hell if you're an opera fan." The News of the World
"Grand opera is the stuffed target of this amiable, far from great musical farce... Despite the nitwit plot, Ian Talbot's production just about wins you over, with vitality, florid-fancy sets and an old-fashioned appeal. Yes, it's sentimental, and the fake Italian accents are beyond stupido, but plus sides include Sophie-Louise Dann as a squinchy-faced soprano: her frenzied parodies of great arias and her attempt to seduce Tito with a loo brush between her teeth are a hoot." The Sunday Times
"In the Thirties-set farce Lend Me A Tenor the Musical, based on Ken Ludwig's 1986 play, a girl can have a fling with a bloke she thinks is an opera singer, but who is actually her very own fiance in disguise, and still go up the aisle without any harsh words from would-be hubby. When the curtain rises on the musical's set of six doors, you know you're in for a frantic comedy of errors... There is a brief flirtation with a potentially more explosive idea when Maggie, the daughter of opera impresario Henry Saunders, admits that she wants to 'be a bit bad' before finally settling down with Max, whose idea of having a good time is a game of crazy golf. Maggie throws herself at Morelli, singing: 'Lend me a tenor, lend me your love.' After a sluggish, screechy start, Ian Talbot's production gathers pace and polish until finally Sophie-Louise Dann brings the house down as the company's vampy diva. Playing Desdemona in Otello, she shows Morelli her Carmen - holding a loo-brush between her teeth for dramatic effect - then her Tosca, Violetta from La Traviata, Mimi from La Boheme and much more. It's a delightfully daft evening." The Mail on Sunday
Lend Me a Tenor in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 2 June 2011, opened on 15 June 2011 and closed on 6 August 2011.