Arts & Entertainment

'Lend Me a Tenor' Opens This Week at Paper Mill Playhouse

February 12, 2013 at 12:39 PM

MILLBURN, NJ – Take one womanizing opera singer, knock him out in a hotel room, add a jealous wife, a scheming impersonator, a hilariously ambitious bellhop, and toss in some people running around in their underwear, getting drunk, screaming and slamming doors, and you have the recipe for a rollicking good evening of theater.

“Lend Me a Tenor,” a comedy written by Ken Ludwig, opens at Paper Mill Playhouse Wednesday, Feb. 13 and runs through March 10. It tells the story of a renowned tenor, Tito Merelli, who is scheduled to star in “Otello,” but things unravel – and fast – before he even has the chance to leave his hotel room.

Director Don Stephenson said “Lend Me a Tenor” is “just one of those shows.”

Sign Up for E-News

“I really love it,” he said, during a recent break from rehearsals in New York. “The more I work on it, the more I love it. I think it’s one of the greatest farces ever written.”

Part of what makes it fun is the fact that it’s about just normal people, he said – the kind of people everyone can identify with.

“I was telling the cast that with all the bad news that happens in the world, just bad after bad, I think a show like this is great,” Stephenson said. “Let the people come to Paper Mill and see the show, let them sit there and laugh their heads off. A lot of times a good laugh is hard to come by. I’m not out there saving lives or digging ditches, I can’t do anything about the price of gas, but if I can give someone a couple of hours of laughs, I’m happy.”

And there is no shortage of laughs in this show, which was produced in London and New York in the 80s, was nominated for nine Tony Awards, won three Drama Desk Awards, nabbed the Olivier Award for Best Comedy of the Year, and enjoyed a Broadway revival in 2010.

The plot revolves around the renowned tenor, better known as “Il Stupendo,” who is scheduled to sing the lead in the opera “Otello.” Chaos ensues when his wife mistakenly leaves him a “Dear John” letter and the distraught singer is accidentally given a double dose of tranquilizers. What follows is a laugh-out-loud chain reaction of mistaken identity, farcical plot twists, double entendres, and musical mayhem. 

This production includes Broadway stars and Paper Mill Playhouse favorites including Judith Blazer (Maria), John Treacy Egan (Tito), Donna English (Diana), Nancy Johnston (Julia), David Josefsberg (Max), Michael Kostroff (Saunders), Jill Paice (Maggie) and Mark Price (Bellhop).

The show’s magic, Stephenson explains, is in its timing. Like any farce, it’s about the rhythm, the lines, the pauses.

“It’s my job as the director to sort of shape that rhythm and make sure that everyone is working together,” he said. “Fortunately, we have a wonderful cast who are all really close friends and with whom I’ve worked over the years. I know them, and I know they’re funny in the right way. We have a collective sense of humor, and it comes through. Every one of these actors can come up and swing the bat and hit it out of the park every time.”

The ability of an actor to be truly funny is a skill, Stephenson said. Some have it, and some don’t.

“There are some actors who are funny, and some who aren’t,” he explained. “That doesn’t mean that the ones who aren’t funny aren’t good actors, but there’s something about an actor who can do comedy. It’s just in them, it’s how they see they world. These actors have it, and this play requires it.”

“Lend Me a Tenor” is Stephenson’s first time to direct at Paper Mill Playhouse, but he’s not new to its stage. He starred as John Adams in “1776” and said he’s excited to be back.

“I love Millburn and I love this theater,” he said. “It’s like having this Broadway theater right in the middle of the town. When I look back, doing ‘1776’ was one of my favorite experiences. The audience was so into it, and everyone worked hard to deliver a great product. That’s one of the things I like most about the Paper Mill – everyone takes such pride in what they do. They want to give their best to the audience, and Paper Mill audiences have a cultured palate. They know what’s good. It was truly one of the highlights of my career.”

“Lend Me a Tenor” will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. For a performance schedule and tickets, call 973-376-4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.papermill.org.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Senior Rabbi of B'nai Jeshurun of Short Hills Leads 50 Adults to Israel

SHORT HILLS, NJ - Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s Senior Rabbi, Matthew D. Gewirtz, led a group of 50 adults to Israel in early November. In addition to touring, the trip included Adult B’nai Mitzvah services and discussions with local leaders on various aspects of life in Israel.

Rabbi Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in ...

Millburn-Short Hills Resident Participates In Woman's March in Washington, D.C.

January 21, 2017

MILLBURN, NJ - Throughout the country and around the world, Saturday, January 21 marked Women’s March on Washington where an estimated 500,000 people descended on the nation's capital. Additional 'Sister Marches' took place in cities around the world including Millburn Township neighbor Westfield. 

Millburn-Short Hills residents joined the movement, and one resident ...

Theft at Louis Vuitton; Fraud and Forgery Strike Nordstrom at Short Hills Mall

January 14, 2017

On January 5, 2017 Millburn Police Officer Zonn responded to the Louis Vuitton store at The Mall at Short Hills on a theft report. Louis Vuitton personnel report a Hispanic male wearing an olive colored jacket and jeans concealed a pair of sunglasses valued at $760.00 and left the store without making payment. The incident is under investigation by the Millburn Police Detective Bureau.

On ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6da8ddb5c1222ab92074_unknown_copy

Sun, January 22, 12:00 PM

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Second Annual Lunar New Year and Welcome Spring ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_ab3725541058ce96e8c4_slaverylogohighres__3_

Sun, January 22, 2:00 PM

Wyoming Presbyterian Church, Millburn

Slave-Free Community Project - Free Introductory ...

Business & Finance Education Law & Justice

Carousel_image_598e4bee3f95caa87a95_3a428b670b9e744650bb_unnamed__8_

Mon, January 23, 7:45 PM

Education Center, Millburn

Millburn Board of Education Meeting

Carousel_image_112f10965420be3a0166_612c4a3991ac14730b95_best_c20d525a95812bff361b_56974e1f719431e1e0d8_1480817210980

Tue, January 24, 11:00 AM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

EMPOWER HOUR - MMAC Empower Hour Continues the ...

Audio: Point View's Petrides Tells Bloomberg Says Content Move Makes Sense for Apple

January 19, 2017

Point View's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on Bloomberg Radio (Interview starts at 1:35) discussing Apple's potential move into making original video content:

assets.bwbx.io

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

Video: Dietze Tabs Pharma, Energy, and Consumer Product Stocks Among Top Picks

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, discusses his top picks in the wake of the Trump election:

bnn.ca

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial planning, to develop and achieve their financial ...

Proposed Bill Will Keep ‘Blue Lines’ in Towns

NEW JERSEY --- U.S. Reps. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) today took up the cause of many New Jersey municipalities and law enforcement groups by proposing the Blue Line Use Exception (BLUE) Act (H.R. 566).  Legislation that will permit ‘blue lines’ to be displayed on roadways. 

“One hundred thirty five police officers died in the line of duty in ...

Pure Barre Short Hills Announces 2017 Fitness Challenge

SHORT HILLS, NJ – Pure Barre, the largest and most established barre concept in North America, is pleased to announce the Set The Barre challenge, to help new and existing clients reach their 2017 health and fitness goals.

Whether you’re looking to switch up your fitness routine or start working out, Pure Barre can work with you to accomplish your new years resolutions. Designed to ...

Closed Fund Open Mind

Closed-end funds (CEFs) can play an important role in a diversified investment portfolio. They offer benefits similar to those of an open-end mutual fund, but also sport unique advantages.  

Unlike a traditional open-end mutual fund, CEFs have a fixed number of shares available to trade. Their price is not tied to the value of the underlying portfolio. The only way the number of shares ...