Capital City Players put on ‘Lend Me a Tenor’

The Capital City Players will perform “Lend Me a Tenor” beginning Wednesday.

The Capital City Players will perform “Lend Me a Tenor” beginning Wednesday. Photo by Kile Brewer.

  • What: “Lend Me a Tenor,” by Capital City Players.
  • When: Wednesday through April 26 at 6:30 p.m.; matinee on April 27 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Where: Shikles Auditorium, Jefferson City.
  • Tickets: 573-681-9012 or at capitalcityplayers.com which includes buffet from Argyle Catering.

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The fast-paced comedy by Ken Ludwig “Lend Me a Tenor” is a show that Capital City Players believe will snap audiences out of the winter blues.

It is the story of Tito Merelli, Il Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, who is to perform for the Cleveland Grand Opera Company.

He passes out in his hotel room after taking a double dose of tranquilizers and everyone thinks he is dead. The company manager, in the spirit of the show going on, decides to pass off his assistant as the singer. Things go well at first until Tito wakes up and the fun begins.

The action takes place in a hotel in two rooms with a center stage wall which divides the two rooms so the audience can see both at the same time. There are six doors that are constantly used throughout the play, creating the frenetic pace.

Steve Nelson, director, portrayed the role of the manager in the early ’90s production of the show by The Little Theatre of Jefferson City. Now he is stepping behind the scenes to guide his cast in the now-stop comedy.

Nelson said the cast not only has to memorize lines but in this show the timing of exits and entrances must be perfect.

“I knew the show was funny when at the first read-through people were laughing,” Nelson said.

The cast includes: Jerico Whitaker as Il Stupendo; Michael Dodson as the opera company’s assistant; Ken Thompson as the manager of the company; Margaret Graham as the girl interest, Maggie; Joanie Weinbaum as Stupendo’s wife, Maria; Sarah Dent, who is in the opera company; Chris Crouse as Julia, director of the opera guild; and Stephen Chamineak as the bellhop.

Doing a show set in the 1930s can pose a challenge in costuming, but Nelson said the show really had to be in that time frame because they are able to fool everyone when they try to make the assistant the tenor because no one has actually seen Stupendo. Today everyone has access to people through the Internet, television and other visuals, and the masquerade would not have been possible.

Another difference in this production is that the shows are all in one week, not split into two weekends to accommodate the Easter weekend.

“There is no deep meaning in this show. The audience can come and simply enjoy all of the pratfalls and chaos,” Nelson said.

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