Theatre review: The Long Beach Playhouse’s Lend me a Tenor

Brendan Kane (Max) & Phie Mura (Diana) in the Long Beach Playhouse’s Lend me a Tenor

Lend me a Tenor, a pun on “lend me a tenner” (a $10 bill), is an award-winning comedy by Ken Ludwig that has been revived numerous times since its 1989 Broadway adoption. Sharp humor, theatrical farce and mistaken identities make for a highly entertaining show, guaranteed to give you a laughter-filled evening, provided that you allow the delightful suspension of disbelief.
A well-known Italian tenor, Tito Merelli (rich-voiced Zachary Salas) is to make a first appearance in the U.S. for an Otello show at Cleveland Opera House. Drama and mayhem make him fall dead right before the performance, or so the manager Saunders (Karl Schott) and his shy bespectacled assistant Max (Brendan Kane) believe. To save his career, Saunders convinces the amateur Max to dress up as Merelli and sing in his stead. The audience, who have only heard of Merelli’s name and apparently can’t recognize his face or voice, fall for the scheme. But that’s only the beginning of trouble.
All the female characters, as well as the male bellhop (incredible Russell Malang), try hard to seduce the big-bellied Italian celebrity. His drama-queen of a wife Maria (Liz Alvarado) can’t live with his infidelity but also can’t live without him. Saunders’s daughter Maggie (Bridget Rago) likes the aspiring tenor Max but is craving a “fling” before committing. In a strange turn of events, she loses her virginity to a man she wishes was Tito Merelli.
The setting is a hotel suite with a “stage wall,” so the audience can see the inside of both rooms. The play is deftly directed by Gregory Cohen.
The Long Beach Playhouse’s Lend me a Tenor is a well-structured, energetic and clever farce with a splendid cast. If you are looking for a comic chaos to detox your soul through laugher, this play will surely appeal to you.
The Long Beach Playhouse’s Lend me a Tenor runs through March 23 at 5021 E. Anaheim St. on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are on sale from $14 to $24. Online ticketing is available at The box office can be reached at (562) 494-1014.

1 comment
  1. My son in law graciously treated me and his family to this wonderful, energetic, most talented, well directed, loveable and highly gifted group of show people I have ever had the pleasure of being entertained by in years. Bravo……
    Being a fellow Thespian, I marveled at all who gave the audience their fullest. Delightful and proud of their desire to be more than most. Truly a wonderful performance. Kudos, RFlynn

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