Program (PDF file)
From The Farmville Herald, October 29, 1999
On Friday, and Saturday, November 5 & 6, and Friday and Saturday, November 12 and 13, the Hampden-Sydney Department of Fine Arts is proud to present this fall?s production of Ken Ludwig?s Lend Me a Tenor.
The play, a sensation both on Broadway and in London?s West End, is a hysterical farce, portraying the follies of a small-time opera company in its attempt to accommodate a world-class tenor. And only chaos and confusion can result from the seemingly endless series of calamities which occur.
Set in September of 1934, the play centers around what is expected to be the biggest night in the history of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, where world-famous tenor Tito Merelli is to perform Otello (his greatest role) at the gala season-opener. Saunders, the opera?s General Manager, has high hopes that Merelli?s performance will put Cleveland on the ?operatic map?. However, Merelli arrives late, leaving no time to rehearse with the rest of the company before the performance. To calm his nerves and rest, through a series of mishaps, Il Stupendo (as Merelli is often called) is given a double dose of tranquilizers, which, in conjunction with some wine, caused him to pass out. Presumed dead by Saunders and his assistant, Max, Saunders persuades Max ? an aspiring singer ? to dress in Merelli?s Otello costume and attempt to fool the audience into believing that he is Il Stupendo. While bashful Max deals with these demands, Merelli comes to and proceeds to get into his other costume. What ensures is a case of mistaken identities embroiled in love plots, passion, and a series of comical twists and turns sure to leave anybody teary-eyed with laughter.
The cast and staff for this production include students from both Hampden-Sydney and Longwood Colleges, as well as Hampden-Sydney facults members. Set design is by junior Patrick McRee and technical direction is by Matthew R. Dubroff, the new Adjunct Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Hampden-Sydney. Director Shirley Kagan is in her third year as a professor of theater at Hampden-Sydney. Her most recent credit is the performance of Sonnet Variations: Selected Sonnets by Shakespeare at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
All shows will start at 8 p.m. Admission: $3 general; $2 faculty and staff; free to all students. For reservations and information, call (804) 223-6266.