Lend Me a Tenor

Infobox Play
name = Lend Me a Tenor

image_size = 150px
caption =
writer = Ken Ludwig
chorus =
characters =
mute =
setting = A hotel suite in Cleveland, Ohio in 1934.
premiere =
place =
orig_lang =
series =
subject =
genre = Comedy
web =
playbill =
ibdb_id = 5331

"Lend Me a Tenor" is a Tony Award winning play by Ken Ludwig. The play has been translated into sixteen languages and produced in twenty-five countries. It is a popular choice of regional theatre companies and community theatre groups.


Set in 1934, the farce revolves around renowned tenor Tito Merelli, known to his fans as "Il Stupendo," who is scheduled to sing the lead in "Otello", produced as a gala fundraiser for the Cleveland Opera Company. Unfortunately, even before the star leaves his hotel room, everything begins to unravel. Chaos ensues when Merelli's wife, who has mistaken an autograph-seeker hidden in his closet for a secret lover, leaves him a "Dear John" letter. The distraught Merelli accidentally is given a double dose of tranquilizers to calm him and passes out. Saunders, the company's General Manager, is determined the show must go on (for his own financial sake), so he asks his assistant Max to impersonate the opera star. Max puts on the blackface makeup required for the role of Otello, and his disguise succeeds admirably--until Merelli, also in blackface, wakes up and heads for the stage. What follows is a chain-reaction of mistaken identity, plot twists, double entendres, innuendoes, and constant entrances and exits through many doors.


The West End production opened on March 6, 1986 at the Globe Theatre, where it ran for ten months.

After sixteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by Jerry Zaks, opened on March 2, 1989 at the Royale Theatre, where it ran for 476 performances. The cast included Philip Bosco, Victor Garber, Ron Holgate, Tovah Feldshuh, and Jane Connell.


A musical adaptation was presented in May 2006 as a staged reading as part of the Utah Shakespearean Festival's New American Playwright Project. Based on feedback received from the audience and industry professionals, the creative team fine-tuned their work, which premiered as part of USF's Summer 2007 repertory season and received rave reviews [http://www.kenludwig.com/Press%20Release%20Announcing%20the%20Show%20-%20Nov.%202%2C%202006.pdf] .

Awards and nominations

*Laurence Olivier Award for Comedy of the Year
*Tony Award for Best Play

External links

* [http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=4535/ Internet Broadway Database listing]
* [http://theater2.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html?res=950DE4DC103EF930A35750C0A96F948260/ New York Times review]

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