Driftwood Players

"Lend Me a Tenor" Sept. - Oct. 1998

By Ken Ludwig, Directed by John Lein

Keith Krueger: (Max) Stacey Bevington: (Maggie) Rich Rice: (Saunders) Geri Reynolds: (Julie) Nina Morean: (Diane) Gary Morean: (Bellhop) Margaret Tingwall: (Maria) Babe Knuuttila: (Tito Merelli)



Driftwood Players
P. O. Box 1956
Aberdeen, Washington
Pictures by Jones Photo
Aberdeen, Washington

From The Daily World Friday, September 25, 1998

Driftwood has another winner

By Val Jester
For The Daily World

    "Lend Me a Tenor," directed by John Lein with assistance by Sonny Friehauf, opens tonight at Driftwood Theatre. The play, written by Ken Ludwig, opened on Broadway in 1989 and has won many awards, including two Tonys.

    A fitting opener for Driftwood's 40th season, it is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy with an award-winning cast.

    The story revolves around the Cleveland Opera Company. Tito Morelli, a famous Italian tenor (played by Babe Knuuttila), is making his American debut in the Cleveland company's production of "Othello."

    The financial and critical success of the opera company depends on his performance - and nobody is more aware of this fact than the short-tempered General Manager, Mr. Saunders (played by Rich Rice). He'll stop at nothing to make sure the show goes on.

    Saunders gives his long-suffering assistant, Max, a direct order: baby-sit the world-famous tenor in his hotel suite and let nothing - especially wine and women -  keep Morelli from his appointed curtain time.

    Max, played by Keith Krueger, is general factotum for the opera company. His boss yells at him, the company treats him like a coat rack and nobody recognizes his true talent. He's nerdy, and he stutters, but he has a good heart.

    Max is also in love with the daughter of the boss (Maggie, played by Stacey Bevington), but she yearns for more romance than this shy guy can give. Her idea of excitement is the palm-kissing tenor, ell Stupendo.

    Trouble starts when the tenor's fiery wife Maria, played by Margaret Tingwall, finds Maggie hiding in the bedroom closet. Maggie only wants the singer's autograph, but it doesn't look that way to Maria, who believes she's been two-timed.

    She writes a good-bye note, grabs her fur and leaves her husband.

    This starts a chain-reaction of hilarious confusion, plot twists and impersonation. In addition to the excellent performances of the staring roles, there are lot of other fun characters in this comedy. Gary Morean plays a wacky bellhop in Jerry Lewis pants who is also a opera fanatic. Nina Morean plays a sexy soprano using her feminine wiles to try to get to the Met. Geri Reynolds is the alluring Julia, take-charge chairman of the board.

    The entire cast is well worth watching, and Knuuttila and Krueger have good singing voices. The finale is great fun.

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