Lend Me a Tenor

During a rehearsal last week for “Lend Me a Tenor” by the Mountain Pointe Theatre Company were 1) from left, Ashayla Anderson, Addie Harvey, Patrick Keyser and Cedrick Beck.

The Mountain Pointe Theatre Company is kicking off fall with a presentation this weekend of the popular comedy “Lend Me a Tenor.”

For their first production of the 2018-19 school year, Mountain Pointe High thespians are presenting a play that has been translated into 16 languages and produced in more than 25 countries,

Produced first in London’s West End in 1986, it received nine Tony Award nominations and won three. And it won four Drama Desk awards after its Broadway debut three years later.

“It’s a hilarious comedy of miscommunication that requires precise comedic timing both physically and mentally, and I really love Ken Ludwig as a playwright,” said teacher and director Suzanne Idler, who chose the play. “I guess you would say it’s an ‘oldie but a goodie’ since it’s been around since 1986.  I love that this offers a great acting and tech challenge for our students.”

Calling the play “a madcap comedy that you will have a hard time keeping up with because there are so many funny scenes that if you blink, you might miss it,” Idler also said she’s proud of the cast.

“The production team started the first day of school,” she said.  “We had auditions Aug. 9, had the first rehearsal Aug. 10. From audition to show is less than a month. So, I am so very proud of this group really stepping up and hitting the ground running.”

The show will be presented at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, and at 2 p.m. Sept. 8 at Mountain Pointe High, 4201 E. Knox Road, Ahwatukee. Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for adults and available at the door.

Set in 1934, the play involves the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, who is primed to welcome the greatest tenor of his generation for a one-night performance as Otello. The star arrives late and, through a hilarious series of mishaps, is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out, leading the manager to think he’s dead.

The manager persuades a character named Max to get into the Otello costume and fool the audience into thinking he’s the great tenor. Max succeeds admirably, but the real star comes to and gets into his other costume ready to perform. Now two Otellos are running around in costume and two women are running around in lingerie, each thinking she is with the real star.

A sensation on Broadway and in London’s West End, this madcap, screwball comedy is guaranteed to leave audiences teary-eyed with laughter. It was directed on Broadway by Jerry Zaks, and in London by David Gilmore.

Playing the manager is Ethan Briant while Cedric Beck plays Max and Noah Butler the real star tenor. Addie Harvey plays the manager’s wife and Madison Smith plays the tenor’s wife.

Other cast members are Patrick Keyser, Cassandra Presume, A’Shayla Anderson, Tyreq Daniels and McKenna Fowler.

Among the crew, stage managers are Lexi Powers and Jayla Alston while the technical director is Andre Presume. The “right hand man” is Myles Thomas and costumes were handled by Ali Adelis and Savanna Camp.

Other crew members include Alex Sudis, Bella Alati, Cove Chon, Sam Cool, James Jessie, Sadie Goldman, Madison Salzwedel, Alie Konczak, Clare Kulaga, Tyler Aicard, Trevor Stout, Taylor Simmons, Kylie Corkins, Jaiden Wester-Stilz, Zarkeyiah Kuykendall and Montana Harville.

The students get considerable support from the parents’ booster club and this year it’s led by Kim Artusa, president; Stacey Stanton, publicity; Tahlia Brooks, treasurer and Elaine Briant, secretary.

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