Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stage Door: Lend Me A Tenor (reviews)

The Stage Door Theatre opened its production of Ken Ludwig's Lend Me A Tenor on October 14, 2011.
Lend me a Tenor is a zany chain-reaction of mistaken identity, double entendres and innuendoes which took Broadway by storm and piled up Tony and Drama Desk awards
Michael Leeds directed a cast that included Clay Cartland, Ariel Frenkel, Janet Weakly, and Sheira Feuerstein,

Mary Damiano reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
...a delightful production at Broward Stage Door Theater in Coral Springs... a dizzying ride well worth taking.
On most levels, the Stage Door production, under the direction of Michael Leeds,  delivers. It starts out slow, but builds momentum. The chaos and the laughter really kick in once the second act is underway, when the show’s pace catches up with the lightning speed plot.
The ensemble excels, but there are standouts.  Janet Weakly is very funny as a high society opera patron dying for a moment alone with Merelli, and Sheira Feuerstein is deliciously over the top as the local opera singer who views Merelli as her ticket out of Cleveland.

But the show belongs to Clay Cartland as Max and Ariel Frenkel as Merelli.  Cartland, fresh off his bravura performance as a narcissistic millionaire in Promethean Theatre’s Song of the Living Dead this past summer, begins Lend Me a Tenor as Clark Kent and over the course of the play morphs in Superman, saving the day and getting the girl. Cartland delivers on both ends of the spectrum.
Frenkel is perfect as the world-weary Merelli. His performance as the befuddled tenor in the second act is delightful and the reason for much of the audience’s laughter.
Rod Stafford Hagwood wasted space in the Sun-Sentinel:
"Lend Me A Tenor" at the Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs almost has it all.


There are laughs (though with just a little more mugging, there could be a lot more).
Really? That's what it needs? Mugging?
There is music (a handful of operatic snippets are performed with gusto).

There's even sex (curiously treated both in a pre-code Hollywood way and a prim double-entendre manner).

It's all just enough when it comes to Ken Ludwig's comedy to pass the test, but oh how we wish for some extra credit. For with just a push here and there, this competent production could have been commanding.
How so? Is it the pacing? Is it the acting?  What's missing, Rod?
Part of the problem is the set, which looks a bit cramped... A farce like this needs breathing room and a grand hotel suite should feel more… well… grand.
And that is the only solid thing he actually says about this production.  Reading on, it's script script plot plot, oh what a review it's not.

Lend Me A Tenor plays at the Stage Door Theatre through November 13, 2011.

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