Monday, April 8, 2013


If you've ever staged a major fundraiser, you know the incredible number of details that go into making it a success as well as the plethora of problems that can derail the big event.  For Henry Sounders, the manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, inviting the greatest Italian tenor of his day, Tito Merelli, to perform his signature role of Otello is a grand coup...until Merelli fails to show up for the rehearsal.

Come help Saunders and his capable assistant Max cope with the multitude of mistakes that can cause mutiny in Ken Ludwig's comic farce "Lend Me a Tenor" being humorously brought to life weekends at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin until Saturday, May 4.

Saunders, the bombastic boss Tom Roohr doesn't start to panic until his prize diva is two hours late.  He has sent his capable aide Max, an industrious Joe Autuoro, to the train station but he has come back to the hotel empty handed.  Meanwhile the list of people anxious to meet Tito, for an autograph, an assignation, an audition or an acquaintance is getting longer by the moment, from Saunder's impressionable daughter Maggie (Kaite Corda), the bellhop who wants to sing (James J. Moran), Julia, the chairman of the opera guild who wants bragging rights (Joanne Callahan-Roohr) and Tito's leading lady Diana (Melinda Learned) who wants her career to get a boost.  Everyone has an agenda of what they want Tito to deliver, not the least of which is his wife Maria, a fiery Louise DeChesser, who is sick and tired of his excesses, in food, drink and women.  Tito arrives and everyone pounces on him.

When Maria storms out of their hotel suite, she is the catalyst for an avalanche of mishaps from an overdose of medication to a mistaken suicide note, from a supper of shrimp mayonnaise on the verge of botulism to not one but two Otellos.  The cast is uniformly great as they slam doors and wreck havoc, but especially the super star himself, Lenny Fredericks as Merelli, in all his flamboyant and excessive splendor.  Fredericks captures him to bellisimo perfection.  Director Kris McMurray balances the panic and the pleasure, the frantic and the funny, with outrageously over-the-top results.  Bravo!

For tickets ($30), call Connecticut Cabaret Theatre, 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15 p.m.  Bring treats to share at your table or purchase delicious desserts and drinks at the concession stand.  Now is the time to renew your subscription for the CT Cabaret's Sweet 16 season as well as register for theater classes at their new studio next door.

Brush up on your opera and your Italian as the fun and fur fly when Tito Merelli and his egotistical entourage come to town.

1 comment:

  1. Bonnie - I'd like to contact you for a story. email me at topher [at] the diversion [dot] com