Friday was opening night for the Newtowne Players’ latest production, ‘Lend Me a Tenor’, a laugh-out-loud comedy that is sure to be a hit for the volunteer community theater company.

Set in a 1930’s hotel suite, the Cleveland Grand Opera Company owner anxiously awaits for the arrival of Tito Mirelli, the Italian superstar tenor whose voice makes women’s (and men’s) hearts melt, to perform on opening night.


The Great Tito Mirelli, not feeling so hot

 -The Bay Net photos by Sean Rice

At long last Mirelli does arrive (played by Newtowne veteran John Giusti), so Saunders, the opera owner, and his fidgety sidekick Max, avoid having the call off the show or resort to devious measures to ensure it goes on.

But, the unthinkable happens.

Saunders (Fred Ruark) and Max (Russell Therrien) hatch a scheme to have an Italian-impersonating replacement take the stage in costume in Mirelli’s place so the Opera Company is not crippled by the sold out crowd, and an astronomical financial forfeit. Luckily there is no television in the 1930’s, so the imposter’s looks are not the most important. But how can they match the tenor’s angelic voice?

The plot rumbles through a story of hilarious misconceptions, innuendo, side-splitting humor and suspense that leaves the crowd as anxious as Max to see what happens next.

Each cast member has mastered their part and plays it seamlessly. They are well-prepared and itching to show off their chops to the crowd, which is sure to be filled with barreling laughter.

John Giusti’s (Tito Mirelli) performance, as well as Wendy Heidrich’s (Mrs. Mirelli), as the Italian couple is a show all in its own. Russell Therrien’s portrayal of Max is all too convincing.

But the show-stealing performance may come from the over-excited Bellhop (Bill Lagle) who cannot contain his bursts of Italian serenading as he eagerly tries to get a glimpse of the great Tito Mirelli and his angelic voice. (Not to mention the ladies who would drop their spouses in a nanosecond for a moment alone with the crooner).

‘Lend Me a Tenor’ is set for an eight-show run during this, and the next two weekends.

Tickets are $15, with reductions for children, seniors, and group bookings. Seats are limited, so be sure to get reservations early. Unclaimed reservations are resold just prior to the start of the show. The playhouse is located in Lexington Park.

For more information visit The Newtowne Players’ website at: