Slapstick comedy meets classical opera in Ball State's production of 'Lend Me a Tenor'

Topic: College of Fine Arts

March 12, 2012

Students from Ball State University's Department of Theatre and Dance will combine a whirlwind of mistaken identities, slamming doors and compromising plot twists in the hilarious farce "Lend Me a Tenor," opening on the University Theatre stage March 29 at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances are scheduled March 30-31 and April 4-7, with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. April 1. 

"The play was a smash hit on Broadway and continues to be popular with audiences nearly 30 years later," said Michael O'Hara, director of the production and associate dean of the College of Fine Arts. "I'm thrilled to return to one of my favorite comedies."

The play starts on the biggest night in the history of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. The year is 1934, and the guest artist, world famous Italian tenor Tito Morelli, is nowhere to be found. Even worse, when Morelli finally appears, a blackout-inducing combination of alcohol and sedatives leaves the company's assistant manager, Max, believing he is dead. What follows is a chain reaction of hilarious confusion and mistaken identity as Max tries to save the performance in this screwball comedy.

Students have been rehearsing the play since the beginning of February. A farce typically takes time to get all the mechanical aspects worked out, doors opening and closing, sleight of hand, timing and several props, O'Hara said.

"Because this cast is made up of undergraduates, the physical comedy they're able to achieve is simply amazing," he added. "The amount of energy and physicality they infuse into the comic moment is worthy of anyone's attention."

Tickets for the performance cost $13 for the general public, $12 for faculty and staff, $10 for senior citizens and $7 for students. They are available from the University Theatre Box Office, open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the box office at 765-285-8749 or visit www.bsu.edu/theatre for more information.

By Chanel Richards

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