Lend Me a Tenor Gets New Voice — As a Musical; U.K. Premiere Will Follow NYC Reading

News   Lend Me a Tenor Gets New Voice — As a Musical; U.K. Premiere Will Follow NYC Reading
 
While the first Broadway revival of Ken Ludwig's screwball comedy Lend Me a Tenor is being prepped for a spring launch, a new musical version of the hit is also being developed, but for London. On Jan. 25, it gets a Manhattan reading starring Ed Dixon, Jill Paice and Cady Huffman.

Perry Street Theatricals offers the private industry presentation of Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical in New York City prior to a separate March London workshop in anticipation of a September full production at Theatre Royal Plymouth. A West End run of the musical is anticipated for the fall. Its world premiere was in 2007 at Utah Shakespearean Festival. There have been refinements to the script and score since that time.

The new musical has book and lyrics by Peter Sham and music by Brad Carroll. Ian Talbot and Tony Award nominee Randy Skinner (42nd Street, White Christmas) are attached as director and choreographer, respectively.

The U.S. reading cast, which does not reflect future casting for the U.K. life of the musical, includes Dixon (Les Miserables) as Saunders, the opera manager; Paice (Curtains) as his daughter, Maggie; Jared Tanner as his assistant, Max (he also played the role in Utah); Tony Award winner Huffman (The Producers) as prima donna Diana; Steven Stein-Granger as Tito Merelli, a great Italian tenor (he also played the role in Utah); plus Jane Brockman, Maxime de Toledo, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Patty Goble, Willow Toner Grey, Liz Griffith, David Hess, Todd Horman, Robert Ousley, Tim Shew, Aaron Serotsky and Jessica Vosk.

As with the earlier Tony Award-nominated 1989 play, the action of the musical is set in 1934 in and around the Cleveland Grand Opera, which is producing Verdi's Otello starring Merelli, also known as "Il Stupendo." When Merelli goes missing, the comedy kicks into high gear.

In 2007, when the musical was first bowing in Utah, playwright Ludwig told Playbill.com, "When Peter and Brad came to me wanting adapt the play into a musical, they were full of fresh, wonderful ideas — and they were ready to do it themselves. It was a time that I was particularly busy with a new project, so I thought, 'well, why not let them have a go at it, without any interference from me? These are two very smart and very talented young guys and they obviously love the play. And what a treat to get a fresh perspective on the material. Let's see what happens.' And from the parts I've read and heard so far, they've stayed true to their first impulses and crafted a pretty miraculous musical." Music supervisor for the New York presentation is Paul Gemignani. Music director is Colin Billing. Orchestrations are by Brad Carroll.

General management is by The Entertainment Business Ltd. Richard Bullimore is production manager.

For more information, visit tenorthemusical.co.uk.

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Meanwhile, the new Broadway revival of the play Lend Me a Tenor begins March 11 at the Music Box Theatre prior to an April 4 opening. Stanley Tucci will direct a cast that includes Justin Bartha, Anthony LaPaglia, Tony Shalhoub, Brooke Adams, Mary Catherine Garrison, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jay Klaitz and Jan Maxwell.

Lend Me a Tenor premiered on Broadway in 1989 and received seven Tony Award nominations (including Best Play), winning two. It was also honored with four Drama Desk Awards. Prior to Broadway, Lend Me a Tenor played London's West End where it received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Comedy. The play has been translated into 16 languages and produced in more than 25 countries.

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