Lend Me A Tenor—the Musical to Premiere at U.K.'s Plymouth Theatre Royal; Sally Ann Triplett to Star

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28 May 2010

Ken Ludwig's comedy Lend Me a Tenor, currently running at Broadway's Music Box Theatre but which recently announced it is to shutter Aug. 15, will resurface instead just over a month later, when Peter Sham and Brad Carroll's new musical adaptation begins a pre-West End run at the U.K.'s Theatre Royal, Plymouth.



It will begin performances there Sept. 24 for a run through Oct. 6, prior to an anticipated West End transfer in the fall, to a theatre to be announced. Directed by Ian Talbot and produced by Martin Platt and David Elliott in association with Eileen and Allen Anes, a cast of 27 and orchestra of 15 will be led by Matthew Kelly, Damian Humbley, Michael Matus and Sally Ann Triplett. The ensemble will include Harry Morrison, Lee Ormsby, John Stacey and Kerry Washington, with further casting to be announced.

Book and lyrics are by Peter Sham, with music by Brad Carroll, based on the play by Ken Ludwig, with direction by Ian Talbot, musical supervision by Paul Gemignani, musical direction by Colin Billing, choreography by Randy Skinner, designs by Paul Farnsworth, lighting by Tim Mitchell, sound by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster and orchestrations by Chris Walker.

According to press materials, the show is set in 1934, and revolves around the world's greatest tenor Tito Merelli, who has come to Cleveland, Ohio, to save its Grand Opera Company by singing Otello. When he is unexpectedly incapacitated, Max, the opera director's meek assistant, is given the daunting task of finding a last minute replacement. Chaos ensues - including a scheming soprano, a tenor-struck ingénue, a jealous wife, shrimp gone bad and the Cleveland Police department.

Kelly last appeared on the London stage as Pozzo in the Theatre Royal Haymarket Production of Waiting for Godot which he is currently  touring in Australia. Other recent theatre credits include Eddie Waters in Trevor Griffiths' Comedians, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Trafalgar Studios, Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare’s Globe and Amadeus at Wilton’s Music Hall. He won the Best Actor Olivier Award for his performance as Lennie in a stage adaptation of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. TV credits include "Cold Blood," "Bleak House," "Where The Heart Is" and "Marple."

Humbley has been seen in the West End in Fiddler on the Roof and The Woman in White. At the Menier Chocolate Factory, he has starred in Little Shop of Horrors and The Last Five Years. In Australia his theatre credits include Urinetown The Musical and Passion.

Matus' recent theatre credits include A Christmas Carol at the Arts Theatre, Oklahoma! for Chichester Festival Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Timon of Athens at The Globe and The Canterbury Tales for the Royal Shakespeare Company. TV credits include "A Prince Among Men," "The Bill," "A Perfect World" and "EastEnders."

Triplett has most recently been seen in Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Other recent theatre credits include Absent Friends for Watford Palace Theatre, Amelia Earhart in Take Flight at the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing for Liverpool Empire, Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre, Roxie Hart in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre, Berta in Acorn Antiques at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes for the National Theatre. She is a regular performer on "Friday Night is Music Night" on Radio 2 and has been seen on television in "The Bill," "Doctors" and "Holby City."

Director Ian Talbot was formerly artistic director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, where he produced over 75 shows and directed many musicals, including High Society (subsequently transferring to the West End's Shaftesbury Theatre), Lady Be Good and The Boy Friend. As an actor, he was most recently seen as Wilber Turnblad in the West End production of Hairspray.

The original play version of Lend Me a Tenor premiered in the West End at the Globe Theatre in 1986 where it received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Comedy. In 1989 the show received its Broadway premiere, receiving seven Tony Award nominations, winning two, as well as four Drama Desk Awards. In March this year, Stanley Tucci directed a Broadway revival starring Anthony LaPaglia, Tony Shalhoub and Justin Bartha, which continues at Broadway's Music Box Theater. Lend Me A Tenor has been translated into sixteen languages and produced in more than 25 countries.

To book tickets for the Plymouth run, contact the box office on 01752 267222, or visit www.tenorthemusical.co.uk.