Ken Ludwig’s Hilarious Lend Me A Tenor
Up Next at Peninsula Players July 29 – Aug. 16
Fish Creek, Wisconsin – Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, continues its 80th season July 29 through August 16 when it presents Ken Ludwig’s hilarious comedy, “Lend Me A Tenor.” The first of Ludwig’s comedies to appear on Broadway, “Lend Me A Tenor” was nominated for nine Tony Awards and was awarded two and is also the winner of three Drama Desk Awards and the Olivier Award for Best Comedy of the Year.
Set in 1934, legendary opera sensation Tito Merelli, “Il Stupendo,” is scheduled to sing the lead in the Cleveland Grand Opera Company’s production of “Otello.” Tito’s appearance is highly anticipated by Cleveland’s opera fanatics, especially ecstatic is the opera manager, Saunders, who has sold out the theater.
Panic arises when the singer accidentally takes a double dose of tranquillizers and passes out before opening curtain. Comic mayhem builds to an operatic frenzy when Saunders forces his hapless assistant, Max, an aspiring singer, into Tito’s costume as Max tries to avoid an ambitious female co-star, the amorous opera guild chair and even his own girlfriend!
Six of Ludwig’s shows have been produced on Broadway and seven in London’s West End. They have been produced in more than 30 countries and in more than 20 languages, including “The Fox on the Fairway,” “Crazy for You,” and “Moon Over Buffalo.”
“Ludwig crafts comedies so beautifully,” said director Linda Fortunato. “His comedy lies in situation and in language. He creates an evening of great laughs within a really fun story.”
Fortunato’s credits with the Players include directing “And Then There Were None,” “The Fox on the Fairway,” “Once a Ponzi Time” and “The Nerd.” She has also choreographed “Chicago,” “Cabaret,” and “A Little Night Music” as well as appearing in “A Real Lulu,” “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Noises Off.”
She received a Jeff Award for her choreography of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” at BoHo Theatre and “42nd Street” at Theatre at the Center. Her recent credits include directing “Parade” for the BoHo Theatre and choreography at Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, TimeLine Theatre and Writers Theatre.
The cast of “Lend Me A Tenor” features several Peninsula Players’ veterans including Sean Fortunato, who is cast as the international opera superstar, Tito Merelli; Tim Monsion as the high-strung opera manager, Saunders; Max Holzfeind as his harried assistant, Max; Peggy Roeder portrays the excitable opera guild chair, Julia; Katherine Keberlein as the very determined soprano, Diana; and Joe Foust as the enthusiastic bell boy who loves opera. Two newcomers round out the cast, Maggie Kettering as Tito’s green-eyed wife, Maria; and Ashley Lanyon as Max’s girlfriend, Maggie.
Sean Fortunato (“A Real Lulu,” “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” “Chicago,” “Cabaret,”) has received four Joseph Jefferson nominations and an After Dark Award for his stage work in Chicago. His Chicago stage credits include more than 20 productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, work at Goodman Theatre, Marriott, Timeline, Drury Lane, Northlight, Theatre at the Center, Remy Bumppo, and About Face. Regional credits include the Old Globe in California and Off-Broadway in “Rose Rage” at The Duke on 42nd.
Foust (“Making God Laugh,” “The Elephant Man,” The Mousetrap”) celebrates his 16th season with the Players where his stage credits include more than 30 roles. His regional stage credits include The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Next, TheaterWit, Court, Chicago Shakespeare, First Folio, Cleveland Playhouse, Syracuse Stage and Milwaukee Shakespeare. His television credits include “Parks and Recreation,” “Normal” and “Early Edition.”
Holzfeind’s (“Dial M for Murder,” “The Tin Woman,” “And Then There Were None”) recent Chicago credits include “Our Class” with Remy Bumppo, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” with Bailiwick Chicago and “Miss Marx” with Strawdog. His regional credits include The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, The New Theatre and Cardinal Stage.
Keberlein’s (“A Real Lulu,” “Dial M for Murder”) stage credits include “Smokefall” with Goodman Theatre and “A Kid Like Jake” with About Face Theatre. Keberlein received a Jeff Award for her work in “The Mother” with Oracle Theatre and her television credits include “Sirens,” “Chicago PD” and “Shameless.”
Kettering makes her Players debut with “Lend Me A Tenor.” Her stage credits include performances with the House Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Irish Theatre of Chicago, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Warehouse Theatre and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
Lanyon makes her Peninsula Players’ debut with “Lend Me A Tenor.” Her New York Credits include “South Pacific” at Westchester Broadway Theatre, “Le Cabaret Grimm” with the New York Musical Theater Festival and “Our Town” at the Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.
Monsion’s (“Butler,” “Dial M for Murder,” “Opus,” “Heroes”) New York credits include “Marvin’s Room” at Minetta Lane and Playwrights Horizons. His regional theater credits include The Goodman, The Kennedy Center, Hasty Pudding, Cincinnati Playhouse, Arena Stage, Mark Taper Forum and many others. Film credits include: “You,” “Cotton,” “Blink,” “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told” and “Men of Honor.”
Roeder (“Miracle on South Division Street,” “The Game’s Afoot”) recently finished her fourth season at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. She has numerous Chicago stage credits and has earned four Jeff Awards, three After Dark Awards and three Artisan Awards. Her film credits include “Groundhog Day,” “Road to Perdition” and “Stranger Than Fiction.”
Designing the stylish 1930s Cleveland hotel for “Lend Me A Tenor” are regional and award-winning designers. Members of the creative team include Jeff Award-nominated scenic designer Jack Magaw (“Butler,” “Sunday in the Park with George”) whose recent Off-Broadway work includes “The Who & the What” with Lincoln Center Theater and La Jolla Playhouse and numerous Chicago theaters. Also returning to the Players are Chicago-based lighting designer Emil Boulous (“And Then There Were None”), and costume designer Rachel Lambert (“The Mystery of Irma Vep”), whose design of “Travesities” and “Northanger Abbey” for Remy Bumppo earned a Jeff Nomination. Also returning is Jeff Award-winning sound designer Christopher Kriz (“Butler”) and properties designer Meredith Miller (“The Game’s Afoot”).
“Lend Me A Tenor” is sponsored by Barbara-Jo Weko Witzke.
Peninsula Players’ setting along the shores of Green Bay provides a serene location for patrons. Prior to performances, patrons relax and picnic on the grounds while watching the setting sun over the waters of Green Bay from the cedar-lined shore and enjoy the ambience of the Beer Garden and other gardens.
Peninsula Players has been entertaining audiences since 1935 when the theater opened behind the Bonnie Brook Motel in Fish Creek on July 25 with Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever.” The company was founded by a brother and sister team, Caroline and Richard Fisher, who dreamed of an artistic utopia in the north woods where actors, designers and technicians could focus on their craft while being surrounded by nature in a contemplative setting. Peninsula Players moved to the theater’s present location along the shore of Green Bay in 1937.
The Peninsula Players performs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., except for Sunday, August 16 at 4 p.m. Individual tickets to “Lend Me A Tenor” range from $36 to $42. There are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players’ box office at (920) 868-3287 or visit the website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.