Season 30: North Coast Rep’s Lend Me A Tenor revisits madcap comedies of the 1930s

By Diana Saenger

The North Coast Repertory Theatre will open its 30


Season with Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me A Tenor,” nominated for numerous Tony and Drama Desk Awards. The production is directed by Matthew Wiener. “Lend Me A Tenor” pays homage to the screwball comedies of the 1930s, and in this farce, renowned tenor Tito Merelli, aka “Il Stupendo,” is the lead in “Othello” at a gala fundraiser. But before he can even leave his room, unexpected mishaps create chaos.

Wiener likens “Lend Me A Tenor” to early madcaps, such as “Noises Off” and “Bringing Up Baby.” “There’s a lot of door slamming in this play,” he said. “And it’s really a fun thing for the actors because it’s ridiculous people doing ridiculous things very quickly.”

The cast includes Ted Barton (Saunders), Courtney Corey (Maggie), Jill Drexler (Julia)

Jessica John (Maria), Bernard X. Kopsho (Tito), Albert Park (Bellhop), Jacque Wilke (Diana) and Christopher M. Williams (Max).

Wiener, in his 14th season as producing artistic director of Actors Theatre in Phoenix, has helmed plays of all genres around the country, including “Doubt,” “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Angels in America,” “Hedda Gabler,” and “A Christmas Carol.”

“A farce has a certain kind of theatricality to it,” Wiener said. “The performers have to become bigger than life, but not be cartoonist. The stakes are high, but the consequences aren’t. So everyone thinks what’s going on is very important, but they’re not playing Medea, and almost all of them live happily ever after.”

Wiener promises the fast-paced “Lend Me A Tenor” will make people laugh throughout the entire performance and leave with a smile on their faces. “And now, of all times,” he sighed, “We all just need to laugh.”

If you go

What: “Lend Me A Tenor”

When: Sept. 10-Oct. 2

Where: North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach

Tickets: $32-$49

Box Office: (858) 481-1055