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'Lend Me a Tenor" opens Aug. 1 at Powerhouse

The Town Players of New Canaan will stage a production of Ken Ludwig's Tony Award-winning comedy, "Lend Me a Tenor," which opens Friday, Aug. 1.

"Lend Me a Tenor" is set in a posh Cleveland hotel suite in 1934. Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Co., is primed to welcome world-famous Tito Merelli, Il Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as Otello.

The star arrives late and, through a series of mishaps, is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. His pulse is so low that Saunders and his assistant, Max, believe he's dead. In an attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into costume and fool the audience into thinking he's Il Stupendo. Max succeeds, but Merelli awakes and gets into his other costume. Now two Otellos are in costume and two women are running around in lingerie, each thinking she is with Il Stupendo.

Ludwig's work has been performed in more than 30 countries in more than 20 languages. He has had six shows on Broadway and six in London's West End. "Lend Me a Tenor," his first play on Broadway, won three Tony Awards and was nominated for nine.

The show is directed by Tom Butterworth, who has appeared in several Town Players productions, including "A Man For All Seasons," "An Inspector Calls," "Copenhagen" and "Our Town."

While practicing law in Washington, D.C., in the early 1980s, Butterworth admired the dedication of a part-time lawyer who spent the remainder of his time writing plays, according to the Town Players. The lawyer was Ludwig.

The cast members of "Lend Me a Tenor" are Rob Nichols as Max and Will Jeffries as Saunders, as well as Sarah Giggar, Chris Beaurline, Melinda Zupaniotis, Linda Moran Branch, Amy Wade and Randy Bucknoff.

Performances takes place at the Powerhouse Theatre at Waveny Park, 670 South Ave., at 8 p.m. Aug. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 and at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 3 and 10. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased by calling 203-966-7371 or visiting www.tpnc.org.

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