DISPATCH - MAY 31, 2013 (9:20 a.m.)

SAG HARBOR, NY-

Preview audiences had the first look and the first laughs this week during “Lend Me a Tenor,” the classic Ken Ludwig farce launching the mainstage season featuring three zany comedies in a row at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. Tonight is the final preview with the show officially opening tomorrow (Saturday, June 1). Performances continue through June 23.

Set in 1934, “Lend Me a Tenor” tells the story of a struggling opera company in Cleveland putting up its special guest star, the renowned singer Tito Merelli, at a local hotel on the eve of a major production.

Along with a big voice, the temperamental Tito, also known as "Il Stupendo," turns out to have a big ego, a roving eye, and a very jealous wife.  When he is accidentally given a double dose of tranquilizers, the side effects include a chain reaction of mistaken identity, double-entendres and a merry-go-round of ambition and hysterical romantic  mayhem.

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Nancy Johnston, Betsy Dilellio, Steve Rosen, and Scott Cote in "Lend Me a Tenor." Photos by Jerry Lamonica. Courtesy Bay Street Theatre.

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Judy Blazer and Scott Cote in "Lend Me a Tenor." Photos by Jerry Lamonica. Courtesy Bay Street Theatre.

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Broadway productions of “Lend Me a Tenor” in 1989 and 2010 garnered multiple Tony nominations and rave reviews. The New York Times said the show “achieves true comic delirium.” Variety described it as “… the classic farce situation—disaster; denial; recovery; complication; catastrophe—and it's a joy to watch!”

Directed by Don Stephenson, the cast for the Bay Street production of “Lend Me a Tenor”—all of whom boast a range of Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional credits. The cast features Judy Blazer, Scott Cote, Betsy DiLellio, Donna English, Nancy Johnston, Noah Plomgren, Steve Rosen and Roland Rusinek.

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Noah Plomgren, Steve Rosen, and Roland Rusinek in "Lend Me a Tenor." Photos by Jerry Lamonica. Courtesy Bay Street Theatre.

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Steve Rosen and Nancy Johnston in "Lend Me a Tenor." Photos by Jerry Lamonica. Courtesy Bay Street Theatre..

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"Lend Me a Tenor" was written by Ken Ludwig. Ludwig is an internationally acclaimed playwright whose work has been performed in at least 30 countries in over 20 languages. He has had six shows on Broadway and six in the West End.

Awards include two Laurence Olivier Awards, three Tony Award nominations and two Helen Hayes Awards. His best known plays include "Lend Me A Tenor," "Crazy For You," "Moon Over Buffalo," "Leading Ladies," "Twentieth Century," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "The Game’s Afoot," "The Fox on the Fairway," "Midsummer/Jersey," "The Three Musketeers," "Treasure Island" and "The Beaux’ Stratagem."

His book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, will be published in June 2013 by Crown Publishing. Ludwig studied music at Harvard with Leonard Bernstein and theatre history at Cambridge University in England.

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Steve Rosen, Judy Blazer, Noah Plomgren, and Roland Rusinek in "Lend Me a Tenor." Photos by Jerry Lamonica. Courtesy Bay Street Theatre.

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The Bay Street production is directed by Stephenson, whose credits include critically acclaimed productions of "The 39 Steps," "Titanic," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Oleanna" and "The Great Unknown. Broadway acting credits include "The Producers," "Dracula," "Titanic," "Parade," "By Jeeves," "Wonderful Town," "Private Lives," "Rock of Ages" and "Pardon My English."

The production team includes Ken Goldstein (Set Design), Mike Billings (Lighting Design), Wade Laboissonniere (Costume Design), Matt Kraus (Sound Design), Tom Helm (Music Coordinator), Kathy Fabian/Propstar (Properties Design) and April Ann Kline (Production Stage Manager).

BASIC FACTS: "Lend Me a Tenor" is presented at Bay Street Theatre through June 23. Ticket prices are $59.50 and $69.50 with discounts for seniors, students, veterans and first responders. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the box office—now open seven days a week from 11 a.m. till show time—at 631-725-9500, or visit www.baystreet.org.

The Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay St, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. www.baystreet.org

For the complete lineup at Bay Street for summer 2013, log on to www.baystreet.org or call the box office at 631-725-9500.

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