There’s an old joke that asks, “How many tenors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” The answer? “Three. One to do it, and two more to talk about how it’s too high for him and how they could do it better.”
That’s the world of opera for you–big voices, and even bigger egos. And in 1936 Paris, opera producer Henry Saunders has his hands full trying to put on “the concert of the century.”
The orchestra is ready, the fans are rabid, and Tito Merelli, world-renowned operatic tenor, is expected to give a career-highlight performance, joined by two other famous tenors. What could possibly go wrong?
Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig mixes those ingredients, and more, to set the stage for a gut-busting madcap comedy: A Comedy of Tenors.
There’s young lovers who can’t stay out of their own way, mistaken identities, slamming doors, and old flames that unexpectedly appear.
Sean Daniels makes his FST Mainstage directorial debut, guiding the cast and audience through these comedic acrobatics, ensuring the timing and physical antics land perfectly.
“In addition to being hilarious, A Comedy of Tenors is a play about people desperately trying to make amazing art despite being foiled at every turn,” said Daniels. “I hope audiences revel in seeing the lengths that we, as artists, go to in order to put on a show. We deal with all the trials, the personalities, and the hiccups, but when that first giant laugh comes from the audience, it’s all worth it.”
FST audiences will recognize some familiar faces amidst the outrageous antics of the play.
Michael Perrie Jr. (Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story) returns as Max, former assistant to producer Henry Saunders and an up-and-coming tenor, himself. Alanna Smith (Smoke & Mirrors) returns as Tito’s daughter, Mimi, a young actress looking for her big break. Smith played Mimi in Walnut Street Theatre’s production of A Comedy of Tenors in 2019.
“I’m so excited to return to FST and bring some feel-good, fast-paced, belly-laugh-worthy comedy to Florida,” says Smith. “I fell in love with this play when I did it in Philadelphia, where we got to work with Ken Ludwig. He’s just as kind, supportive, and hilarious as you’d expect him to be. It’s no wonder his plays have such heart.”
Audiences don’t need to be familiar with Ludwig’s popular comedy, Lend Me a Tenor, which features some of the same characters as A Comedy of Tenors, to enjoy the play’s heartfelt hilarity. For Ludwig, though, getting to revisit the characters from Lend Me A Tenor was part of the appeal of returning to this world.
“I thought I had said goodbye to the characters in Lend Me a Tenor when the play first opened on Broadway so many years ago,” says Ludwig, “But A Comedy of Tenors has allowed me to spend time once again with some of my best friends in the world.”
A Comedy of Tenors begins playing August 2 in FST's Gompertz Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here.
Header Picture: Lucy Lavely, Aaron Muñoz, and Jennifer Cody. Photo by John Jones.