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The Man Behind the Curtain - With Andrew Benator of "A Comedy of Tenors"

August 15, 2023

Andrew Benator has performed in more than two dozen productions at regional theatres across the country but making his FST debut this summer with Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors. In the uproarious comedy, Benator plays Saunders, a producer trying to put on the “concert of the century” in 1936 Paris. Saunders has lined up three of the biggest tenors in the world to perform for a stadium full of screaming fans, but as the performers refuse to go on and drop out, Saunders is left to pick up the pieces.

We sat down with Andrew Benator to talk about the teamwork involved in pulling off this fast-paced comedy, the discoveries he made during the rehearsal process, and the most exciting part of working with a tight-knit ensemble of artists.

A Comedy of Tenors is a fast-paced comedy full of mistaken identities and hilarious misunderstandings. What initially drew you to the play?

I’ve known Sean Daniels, the show's director, for many years, but I had never worked with him! The opportunity to finally be able to was very compelling. And the fact that the play is a farce and would be a blast to do was gravy.

Pictured: Andrew Benator and Aaron Muñoz. Photo by John Jones.

It must be a huge undertaking to prepare for a show like A Comedy of Tenors, which has so much going on on and offstage. Was there anything you discovered about your character, Henry Saunders, or about yourself as an artist during the rehearsal process?

It’s always exciting to experience the growth of a character over the course of a run, and this is no exception. It’s always a joy to find new layers to a moment, and something new happens every performance. I’ve also discovered that learning dialogue, especially fast-paced, intricate dialogue, is getting harder as I get older!

Do you have any pre-show rituals that help you get into the right mindset to play Saunders? 

I always do a pre-show physical and vocal warmup. And in this play, because the dialogue is so tricky and fast, I run certain sections, either alone or with my scene partners. Sometimes we’ll run a tricky section backstage during the show, right before that scene.

Pictured: Michael Perrie Jr., Andrew Benator, Hank von Kolnitz, and Aaron Muñoz. Photo by John Jones.

What sets A Comedy of Tenors apart from other theatrical productions you have been involved with?

A farce is a very specific style of play, and it’s been about ten years since I’ve done one. This is also the first time in about ten years that I’ve done a play with a group of actors, none of whom I have worked with before. As actors that are new to each other, there is always a "get-to-know-you" period as we learn each others’ ways of working. Fortunately, we’ve got a great group of artists in this show, and we established really wonderful chemistry very quickly. 

What do you hope audiences take away from this play?

This is pure comedy. I hope audiences take away a belly that’s tired from laughing so much.

What has been the most rewarding part of playing Saunders?

Well, the most rewarding part is being part of a really tight ensemble of actors, and doing your part to keep all the balls in the air. That aspect of it, being a good teammate, is very gratifying to me.


Due to audience demand, A Comedy of Tenors has been extended through August 27. For tickets and more information, click here.


Header Image: Aaron Munoz, Andrew Benator, and Jennifer Cody. Photo by John Jones.