Review: Lend Me a Tenor at Beef & Boards 

****
click to enlarge Bellhop.jpg

Sterling ensemble acting gallops this timeless lark to its illogically logical win-by-a-nose conclusion. Ken Ludwig's script is perfectly developed as a murder mystery with the added zest of zinging one-liners and characters that grow - most times on each other's nerves - to great hilarity.

It's a simple story line with the complexity of a horse race: the world famous tenor is late to rehearsal, when he shows up he's indisposed and quarrelsome with a woman we figure is his companion; the producer is at his wit's end, his assistant seems witless; the bellhop and a trio of females are hot to meet 'The Tenor.'

Craig W. Underwood adds heft and humanity to tenor Tito Merelli. Jill Kelly is perfectly piqued as the vexed Maria. Eddie Curry huffs & puffs as Saunders. David Schmittou surprises at every turn as the initially hapless Max. Jeff Stockberger illuminates the bothersome bellhop.

Erin West ultimately gets on track as Maggie; Erin Cohenour sizzles as Diana; Gerri Weagraff is indeed the grandest 'grand dam' of an opera society.

Darrin Murrell directs with the surety of a jockey in for the win and abetting him are stage manager Elizabeth Stark, scenic designer Michael Layton, lighting designer Ryan Koharchik, costume designer Jill Kelly, sound designer Daniel Hesselbrock and technical director Bill Mollencupp. Executive Chef Odell Ward has added new delectable desserts to the usual fine fare.

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