Ken Ludwig, America’s master of farcical comedies, has written a new sequel of sorts to his legendary Lend Me A Tenor entitled A Comedy of Tenors which opens August 18th at Oldcastle Theatre.
Imagine one hotel suite, four tenors, two wives, three girlfriends, and a soccer stadium filled with screaming fans, what could possibly go wrong? It’s the 1930s Paris and the stage is set for the concert of the century—as long as producer Henry Saunders can keep Italian superstar Tito Merelli and his hot-blooded wife Maria from causing runaway chaos. Critics have hailed the play as “non-stop hilarity”, proclaimed Ludwig “a comic genius” cautioned audiences to prepare for an uproarious ride, full of mistaken identities, bedroom hi-jinks, and madcap delight.
This is the sixth Ludwig play Oldcastle has produced including Moon Over Buffalo, Leading Ladies, The Fox on the Fairway, as well as Lend Me A Tenor which the theatre company presented in 1993.
“Our audience has always appreciated Ludwig comic flair, hilarious situations and clever dialogue,” according to Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director Eric Peterson. “Good farce, actually any farce, is a vanishing breed on stage. Ludwig has been keeping American farce alive, pretty much by himself for the last couple of decades and the theatres across the country and audiences all over the world have been grateful.”
Ludwig has had six shows on Broadway and seven in London’s West End, and his plays and musicals have been performed in more than 30 countries and in over 20 languages. Lend Me A Tenor won two Tony Awards and was nominated for seven. He has also won two Laurence Olivier Awards, the Charles MacArthur Award, two Helen Hayes Awards and the Edgar Award for Best Mystery. The Royal Shakespeare Company and British Old Vic have both commissioned plays by him. A practicing attorney, he holds degrees from Harvard, where he studied music with Leonard Bernstein, Haverford College and Cambridge University.
The production is directed by long-time Oldcastle actress Christine Decker, who directed Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway for the company. Ms. Decker was in the improv unit at Disney World and has been a professional actor, improviser, director, and teacher for forty years.
The cast of seven includes two actors seen in the recent Oldcastle production of Mauritius, Richard Howe, the company’s Associate Artistic Director and Peter Langstaff, a mainstay of the acting corps. They are playing very different roles this time as they go from a suspenseful thriller to a laugh riot farce. How appeared in Oldcastle’s production of Lend Me A Tenor and Langstaff was in the company’s The Fox on the Fairway. Howe plays producer Saunders and Langstaff, the volatile tenor Tito.
Yvonne Perry returns to Oldcastle to play Tito’s wife, Maria, where she has previously been seen in Picnic and All My Sons, as well as the comedy, The Grass is Greener. At Capital Rep in Albany, Ms. Perry has acted in The Sisters Rosensweig, and The God Game among many others. She is well known to TV watchers as from her role as Rosanna in As the World Turns. She has also been seen on TV screens in Law & Order, Silk Stalkings, The Guiding Light, and All My Children.
Renata Eastlick, last seen in Oldcastle’s Cat on the Hot Tin Roof playing Maggie is enjoying a busy acting career in New York and Florida. She has been seen on stage in a wide range of plays such as Company, the musical, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and August Wilson’s Two Trains Running. Her TV appearances include Burn Notice and many commercials. She plays Racon, a Russian soprano.
The young couple, Mimi and Carlo are played respectively by Ana Anderson and Ethan Botwick. Ms. Anderson, who grew up in nearby New York State began with Oldcastle taking acting classes taught by Ms. Decker. She has appeared in Oldcastle productions of Black Comedy and last season’s The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. Mr. Botwick first appeared with Oldcastle in The Lion in Winter. He has acted in several productions with the Saratoga Shakespeare. He is a graduate of Sage College in Troy.
Max, another tenor, will be played by Max Arnaud making his Oldcastle debut. Mr. Arnaud has appeared with the Flea, the Hudson Guild, and Center Stage all in New York City. He has also acted with the New Jersey Rep and the famed Actors Theatre of Louisville.