Monday, April 05, 2010

Lend Me A Tenor (The SOB Review)

Lend Me A Tenor (The SOB Review) - Music Box Theatre, New York City, New York

***1/2 (out of ****)

Thank goodness for some well-timed levity in this lackluster Broadway season.

In the case of Stanley Tucci's brilliant revival of Ken Ludwig's
Lend Me A Tenor, when one door closes, another one opens -- and it's a golden opportunity to laugh yourself silly.

Now, I'll readily admit that farce has never really been my thing. But when you mix a skillful director with an exceptional cast in possession of perfect timing, the result is nonstop hilarity.

With whipsaw precision, Tucci has almost flawlessly turned a middling script into the most laugh-out-loud funny show on Broadway or anywhere else I've been this past year. It's downright hysterical.

Tucci's entire cast absolutely sparkles.

The superb Tony Shalhoub portrays Saunders, a manic impresario who has brought world-renowned tenor Tito Merelli (Anthony LaPaglia in a suitably over the top performance) to Cleveland for a sold-out concert appearance. Saunders places Merelli and his love-starved wife Maria (an exquisite Jan Maxwell in her second role of the year that's completely deserving of a Tony nod) in the care of his beleaguered assistant Max (Justin Bartha making an auspicious Broadway debut).

As with many a farce, doors slam and identies are mistaken. But rarely are the proceedings carried out with such aplomb as this. And the curtain call has to be seen to be believed. It's genius.

If you're in desperate need of a good belly laugh, go see Lend Me A Tenor. While your seat may be on loan for a couple blissful hours, the fun is yours to keep.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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