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Familiar characters in ‘Comedy of Tenors’

Posted on May 21, 2018 by Richard Amery

It’s fun to revisit familiar characters. Hatrix Theatre is doing just that with their production of Ken Ludwig’s 2015 comedy “A Comedy of Tenors,” which runs May 24-26 at the Eagles Hall.
The play is an unofficial sequel to Ludwig’s 1986 comedy “Lend Me A Tenor.” It picks up shortly after the antics of “Lend Me A Tenor,” in 1930s Paris, where apoplectic producer Henry Saunders is ready to put on the concert of the century, if his cast doesn’t either quit or kill each other first.
Several familiar characters return in this production including constantly quarrelling couple Maria (played by Vicki Gibson) and Italian tenor star Tito Merelli (played by Clive Abbott), Saunders (played by Stephen Graham), who also played Saunders in Hatrix’s 2014 production of “Lend me A Tenor”) and Saunders’ ever faithful dogsbody Max (played by Colin Bluekens) who has not only become an opera star in his own right, but also is worried about his pregnant wife, Saunders’ daughter Maggie, back home in America.
Add in Merelli’s daughter Mimi (Emilie Kidd), her new beau, up-and-coming opera star and Merelli’s rival Carlo Nucci (played by Greg VanDeurzen) and sultry Russian soprano Racon (Carrie-Ann Worden), slamming doors, plenty of misunderstandings, misidentifications, sexual innuendos and operatic references and you have a good time.
Clive Abbott wears multiple hats in the show, as he is not only playing Tito, but Tito’s bellhop twin Beppo, plus a talking tongue and is also building the set.
“I like the idea of playing dual roles and using different voices for each of them,” said Abbott, a veteran of many Hatrix productions including last November’s “12 Angry Jurors.”
“I really like this cast and being directed by Karolyn Harker,” Abbott continued.
Vicki Gibson, who was also in “12 Angry Jurors,” got the acting bug from Harker.
“Karolyn was my first drama teacher in high school. I was in my first play under her direction. I have enjoyed drama ever since,” noted Gibson, who is a familiar face with Lethbridge Musical Theatre.
“I’m enjoying speaking in the accent of a culture I’ve always loved and admired. And Maria is a character with such high drama,” Gibson said.
“It’s been a lot of fun playing Carlo Nucci,” noted Hatrix newcomer Greg VanDeurzen. “He’s a pretty stand-up guy. It will be fun to just let go in front of a room full of people.”
“She’s a pampered diva,” said Carrie-Ann Worden, another Hatrix veteran who was also in “12 Angry Jurors,” describing her character Racon. “But she also wants to settle down and have a child,” she continued. Racon takes an instant liking to Beppo, having mistaken him for Tito.
She is excited to be part of another Ken Ludwig play as she was also part of Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot: Holmes For The Holidays,” Hatrix put on in 12016.
“I like Ken Ludwig. He’s a phenomenal writer,” she said.
Director Harker praised her dedicated cast, who are all volunteers.
“They take time away from their families and work to do this. But they are like a family,” she said, adding it is also been fun to revisit the lives of Saunders, Max, Tito and Maria.
“It’s been really wonderful to revisit these character’s lives and to see how things have changed with them (since ‘Lend me A Tenor’). Maggie and Max are married and having a baby and Saunders still wants to put on the best concert in the word,” Graham said.
“It’s so nice the see Saunders and Max again and to see how they’ve grown. Max and Maggie got together and are planning a family, ” Harker echoed.
“The cast really is like family and it is such a good show,” Harker enthused.
Tickets are available for $15 in advance at Blueprint and $20 at the door. The show is at 7:30 p.m., May 24-26 at the Eagles Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. There is also a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 26.

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