"An accelerating snowball of laughter, Lend Me A Tenor has the class and charm of a Kaufman and Hart comedy plus all the door-slamming hilarity of a Marx Brothers' classic like Room Service." - Jim Helsinger, PA Shakespeare Festival
Lend Me A Tenor is set in September 1934. Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is primed to welcome world famous, Tito Morelli, Il Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as Otello. The star arrives late and, through a hilarious series of mishaps, is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. His pulse is so low that Saunders and his assistant Max believe he’s dead. In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into Morelli's Otello costume and fool the audience into thinking he's Il Stupendo. Max succeeds admirably, but Morelli comes to and gets into his other costume ready to perform. Now two Otellos are running around in costume and two women are running around in lingerie, each thinking she is with Il Stupendo. A sensation on Broadway and in London's West End, this madcap, screwball comedy is guaranteed to leave audiences teary-eyed with laughter. It was directed on Broadway by Jerry Zaks, and in London by David Gilmore.
“A remarkable piece of theatre… a masterpiece… Author Ken Ludwig has verve, a sound grasp of plot mechanics and a rare ability to couple high art with low comedy.” - The London Times
“One of two great farces by a living writer.” - The New York Times
"Ken Ludwig's 1989 Tony-winning comedy is one of only two classic farces by a living playwright, the other being Michael Frayn's frenetic Noises Off” - New York Daily News
“The most inventive, original farce in a long time…” - Punch
“A furiously paced comedy with more than a touch of the Marx brothers… A marvelous combination of wonderful farcical moments and funny lines.” - Time Out New York
“Hilariously over the top.” - The Manchester Guardian
“Fills the theatre with the sound of laughter.” - The Sunday Express, London
“Free flowing honest-to-goodness unforced farce.” - New York Magazine
“It’s hilarious… The funniest show on Broadway.” - WNEW
"A rollercoaster of fun for everybody in the building… a solid, constantly accelerating snowball of a comedy!" - Phoenix News Times
“The Big Winner!” - New York Daily News
"Non stop laughter." - Variety
"Uproarious! Hysterical!" - USA Today
"A rib tickling comedy." - The New York Post
"Screamingly funny!" - CBS Radio
"[A] three-ring circus of chaos involving celebrity worship, backstage shenanigans and mistaken identities." - Desert News
"One of the funniest comedies ever written. Ken Ludwig has written a crackpot comedy worthy of comic masters Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder or Howard Hawks." - Glendale Theater Examiner
Lend Me a Tenor was first presented at the American Stage Festival, Milford, New Hampshire on August 1, 1985. It was directed by Larry Carpenter.
The play was subsequently presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Really Useful Company at the Globe Theatre, London on March 6, 1986. It was directed by David Gilmore
The play was first presented in New York City on March 2, 1989 at the Royale Theater by Martin Starger and The Really Useful Theater Company, directed by Jerry Zaks.