Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor

by  Ken Ludwig

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 4f

 A sensation on Broadway and in London's West End, this madcap, screwball comedy is guaranteed to leave audiences teary-eyed with laughter.

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Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor

Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor

by  Ken Ludwig

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Farce
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Tony, From Broadway
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
    • UIL Approved
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Winner of 3 Tony Awards and 4 Drama Desk Awards, 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 singer Tito Merelli, known as Il Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as the star of the opera. Tito arrives late, and through a hilarious series of mishaps, he 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 - and in a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into Merelli's costume and fool the audience into thinking he's Il Stupendo. Max succeeds and lives up to his idol, but Merelli regains consciousness and gets into the identical costume, ready to perform. Now two opera singers are running around in the same 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.
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Accolades

  • Winner! 3 Tony® Awards and 4 Drama Desk Awards
    Nominee! 2010 Tony® Award, Best Revival of a Play

Reviews

“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

“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

Videos

  • Meet The Playwright: Ken Ludwig
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Keywords

Betrayal, Love

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Large Stage

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance
  • Optional Music/Media Fee: $15 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting:

    September 1934 in the Cleveland Hotel suite reserved for Tito Morelli, Il Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation.

  • Additional Features: Physical Comedy
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: Large

Casting

4m, 4f

MAX - assistant to Saunders
MAGGIE - Max's girlfriend
SAUNDERS - Maggie's father, General Manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company
TITO MERELLI - a world-famous tenor, known also to his fans as Il Stupendo
MARIA - Tito's wife
BELLHOP - a bellhop
DIANA - a soprano
JULIA - Chairman of the Opera Guild

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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

Optional performance tracks available:

#1: "La Donna e Mobile" (pg 9)

#2: "Dio, che nell'alma infondere" (pg 35-6)

#3: "Dio, che nell'alma infondere" (pg 41)

#4: "Dio, che nell'alma infondere" (pg 62-3)

#5: "Da quell di che t'incontrai" (pg 92)

Songs on pgs 23, 34, 93 should be performed unaccompanied.  Transition music on page 65 should be sourced or created by the licensee. “Vesti La Giubba” on pg 104 can be performed unaccompanied or with tracks from an outside source; please reach out to your licensing representative to ascertain information on where to source karaoke tracks for this song.

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Authors

Ken Ludwig

Ken Ludwig is a two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright who has written over 26 plays and musicals, including 6 shows on Broadway and 7 in London's West End. His first Broadway play, Lend Me A Tenor, won two Tony Awards and was called "one of the classic comedies of the 20th century” by The Washington Post. His othe ...

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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.

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