The play opens on the greatest night in the history of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company in September, 1934, as world famous tenor Tito Merelli is to perform Otello, his crowning achievement, at the gala season opener.
In continuing the tradition at Grove Hall of uniting the talented core of the arts community in the Valley, “Lend me a Tenor” stars Tomie Trepanier as Maggie Saunders, Jeremy Robidoux as Max, Richard Hansen as Henry Saunders, Tina Bye as Maria Merelli, Connor Stacey as Frank the Bellhop, Kylie Gergely as Diana, Cathleen Johnson as Julia Leverett and Howard Welburn as Tito Merelli.
“The cast was hand chosen for the skills they bring but what has impressed me is how well they work together,” says actor and co-owner of Grove Hall, Tina Bye, who cites the teamwork and the trust they have built in each other as a cast as key to the magic happening on stage.
Equally talented are those behind the scenes, where a number of “amazing professionals emerged out of the woodwork to help with this production,” says Bye. For example, the costume design is being managed by Academy Award winner Richard Hansen while a former CVR Performing Arts Department student, Tanya Bissonnette, who is now studying at John Abbott College, collaborated with Bye to design the intricate set, which features seven doors. Pierre Lachance, who has worked professionally behind the scenes in the Montreal theatre industry with such companies as Cirque du Soleil, built the set. David Lafleur, who has over 15 years of opera experience and is now teaching music at Ormstown Elementary School, also came aboard as musical director and vocal coach.
“It is a real example of build it and they will come,” says Bye, suggesting productions in the city would be lucky to have such a collection of expertise, and here they are volunteering their time.
Performances will take place on Thursday, April 16 at 8 pm, Friday April 17 at 7 pm, Saturday April 18 at both 2 pm and 7 pm. Showtimes are the same for the following week starting on Thursday, April 23. There are two ticket options available, with the Friday and Saturday evening performances being presented as dinner theatre featuring a three-course meal. Dessert and coffee will be served during all presentations.
More information on the play as well as an online box office can be found at www.grovehall.ca. Tickets can also be reserved by calling 514-791-5100.