2014 Lend Me A Tenor

Brad Carroll

Peter Sham

Ken Ludwig

"Great show last night. Fun and batty! I really enjoyed it. Well done on a fab sounding show ! Very well performed and directed."

"Just a note to say how much we ALL enjoyed the show and what a full house and only the 2nd night – you should have a great week ahead. We loved it all and you were amazing – well done – I always feel so relaxed and confident watching you. You must have had lots of fun putting it together. I think it was definitely one of our favourites."

"Just a quick note to say well done to you and everyone in "Lend Me A Tenor". We saw it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very slick, very professional and a great evening."


Autumn 2014

On a very important night for the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, Tito Mirelli, the world-famous Italian tenor, is set to perform the starring role in Otello. Henry Saunders -- General Manager of the company -- is beyond stressed about everything turning out right, and insists that his assistant, Max -- a nervous, young fellow and secret tenor extraordinaire -- watch over Tito’s every move to ensure smooth sailing. After a huge fight with his fiery, Italian wife Maria, Tito receives a double dose of tranquilizers through a series of mishaps. Throw in Diana, an ambitious, female co-star; Maggie, Max’s giddy girlfriend; Julia, a flirty head of the opera guild; and a meddling bellhop fighting for Tito’s attention. Together, you have a recipe for comedic disaster. Max navigates the company through one catastrophe after the next -- an angry wife, a presumed death, crazy costumes, secret sex romps, and loads and loads of slamming doors and mistaken identities -- and, ultimately, takes on the role of Otello to great effect. Together, Max and Saunders find a way to save the Opera Company’s big night in grand, farcical fashion.


Max Garber - Russell Hawkins
Henry Saunders - Ian Lambert
Maggie Saunders - Emily Evans
Bernie - Andy Robson
Diana Divane - Sally Hatton-Savage
Maria Merelli - Lisa Scott
Tito Merelli - Jeff Raggett
Anna No. 1 - Julie Parker
Anna No. 2 - Rebeca Cenamor
Anna No. 3 - Juliana Anderiesz
Micky and Joe - Dil Patel and Rick Qureshi
Harry - Paul Featherstone
Paparazzi 1 - Monica Wallis
Paparazzi 2 - Chris Haslett
Mayor - John Hayman-Joyce

Maids and Bell Boys
Aimee Clark-Hooker, Caron Ireland, Charlotte Verrill
Charlie Qureshi, Daniel Crego-Bustelo, Jonathan Campbell Slaughter

Chorus Members
Tessa Abbott, Helen Ash, Jill Howlett
Nicola Howlett, Louise Laithwaite, Kathryn Peters
Chris Rumbold, Diana Springate, Jan Wallis
Harry Wilkinson, Karen Wilson, Sandra Zeffman

Pit Singers
Claire Padbury
Crispian Shepley
Linda Sutch


Charlie Hoddell

David Edwards

Helen Parker


Promotional Video

Dress Rehearsal Montage Video



Canvasing a 'Flat' for the set

Douglas Mayo

At a time when so many new musicals are based on popular movie titles, it is unusual to find one based on a play of the same name, but such is the case with Lend Me A Tenor – The Musical.

Lend Me A Tenor centres around the farcical happenings at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. The company is presenting Otello, but their star tenor Merelli is late, the women of the Opera Guild are concerned the shrimp for the gala may have 'gone-off' in the heat, and the women of the company are giddy with excitement at the thought of the great star arriving. When the star takes one too many tranquilizers, company prompt Max is convinced to take on the part of Otello, pretending to be Merelli. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

Epsom Light Opera Company opened their production of Lend Me A Tenor tonight at the Epsom Playhouse. The cast is lead by a talented group of principal players including Russell Hawkins (Max), Ian Lambert (Henry), Sally Hatton-Savage (Diana), Emily Evans (Maggie), Jeff Raggett (Merelli), and Lisa Scott (Maria). They are a uniformly strong group that play the comedy for full impact and handle the vocal demands of the score exceptionally well. I particularly enjoyed the work of Hawkins, Lambert and Raggett, the most unlikely bunch of Otellos ever to grave the stage.

The ELOC chorus were effective and sounded great in the few chorus scenes with some simple and effective dance routines. The creative team of Charlie Hoddell (Director), David Edwards (Musical Director) and Helen Parker (Choreographer) delivered a tight and very funny production that the audience certainly enjoyed.

The musicalisation of the play by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll is not a strong one. There are some great moments in the score, with numbers like How About Me?, Be Yourself, The Last Time and May I Have A Moment, and whilst these numbers work, its still Ludwig's original farce that shines through.

ELOC are to be praised for their decision to stage a show that did not have great commercial success. Lend Me A Tenor runs til 1st November and is certainly worth a visit if it's a good laugh you are craving.

Congrats ELOC!

Jon Fox

This modern musical by Brad Carroll and Peter Sham is based on the 1986 play of the same name by Ken Ludwig. It ran for only a few weeks in the Gielgud Theatre in 2011 before it closed despite standing ovations and goodish reviews. Oh, the perils of professional theatre! Set in 1934, I found it a pleasant throwback to the days when musicals meant rattling good tunes, beautiful costumes, stunning dancing and a feel-good factor upon leaving after the show.

I must say from the outset I liked a great deal about this show and in particular the performance. The production team of Charlie Hoddell (Director), David Edwards (Musical Director) and Helen Parker (Choreographer) can and surely must feel rightly proud of what they produced on stage. David's firm control of his orchestra always supported, enhanced, but never overwhelmed the vocalists. Charlie's fertile stage imagination and ability to get the utmost from this enthusiastic company really turned this delightful show into a top notch production.

The plot revolves around the very late arrival of Tito Merelli, a world famous opera singer, who is then too unwell to perform and the necessity of finding a substitute to play the role of Otello in the opera of the same name, which was being put on by the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. Chaos ensues and opera director Henry Saunders, panicky because President and Mrs Roosevelt are attending that night's performance, expecting Merelli "Il Stupendo" to play Otello, hatches a plot with his assistant Max that he, Max, should play the part.

Meanwhile, Saunders' daughter Maggie lusts after Merelli and has transformed the Cleveland Hotel lobby into a shrine to Tito to welcome and impress him. Moreover, Merelli's volatile wife Maria arrives with him and much of the machinations that eventually resolve the complicated situation provide farce at its finest.

There were a host of wonderful performances from the cast as follows:-

Tito Merelli - Jeff Raggett - Wonderfully charismatic and comedic with a superb voice.

Henry Saunders - Ian Lambert - Played the angst ridden character with total authenticity and huge presence.

Max Gerber - Russell Hawkins - Imbued the engaging character with a suitable little boy lost look and bewildered air. Another quality voice.

Maggie Saunders - Emily Evans - Involved in the heart of the farce in the adjoining bedroom and timed beautifully. A rising star.

Maria Merelli - Lisa Scott - Superb as the volatile Maria, a real talent.

Diana Divane - Sally Hatton-Savage - Wonderfully charismatic and showed her staggering vocal range. An accomplished performer all round.

Anna No 1 Julie Parker - Acted together and provided much comedy
Anna No 2 Juliana Anderiesz - and good singing. All three Anna's were well
Anna No 3 Rebecca Cenamor - cast and enhanced the comedy.

The enthusiastic chorus with maids and bell boys gave full support to the talented principals. There was a good deal of energetic and the innovative dancing, including the tap routine, was polished to a professional standard. Take a bow Helen!

The upstage was cleverly used to show the hotel and its lobby, the backcloth also doubling up as "front stage" for the finale of the Otello "performance", great imaginative use of the set. The stage itself was dominated by adjoining bedrooms for much of the show and was well used with many entrances and exits, which in a farce such as this, requires absolutely perfect timing. It is to the director's and cast's great credit that it worked perfectly and greatly enhanced the show.

Costumes by Kris Benjamin were suitable for the period and well co-ordinated and made to fit by Hollie Barbury. There was very little not to like about this show. "Very little" is actually a euphemism for "nothing"!

Sue and I were warmly greeted and given a highly entertaining evening and I congratulate and thank the company.