A hotel suite in Cleveland, Ohio – 1934 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 of Canio in Leoncavalio’s Pagliacci. 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 Canio to great effect. Together, Max and Saunders find a way to save the Opera Company’s big night in grand, farcical fashion.
* In the original production, and the script we will be using, the opera being performed is Otello. Due to the sensitive nature of actors in “Black Face” make-up. We have decided to switch the operas. Instead Tito and Max will don the clown make-up and costumes required for the role of Canio in Pagliacci. In the musical version of LEND ME A TENOR in London, the opera was switched to Pagliacci with Ken Ludwig’s permission and assistance. We will follow suit with his blessing.