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.
Note: This play uses blackface for comedic effect through mistaken identity. While it is not meant to comment in any way on race, and the setting of the play is in the year 1934, it may be perceived as offensive in our modern era. Consideration should be given as to whether or not the company wishes to include this bit, or find a way to cut it from the production.
Lend Me a Tenor guide sections