Clothes on floors and slamming of doors are hallmarks of delightful French farce–and when the shivaree happens in gay Paris? You can’t possibly imagine the twists and turns you’ll take in Ken Ludwig’s “A Comedy of Tenors,” now at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.
You’ll recognize most of the cast from Ludwig’s delightful “Lend Me a Tenor,” produced during Paper Mill’s 2013 season. Michael Kostroff and David Josefsberg return as Saunders and Max–the Impresario and his former assistant and now-eminent tenor, who has married Saunders’ daughter and is about to become a father—in absentia since Max is in Paris and Maggie is at home and about to pop! Judy Blazer reprises her dazzling Maria, the long-suffering spouse of the ragingly talented Tito. Maria is a firebrand, blazing with rapid-fire Italian rhetoric, and undying love for both her husband and her daughter. Blazer is a scene stealer and Maria is a character in four dimensions, rendered in expressive richness. John Treacy Egan brings bigger-than-life Tito into focus, as a man, who is more beautifully human, now that he realizes that time wounds all heels–he is no longer the man he was in very many ways. Ryan Silverman is Carlo, Tito’s on-the-rise arch nemesis, who is the secret fiancé of Mimi (Jill Paice, who was Maggie in “Lend Me a Tenor”), and has no idea of Tito’s fear and angst surrounding Carlo’s Adonis-like form and tenor to match. They have a reveal of their own that is priceless. The final gem in this diadem is Donna English, who returns as the cougar-esque Racón–a Russian soprano whose passion is as great as Maria’s–and for the same man, or at any rate one who resembles him.
Ken Ludwig, who has been nominated for seven Tony awards, winning two, as well as winning two Laurence Olivier awards, was in the audience to enjoy Opening Night. Hey cast! No pressure, right? And they did him proud–sight gags, jokes, and visual puns galore make this a night out your beloved will never forget! Mistaken identity, fabricated affairs, contretemps and tragedies, are rendered into comic gold by that most delightful of rarities–a brilliant cast who enjoy performing a brilliant play.
Will Tito recover his “C”? Will Beppo ever recover? What about Max and Maggie’s baby? Will Saunders have a stroke? You’ll need to see for yourself, but hurry! Tickets are flying around faster than an actress takes a header off a balcony in her skivvies and if you want to know what I’m talking about, call today.
This gracious ensemble cast of extremely talented people provides just what we all need in this winter of our discontent–barking laughter welling up from your sacral chakra and making the entire world just a bit lighter.
“A Comedy of Tenors” plays through February 26. Better than a bouquet of flowers and a longer lasting memory for those you love, so get your tickets now at the Box Office or online at www.PaperMill.org
so that you’re not left out in the cold.