Lend me a Soprano (2022)
Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me A Soprano is a hilarious series of unfathomable events that clang together, resulting in one of the most comical plays I have seen. This production is based on Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor but features reversed gender roles, with females playing what were previous male lead roles. I saw this play during the first World Premiere slate at the Alley theater in Houston, Texas on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022.
It’s 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio. Mrs. Wylie (Ellen Harvey) is the manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company and is set to host the astounding soprano Elena Firenzi (Akexandra Silber) for her one-night-only performance in Carmen. Unfortunately, drama between Elena and her husband Pasquale (Orlando Arriaga) is the catalyst for a baffling mix-up, which causes the paranoid manager and her assistant Jo (Mia Pinero) to believe something tragic has happened to Elena. The pair do their best to amend the situation but as the night goes on, the circumstances continue to get more and more wild!
Eleanor Holdridge does a fantastic job in the director’s chair. The entire production takes place within a single hotel suite and it is remarkable how our attention is held despite the isolated location. I was pleased with how playwright Ken Ludwig has penned hilarious dialogue and enthralling scenarios that held my attention from beginning to end. You will have to have some suspension of disbelief to buy into the fact that all of these events could actually happen but the imagination needed to push these characters into the situations that they end up in was incredibly entertaining that I was not bothered by the ridiculousness one bit.
Ellen Harvey, Mia Pinero, and Alexandra Silber are the three equal standouts of this show; they are an incredible force to be reckoned with. They each project with intense emotion and urgency, causing the audience to feel the anxiety that they all experience throughout the evening. I don’t have too much drama pouring out through my life so it is entertaining to peek into these character’s lives and see the horror they all experience (hopefully that doesn’t make me a terrible person!).
The dialogue characters share between each other is absolutely comical and the trio of ladies execute their parts spot on. Highlight moments include when Jo and Elena are having a voice lesson together. It’s heart-warming but at the same time the way they start moving and contorting their bodies to “display their confidence” gets a good laugh out of the audience. Additionally, when Elena has just learned of some horrifying news and begins to attempt to commit suicide she lets out an opertic howl before being chased and stopped by Jo. Mrs. Wylie’s reply to Jo when Jo suggests that she can play the part of Carmen if Elena is not on time is harshly amusing. I am not someone who listens to opera but the voices of both Mia Pinero and Alexandra Silber are beautiful and this is a great play to go to for the story and you will get to hear gorgeous vocals in a few key scenes that should be appreciated by most.
The technical production is admirable and compliments the story tremendously well. Scenic Designer Klara Zieglerova only has one scene to build but it is royally beautiful and features 5 doors that lead to several significant areas of the play. Jorge Arroyo is the lighting designer that does a terrific job at showing us the time of day with the way the lights are controlled and has a few moments where we get colored lights shown on our characters, whenever they are singing a song. Costume Design by Helen Huang has everyone dressed fantastically; the standout costume is the costume that is supposed to be worn by a person playing the role of Carmen; it stands out the most.
I highly recommend Lend Me A Soprano; it is a wonderful / fun time. Do not miss it!
Lend Me a Soprano plays SEPTEMBER 16 – OCTOBER 9, 2022.
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|Final Verdict:||A hilarious series of unfathomable events that clang together, resulting in one of the most comical plays I have seen|