Sock ‘n’ Buskin offers witty, fun production of ‘Lend Me a Tenor’


“Lend Me A Tenor” was an exciting Sock ‘n’ Buskin production that left me in awe.

I had the privilege of seeing the “alto” cast at the Sunday matinee; that group also played the roles Saturday night. The “soprano” cast performed Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

The actors’ witty dialogue and comedic timing was exceptional.

The story takes place in Cleveland on a night in 1934 and follows Maggie (Kristen Agbenyega and Courtney Valente), who is dating her father’s assistant, Max (Liam Ginsburg and Andrew Scott). However, Maggie is in love with the famous Italian opera singer Tito Merelli (Alexander Kahler and Sean McCormick), who is scheduled to perform that night for the Cleveland Grand Opera Company.

Maggie’s father, Saunders (Jeremy Tam and Anderson Brady), runs the opera company and becomes distraught because Merelli is feeling unwell and may not be able to perform, which would reflect negatively on his opera house. On top of feeling ill, Tito becomes emotionally distraught when his wife Maria, (Grace Kiamie and Bella Rosado), leaves him.

Max tries to cheer Tito up and suggests that he take a nap. When it’s time for Tito to leave for the performance, Max discovers what seems to be a suicide note in Tito’s bedroom and Tito on the bed unmoving. Max presumes Tito is dead. Max hatches a plan to star in Tito’s role for the evening and cover up Tito’s death until the next morning. Max’s performance proceeds as planned. However, it’s revealed the real Tito is alive. Tito starts getting ready for the performance unaware of anything that has happened.

The second act is a slapstick wild goose chase that leaves the audience rolling in the aisles. Between Max and Tito’s hilarious clown costumes, the witty jokes from opera house chairwoman Julia (Leah Sherbansky and Claire Pachuta), soprano Diana (Ava Pursel and Leila Brady) trying to use Tito to get a job in New York and Saunders’ emotional outbursts,  this wild farce kept the audience invested and entertained through it all.

I give the play an A+ rating. Not only was the acting great, but the stage crew did an amazing job making sure the fast-paced show ran smoothly. The characters’ personalities were well represented through the vivid costumes, and the scenery created a complementary backdrop to the story.