Feature Q & A – Robert Egizio Directs Lend Me a Tenor

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As part of its 2011-2012 season, Stage Door Players is presenting Ken Ludwig’s farce Lend Me a Tenor. Atlanta Theater Fans had the chance to ask Robert Egizio, Artistic Director of Stage Door Players and director of Lend Me a Tenor, some questions about the show. Read below to find out more about the play and why it is a good fit for Stage Door Players.

What is the premise of Lend Me a Tenor?

When a world famous Opera singer comes to Cleveland to perform, and is mistakenly presumed dead, a series of hilarious cover ups further confuse the issue after someone goes on in his place and another tries to hide the truth from everyone.

How were you first introduced to Lend Me a Tenor and what attracted you to direct it at Stage Door Players?

My first time seeing “Tenor” was on Broadway with the original cast. I later had the great fortune to meet Ron Holgate, the original Tito who signed my copy of the script: “May Max be in your future. All the best, Ron Holgate.” And although I have never performed in the play itself, this is my second time directing it. I have a great fondness for farce, and this is one of the best out there.

What makes it a good fit for Stage Door Players?

Every season for the last eight years since I became Artistic Director, I have put a farce in the season. My audiences really respond to them. Just a great evening of clever writing, yet silly, mindless entertainment with big laughs!

What should audiences expect when seeing the production?

A little bit of Opera, first rate comic performances, precise timing, and an amazing chemistry within the cast. They will also most likely be as exhausted as the cast, just watching it.

What is the funniest moment in the play for you?

There are so many moments that still make me laugh out loud. But the over the top antics of Mark Gray (as Saunders) and John Markowski (as Max) really rank right up there.

What is challenging about directing a farce?

There is such an element of precision required to make farce really impressive. There is a continuity of action that must be perfectly adhered to for the story to make sense (as much as a farce CAN make sense) not to mention the quickly delivered, yet crisp diction of the dialogue, the demanding physicality, and the challenge to meet the “once the train has left the station, there is no stopping it” mentality of the piece.

Lend Me a Tenor features a lot of physical comedy elements. How has the rehearsal process been?

No actors were injured in the making of this play. (Phew)

Megan Hayes, John Markowski, Larry Ruth and Kelly Chapin Schmidt star in Stage Door Players' Lend Me a Tenor. Photo by R. Todd Fleeman

What makes this cast an enjoyable one to watch?

They all have an amazing sense of humor, as well as the great ability to play over the top characters with honesty, which is so important to remember when doing a farce. Each of them have created a distinct persona, and their chemistry onstage and the camaraderie they have created offstage brings an element of teamwork that makes them a well  matched ensemble. And it shows.

Stage Door Players’ new season is scheduled to be announced with the opening of Lend Me A Tenor. What can audiences expect out of the new season?

I’m really excited about the season because not only do I think the six main stage selections made will be great audience pleasers, it is a season of shows that will give actors great chances to showcase their talents in some incredible roles, comedic, dramatic and musical.

 

Lend Me a Tenor opens Friday, May 18 and runs through June 12 at the North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center in Dunwoody. Performance times are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, please visit http://stagedoorplayers.net/.