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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Fall production promises to deliver belly laughs

“Lend Me a Tenor” set in Bluett Theatre. PHOTO: TESS COARY ’24/THE HAWK

For its fall production, the SJU Theatre Company will perform “Lend Me a Tenor,” the humorous tale of members of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company who face a series of unfortunate events while hosting a visiting Italian tenor, Tito Merelli.

The show’s guest director is Bob Kelly, who has directed more than 100 productions over the last 40 years. Kelly has brought a new directing style to the students, relying heavily on feedback during note sessions after each rehearsed run.

“I’m a huge fan of notes,” Kelly said. “My note sessions last as long as the run of the show and I don’t think that [the students] are used to this kind of intensive note session.”

Nicky Anni ’24, who plays Merelli, has never performed on stage before, but decided to audition for this production after hearing about it in his theater class this semester. However, he said he has enjoyed his time with the production.

“I’m having a good time on the stage and off the stage,” Anni said. “I’ve never been a part of something like this before.”

To prepare for his role, Anni said he has been using his heritage to personalize Merelli onstage and gain a deeper understanding of his character.

“Being half Greek and half Italian, I can see some of my relatives acting like this, so I was trying to figure out how to do it,” said Anni, “whether it be just his mannerisms, his reactions, his emotions, how high strung or how sincere he can be.”

“Lend Me a Tenor” is also the first SJU Theatre Company production for technical director Jeremy Webb, who has worked on the show’s set design since the start of the semester.

As “a farce comedy,” as Kelly called it, “Lend Me a Tenor” needs a custom set able to hold up against all of the mishaps happening onstage.

“This is a play about doors,” Webb said. “I mean, if you look up there, there’s six of them on stage right now. It’s very frantic in and out and chasing through, sort of a Scooby Doo in and out the door type of thing.”

The doors in the play were all built from scratch, Webb said.

“They are not bought from a store because most doors you can buy at home improvement stores now are hollow and are designed for everyday common use, not slamming,” Webb said. “If you slam a hollow core door, it is going to fly to pieces in your hand.”

Kelly said he hopes audiences will appreciate the work that students have put into the production while also getting in a few good laughs.

“Forget about everything, forget about all the world’s problems and just be entertained with something that hopefully will make you laugh,” Kelly said. “This show will be those kinds of belly laughs.”

“Lend Me a Tenor” runs Oct. 26, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. in Bluett Theatre on the Hawk Hill campus.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased up to 24 hours in advance on the SJU Theatre Company website via email and Venmo or at the door by cash or check only.

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Tess Coary, Assistant Features Editor
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