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AAAA play littered with laughs

“Lend Me a Tenor” cast members (left to right) Pete Woit, Jon Provance, Carolyn Gianonne and Scott Gianonne rehearse a scene from Act I on Tuesday, Feb. 28. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press).1 / 2
This scene, with cast members (from left to right) Pete Woit, Alyssa Ilchert, Alex Randazzo and Cathy Briese-Snyder, is loud and energetic, much like the majority of the show. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press) 2 / 2

Audience members at the Alexandria Area Arts Association's production of "Lend Me a Tenor" can expect to spend the duration of the play in fits of laughter.

"When I originally read the script, I couldn't keep myself from laughing, even just reading it from page to page," said director Alan Alvig. "It's just hilarious. It's a brilliantly written farce. I'm hoping the audience sees it the same way I did."

"Lend Me a Tenor" is set in September 1934. Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is excited to welcome world famous tenor Tito Morelli, also known as Il Stupendo. Il Stupendo is to appear in the opera for one night as Otello. However, he arrives late. After a series of events leads to him getting a double dose of tranquilizers, it is believed Il Stupendo is dead. A character named Max takes his place, and the last minute replacement leads to much confusion.

Due to the nature of the play's humor, it is not recommended for children age 13 and younger.

"It's a PG-13 show," Alvig said. "There are some adult themes here."

The show's cast is small, made up of four men and four women. According to Alvig, the amount of talent among them has made his job simple.

"I've often said the role of a good director is to stay out of the way when things are going right," he said. "And for much of this rehearsal process that's exactly what I've had to do, other than some fine tuning and modest redirection of things. These actors, with their experience and their uncanny intuition, have been able to just kind of pull it together and create this symbiotic thing that they're doing."

In fact, the acting is so strong that Alvig says the show will seem like a professional production.

"I'm feeling really blessed because they're just top-notch," he said. "At least two of the people in this company could be acting professionally. They're that good."

As opening night approaches and the cast works to fine-tune the show, their hope is that the audience will be taken by the show and the humor.

"One of our actors said, 'Do you think it's going to be funny?'" Alvig said. "I reassured him that when we go on, the big problem is going to be waiting for people to stop laughing."

Winter comedy: Lend Me a Tenor

When: Friday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m., Friday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m.

Where: The Alexandria Area Arts Association

Tickets: $18 Adults, $15 Students/Seniors, $15 Members,

$15 Group. To buy tickets, stop in at the box office or visit

For more information, call the AAAA box office at (320) 762-8300 or email This show is not recommended for children age 13 and younger.


Pete Woit

Jon Provance

Scott Gianonne

Carolyn Gianonne

Alex Randazzo

Alyssa Ilchert

Cathy Briese-Snyder

Kristi Greathouse


Quincey Roers

John Thalmann

Merlin Peterson

Donna Magnuson

Claudia Bursch

Janet Baket Nevalainen

Hilary Ninman

Katy Niemeyer

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

(320) 763-1233