If you have lived in Pacific Palisades for a few months or your entire life and have yet to attend a show at Pierson Playhouse presented by Theatre Palisades, go to this one.
If you don’t leave with a smile on your face, after laughing out loud throughout the show, then maybe you’re catatonic and need more help than theater can provide.
Director Sherman Wayne has a special talent for physical farces, and he does not disappoint with this one. He writes, “This exaggerated comedy is based on broadly humorous, highly unlikely situations.” There are mistaken identities, women in scanty clothing, and four talented tenors, and the acting is mostly superb in this production produced by Martha Hunter.
The story revolves around Saunders (Greg Abbott), a long-time producer and former Cleveland mayor, who has put together a “Three Tenors” show that is to be staged in Paris. He has secured the leading tenor in the world, Tito (Peter Miller), a Swedish tenor and his son-in-law Max (Michael Osborn) to sing in a sold-out concert.
What could go wrong? Everything. The Swedish tenor’s mom dies, and Tito quits. A third tenor, the charming Carlo (Dante Greco) is added –and oh by the way, he is sleeping with Tito’s daughter Mimi (Rivers Cassedy) and when he’s insulted by Tito, he quits, too.
Frantically, Saunders tries to keep the show going. He’s gone from three tenors to just his son-in-law, who is less than focused because his wife, back in the United States, is due any day.
Enter the singing bellhop Beppo (Evan Valencia aka Peter Miller’s alter ego), who looks exactly like Tito, and the scheming Saunders, adds him to the lineup as Tito.
Then there’s the Russian soprano, Racon (Lara Preston), who unexpectedly shows up, looking for her old flame Tito, and is fun to watch.
Reprising their husband (Tito) and wife (Maria) roles from the Theatre Palisades production of “Lend Me a Tenor” are Miller and Maria O’Connor. Jealousy reigns with this couple and their fights and insults are spot on and funny.
Greco, who grew up in the Palisades and went to Palisades High School, has a real gift for physical comedy and his interactions with his girlfriend Mimi are adorable.
Preston is delightful and Valencia absolutely charming as he decides between the two women trying to seduce him.
Phew—If this all seems confusing, it makes perfect sense when acted by this group of top-notch performers.
Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays. General admission is $22; seniors/students are $20. There is free parking at Pierson Playhouse, located at 941 Temescal Canyon Road. Call (310) 454-1970 for tickets or visit: theatrepalisades.org.
Regarding vaccination status, theatergoers must provide proof of vaccination. This can be the hardcopy card itself, or a photo of the card on your cell phone. The most recent vaccination date must be at least 14 days prior to the date of the performance you are attending. Audience members will be required to wear a mask while inside the theater. This may change if the Health Department permits it.