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  • Writer's pictureDuke Daniel Pierce

Jade Santana Gets Fiery in "Lend Me a Tenor"

Santana with Michael Scott Harris (Tito)

"It’s Ludwig! He’s, I’d say, the most prominent farcical playwright of our time, and there’s no question about the material. I’ve not only always wanted to be in a farce, but to be in a Ludwig farce is pretty exciting! Besides, it's my first play after the pandemic… I missed it a lot, and I am loving it.”

The year is 1934, and the location is the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, which is readily awaiting the arrival of world-renowned opera tenor Tito Merelli who is set to perform in Pagliacci. The gloriously planned night goes far from planned, beginning with Tito arriving late and his wife in a fit of jealous rage. Hilarity ensues when the staff of the Grand Opera work hard to get the night back on track.

This is the set-up of Ken Ludwig's smash hit, Lend Me a Tenor, currently being presented at the International City Theater in Long Beach, featuring Class of 2017 alumnus Jade Santana as Maria, the “long-suffering” wife of Tito, who has a fiery “Italian temper.”

“Being able to pull off a whole farce on a professional level in only three weeks, that’s including tech and dress, teaches you a lot!” Jade remarked while discussing how the show has helped her grow as an actress. “There’s not a lot of time to wallow in your insecurities, she continued, “or even to experiment a lot… you need to be bang on - character-wise, and create a strong trust amongst the production team and cast members. Everyone’s got to pull their weight. As an actor, I felt a big responsibility to not slow down or waste our little time.”

When the show first premiered on Broadway, it was both a crowd and a critic pleaser, with Time Out New York saying, “The most howlingly funny laugh machine to hit Broadway in years!” The New York Times stamped it as “one of the two great farces by a living writer.” Tenor was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning two for “Best Actor” and Best Direction.” It ran for over a year with 476 performances.

International City Theater’s production seems to be living up to the hype, with stating, “Lend Me A Tenor is a sophisticated play that delights the audience for its comedy and constant action…. Director Todd Nielsen achieves an exciting production with the talented cast and creative team behind this comedy…. Lend Me A Tenor is without a doubt one of the best productions of the year.” Local theater critic Steve Stanley referenced Jade herself, saying, “Santana gives Gina Lollobrigida a run for her lire as Italian firecracker Maria.”

“It’s tough for a production of Tenor to be bad because it's incredible writing,” Jade opined. “You just need to sit back and enjoy the ride that each different cast can take you on. It’s different because it's ours!

The show runs October 19th through November 6th. There is a post-show talkback with the cast on October 30th. Click here for more information and tickets.


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