Georgia Ensemble’s ‘Comedy of Tenors’ rollicks


Among my earliest (and fondest) memories on this beat is reviewing a rip-roaring rendition of the Ken Ludwig farce “Lend Me a Tenor” at Marietta’s old Theatre in the Square, which famously featured a rather peerless ensemble of actors, several of whom are still quite active on the local theater scene some 25 years later: Carolyn Cook, Alan Kilpatrick, Jill Jane Clements and Shelly McCook.

McCook, a typically indomitable presence on stage, now steps behind the scenes to direct Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s “A Comedy of Tenors,” Ludwig’s belated new sequel to his earlier success. Where the original show (set in 1934 Cleveland) was an homage of sorts to the Hollywood screwball comedies of that era, the follow-up (set in Paris circa 1937), with its slightly more risqué language and sexual innuendo, “comes perilously close to French farce” instead, as one of the play’s many madcap characters puts it.

As written, lightning doesn’t exactly strike twice. But it might only seem like a hard act to follow for anyone else who’s been around long enough to have caught that previous production of the first “Tenor,” because, as executed by McCook and company, “Tenors” is lively enough and agreeably cast on its own accord, boasting such proven talents as Brian Kurlander, Courtenay Collins, Lane Carlock and Haden Rider.

The sequel reintroduces some of the same characters, including the blustery general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera, Saunders (Robert Egizio), and his flustered assistant Max (John Markowski), who’s now also his son-in-law. They’re in Paris to present a highly anticipated concert by the temperamental Italian singer Tito Merelli (Kurlander), who arrives with his equally tempestuous wife, Maria (Collins), both of whom also figured prominently before.

New to the mix this second time around: their daughter Mimi (Lyndsay Ricketson), an aspiring actress; her boyfriend Carlo (Rider), an up-and-coming operatic rival to her father; and the Russian diva Tatiana Racon (Carlock), who has a history with Tito, on stage and off.

Kurlander, most familiar for his dramatic work (such as Actor’s Express’ “The Christians” last fall), is particularly delightful here (in dual roles, no less), demonstrating a flair for broad physical comedy and even a certain musical talent – although some of his aria excerpts are pre-recorded and sung from out of sight — despite paling in comparison to a vocalist as accomplished as Rider (“Jesus Christ Superstar” with Atlanta Lyric, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at Aurora) alongside whom he performed during one scene.

McCook’s production designers acquit themselves very nicely: Stephanie Polhemus’ stately and functional scenic design depicts a swanky hotel suite, replete with a requisite number of slammable doors and an image of the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop; the fancy period costumes are by Emmie Tuttle; and Dusty Brown’s lighting occasionally punctuates punchlines and a few highly stylized tableaux.

Will you remember the show 25 years from now? Probably not. “A Comedy of Tenors” may be more innocuous than indelible, but it’ll do.

If you go

THEATER REVIEW

“A Comedy of Tenors”

Through March 18. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 4 p.m. Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. $26-$40. Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest Street, Roswell. 770-641-1260. www.get.org.

Bottom line: Suitably silly.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Actress Heather Locklear hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation, police say
Actress Heather Locklear hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation, police say

Actress Heather Locklear was hospitalized Sunday in Thousand Oaks, California, for a psychiatric evaluation, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to Us magazine. >> Read more trending news  Locklear, 56, who starred on “Melrose Place” and “Dynasty,” was acting erratically and threatened to hurt...
Why has ‘Top Chef’ shunned Atlanta and Georgia?
Why has ‘Top Chef’ shunned Atlanta and Georgia?

Bravo’s “Top Chef” contestants have cooked wild boar in the snow in Telluride, Col. They fed judges in the outfield of Boston’s historic Fenway Park right in front of the Green Monster. They created “sexy” dishes at a San Francisco fetish shop with cheeky names like Naughty Nuts and Edible Underwear...
Clarkston mayor Ted Terry loved his time on ‘Queer Eye’
Clarkston mayor Ted Terry loved his time on ‘Queer Eye’

If 35-year-old Clarkston mayor Ted Terry ever runs for Georgia governor, he could use his episode of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” as part of his campaign.  Debuting on Friday as part of season two, his episode is a largely flattering portrayal of Terry. In reality, he isn’t quite as much of a reclamation project as some...
Things to do in and around Atlanta for Monday, June 18
Things to do in and around Atlanta for Monday, June 18

Happy Monday. Remember way back when it was just a day you struggled to get through? (Remember last week?) Now Monday is all about jumpstarting your body and brain — while having fun to boot. Here are three suggestions for doing so today around the metro area. And considering one of them is a chance to see as many as five movies for free...
Three things we learned from Beyonce and Jay-Z’s ‘Everything is Love’ album
Three things we learned from Beyonce and Jay-Z’s ‘Everything is Love’ album

Just when you thought Beyonce and Jay-Z were turning their attention to their globe-trotting “On the Run 2” tour, which kicked off earlier this month in Wales, the couple managed to re-direct the conversation with the surprise weekend arrival of “Everything is Love.” Here are three things we learned from the nine-song release...
More Stories