Photo: Company of Ken Ludwig’s A COMEDY OF TENORS at the Walnut Street Theatre. By Mark Garvin.
Here are a few reasons why you should see Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors, playing now until March 3rd on the Walnut Street Theatre’s main stage.
-The plot is easy to follow, yet very engaging.
-It has a classic sitcom feel.
-The cast is perfect; it’s easy to forget they are just playing roles and this isn’t real life.
-The writer is from nearby York, PA (and calls Philly a favorite stomping ground since his childhood).
Picture it. 1930s Paris. The entire show takes place in one hotel room where three of the world’s most popular tenors are about to perform at a stadium filled with fans. What could go wrong? A lot of course. Throw in some wives and girlfriends, a daughter, a doppelganger, some bedroom humor, and a more than few misunderstandings. This show really is unlike anything you have seen before. Though some theatre-goers may be familiar with these characters from Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor, this show really doesn’t need to be categorized as a sequel. It stands alone.
A Comedy of Tenors is a quick and easy laugh. Even though the show has a shorter running time than other shows at Walnut this season, time passed quickly because it’s so funny and so immersive. One minute you’re meeting the characters and the next you’re sadly saying au revoir. The comical recap at the end is impressive and possibly the best part. I went into A Comedy of Tenors not knowing what to expect; just rooting for a York, PA native (I spent five years there for college). It turned out to be the most fun I’ve had at the theatre…maybe ever. I think this show will be hard to beat with laughs.
Without Ludwig, this show wouldn’t exist of course. He’s had six shows on Broadway, earned seven Tony nominations (and two wins), and has been given a slew of other awards. Walnut has produced a lot of his work as well. But actor/director Frank Ferrante brings A Comedy of Tenors to life. His dual roles of Tito and Beppo are so convincing and done with such ease, it’s hard not to expect both characters to show up on stage at once. Frank Ferrante has directed shows many shows for Walnut Street Theatre and also starred Off-Broadway in Groucho, earning a New York’s Theatre World Award and an Outer Critic’s Circle Award nomination. He also performed in the show’s West End run and received an Olivier Award nominated.
Unlike Walnut Street’s last show, Matilda, this is not for a younger audience. Leave the kids at home and come have a date night. Bring the in-laws even, they’ll love it.