Tonight’s the night! Don’t be alarmed! That loud noise you are hearing emanating from Peoria’s Arizona Broadway Theatre is the happy roar of unstoppable laughter. Tonight, Ken Ludwig’s hilarious comedy Lend Me a Tenor opens and will join the currently playing, wonderfully entertaining musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change in repertory. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change runs through September 19 and Lend Me a Tenor will play through September 26.
Lend Me a Tenor has the distinction of being the very first non-musical to grace the Main Stage of Arizona Broadway Theatre. Ludwig’s play is being directed by ABT’s Executive Producer and Co-Founder Kiel Klaphake and features Maris Fernandes, Michael Wolter, James Rio, Morgan Springer, Roy Hunt, David Errigo, Jr., Morgan Rudolph and Carolyn McPhee.
Yesterday, The Examiner spoke to director Kiel Klaphake (see: Director Kiel Klaphake on the insanely funny Lend Me A Tenor opening August 13 at ABT). Today, we are going to hear from Roy Hunt who plays the tenor of the play’s title.
Q: What can we expect to see with your role as Tito, Il Stupendo, in Lend Me A Tenor?
A: Well, without giving too much away, you’re going to see the world’s greatest tenor from Italy, who’s a bit of a womanizer when the opportunity presents itself. Tito is easily confused. He does get some help when he becomes hopelessly confused but I am not going to give that part away. His English is poor and he is constantly having conversations with different people and they are all at cross purposes. They are talking about one thing and Tito thinks they are talking about something else.
Q: So the language barrier is responsible for a lot of the play’s humor?
A: That’s definitely a part of it. There is humor built into the play having to do with his constant misunderstanding of the English language.
Courtesy of Roy Hunt
Q: What other roles have you done with ABT?
A: It’s been a while since I have been out here. I have done two other shows with ABT. In their premiere season, I played Van Buren, a ball team coach in Damn Yankees. I also played one of the gangsters in their production of Kiss Me Kate.
Q: Could you share any funny stories about your acting experiences?
A: I could bore you senseless all afternoon. There’s always something. Live theater is like going to see a Nascar race. You never know if you might see a big, accidental pile up. Playing farce can be just that way sometimes. I did Last of the Red Hot Lovers a year and a half ago. I had a scene where there was a couch and a coffee table with an ashtray that was about a foot and a half long and maybe ten and a half inches wide. A huge ceramic ashtray! I had a scene where a grab a purse from the character of Jeanette and slam it down on the coffee table. One night I caught the edge of the ashtray and it took off, flipping over and over in the air and then came down and broke into about thirty pieces all over the stage. I did my next few lines while doing stage housekeeping and I could tell that the audience was wondering whether this was part of the play or not.
Michael Wolter & Morgan Rudolph in Lend Me a Tenor
Q: Do you have any favorite roles that you’ve played?
A: That was one of them, Barney Cashman in The Last of the Red Hot Lovers. He’s on stage for the entire play. It’s almost a one man show. Barney is in all three acts while the women play in one act each. He gets no rest. I loved playing Alfie Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Tito is a blast. He’s a lot of the comic relief in Lend Me a Tenor.
Q: What are some of the “mystery” films that you have done?
A: I did The Vagrant with Mel Brooks, years ago. I also did a local film called Vicious Circle that maybe five or six people may have seen. None of the films have been big box office. They have all been small independents. I am sure they went straight to DVD somewhere in Europe.
ABT Now through September 19
Q: What’s up next for you?
A: I have no plans. There is nothing up next for me. Lend Me a Tenor is it. It has 100% of all my attention. I just want to encourage people to get out and come and see ABT’s first non-musical. I think it’s going to be a hoot and everyone is going to be highly entertained.
If you you would like to read The Examiner review for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, see I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change reviewed at Arizona Broadway Theatre.
Personal photos of Roy Hunt and production photos by David Errigo Jr., courtesy of Arizona Broadway Theatre.
For additional information regarding I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Lend Me a Tenor ticket availability and/or repertory performance schedule, please contact the Arizona Broadway Theatre Box Office directly, either by phone at (623) 776 8400 or ON LINE.