I spent a wonderful evening at the Paper Mill Playhouse on Sunday night. They're producing a revival of Lend Me A Tenor and I went up to New Jersey for the day to see it.
First there was the chance to see old friends. Don Stephenson and Emily Loesser Stephenson once starred in my adaptation for the Kennedy Center of Where's Charley and we had a rollicking reunion dinner together. Emily is as beautiful and sparkling as ever. Don as warm and hilarious. It was also terrific seeing Jo Loesser and Jack Fink again.
We then watched the opening night performance of Tenor directed by Don. The show clipped along with great dexterity and precision, and the cast, to a person, was terrific. Don got some laughs that I'd never seen before. If you get to see the production, watch for the Bellhop's camera, Maggie and the lunatic and the incredibly great duet in the first act. This may be the best singing duo the show has ever had. The crew did a flawless job of keeping everybody on track, John Lee Beatty's set literally gleamed with elegance, the costumes and lighting were as good as I've ever seen, and the whole show looked and sounded terrific from first to last.
Nancy Johnston, Mark Price, Michael Kostroff and Jill Paice
Photo by Jerry Dalia
It was terrific to see some old friends in the cast, including Donna English and Judy Blazer, who were great as always. And equally great were Jill Paice - who brought all new colors and shading to the part of Maggie - and, David Josefsberg who was hilarious and touching as Max. Ditto John Treacy Egan as Tito (what a voice!), Nancy Johnston as Julia, and Michael Kostroff as Saunders.
Congratulations to everyone involved.
Pictured top left: director Don Stephenson with Ken Ludwig
Watch a preview of Lend Me A Tenor at Paper Mill Playhouse: