Director of Theatre to Open Tenor on London's West End

Published: April 26, 2011 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Following a critically acclaimed run at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in 2010, "Lend Me a Tenor the Musical," the uproarious new musical comedy by Southern Utah University's director of theatre, Peter Sham (book and lyrics) and frequent SUU Guest Artist Brad Carroll (music), will have its official West End opening at London's Gielgud Theatre on June 15, 2011, following preview performances which begin on June 2.

"Lend Me a Tenor the Musical," which received its world premiere at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in the summer of 2007, is a riotous, unpredictable explosion of mistaken identities and unexpected romance, based on the award-winning West End and Broadway hit comedy, "Lend Me a Tenor," by Ken Ludwig.

At the announcement of this production, Bradley J. Cook, SUU's provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, commented, "Peter is a great example of an SUU faculty member who inspires his students inside and outside the classroom."

On Tenor's success, Provost Cook added, "This is also proof positive of the benefits of the unique partnership of SUU and the Utah Shakespeare Festival, where Sham first debuted 'Lend Me A Tenor The Musical'."

Set in 1934, the hilarious musical comedy revolves around the world's greatest tenor Tito Merelli who has come to Cleveland, Ohio, to save its Grand Opera Company by singing Verdi's Otello. When he is unexpectedly incapacitated, Max, the opera director's meek assistant, is given the daunting task of finding a last-minute replacement. Chaos ensues - including a scheming soprano, a tenor-struck ingénue, a jealous wife, shrimp gone bad and the Cleveland Police department.

Matthew Kelly will star as 'Henry Saunders' (Executive Director of the Cleveland Grand Opera), Damian Humbley will star as 'Max' (Henry Saunders' assistant, and the opera prompter), Michael Matus will star as 'Tito Merelli, 'Il Stupendo' (the great Italian tenor), and Sophie-Louise Dann will star as 'Diana Divane' (Prima Donna of the Cleveland Grand Opera). Further casting will be announced.

Lend Me a Tenor the Musical is produced by Martin Platt and David Elliott, in association with Eileen and Allen Anes. This brand-new production is directed by Olivier Award-winning director Ian Talbot (High Society, Anything Goes) and choreographed by Tony Award-nominated choreographer Randy Skinner (42nd Street, Irving Berlin's White Christmas). The production is designed by Paul Farnsworth, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, and sound by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster. The musical supervisor is Tony Award winner Paul Gemignani and the musical director is Colin Billing.

Peter Sham is associate chair/director of theatre for Southern Utah University's Department of Theatre Arts & Dance. In addition to Lend me a Tenor the Musical, Sham is the author of the musicals, Toyland, It's a Dog's Life: Man's Best Musical; and the plays, Shakespeare's Moby Dick, a classical adaptation of Herman Melville's American masterpiece, and A Christmas Carol: On the Air among others. A veteran regional actor for over 30 years, he has performed at such places as The Asolo Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and has been a principal member of the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival for over 11 seasons. Sham is a graduate of the University of Delaware's nationally acclaimed Professional Theatre Training Program.

Brad Carroll is a recognized regional director, music director and composer whose work has taken him all over the US as well as to Europe, Japan and the UK. He is co-creating a musical stage adaptation of the animated feature Christmas is Here Again, commissioned by Renegade Animation in Los Angeles. He recently made his first foray into film, scoring the independent short, X-Treme Weekend. As a Writer, Director and Musical Arranger for Walt Disney Entertainment, Carroll was involved in the creation of three new shows for the multi-billion dollar TokyoDisneySea theme park that opened in Japan in 2001. His musical arrangements/orchestrations have been performed by such prestigious organizations as the San Francisco Symphony and the Boston Pops. For Southern Utah University's Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, he directed Into the Woods and handled the music direction for the Department's recent production of Godspell.

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