THEATER: Utah Shakespearean Festival premiere set for London

  The Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City has numerous British connections, from the playwright it celebrates annually to the replica of William Shakespeare’s Globe theater where the festival stages his dramas.

  Soon, however, USF will celebrate another U.K. connection: a London production of the festival’s "Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical."

  Based on Ken Ludwig’s hit farce, the musical — which premiered at the 2007 festival — will have a private industry presentation and workshop in March, followed by a full-scale West End production (London’s Broadway equivalent) in the fall.

  Both Peter Sham, who wrote the musical’s book and lyrics, and composer Brad Carroll worked with Ludwig to transform "Lend Me a Tenor" from play to musical.

  "This entire experience has been a blessing, and it is definitely worth the struggle,” said Sham, who also is co-chairman/director of theater at Cedar City’s Southern Utah University, the festival’s home base.

  "The Utah Shakespearean Festival is very excited about the success of ‘Lend Me A Tenor: The Musical,’ ” R. Scott Phillips, the festival’s executive director, said in a news release. “The project was such a labor of love that I am anxious for the rest of the theatre world to see it."

  The March presentation will feature Jered Tanner — a former singing gondolier at The Venetian — and Steven Stein-Grainger, who originated the roles of Max Garber and Tito Merelli, respectively, in the festival’s 2007 production.

  The artistic team includes director Ian Talbot, veteran music supervisor Paul Gemignani, set and costume designer Paul Farnsworth, lighting designer Tim Mitchell and choreographer Randy Skinner.

  “All the creative meetings have been extremely positive,” said Sham. “I think there is definitely a market right now for a musical farce.”

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