Lamar State College-Port Arthur theater students are preparing for their April 18-20 staging of the quirky comedy “Lend Me a Tenor,” which tells the story of what happens when a world-famous tenor is unable to perform in the 10th anniversary performance of the Cleveland Grand Opera and the company is forced to put an untrained singer into the lead role of “Othello.”
Cody Underwood, a sophomore music major from Nederland, play the role of Max, the opera manager’s assistant, who is thrust into the lead role after tenor Tito Morelli (also known as Il Stupendo) shows up late for rehearsal and inadvertently takes a double dose of tranquilizers that mixes with the alcohol he already consumed and causes him to pass out.
The tenor’s pulse is so low, the opera manager, played by sophomore academic studies major Trey Honza, thinks he is dead. Max is enlisted to try to fool the audience that he is the noted tenor.
While Max is performing quite admirably, Morelli, played by freshman academic studies major Mahmoud Ali, comes to and gets into his other costume. Now there are two Othellos running around and two women in lingerie who each think she is with the real Il Stupendo.
Singing the lead role of a musical is a new experience for Underwood, a 2002 Nederland High School graduate and the current LSC-PA Student Government Association president.
Underwood is one of the first group of students majoring in music at the college, which added several music programs, including Commercial Music and Audio Engineering, to its academic offerings in 2006.
“I want to teach music at the high school or college level. So, I’ll be going after a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree after I earn my associate degree here,” Underwood said.
Although singing outside of a church setting is relatively new to Underwood, he joined the Seahawk Concert Choir and is learning to be a solo vocalist. He performed his first solo last April in the spring vocal recital.
“This is very new to me. The first time I sang in public – other than singing along in church – was in 2005, when I auditioned to be in the college’s fall play, ‘The Wiz’ ” Underwood said. “I am very shy, quiet and reserved. But I wanted to be the lion. So, I got up the nerve to sing. Now, I love singing.”
Other members of the “Lend Me a Tenor” cast are Brooke Collins, a sophomore cosmetology major from Vidor; Amber Robinson, a freshman academic studies major from Port Arthur; Rachel Scott, a sophomore medical office administration major from Port Arthur; Yesenia Ramirez, a sophomore academic studies major from Port Arthur; and Kelsey Stewart, a sophomore education major from Port Neches.
“Lend Me a Tenor” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 20, in the Black Box Theater of the Lamar State College-PA Performing Arts Center, 1700 Procter St.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and students and $5 for Lamar State students with a valid ID card. Reservations are required because seating in the black box theater is limited.
For information or reservations, call 984-6111.