OCTOBER 18 – NOVEMBER 10, 2019
World-renowned tenor Tito Merelli has signed on to play Pagliacci at a Cleveland opera company in the fall of 1934. He arrives late and, through a set of crazy circumstances, passes out after mixing wine with a huge dose of tranquilizers. Believing that the divo is dead, the excitable opera manager taps his hapless assistant, an aspiring singer named Max, to suit up as the Moor and replace Merelli. Meanwhile, the tenor’s jealous wife, his ambitious female co-star, Max’s young girlfriend and the flirtatious head of the opera guild are on the scene fighting—sometimes literally—for the star’s attention.
Meet the Cast
MICHAEL GONZALEZ (MAX)
is very pleased to be returning to the Center Players stage where he has performed in Italian Funerals and Other Festive Occasions (Big Man On Hester Street), Lovers and Other Strangers (Jerry), and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile (William Smith). He has appeared in numerous roles at Kelsey Theater in Mercer County, notably in A Flea in Her Ear (Etienne), Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Milt), A Chorus Line (Al) and Arsenic and Old Lace (Mortimer). Michael‘s other regional credits include Children of Eden (Chorus) at the Washington Crossing Open Air Theatre and Passing Conversations (Lem) Off Broadway at the John Houseman Theater in New York City. Michael sends love and thanks to his wonderful friends and family, for all their support, especially his sweetheart Milena and his lovely children Mo and Nina, who inspire him every day.
LEA OSTNER (MAGGIE)
Lea is delighted to make her Center Players debut. Taking on this role marks the end of her five year hiatus from live theater. Most recently she has played Bianca in D is for Desdemona, and Josie in By the Bog of Cats while attending Emerson College. She would like to thank the entire cast for their partnership, the Center Players board and the Lend Me A Tenor production team for their professionalism. She also wants to thank Michael for his dynamic direction, her dear friend and mentor Rachel for encouraging her to try out for this show so they could play together, and of course, her parents Paul and Christine and grandparents Fred and Dottie for creating an environment for creativity!
ERIC MCDONOUGH (HENRY SAUNDERS)
Eric last appeared with Center Players as Judge Wargrave in And Then There Were None. A funeral director from Point Pleasant, Eric has performed regionally for over thirty years. Theatrical highlights are eight productions of Arsenic and Old Lace as Jonathan Brewster, and three as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, for which both roles garnered him NJACT/Perry actor award nominations. Other favorites include Garry, Present Laughter; Lurch, The Addams Family; Charlemagne, Pippin; Deuteronomy, Cats; Richard Hannay, The 39 Steps; and as the title role in Dracula. Thanks and gratitude to all for supporting local, live theatre.
JOE ZEDENY (TITO MERRELLI)
Joe made his debut at Center Players this past spring when he portrayed the role of Tony Wendice in Dial M for Murder. He’s performed in a number of shows in the Monmouth County area, including The Bishop’s Wife, Long Days’ Journey into Night, Lovers and Other Strangers, True West, (all performed in Eatontown and Long Branch, NJ) and The Italian American Reconciliation, Don’t Drink the Water, and Wait Until Dark (First Avenue Playhouse, Atlantic Highlands, NJ. He has also performed most recently in such musicals as Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone, (The Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook, NJ) Bill Austin in Mamma Mia!, (Plays in the Park, Edison, NJ) Tony Delvecchio in Disaster!, The Musical, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, (Both performed at the Kelsey Theatre, Mercer County College), Sir Lancelot in Spamelot, (Playhouse 22 in East Brunswick, NJ) and Gomez in The Addams Family. (North Brunswick Adult Drama, North Brunswick H.S.)
Special thanks to our director Michael Tota for the opportunity to work with this hilarious and most talented cast, Beth, Roberta, and to Center Players for all their encouragement and support.
JILL PALUMBO (MARIA)
Jill is happy to add the madcap Maria to her other favorite roles, Mazeppa and Magenta. Thank you to the cast and crew of Lend Me a Tenor for a warm welcome and a ton of fun. Special thanks to Michael Tota for his creativity and professionalism. Much, much love to family and friends, especially Cillian and Molly.
JACK ROSMARIN (BELLHOP)
Jack is very happy to be back at The Center Playhouse, his home away from home where he previously appeared in shows such as Catch Me If You Can, Visiting Mr. Green, and Arsenic And Old Lace. He is thrilled to be working with such a talented cast, and thanks the director Michael Tota for this opportunity. He has previously appeared in many local area productions such as; Leader Of The Pack, Phantom The Musical, Fiddler On The Roof, Sisters Rosensweig, Annie, It’s A Wonderful Life (Claarence), On Borrowed Time, Death Of A Salesman, and as Abe in Beau Jest.
RACHEL RYAN (DIANA)
Rachel is excited to return to the Center Players stage after taking on the role of Brigida in last fall’s drama Italian Funerals and Other Festive Occasions. Since then she has appeared as M’Lynn in the Cherry Blossom Players’ production of Steel Magnolias and competed in the Asbury Park Monologues where she won for Best Dramatic Monologue. Let’s just say, it’s been a dramatic year and she is excited for a little comedy! When not on stage, Rachel teaches sixth grade Language Arts and enjoys being a mom to her seven year old daughter Abigail. It is a privilege to share the stage with so many talented actors and has been an extra special treat to act alongside her former student and close friend, Lea. She would like to thank the CP board and LMAT production team for all their hard work behind the scenes, especially Michael for casting her and giving her a hard time…uh…challenging her along the way. 😉 Finally, Rachel would like to give a huge thank you to her support system for making it possible for her to take part in this production and for cheering her on. Always.
EILEEN ANGLIN (JULIA)
This is Eileen’s first live performance after a 36 years hiatus from the stage. Eileen trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. While she was away from the stage, she has worked as a professional voice actor in video games, commercials and animation. Eileen is also an environmental activist. Her outreach work in this area lead her to a be a guest of NASA in 2016. Originally from Point Pleasant, she now lives in Barnegat, enjoying the seashore with her husband and four cats. Eileen is very grateful to her husband Brett, director Michael Tota, the entire crew of Center Players and her fellow actors for their talent, generosity and support.
MICHAEL TOTA (DIRECTOR)
Last seen as Dad in “Italian Funerals and Other Festive Occasions. Michael has worn many hats over the past few years at Center Players. Aside from serving on the Artistic Board, He directed their production of Lovers and Other Strangers. Other roles include: Ben in Center Players production of The Sunshine Boys , Leo in Chapter Two, Humphrey Bogart in Play it Again Sam, Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace. Milt in Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Teach in American Buffalo, Fox in Speed the Plow. Over the years he has played: Mortimer in Arsenic and Old Lace, Renfield in Dracula and Father Mark in the Regional tour of Tony and Tina’s Wedding at Buona Sera in Red Bank, He has a supporting role in the film Who’s Jenna? Available on Amazon, Hulu, Fandango and ITunes.
ROBERTA FALLON (PRODUCER)
Roberta is very pleased to be Producing her 12th show here at Center Players. She enjoys working as producer, as it allows her the opportunity to work with many different directors, and to take part in the development of a show from first audition to opening night. She has also appeared on Center Playhouse stage as Helen the Maid in A Doll’s House, Mrs. Rodgers in And Then There Were None, and Irma Kronkite in Picnic. Roberta serves on the Business Board of the theater as secretary. In addition, at most performances, she can be found serving up desserts at intermission, mingling with our patrons and listening to their comments about the shows, as well as telling them about all the wonderful events which are always going on at our theater. She is extremely pleased to be working with such a talented director and cast to bring this funny show to life. She thanks her husband Sheldon for encouraging her to join him here at Center Players, and looks forward to continuing to bring award winning theater to the community.
BETH JACOBS (STAGE MANAGER)
Beth is happy to be back here at Center Players having previously worked as Stage Manager for the production of Lovers and Other Strangers last year. She loves being able to see a show come together, and thanks Michael for giving her the opportunity to work with him and this amazing team of actors and crew. In her spare time she loves to do volunteer work and to explore new things. She hopes to continue to work with Center Players on upcoming performances in the future. To the entire cast she sends best wishes and “break legs”.