To say Ken Ludwig's 1986 farce Lend Me a Tenor is enjoying something of a resurgence is to ignore its ongoing popularity. It's one of the most-produced contemporary farces, and its 2010 Broadway revival spawned a flurry of regional activity. Bud Martin, who directed Act II Playhouse's entry last season, found it so nice he decided to mount it twice, importing much of that cast for Delaware Theatre Company's current production.
And why not? Tony Braithwaite has proved his mettle on area stages as a farceur extraordinaire, with lightning timing and a performance style loose enough to allow for ad-libbing during inevitable bedding/running/door-slamming mishaps. Reprising his role as Henry Saunders, the Cleveland Opera's general manager, he's a maestro, directing the action through its mayhem: It's 1934, and the famed Italian tenor Tito Merelli (John Plumpis) overdoses on phenobarbitol after his wife Maria (Tracie Higgins) leaves him, and just before a performance of Verdi's Otello. Saunders must find a substitute fast, and his assistant Max (Jonathan Silver, an able, nimble match for Braithwaite), who also happens to be dating Saunders' daughter - after all, what's a farce without sexual misconduct? - is the unlikely man to masquerade as the murderous Moor.