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Lend Me A New Yorker

1 November 2004

Lend Me A New Yorker

New York is a long way from Dunedin but this hasn’t stopped American actor Gene Alexander from making the most of his leading role in the New Zealand premiere of the hit comedy “Lend Me A Tenor.”

The comedy runs for a limited pre-Christmas season from 12 November – 4 December 2004 at Otago and Southland’s professional theatre company, the Fortune Theatre.

Gene Alexander plays “lively, gluttonous and bizarre” Italian tenor Tito Merelli whose gala appearance at an Ohio production of Verdi’s Otello goes off the rails when he (apparently) drops dead at his hotel.

Mr Alexander is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the oldest acting school in America, and he has appeared in independent films, regional theatres and off Broadway productions in his home country.

He says that he has found Dunedin is a stress free environment while living and studying here in the last year.

“It’s amazing to work in such a relaxed and creative theatre environment. It has been very refreshing.”

“Lend Me A Tenor” features Dunedin actors Patrick Davies, Caroline Claver, Sara Georgie Johnston, Ralph Johnson, Greg MacLeod, Jodie Hyland, and from Auckland Debbie Newby.

The production sees the return of one of the original founders and artistic directors of the Fortune Theatre, Murray Hutchinson, as director.

His career has spanned theatre, television and teaching at the Australian Film and Television School and Unitec (Auckland) since he last worked at the Fortune Theatre in 1979.

“I was so thrilled I was asked back – I have great affection for the Fortune Theatre and the same original spirit still exists in the theatre today.”

Mr Hutchinson says the cast and crew have spent much of the rehearsal time laughing at what he says is a “genuinely hilarious” play.

“Lend Me A Tenor” is a risque backstage farce from the pen of award winning playwright Ken Ludwig and a fitting finale to the Fortune Theatre’s 30th anniversary celebrations of 2004.

This is an ideal play to celebrate the end of year with your office or organization.

Tickets are available now for Fortune Theatre’s Taylor McLachlan Limited Season of “Lend Me A Tenor” by ringing the Fortune Theatre Box Office on 03 477 8323 or by visiting


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