char5In 2000, Peter Sham (bookwriter/lyricist) met Ken Ludwig for the first time when he invited him to a production of Ludwig’s play, Lend Me A Tenor at the Eichelberger Performing Arts Center in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where, at the time, Sham was serving as artistic director. They became friends and began to share an ongoing correspondence.

In 2004, Sham and Brad Carroll (composer), who’d worked together on several shows as actor/director, became writing collaborators for the first time when they conceived the idea of A CHRISTMAS CAROL: ON THE AIR, an inventive retelling of the Dickens classic. It would run as Utah Shakespearean Festival’s annual holiday event for the next four years. The success of A CHRISTMAS CAROL: ON THE AIR prompted USF executives to ask the team to write a new musical for the Festival’s 2007 summer season. While contemplating several musical ideas, Sham called his acquaintance, Ken Ludwig, and asked if they could revamp his famous Lend Me A Tenor into a musical. The next day Ludwig e-mailed him back with the unexpected answer, “Hmm! Never thought about it.” Ludwig e-mailed again after several days and said ” Let’s do it.” And on October 24, 2004 the project was born.

Lend Me A Tenor has been Ludwig’s greatest success, and he told Sham & Carroll they could do whatever they wanted to the play as they adapted it into a new musical. “When someone gives you that luxury, you honor the work even more,” said Sham.

In 2005, having secured option to adapt the play, Sham & Carroll began working on Lend Me A Tenor The Musical, which they presented as a staged reading at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, in May 2006 and celebrated its American premiere with the same company in the summer of 2007. The production received rave reviews including support from Ludwig, who says, “The music is terrific. The lyrics are fabulous. [Peter and Brad] have done a most incredible job. This is first rate — a home run!”

Lend Me A Tenor The Musical was originally produced by the Utah Shakespearean Festival; Fred C. Adams, Founder; R. Scott Phillips, Festival Director. With its first UK production in September 2010 at The Theatre Royal Plymouth Lend Me A Tenor The Musical is delighted to be at The Gielgud Theatre.

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