Lend Me a Tenor

The most howlingly funny and ingeniously staged laugh machine to hit the Great White Way in years, Ken Ludwig’s 1989 comedy is pure, near-perfect farce—all missed connections, mistaken identities, girls hiding in closets and an enraged impresario (the divine Tony Shalhoub) throttling his deceased tenor. Stanley Tucci makes a slam-bang Broadway directing debut, with brio and an actor’s instinct for timing. He has, moreover, inspired a cast of comic equals (even in the smaller roles) to harmonize the insanity, land the gags and top each other for the daffy monomania that is the sine qua non of farce.—David Cote