- Don Pasquale: Rod Nelman
- Dr. Malatesta: Benjamin Spierman
- Ernesto: Kirk Dougherty
- Norina: Allison Pohl
- Notary: Robert Klein
- Supernumeraries: Lauren Kaspar, Linda Byrn
The young man Ernesto is in love with the lovely but penniless Norina and has refused to marry a “more suitable” woman chosen for him by his rich uncle Don Pasquale. The old man accordingly plans to wed and produce his own heirs, cutting Ernesto off from his inheritance. Pasquale’s physician, Dr. Malatesta, suggests his sister, Sofronia, a convent girl, as the bride, all the while scheming to dupe the old man into allowing Ernesto’s marriage to Norina. The Don happily accepts the proposal. Malatesta has Norina disguise herself as Sofronia and sign a fake marriage contract before a false notary. At this point Norina transforms from the shy convent girl into a complete shrew, turning Pasquale’s life upside down, hiring hordes of new servants and spending money left and right. She makes life so miserable for the old man that he is actually relieved when he discovers that he has been duped, and that he has not really married Norina. He repudiates his desire for marriage and consents to the union of his nephew with Norina.
Don Pasquale an elderly and wealthy bachelor has already arranged for Ernesto, his nephew, to be married to a wealthy spinster so he may produce an heir. Ernesto however is deeply in love with Norina, a young widow, and refuses to marry Don Pasquale’s choice. Offended, Don Pasquale plans to kick his nephew off the estate, disinherit him, and take a wife of his own. He asks Dr. Malatesta, the family physician, to aid him in his quest to find a bride.
Dr. Malatesta arrives and describes to Don Pasquale the most beautiful young maiden, with features like an angel. She was raised in a convent and is kind, gentle and meek. Don Pasquale is smitten by her very description and best of all Dr. Malatesta can make all the arrangements because, after all, it is his “sister”, Sofronia.
Upon hearing of Don Pasquale’s plans Ernesto is dumbfounded. When it finally sinks in, that his uncle will be getting married, he realizes that he will lose his entire inheritance and any hope of a future with Norina. Ernesto fall into despair, even Dr. Malatesta seems to be on Don Pasquale’s side. He knows he must leave Rome.
Meanwhile, Norina is on her terrace, enjoying a romance novel, when a farewell note from Ernesto arrives. Soon after, Dr. Malatesta enters and proceeds to share with her his elaborate plan to trick Don Pasquale. The ruse not only allows Ernesto and Norina to marry, but also to receive the blessing of Don Pasquale. The plan…Norina will pose as Sofronia, Dr. Malatesta’s sister in order to trick Don Pasquale. Not surprisingly, Norina is not pleased with his plan. Ernesto is not yet privy to the scheme.
Ernesto, in his quarters, is angry, bitter, and packing his things. Dr. Malatesta arrives with his “sister” Sofronia (Norina in disguise) to meet Don Pasquale. Her beauty, modesty and demeanor captivate Don Pasquale, and he wants to get married as soon as possible. Fortunately Malatesta has brought his own notary, Carlotto his cousin, to perform the ceremony and draw up the legal documents. Carlotto is not really a notary, nor is the wedding ceremony that transpires in any way legal. Just as the documents are ready to be signed Ernesto bursts in angrily, and sees Norina (Sofronia) with Pasquale. Before he can say anything or expose Norina, Malatesta pulls Ernesto aside to explain ruse and as difficult as it may be, that he should play along. Ernesto agrees and acts as a witness to the fake marriage. As soon as the marriage contract is signed, meek and mild Sofronia (Norina) does an about-face and becomes cold, arrogant, demanding. She refuses to embrace her new husband (Pasquale), demands more servants, carriages, gowns, and nights on the town, and announces that Ernesto will be her escort when she goes on evening strolls. Don Pasquale is aghast at the transformation of this formerly docile woman.
Exorbitant purchases and their bills start to pile up at Don Pasquale’s home, and any effort to assert himself is quickly thwarted by Sofronia/Norina. She insults him, belittles him and even slaps him if necessary. As she is leaving for the evening she ‘accidentally’ drops a note. Don Pasquale reads it only to find out that his new young wife Sofronia has a rendezvous that evening with none other than Ernesto. He is humiliated and angered. Don Pasquale plans with Dr. Malatesta to expose Sofronia for her unfaithfulness and ultimately get rid of this entire problem of having a wife. Malatesta says that it would only be possible for a divorce if he allowed Ernesto to marry Norina, and blesses them with an inheritance. Pasquale agrees to the terms and finds out who Sofronia really is. He gives the couple his blessing.
The moral of the story…Marriage is not for an old man.