Musical Theater

Back to Syracuse. Musicals Tonight! present Rogers & Hart’s The Boys from Syracuse

A Scene from The Boys from Syracuse from Musicals Tonight!

The Boys from Syracuse originally opened in 1938 and has since been revived numerous times. This version resets the musical, which has one of the best scores ever with gems including Falling in Love with Love, Sing for Your Supper and This Can’t Be Love, in a gay, campy world with an almost all-male cast plus one, lone woman.

Two’s Company: Broadway’s Greatest Duets, November 16, 2017, at Merkin

Sally Wilfert, Lora Lee Gayer, Georgia Stitt (piano), John Herrera, Gabrielle Stravelli. Photo David Andrako.

The program, presented in association with One Day University®, didn’t exactly live up to the  “great” part of its name as host, Sean Hilton, made clear in his introduction  explaining the focus was on  “underrated duets.” Exactly right and very interesting—and often fun—to hear music that the enthusiastic audience wasn’t fully familiar with.

The Best Show in Town! Spoon River, from Soulpepper of Toronto

Brendan Wall, Mike Ross, Daniel Williston, Oliver Dennis, Jackie Richardson and Raquel Duffy. Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann.

At some point, as I savored my memories of Soulpepper’s musical, Spoon River, I succumbed to the temptation to give this review the title you see above. As I began to put words together on my screen, I thought with regret of TFANA’s close-to-perfect Measure for Measure over in Brooklyn. But somehow this banal phrase, which does Soulpepper’s brilliant creation sincere but unworthy honor, jumped out of its hole, and I can’t chase it away. I hope I can do Soulpepper true justice below.

Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at Glimmerglass

Greer Grimsley in the title of The Glimmerglass Festival production of Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd." Photo Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival.

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is dark, dark musical theatre. A vengeful barber returns to Victorian London, slits the throats of those who have wronged him and with his accomplice turns their bodies into the stuffing of meat pies. Todd’s London is as menacing as he is …

“There’s a hole in the world
Like a great black pit
And it’s filled with people
Who are filled with shit
And the vermin of the world inhabit it …”

So You’re About To See Hamilton …

Christopher Jackson as George Washington in "Hamilton". Photo Joan Marcus.

In the five seconds it takes Baby June to sing out Gypsy’s

“Let me entertain you. Let me make you smile,”

Lafayette in Hamilton’s “Guns and Ships” will have sung “I’m takin’ this horse by the reins makin’ redcoats redder with bloodstains. Lafayette. And I’m never gonna stop until I make ‘em drip, burn ‘em up and scatter their remains, I’m Lafayette”

That’s 9 words for Gypsy versus 32 words for Hamilton, nearly four times as many. Granted, “Guns and Ships” is one of the faster songs, but know this: there are about 24,000 words in Hamilton according to the book,  Hamilton The Revolution. That’s more than The Merchant of Venice! So if you think you’re going catch all the words when you see the show without a bit of study, think again. Even with headphones or sitting right under a speaker (where I sat), you will miss a lot. With Hamilton, you won’t want to miss a thing.

“She Loves Me” at Roundabout’s Studio 54, until June 12

Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti in She Loves Me. Photo Joan Marcus.

The great challenge of any musical revival is ourselves—specifically, our memories of the cast we first saw, the scenery and costumes. It’s even worse if we have a cast album and know by heart not only the words and music, but also the musical dynamics, phrasing and inflections. This is the challenge I faced attending the final preview the current Roundabout revival of She Loves Me. Will it be as good as I remember?

Fiddler on the Roof: In Revival—Again!—at the Broadway Theatre

Why would anyone want to attend yet another revival of Fiddler on the Roof? Since its premiere in 1964 it has had five major Broadway revivals and who knows how many regional theatre, school and amateur productions. Millions of us have seen this show or its film version at least once.

So—you want to know why go again? I’ll tell you why.

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