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.
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.
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.
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 …”
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.
Music and lyrics by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake Original book by F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles Book by George C. Wolfe Musical Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations by Daryl Waters Scenic Design by Santo Loquato Costume Design by Ann Roth…
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?
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.