The caustically funny Off-Broadway playwright Nicky Silver has adapted the Rodgers and Hart musical comedy, The Boys From Syracuse, for a LORT experimental reading June 1-12, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company.
Artistic director Todd Haimes is said to be warm for the 1938 romp, based on Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, which sports such classic songs as "Falling in Love With Love," "Sing For Your Supper" and "This Can't Be Love."
The reading cast of 20, directed by Scott Ellis and musical-directed by David Loud, includes Howard McGillin (Antipholus of Syracuse), Craig Bierko (Antipholus of Ephesus), Ruthie Henshall (Adriana), Becky Ann Baker (Luce), Katie Finneran (Luciana), Chip Zien (Dromio of Syracuse), Stephen DeRosa (Dromio of Ephesus), Jerry Lanning (Ageon, father to the Antipholi), Linda Hart (Madam), Dori Brenner (Seeress), Brooks Ashmanskas (Tailor), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Apprentice) and William Duell (Sorcerer).
Private readings are expected June 11-12, to see how the material plays.
The musical originally ran 235 performances on Broadway in a production written and directed by George Abbott and choreographed by George Balanchine. A 1963 Off-Broadway production at Theatre Four lasted 502 performances and starred Stuart Damon, Cathryn Damon and Ellen Hanley. The New York City musicals-in-concert series, Encores!, revived the show for a weekend in May 1997. The concert staging starred Rebecca Luker, Malcolm Gets, Debbie Gravitte and Davis Gaines. It was critically embraced and subsequently recorded.
The score makes no attempt to be "classical," despite the Elizabethan and ancient source material (going all the way back to Plautus), and is ripe with Richard Rodgers' jazz and swing music and Lorenz Hart's urbane lyrics.
The Roundabout adapters are toying with interpolating a 1931 Rodgers and Hart tune, "A Lady Must Live," from America's Sweetheart.