The Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart-George Abbott musical, The Boys from Syracuse, with direction by Scott Ellis, choreography by Rob Ashford and a new book by playwright Nicky Silver will officially open at the American Airlines Theatre Aug. 18, after previews from July 25.
In this musical adaptation of the Bard's knockabout comedy of mistaken identity, The Comedy of Errors, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse are Jonathan Dokuchitz and Lee Wilkof, respectively, while Tom Hewitt and Chip Zien are Dokuchitz and Wilkof's identical twins, Antipholus and Dromio from Ephesus.
Renewed interest in the 1938 musical arguably began in 1997 when City Center Encores! produced a praised concert version of the show starring Malcolm Gets, Michael McGrath, Mario Cantone, Davis Gaines and Rebecca Luker. Two years later, Scott Ellis directed a workshop of the show, reworked by new book writer Nicky Silver, for the Roundabout. Another workshop was staged in 2000. The Roundabout finally announced the musical for spring 2002, later pushing it back to the summer.
Silver told Playbill On-Line that the Roundabout decided to do the show early on, but "they only do one musical a year, so we just got in line." Silver, who was invited by the Roundabout and Ellis to refashion the book, said he followed the basic storyline provided by George Abbott, but retained only four of Abbott's actual lines. The text, now clearly stamped with Silver's trademark acerbic wit, now boasts saucy references to musical revivals, various phobias, Latin teachers who "interfere" with their students and wordplay with ancient names (one of the concubines is called Chlamydia).
Representatives of the Rodgers and Hart estate and Abbott estate have been by several times during previews and voiced their approval, according to Silver. Don Sebesky orchestrates such classic tunes as "Falling in Love with Love," "This Can't Be Love" and "Sing for Your Supper." Also in the score are "I Had Twins," "Dear Old Syracuse," "What Can You Do With a Man," "A Lady Must Live" (added for this staging), "The Shortest Day of the Year," "You Took Advantage of Me" (added for this production, and sung by a chorus of courtesans in front of the curtain at the top of Act Two), "Everything I've Got Belongs to You" (added for this production), "You Have Cast Your Shadow on the Sea," "He and She," "Big Brother," "Come With Me" and "Oh, Diogenes."
Completing the cast are Jeffrey Broadhurst (as Angelo), The Immigrant's Walter Charles (Aegean), the national touring South Pacific's Erin Dilly (Luciana), Toni DiBuono (Luce), Tom Galantich (Merchant, Aegean), Sara Gettlefinger (Courtesan, Ensemble), Deidre Goodwin (Courtesan, Ensemble), Milena Govich (Courtesan, Ensemble), George Hall (Sorcerer), Teri Hanson (Courtesan, Ensemble), Tripp Hanson (Ensemble), television comedienne Jackee Harry (as the courtesans' Madam), Fred Inkley (Sergeant), Mark Lotito (Tailor, Ensemble), Kirk McDonald (Ensemble), Elizabeth Mills (Courtesan, Ensemble), Lauren Mitchell (Adriana), J.C. Montgomery (Duke, Ensemble), Scott Robertson (Merchant, Ensemble) and Allyson Turner (Ensemble).
The original production of Boys began on Nov. 23, 1938, at the Alvin Theatre. It ran for 235 performances. A 1963 Off-Broadway production starring Stuart Damon and Karen Morrow ran 503 performances. This is the first Broadway revival.
Hewitt won a Tony nomination for playing Frank N Furter in the recent Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show. Zien created roles in the original Broadway productions Into the Woods and Falsettos. His most recent New York stage credit was William Finn's A New Brain. Dokuchitz, the least known of the four, was also in the original Into the Woods, as well as Broadway's Dream and Tommy. Wilkof most recent Broadway musical was Kiss Me, Kate, in which he played one of the theatre obsessed gangsters. He created the role of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.
Tickets are now on sale. Call (212) 719-1300 or visit the box office at the American Airlines Theatre at 227 West 42nd Street.