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Music by Richard Rodgers

Lyrics by Lorenz Hart

Book by George Abbott

Directed by Brent Wagner

Musical Direction by Cynthia Kortman Westphal

Graphic Design by CAP Designs

Image by Al Hirschfeld, courtesy Margo Feiden Galleries, Inc.

October 13- 16, 2005

Mendelssohn Theatre

UM School of Music

Musical Theatre Department


Overview     Press Release     Program     Photos


Confusion reigns as two sets of identical twins separated at birth end up years later in the town of Ephesus. In a tangled web of preposterous coincidences, wives mistake husbands, servants mistake masters, and townspeople mistake everything in a single hilarious day. Full of physical comedy and farcical mischief, The Boys from Syracuse is a delightful evening of misunderstandings and pandemonium that end in the magical reconciliation of family and true love.

Long before West Side Story and Kiss Me, Kate, The Boys from Syracuse was the first musical to be adapted from the works of Shakespeare when it opened in 1938. This runaway Broadway hit combines the madcap antics of vaudeville with Rodgers’ rich melodies and Hart’s witty lyrics. Featuring an impressive number of songs that are considered standards today, including “Falling in Love with Love,” “Sing for Your Supper,” and “This Can’t be Love,” The Boys from Syracuse is as entertaining, vibrant, and riotous as when it first took Broadway by storm.


Press Release


ANN ARBOR — The U-M School of Music Musical Theatre Department presents the musical comedy The Boys from Syracuse by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors in a brilliant musical setting, The Boys from Syracuse plays Oct. 13 at 7:30 PM, Oct. 14 & 15 at 8 PM, and Oct. 16 at 2 PM at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. Directed by Brent Wagner, Associate Professor & Chair of the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Department, the department’s version of The Boys from Syracuse is a whirlwind of farce, comedy, and song. “Mistaken identity is one of the oldest forms of comedy,” Wagner said. “And George Abbott (he wrote the show’s book) was known for his fast-paced comedy style. And this is no exception.”

Considered one of Rodgers and Hart’s best musical efforts it’s the songs, according to Wagner, that have given The Boys from Syracuse its distinction. “The score adds a depth to the show that standard comedy doesn’t have,” He said. “The songs bring a sense of humanity and romance on top of the farce.” Written in the Golden Age of song writing, The Boys from Syracuse features classic songs like, "Falling in Love With Love," "The Shortest Day of the Year," and "You Have Cast Your Shadow on the Sea." Premiering in 1938 and based on Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, The Boys From Syracuse was the first musical written based on a Shakespeare play.

“I knew Larry (Lorenz Hart) would like the idea immediately,” Rodgers wrote in the New York Herald in 1963. “Anything that was novel or offbeat was always sure to interest him. So early in 1938, when I suggested that we consider adapting a Shakespearean play into a musical, his eyes quickly lit up and I could almost see sparks coming out of his head.” Rodgers added that since this had never been done before they had unlimited possibilities for selecting a story. But for personal reasons The Comedy of Errors rose to the top of their list. “Larry had a younger brother named Teddy Hart, who was a very clever comedian. But the man he was always being mistaken for was another gifted comic, Jimmy Savo,” Rodgers wrote. “What about using The Comedy of Errors?’ Larry said, excitedly rubbing his hands together as he always did when a good idea hit him. ‘Teddy and Jimmy Savo would be natural for the twin Dromios.’” Ironically, both Teddy Hart and Jimmy Savo were cast in the original Broadway production. “I knew nepotism should be frowned on,” Rodgers added, “but I also knew this was an inspired idea.”

After brief runs at the Schubert Theatres in New Haven and Boston, The Boys from Syracuse opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on Nov. 23, 1938. “I believe it will be regarded as the greatest musical comedy of its time...set to the most captivating, thrilling, humorous music and lyrics in the long and honorable history of Messrs. Rodgers and Hart, and it has a modern and swift moving book,” read the review in the New York Telegram after it opened. The Boys from Syracuse ran on Broadway for nearly 11 months (235 performances) before closing on Oct. 6, 1939. The Boys from Syracuse has returned to New York twice since—in 1963 Off Broadway at Theatre Four it ran for over 500 performances, and again to Broadway in 2002 at the American Airlines Theater.

Joining Wagner on the artistic team are Sharon Halley (Choreographer) Guest Artist in Residence; Jessica Hahn (Costume Designer) Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Theatre & Drama; Cynthia Kortman Westphal (Music Director) Assistant Professor, Musical Theatre; Mark Gordon (Sound Designer) is a professional sound engineer and a staff member in University Productions; Arthur Ridley (Scenic Designer) Lecturer, Dept. of Theatre and Drama and a staff member in University Productions; Andrew Fritsch (Lighting Designer) is a senior design and production student in the Dept. of Theatre and Drama.



Click here to view The Boys from Syracuse program.




Michael mahoney

Michael Mahoney
andrew arrington
Alex michaels, ted ely and andrew arrington
Andrew Arrington
Alex Michaels, Ted Ely and Andrew Arrington
alex michaels
felipe gonzalez
Alex Michaels
Felipe Gonzalez
patrice seibel
patrice seibel and felipe gonzalez
Patrice Seibel
Patrice Seibel and Felipe Gonzalez
jen sese
Jen Sese
ted ely
ted ely and alex michaels
Ted Ely
Ted Ely and Alex Michaels
alex micahels and jen sese
patrice seibel and ted ely
Alex Michaels and Jen Sese
Patrice Seibel and Ted Ely
The Boys from Syracuse
Brian mazzarferri
Amos Wolff
Brian Mazzaferri
Alex Michaels and emily bottorff
emily bottorff
Alex Michaels and Emily Bottorff
Emily Bottoroff
felipe gonzalez and brian mazzaferri
brian mazzaferri and anne horak
Felipe Gonzalez and Brian Mazzaferri
Brian Mazzaferri and Anne Horak
felipe gonzalez and ted ely
jen sese, patrice seibel and emily bottorff
Felipe Gonzalez and Ted Ely

Jen Sese, Patrice Seibel and Emily Bottorff

anne horak, alex michaels and ted ely
anne horak
Anne Horak, Alex Michaels and Ted Ely
Anne Horak
Ryan Foy
Ryan Foy
Greg Pearl and Amos Wolff


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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower