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For the week of November 12 - 18, 2003

Arts and Entertainment

Community Players
to present ‘The Boys
From Syracuse’

Express Arts Editor

The Community School Players, led by Director Fritz Brun, will present a 1938 Broadway gem, "The Boys From Syracuse," Wednesday, Nov. 19, through Friday, Nov. 21. Curtain time at The Community School Theatre in Sun Valley is 7:30 p.m.

The tireless Dick Brown is music director and conductor, Pamela Doucette is in charge of set design, and Hilarie Neely and Michelle Minailo have choreographed the show.

The musical comedy, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart, is based on the Shakespeare classic "The Comedy of Errors," which in turn is based on two comedies by Roman playwright Plautus. It is the story of a family separated by a shipwreck. Unfortunately, one half ends up in Ephesus, the other in Syracuse—both of which are Greek city states that happen to be at political odds with one another.

Thrown into the mix is a case of mistaken identities. Two of the family members are twins, played by Kevin and Connor Wade. Their servants, played by Tyner Pesch and Ross Campbell, are twins as well. To further complicate matters, the twins become romantically involved with two women, played by Carina Covell and Scarlet Caldwell. The twins, for their part, share a cook, played by Teddy Minford. The complications of reuniting the family make for great comedy.

Also featured in the muscial are Brendan Nelson, Simone Weisz, Hunter Smith, Josiah Drewien, AJ Beesley, Rosie Lowe, Chris Nielson, Amy DiFrancesco, Rachael Becker, Chandler Ellis, Joan Baumgardner, Estelle Rudolph, Alice Bynum, Louisa Waycott, Sarah Adicoff, Erin La Bow, Lily Mott, Katie Peterson, Pepa Roth and Cristina Walsworth.

"The Boys From Syracuse" first opened on Broadway Nov. 23, 1938, and ran for 235 performances. It was later made into a movie, which fell far short of the critical acclaim the Broadway production received.

Later in his career, Rodgers teamed with Oscar Hammerstein to produce the now classic musicals "Oklahoma," "The King and I," "South Pacific" and "The Sound of Music." He did his early work with Lorenz Hart. Their work, influenced to an extent by the literary wit of the members of the Algonquin Round Table in New York, has a more urban flair to it than does the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

In an April 14, 1963, New York Herald Tribune interview Rodgers explained the genesis of the play:

"I knew Larry (Lorenz Hart, who wrote the lyrics) would like the idea immediately. 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. We promptly started tossing ideas back and forth about the possibilities of doing Shakespeare in song and dance. Since no one had ever done it before we had a pretty unlimited field to choose from.

"One play, however, intrigued us from the start. And for a very personal reason. Larry had a younger brother named Teddy Hart, who was a very clever comedian. He was short and dark and looked a lot like Larry. But the man he was always being mistaken for was another gifted comic, Jimmy Savo. ‘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.’ I knew nepotism should be frowned on, but I also knew this was an inspired idea. We went straight to work on the show that eventually became ‘The Boys From Syracuse.’"

Tickets for the Community School production are available at Chapter One in Ketchum, Read All About It in Hailey, or at the door. Prices are $16 for adults and $8 for students.



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