Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

The Boys from Syracuse
42nd Street Moon
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's recent reviews of Beach Blanket Babylon and Colossal, Patrick's reviews of 4000 Miles and The How and the Why, and Eddie's review of Second Time Around: A Duet for Cello and Storyteller

Lucas Coleman and David Naughton
Photo by David Allen
42nd Street Moon Company continues its 23rd season with a wonderful musical from those masters Rodgers and Hart, The Boys from Syracuse. My father and mother took me to New York from Dayton, Ohio, when I was 13 to see this fabulous musical. We saw a young Eddie Albert as Antipholus of Syracuse and the wonderful comedian Jimmy Savo as Dromio of Syracuse at the Alvin Theatre in 1938. This shaped my love of musical theatre and it continues to this day. In 1967 I saw a revival of the musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane with a British cast.

The melodic score has charismatic, exhilarating, entertaining music and lyrics. The show in my estimation has one of the great scores of the 1930s, with the memorables song "Falling in Love with Love", "This Can't Be Love and "Sing for Your Supper," among others.

The tale concerns twin brothers and their twin slaves. One brother and one slave were parted from the other brother and his slave as babies. One brother becomes the ruler of Ephesus and conquers Syracuse; he doesn't know he was born there. The other comes to Ephesus in search of his father. Neither twin knows the other exists and so the mix-up of identities makes for plenty of laughs. The show opens with this zinger: "If it was good enough for Shakespeare, it's good enough for you."

With this production, Greg MacKellan directs his last show for 42nd Street Moon, and he has assembled a fine cast of singer/actors to present this entertaining musical, including twins from New York playing the servant Dromios. Paul and Robbie Rescigno play the roles like old-time burlesque comedians and they are sidesplitting in their frolics. David Naughton plays Antipholus of Ephesus while Lucas Coleman takes on the role of Antipholus of Syracuse. Both have fine stage presence in their ancient Greek costumes by Stephen Smith. They have fine vocal chops singing such wonderful songs as "Dear Old Syracuse," "The Shortest Day of the Year," and "This Can't Be Love." Elise Youssef is top notch as Luciana and she has thematic resonance in her singing of "This Can't be Love." Heather Orth as Luce is terrific singing "What Can You Do with a Man?" and "He and She."

Michael Rhone as the police Sergeant beautifully sings "Come with Me" while Nikita Burshteyn and Stephen Vaught as merchants and David Naughton rock in the chorus. Kyle Stoner charmingly hams it up as the Tailor while Dyan McBride gives an appealing performance as the Courtesan. The rest of this very large cast give pitch perfect performances. One of the highlights in the second act is the harmonic, energizing performance of Abby Haug, Elise Youssef, and Heather Orth on "Sing for Your Supper." The rest of the large cast consisting of Ashley Garlick, Erin Yvette and Dianne Fraser are excellent in various roles.

Choreography by Jane Zaban is energy driven, especially the "Come with Me" number. Costumes by Stephen Smith feature togas in various colors. Dave Dobrusky gives great back up on the piano. Set design by Leanna Keyes and Danny Maher are a series of flats showing Greek columns. Greg MacKellan's direction is a sharp and a fitting tribute to his work on a series of musicals during the past 23 years.

The Boys from Syracuse runs through April 17th, 2016, at The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco. Tickets can be obtain by calling 415-255-8207 or on line at Coming up next will be the last production season 23 which will be Frank Loesser The Most Happy Fella opening on April 27 and running through May 15.

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