I have been listening to Boys from Syracuse non-stop since Friday because I love it SO MUCH. I know Rodgers and Hart are seriously famous, but they should be MORE famous, because I love them together. DARE I SAY I may even love them as much as Rodgers and Hammerstein (but in a very different way).
This show is SO good and SO funny and I don't understand why it isn't running all the time.
Well, maybe because, as it's based on Shakespeare, there's a lot of risqué plot developments.
Also, let me just say, I HATE Comedy of Errors. I know it's Shakespeare, and therefore better than MOST plays, but god, it's just so dumb. So for me to LOVE this musical is some kind of theatrical miracle.
So, something I also really thought about while listening to this musical, is Rodgers' use of the introductory verse before the refrain (the refrain being where we're getting the recognizable chorus, verses, tags, bridges, etc). It is something he does ALL the time, and it seems to harken back to the days of opera, with the resistive. This intro-verse sounds nothing like the rest of the song, and is usually even cut from the sheet music. (For examples, please see: "Many a New Day", "My Funny Valentine", "Something Wonderful", "If I Loved You", "Sing for Your Supper"... or almost any other Rodgers song). It's almost like a WHY moment -- as if the character had emotionally gotten to a point where they can no longer speak and must sing (the reason for ALL songs in musical theatre), but feels the need to explain themselves first. Or stall. Or lie. It's really interesting, and I don't see it in many songs after his era. If you're comparing Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers, this is going to be my main talking point -- Porter is using the same melody and repeating details or jokes in different verses ad nauseam, while Rodgers uses this to add information.
Also, god, Boys from Syracuse has some beautiful and unusual and interesting chord progressions in the songs. Rodgers was so, so good. The lyrics are slick and smart. It is better than it's original source material. There, I said it. Sorry, Will.
Boys from Syracuse
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Book by George Abbott (who, and this NEEDS to be noted, lived to be 107 years old and even worked on the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees. The man was born in 1887 and his first show as an actor was in 1915!!!!)