Sunday, August 7, 2011


In 1938 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart adapted Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” into one of their best musicals – THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE. In 1981, Michael Valenti and Donald Driver took the same Shakespeare play, placed the story in the Middle East and the result was OH, BROTHER! Unfortunately, this new show didn’t do well on Broadway (it closed after three performances), but even so it got a cast recording.

When, and if, you play this CD don’t expect to discover a forgotten gem. It isn’t. What you got here is a very entertaining score, best described in the title of one of its songs – “A Loud & Funny Song”, that by the way it’s my favorite on the whole album. Yes, this is kind of loud, but it’s also very funny.

The idea of taking the action to the Middle East works perfectly in numbers like “We Love an Old Story” and “Opec Maiden”. I guess it didn’t work on stage, but I believe that, besides the titles already mentioned, songs like “How Do You Want Me?” and “Everybody’s Calls Me By My Name” should get a life. There’s also a jazzy “My World’s Comin’ Unwrapped”, sung with style by Joe Morton and a very seventies “It’s a Man World” sung by the ladies and the company.

Let me get your attention by telling you who the ladies are - Judy Kaye, Alyson Reed and Mary Mastrantonio (before being known as Mary Elisabeth Mastrantonio). Alone they sound great, but together they had a wonderful time with the winning “A Loud & Funny Song”. As for the boys, besides Joe Morton, there’s Harry Groener, David-James Carroll, Alan Weeks and Richard B. Shull.

If you love musical comedy, I’m sure you can have a good time with this cast recording and some of the songs are really catchy.


  1. Great post/blog. Are you on tumblr? If not, you should consider it. There's definitely a goup out there that would be very responsive to this type of posting, wiht added bonus that tumblr has MANY ways to share elegantly share media (you can upload mp3s, share songs from spotify, etc).

  2. I couldn't agree more. This is a very funny, tuneful and entertaining show. I'm so glad that it was recorded, in spite of its commercial failure. In addition to the songs that you mention, I adore "I To The World". It is a gloriously beautiful number and very true to the spirit of Shakespeare's original play.

  3. This is the kind of show I think City Center Encores should do.