Clayton State University’s Music Drama Workshop is performing “The Boys from Syracuse” with performances in the University’s Spivey Hall on Friday, Apr. 11 and Saturday, Apr. 12, both at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.
According to Director Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller, coordinator of the Division of Music and director of Opera and Vocal Studies, it’s a big show, and the first Music Drama Workshop production with scenery and lighting design work by Assistant Professor of Theatre and Technical Director Adam Howarth.
“I think our audiences will really enjoy the zany look that reflects the funhouse-mirror craziness of this farce of multiple mistaken identities!” says Zeller, who also points out that many Clayton State faculty are working with or alongside the students.
In addition to Zeller and Howarth, that includes choreography by Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre and Dance Katie Kelly, and many other full-time and part-time Division of Music faculty in the orchestra pit. That’s to be expected. However, Zeller also adds that Dr. Joe Johnson, chair of the Clayton State Humanities Department, is a fine tenor, and will be making his Spivey Hall debut singing the opening number of the show, “I Had Twins!” In addition, Zeller himself will also sing a small role.
The cast “The Boys from Syracuse” will not only include Clayton State Music majors, but also students majoring in Theatre, Biology, and Management. “The Boys from Syracuse” is presented by the Clayton State Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Division of Music.
For those unfamiliar with “The Boys from Syracuse,” the Syracuse referenced in the title is the ancient Greek colony in what is present-day Sicily. However, Zeller points out that the action actually is set in Ephesus. According to Zeller, the work is based on Shakespeare’s farce “The Comedy of Errors” and concerns two sets of identical twins (two masters, two servants) from Syracuse who were separated in infancy. The plot involves what happens when the “boys from Syracuse” show up in Ephesus in search of their long-lost brothers.
“Complications ensue — lots of mistaken identities and madcap adventures,” says Zeller.
It’s also interesting to note that many of the tunes in the show will be recognizable to those patrons of a certain age. “Falling in Love with Love,” “This Can’t Be Love (Because I Feel So Well),” and “Shadow on the Sea” have become standards, part of the repertoire of every jazz and pop singer interested in the American Songbook of Tin Pan Alley. In addition, the show’s biggest hit, “Sing for Your Supper,” was a staple of the Andrews Sisters.