Theater Emory Opens Season with Rodgers & Hart's Musical Comedy "The Boys from Syracuse"

Theater Emory's 'As You Like It"

September 12, 2016

In 1938, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart premiered a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” the first American musical comedy based on a Shakespeare play. This raucous farce, Rodgers and Hart’s “The Boys from Syracuse,” kicks of Theater Emory’s season-long celebration of the Bard September 22 – October 2 in the Theater Lab of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

Written during a time of great unease fueled by ethnic intolerance, “The Boys from Syracuse” celebrates the vibrant diversity of cultural centers such as the ancient city of Ephesus, Shakespeare’s London, and 1930s New York City. Much like its Shakespearean source material, Rodgers & Hart’s musical adaptation wrestles with questions of identity, separation, guilt, betrayal, and the power of love to conquer seemingly impossible odds.

“This is a play about love in a world gone mad,” explains director Donald McManus. “The stakes were high in 1938 and the authors seemed to believe that love, and its close cousin sex, were the only powers strong enough to save humanity.”

With music direction by alum Robby Glade (11C), set & props by Sara Culpepper, lights by Meredith Payne, and costumes by Rosalind Staib, Theater Emory’s production employs a burlesque spirit to spread a message of love and acceptance as the antidotes to troubling times.

“The philosophy here is simple,” says McManus. “Hate, intolerance, violence, murder and war are bad; while love, sex, and solidarity between brothers and sisters are good. Call me crazy, but I think they were on to something.”

Performances of Theater Emory’s “The Boys from Syracuse” are September 22-24, 28-30 and October 1 at 7:30 p.m. and September 25 and October 2 at 2 p.m. in the Theater Lab of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Full price tickets are $20, $16 for discount category members, and $6 for Emory students. Tickets are available online at, by phone (404.727.5050), or in person. For additional information on this production and Theater Emory’s celebration of Shakespeare, visit


Theater Emory
Theater Emory, the professional company in residence at Emory University, produces a wide range of drama, from classics to new works. Liberal arts undergraduates work with professional directors, actors, designers, playwrights, dramaturgs, choreographers, composers, music directors and stage managers.