MacKintosh Backs Revival

Cameron Mackintosh has put his philanthropist hat on again to defray part of the cost for a summer London revival of the Rodgers & Hart show “The Boys From Syracuse.”

For the New Shakespeare Co. production, opening July 24 at the Open Air Theater in Regent’s Park, the megamusical producer is picking up the tab for a seven-piece band and the licensed music. A more substantial Mackintosh benefaction, announced last year, will pay for a series of classic Broadway musicals by the Royal National Theater.

“The Boys From Syracuse,” with book and staging by George Abbott based on Shakespeare’s “The Comedy Of Errors,” was a 235-performance Broadway hit of 1938-39 whose score contained such standards as “This Can’t Be Love,” “Sing For Your Supper” and “Falling In Love.” It was the first Broadway tuner derived from a work by the Bard of Avon.

The show was filmed in 1940 with Martha Raye and Allan Jones. A short-lived London edition was mounted in 1962 at the Drury Lane, followed a year later by an Off Broadway revival that ran longer than the original production. The plot, with its confusions over two sets of identical twins, also served a 1981 Broadway flop called “Oh, Brother.”

The upcoming London revival will be staged by actress-director Judi Dench, and marks her first assignment on a musical.

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