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Noon Edition

Rodgers and Hart: Boys From Syracuse: “Oh, Diogenes”

The songwriting partnership of Rodgers and Hart was in top form in 1938, when "The Boys from Syracuse" had its Broadway premiere. The musical blended risqué wit with a skewering of Greek antiquity, anticipating Stephen Sondheim's later "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Also, well before "West Side Story," Rodgers and Hart were adopting Shakespeare for the Broadway stage. "The Boys from Syracuse" reworks Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors. In the songs we just heard, some jaded Courtesans share their rather cynical philosophy about surviving in a world of men. This attitude makes the evocation of Diogenes, appropriate, as this Greek philosopher founded the school of philosophical cynicism. Diogenes was known to wander the streets in broad daylight with a lantern, announcing sarcastically that he was "looking for an honest man."

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