PLYMOUTH—The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University will present “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart) March 5–8 in Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts.
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” is a bawdy, sassy romp in ancient Rome, packaged in a traditional love story. The musical was inspired by the farces of the Roman playwright Plautus, and is infused with fun, vaudevillian sketches. It is recommended for mature audiences.
The scene for “Forum” is a Roman street with three adjacent houses: the brothel of Lycus, the house of Senex and the house of Erronius. The musical tells the tale of Pseudolus, a scheming slave of the house of Senex, who is desperate to obtain his freedom. Pseudolus devises a deal with his master, Hero, in which he will become a free man if he can win the heart of the virgin beauty, Philia, for his master. Of course, it cannot be that easy—everything that can go wrong does, and hilarity ensues.
“Forum” gives student actors and staff an opportunity to look at a different style of theatre from what they most often experience. Created during the Golden Age of Broadway, “Forum” is a big-scale production with orchestra and lots of brass, and a non-contemporary sound. Director Fran Page ’05 says that at Plymouth State, while the musical will stay true to the original lines and songs, it will take on some new twists. For example, Marcus Lycus, a “procurer and seller of female flesh,” is portrayed as a gay man.
Page says, “Our production looks closely at the style of physical humor and schtick that is embedded into the piece. I like to say that audience members should come prepared to laugh and enjoy themselves thoroughly. We have more schtick than you can shake a stick at!”
Page, a teaching lecturer at Plymouth State University, holds a B.A. from Plymouth State and an M.F.A. from Goddard College. He has many years of experience in bringing traditional and socially charged theatrical works to audiences.
The production staff includes faculty and staff members Lisa Travis, choreographer; Emily Jaworski, music director; Matt Kizer, lighting designer and Danee Grillo, costumer.
Marjorie Salvatore, a senior theatre arts major from New London, is the set designer. Zach Glennon, a junior theatre arts major from Meredith, is stage manager; and Leo Curran, a junior theatre arts major from Braintree, Mass. is assistant stage manager.
The cast includes Sam St. Jean, a junior theatre arts major from Goffstown, as Pseudolus; Hayden Stearns, a senior theatre arts major from Windham, Conn. as Senex; Olivia Opal, a senior theatre arts major from Hampden, Mass. as Domina; Nick Kalantzakos, a junior theatre arts major from Andover, Mass. as Hero; and Adam Beauparlant, a sophomore theatre arts major from Merrimack, as Hysterium; also Matt Bouvier, a senior theatre arts major from Hudson, Mass. as Erronius; Jakob Stone, a junior theatre arts major from Harrisville as Miles Gloriosus; Roland DuBois, a sophomore theatre arts major from Gilford as Marcus Lycus and Chelsea Merritt, a senior interdisciplinary studies major from Plainfield, Conn. as Philia; along with a number of courtesans, house boys and Proteans.
Page says, “This musical is guaranteed to exorcise your winter doldrums and put a buoyant spring in your step. Featuring Broadway standards such as ‘Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,’ ‘Comedy Tonight’ and ‘I’m Calm,’ ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ will have you laughing from its high-energy start through to its gloriously happy ending.”
Performances are March 5–6 at 8 p.m. and March 7 and 8 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $21 for adults and $18 for seniors and youth at the Silver Center Box Office, 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Ticket are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.
Information about the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is online at Plymouth.edu/department/mtd.
General information about events at PSU is online at This Week@ PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.