October 4, 2023

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum


This archived article was written by: Bethany M Peyton

It hasn’t taken long for the Utah State University Eastern Theatre Department to adjust from the cancellation of the performance of Secret Garden to the spring musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum slated for April 20-12 and 24-19.
USUE students can start looking forward to the historical performance of a Roman romance that features everything from a slave fighting for his freedom, to a forbidden love and to abduction by pirates.  
Inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus (251–183 BC), specifically Pseudolus, Miles Gloriosus and Mostellaria, the musical tells the bawdy story of a slave named Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door.
The plot displays many classic elements of farce, including puns, the slamming of doors, cases of mistaken identity (frequently involving characters disguising themselves as one another), and satirical comments on social class. The title derives from a line often used by vaudeville comedians to begin a story: “A funny thing happened on the way to the theater.”
The musical’s original 1962 Broadway run won several Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Author (Musical). A Funny Thing has enjoyed several Broadway and West End revivals and was made into a successful film starring the original lead of the musical, Zero Mostel.
Directed by Corey Ewan, Ph.D., cast 28 actors for the comedy.  Auditions were held Feb. 22, and the roles assigned three days later.  The leads include: Pseudolus, Gabe Marcotte; Senex, John Behn; Hero, Ben Herron; Hysterium, Zac Ballard; Domina, Mack Smith; Philia, Madison Olsen; Marcus Lycus, Dave Hocanson; Erronius, Chris Vlamakis; and Miles Gloriosus, Ben Jones.
Marcus Lycus’ courtesans include: Tintinabula, Hannah Coleman; Panacea, JoJo Goyeau; The Geminae, Skylar Smith and Chloe Clark; Vibrata, Bethany Peyton; and Gymnasia, Alenea Gray.  The Proteans are: Patrick Paulk, Kevin Soto, Richard Taylor, Stephen Ewan, Alex Holt.  The rest of the Courtesans and Romans are: Emma Benedict, Terri Paulk, Ellie Demie, Christina Redford, Keely Earl, Kym Paulk, and Jenny Taylor.  
Brent Innes is the set designer and builder while Josh Demie is stage manager.  The play is April 20-22 and 24-29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Peterson Black Box Theatre.  

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