A Funny Thing Happened on the
Way to the Forum
It may be the funniest musical of all.
Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart and Stephen Sondheim create a classic farce based on the plays of Plautus.
A Roman slave will do almost anything to gain his freedom, including tricking a Roman captain, a purveyor of beautiful women, a dottering old man, his young master and the master's parents.
Laughter and merriment for the whole family!
Directed by Eric Walby
The Historic Music Hall at Snug Harbor
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, 10301
Here's Lisa Ann Williamson's review from the Staten Island Advance and SILive.com: (posted Thursday 7/23)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is not without its weak points, like the notable "Comedy Tonight" opening number that never quite reached its potential, but there were plenty other glorious moments to divert audiences into uproarious laughter.
Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre's production is blessed with a talented cast from ensemble to principals and fabulous band, conducted by Donna D'Ermilio.
There are beautiful, sexily clad women who live in the house of Lycus and move in dances well-choreographed by Ellen Tharp. There are 15 songs surrounded by jokes and wit, but some more notable like "Love I Hear," "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid," "Impossible" and "That Dirty Old Man" demonstrated the power of songs well-crafted sung.
At the Music Hall of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, director Eric Walby transports the audience to Rome, 200 years before the Christian era, when servants and soldiers carried out the tasks of their respective masters and commanders and magical potions could repair any ailment or shortcoming.
This Stephen Sondheim musical follows the story of Psuedolus (Wayne Miller), slave to the young Hero (Nick Williams) in the household of Domina (Ellen Mitchell) and Senex (Bob Feldman). When opportunity meets cunning and creativity, Psuedolus bakes up a plan to win his freedom if he can devise a plan to hook-up Hero and the lovely courtesan, Philia (Ryan Kelly). But of course, there is no straight line to the end of the plan which makes for fun and adventure.
Miller creates a bond with the audience as the story unfolds. Glenn Jones has the ability to grandly fill every moment he is on stage whether he is speaking or not. When he throws himself across the stage, it's amazing to watch. Feldman is hilarious when it appears he will have the opportunity to sow his last wild oat, which he has apparently been saving for just this occasion.
The leading ladies -- Domina (Mitchell) and Philia (Kelly) -- are solid in both music and character. Kelly is the mistress of the funny, while Mitchell possesses a dominating edge to her comedy.
Frank Albanese, former boxer turned "Godfather" and "Sopranos" actor, offers some of the funniest bit moments with full musical accompaniment.
It's the diversions that make for a fun evening of theater, as is intended.