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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim/ Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart

COMPANY : Atlanta Lyric Theatre
VENUE : The Strand
ID# 3739

SHOWING : June 11, 2010 - June 27, 2010

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Atlanta Lyric Theatre presents
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" June 11 - 27 at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square. Tickets are available at 404-377-9948 or www.atlantalyrictheatre.com.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, "Forum" is staged by award-winning director Alan Kilpatrick, and features music direction by Michael Fauss and choreography by Jen MacQueen.

This fast-paced and witty show combines situations from the 2,000-year-old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville. The result is a nonstop laugh-fest in which a crafty slave Pseudolus, played by Broadway star and Atlanta native Glenn Rainey, struggles to win the hand of a beautiful but slow-witted courtesan Philia (Laura Floyd) for his young master Hero (Bradley Renner), in exchange for freedom. Pseudolus, who wants his freedom so badly that he will do anything to win it, uses all the age-old comic devices-mistaken identity, lying, dressing in drag, threats, deception-and, of course, singing and dancing.

The show also includes a bevy of beauties, the battle-ax and her henpecked husband, their hysterical servant, a procurer, a befuddled old man in search of his missing children, and a vain general who claims Philia as his bride.


CAST & CREW LIST
Producer Brandt Blocker
Assistant Director Nick Arapoglou
Music Director Michael Fauss
Director Alan Kilpatrick
Choreogrpaher Jen MacQueen
Lighting Designer Jessica Coale
Stage Manager Betty Mitchell
Costume Designer Lindsey Paris
Assistant Stage Manager Kaitlyn Rogers
Set Designer Lee Shiver
Protean John Carucci
Domina Ingrid Cole
Gymnasia Priscilla Curtis
Miles Gloriosus Brent Davis
Protean Josh Donahue
Philia Laura Floyd
Tintinabula Caroline Freedlund
Geminae Haley Godwin
Geminae Jordan Godwin
Protean John Markowski
Erronius Marc McPherson
Panacea Becca Potter
Pseudolus Glenn Rainey
Marcus Lycus Brad Raymond
Hero Bradley Renner
Hysterium Chase Todd
Vibrata Katie Veldhuis
Senex Robert Wayne
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Dreadful
by istillbelieve
Monday, July 19, 2010
1.0
For forty dollars a ticket, I expected Lyric Stage to have a decent production and production values. What we saw and heard were a weak pit band, a flat trumpet player and horrible acting and directing.

Clearly, people were hired due to their vocal talent which was wonderful, but there's more to a musical than just singing a song.

When the two teenaged boys sitting near us were completely bored during this production of "Forum", you know that something is dreadfully wrong.

Selling popcorn at intermission? Now, not only did we sit through a bad production, we had to listen to people smacking on popcorn. How low are you going to lower this bar Lyric Stage? People, it's a 2 hour show. Do you really believe that people can't sit quietly and attentively for two hours without having to put food in their mouths!

All this for forty dollars a ticket!?
We won't be back. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A Caryatid Affair
by playgoer
Sunday, June 27, 2010
4.5
Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” is filled with over-the-top energy. It’s a broadly comedic, colorful romp studded with great voices, a terrific small orchestra, and some great dancing by Caroline Freedlund as Tintinabula. Unfortunately, not all cast members contribute the same amount of zaniness to their roles. Some are just more successful at the slapsticky elements than others are.

Among the least successful is Brent Davis as Miles Gloriosus. The role calls for an overbearingly self-adoring muscleman. Mr. Davis is just loud.

Philia, played by Laura Floyd, is supposed to be pretty much an airhead, but she’s best portrayed as sweetly innocent. Ms. Floyd smacks her head in an abashed manner when Philia almost exits into the wrong door. That’s something Philia would never do. She should be so befuddled as a permanent state that she wouldn’t feel embarrassment at a minor misstep, since her every move is a misstep. Ms. Floyd doesn’t make us believe she is Philia. She’s obviously too intelligent.

Brad Raymond, as Marcus Lycus, doesn’t really seem to have found a character at all. He does the funny bits he’s been directed to do, and he makes a nice contrast between his glorious bass/baritone singing voice and his speaking voice, but he doesn’t give a performance that’s integrated into this ridiculously broad farce.

The courtesans are a mixed bag. Caroline Feedlund is unsurpassed as a dancer, but Becca Potter (as Panacea) is more animated as an actress. They’re the first two dancers we see. The others make less and less of an impression, with Priscilla Curtis, as Gymnasia (listed in the program as “Gymnasium”), appearing to be little more than a caryatid – a female-shaped column.

Jen MacQueen’s choreography didn’t do much for me. I was particularly displeased with “Impossible,” in which Robert Wayne (Senex) was given a lot of I’m-making-my-movements-echo-the-words-I’m-singing gestures, while Brad Renner (Hero) was left to sing his part unencumbered by extraneous motion. With Mr. Renner’s splendid voice, nothing extra was needed. I admired his performance a great deal, as he underplayed his role with sparkle and verve, fitting the atmosphere perfectly, while still coming across as the “straight” character in the show.

The set was colorful, but not particularly attractive. It seemed to constrict the action somewhat by being so far downstage. Its action on two levels gave the impression that access to the second level was on the rickety side, since no one looked particularly pleased to be up there, and they exited gingerly.

So, the show had a few negatives. They were more than made up for by a number of happily wonderful performances. Glenn Rainey and Ingrid Cole, late of Aurora Theatre’s “A Catered Affair,” gave two of the best. Mr. Rainey’s take on Pseudolus was cheerily sly and well-voiced, stressing the plot points admirably with a minimum of extraneous schtick. Ms. Cole, looking and acting like a more-than-life-size version of Charlotte Rae, threw her all into the role of Domina, amping the energy of the production for every one of the too-few moments she was onstage.

If those two had a lot of energy, they paled in comparison to the manically zany antics of the three Proteans (Josh Donohue, John Markowski, and John Carucci). They consistently entertained from their initial group entrance (inventively choreographed) through their many, many roles in the action. They were almost matched in energy by Marc MacPherson as the elderly, yet amazingly spry Erronius, who made the most of his multiple crosses of the stage.

The most animated and energetic performance, though, came from Chase Todd as Hysterium. He truly shone onstage, even without a spotlight. His high moment (vocally and dramatically) came in the second-act reprise of “Lovely,” when he let loose with an amazingly powerful falsetto for one section of the song. That got the biggest applause of the show. It didn’t hurt that Glenn Rainey sounded so good in the song too.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” is a quick-paced, pretty mindless farce. It can be enjoyed by audiences that aren’t paying particular attention. (The woman in front of me discussed the leading character during intermission, calling him “Lycus,” simply because he had just PRETENDED to be Marcus Lycus during the immediately preceding action.) And, boy, can it be enjoyed by audiences that ARE paying attention!
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4.5 is generous given the review... by BenAround
Given this review as a whole, sounds more like a 3 to me. The Forum "experience" is more about the ensemble as a whole. While I did not see this performance, I am very familiar with the show having both been in it and played in the pit. Philia, Miles, Senex, and Lycus are pivotal players. Glad to hear that at least Hero, Domina, Pseudolus and Hysterium made the cut. Think how disastrous it would have been had that not been the case!
Ensemble Indeed! by playgoer
"Forum" is an ensemble show. It's rare that one character is onstage alone. That's certainly true of Miles Gloriosus and Marcus Lycus, so there's plenty to keep us entertained even when one performance isn't up to the level of others. I disagreed with Laura Floyd's interpretation of Philia, but she certainly did nothing to remove any enjoyment from the show. The Senex of Robert Wayne was fine; I just didn't like the choreography he was given in one number (and that he performed admirably). Since this is an ensemble show, four terrific performances coexisting onstage with one adequate performance here and there still adds up to a terrific show!
as good as it gets
by dutidjian
Monday, June 21, 2010
5.0
There's a sort of blurring, breathless, intoxicated feeling when you are really entertained. The whole point of the theater exercise. Waves rolling over you for a couple of hours leaving you beached and needing a drink. Thats what's happening, something funny, on the way to the forum, at the Strand in Marietta, orchestrated by Glenn Rainey and his gang of miscreants. Thank yous all and Alan Kilpatrick for conducting the mayhem. It reminds us why we do it, watch it and what we might lose if we stop supporting it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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