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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Remount)

a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 941

SHOWING : May 15, 2004 - June 27, 2004

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

The Shakespeare Tavern will be cooking up a whole lot of "Comedy Tonight" bringing the music and comic genius of Stephen Sondheim to 499 Peachtree Street as The Shakespeare Tavern brings back its first Broadway musical. Delight in the antics of the servant Pseudolus as he attempts to earn his freedom by winning the hand of a lovely courtesan for his lovesick master. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will keep your face smiling and your toes tapping.

This production is rated PG-13 for sexual overtones


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Heidi Cline
Music Director Karen Huckabee
Costume Designer Anne Carole Butler
Assistant Stage Manager Deborah McGriff
Stage Manager Alexis Weiss
Cast Michael Guss
Gymnasia Denise Arribas
Gemini Samantha Bentley
Senex Tony Brown
Phillia Viveka Chandrasekavan
Panacea Becky Cormier
Tintinabula Natalie Gray
Protean Luis Hernandez
Protean Charles Holmes
Vibrata Kristen Keating
Hysterium Jeff McKerley
Gemini Marcie Millard
Hero Brandon Odell
Domina Valerie Payton
Erronius Drew Reeves
Pseudolus Clark Taylor
Protean Matthew Trautwein
Marcus Lycus Jeff Watkins
Protean Kelly Yearout
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

second time around
by Okely Dokely
Friday, June 25, 2004
4.0
Ah, the joys of a remounted show. The question is: will the show be like Theatre in the Square’s Smoke on the Mountain, which is still fresh after all these years, or will it be more like the Alliance’s A Christmas Carol, which seems to consistently get lukewarm reviews at best on this site? I saw and reviewed the Shakespeare Tavern’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum last year as well, and found it to be an inventive and relentlessly energetic breath of fresh air, and it was probably the best show I saw in 2003. This year’s Forum is obviously well-done, but with the same director, same theatre, and an almost identical cast from the first time, it’s like going back to see a magic show where the tricks are all the same, and you know them.

Upon seeing a show for the second time, the initial Novelty Sparkle wears off and you begin to notice a few flaws here and there. I was expecting to come on here and once again criticize Clark Taylor’s Pseudolous for being too much of a copy of Nathan Lane and not enough of his own, but he realized more of his potential and has branched out a little bit more this time around. Singing is obviously not his strong suit – when he’s not painfully sharp on the notes he has to hold, he is Rex Harrisoning his way through the songs – but I tolerated him a lot better this year. I wonder if he read these reviews. Some of my favorite performances were still fabulous if a little diluted from last year. Danny Cook seemed to rush through some lines and bits that he didn’t last year, and even Jeff McKerley, my favorite local actor, didn’t steal the show as much. His energy level went from 110% to about 108%. I knew what funny bits were coming, and when they would come, and I came home remembering the less interesting, Sondheimesque parts of the show rather than the good highlights. The musical numbers were not my favorite due to actors not being able to outsing the band, and now that I know that the character of Senex is indeed scripted to narrate the Act 2 opening, I still don’t like that. It will have to be an issue I have with the script. I just find it unnecessarily random for a character other than Pseudolous to be talking to the audience all of a sudden. The rest of the script is so clever, I’m sure the great writers could have found a way to get Pseudolous to do it, even though he is about to be executed.

The Tavern has never disappointed me. If you missed “Forum” last year, you will get more than your money’s worth and have a great time. Even if you did see it last year, you’ll probably still have a great time. I, though, am glad it will not be in the next season. A memo to the Tavern: quit while you’re ahead and let this remain a wonderful memory.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
OKELY DOKELY by Nicky Pogs
Hey...Is there anyway you'd be able to catch the Bad Eggs at Kudzu tonight (june 26)?? We start around 10:30 and I'd like you to come and see what you have to say about it. Thanks!
not tonight - sorry by Okely Dokely
Nicky Pogs,

Thanks for the invite. I unfortunately can't tonight, or any night for a couple of weeks. I've got a show that runs every Thursday through Sunday (I got lucky and was able to catch Forum on a Wednesday night). However, I plan to spend a whole evening at Kudzu after my show closes in a couple of weeks. I see that you guys are doing the Bad Eggs thing until the end of July, so I will come see Midsummer or Nunsense or whatever's running and then see you guys for sure. I've heard nothing but great things about your show and I have implicit faith in every one of you. So anyway, long comment short, I'll be there, but not tonight. Thanks for thinking of me.

-OD
Tragedy tomorrow, one GREAT show tonight
by Patron
Sunday, May 23, 2004
4.0
First of all, I went into this show just expecting to have a great time and laugh my butt off - and this group certainly delivered - but I didn't sit there taking notes or trying to pick apart the production. And I accidentally left my program there so I won't be able to name any of the actors, only the character names (Sorry!) But these are my thoughts on the show...

First of all, GREAT JOB! A lot of work and many many hours of rehearsal obviously went into this production. The entire cast stayed in character the entire time (except for when the Proteans cracked up during one scene, which just made it funnier), dropped and flubbed lines were almost non-existant, and the entire show was knee-slappingly funny. Without even reading any further, GO TO THIS SHOW. I'm already planning a second excursion myself.

That said, here are my more specific thoughts on the production. The actor playing Hysterium is my new favorite person. His comedic timing was flawless, and he unquestionably stole the show. Even during other character's scene's and solos there was no doubt that every eye was focused on the hilarious antics of this amazing actor. If there is one overwhelming reason to see this show, Hysterium is it. If the rest of the show had been terrible - which it most assuredly wasn't - it would have been worth the money to see this man work his magic on stage.

All the other performances were also excellent, but in my opinion they all paled a little in comparison to Hysterium. Another standout was the guy who played Hero. Despite my initial hesitation at his appearance (he is definitely not your typical romantic hero) he soon won me over, and his was my second favorite performance of the night.

The actor playing Pseudolus was wonderful. But it bothered me how much he sounded like he was trying to imitate Nathan Lane. I have never seen him in anything else, so I cannot judge whether that's just his usual voice and intonation, but it sounded to me like he was trying too hard to imitate Lane, and I would have preferred to see a unique take on the character. Nonetheless, he was a pleasure to watch and listen to.

Philia was beautiful and had a marvelous voice, although I wasn't overly fond of her "valley-girl" portrayal which, instead of being funny and endearing as Philia usually is, occasionally was just plain annoying. Also, there were a lot of instances where she seemed entirely UN-virgin-like, and I've always seen Philia as a very innocent, if not overly bright, young lady.

Senex and Domina were also good, if not outstanding, as were Lycus. Miles looked JUST like the guy from the movie version of Funny Forum and I really loved his voice. Erronius was slightly annoying (all the added lines were a bit much) but still very funny. The company and the band were both wonderful. (I know this is sounding really repetitive, but I really can't say much about everyone except for how funny and entertaining they were!) And MAJOR props to the Protean who looked just like the Elf from Lord of the Rings, especially in that green soldier tunic - I only wished they had played off of that and had him come in with a bow and arrow or something.

The musical numbers were all very well executed, and the audience interplay was wonderful. I saw many creative and hysterical gags that I had never seen in the show before as well as many that are tried-and-true comedic devices (i.e. Rubber chickens). The one number that disappointed me was "Pretty Little Picture" - which is one of my favorite songs in the show but which fell a little flat in this production. The voices were great and the choreography was decent, but it was just wasn't as entertaining as I'm used to.

This was also my first time seeing anything at the Tavern, and I'm definitely looking forward to becoming a regular patron, because I was greatly impressed!

I really wish you could give half points on this site, because this show really deserves a 4.5. Although it wasn't perfect, it was DEFINITELY well worth the ticket price and once again I urge EVERYONE to go see it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A Hilarious Show
by Shadrach
Thursday, May 20, 2004
4.0
I don't review shows on here that much, but I had to review this one. I wish I had seen this show last year at Shakespeare Tavern, but this year was the first time I've seen it.

Now, I saw it on the "Backstage with Forum" night, which is 2 days before opening, so I guess you could call this a preview show/dress rehearsal. With that take in mind, there were a few things that were off as far as lines being dropped and timing of actors' entrances.

Now having said that, most of the show was very enjoyable. It is one of the funniest musicals I have ever seen, and definitely the best show I've ever seen at Shakespeare Tavern (with the exception of "Murder In the Cathedral" last year - still my favorite show there). Jeff McKerley has the best comic timing and he was just dead on in everything. This was the first time I've seen Clark Taylor (if I'm not mistaken, he's not an Atlantan actor).

My two favorite actors in the play, though, were Brandon O'Dell and Drew Reeves. Drew Reeves' character (can't remember the name off-hand) cracked me up every time he came walking "around the city" and his expression when he realized he made another trip around the city was priceless.

I've already signed up to volunteer to see the show at least 2 more times, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it again. Don't wait until the last weekend, go see this show today!

Clint Johnson [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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