Tony and Olivier Award winner McAnuff is Stratford's artistic director. Choreography is by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento, winner of seven Tony Awards for such productions as Wicked and Sweet Charity, as well as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and The Who's Tommy, both of which were directed by McAnuff. Forum's musical director is Franklin Brasz.
In the musical by songwriter Stephen Sondheim and librettists Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, according to festival notes, "Pseudolus yearns for his freedom, while his young master pines for the girl next door. In exchange for his freedom, Pseudolus promises to find a way to unite the two young lovers; unfortunately, even in musical comedy, the course of true love never does run smooth."
McAnuff said in production notes, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a true musical comedy with equal emphasis on both those words: the brilliant music of Stephen Sondheim is happily married to non-stop comic action. The show's roots lie in the comedies of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, which its creators meticulously researched; but with its multiple interconnected plots, Forum trumps anything Plautus ever wrote."
|photo by David Hou|
He added, "Though few theatregoers are directly familiar with Plautus today, his influence is evident in Shakespeare's earliest comedies, which are largely responsible for perpetuating the tradition of farce in Western drama. So this is a show well suited to the classical skills of a Shakespearean company: if you can do The Comedy of Errors or The Two Gentlemen of Verona, you stand a much better chance of being able to tackle Forum." The production also features principals Dan Chameroy as the warrior Miles Gloriosus, Deann deGruijter as Domina, Randy Hughson as Senex, Chilina Kennedy as Philia, Mike Nadajewski as Hero, Stephen Ouimette as Hysterium, and Cliff Saunders as Marcus Lycus. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum runs until Nov. 1. Opening night is June 20. For tickets call the box office at (800) 567-1600 or visit www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's 2009 season runs until Nov. 1, featuring Macbeth; West Side Story; Cyrano de Bergerac; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Importance of Being Earnest; Julius Caesar; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Three Sisters; Bartholomew Fair; Ever Yours, Oscar; Phèdre; The Trespassers; Rice Boy; and Zastrozzi.