Things are relaxing a bit at Broadway's St. James Theatre, where star Nathan Lane is having some ad-lib fun with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, in the time-honored tradition of his predecessors in the role, Zero Mostel and Phil Silvers.
Playbill On-Line staffers, who have seen the show recently, report:
* Lane started the show by throwing himself in front of the main curtain to thunderous applause and egging the audience on for more.
* In Act II, when Hysterium entered dressed as Philia, Lane gawked for a few seconds, then turned to the audience. "What am I staring at? It's not like I've never seen a man in a dress before!" The audience applauded, remembering his performance as a drag queen in the recent film The Birdcage.
* When Lane dropped a prop, he exclaimed "Ah, to hell with it!" then turned to the audience with "I think I just created an expletive!" * When he tried to perform a bit of business involving throwing a baby-doll off stage, it ran into one of the pillars on Lycus' house. Lane let out a little shriek and ran over to the doll which he quickly tossed offstage. He faced the audience. "No babies will be harmed during this production." He glanced quickly offstage. "Well, maybe one."