It’s only one street and just three homes and it is all happening in ancient Rome well before the birth of Jesus Christ. One home houses the brothel of Lycus which is pronounced “like us.” The next home houses the typical ancient Roman middle class family of Senex, Domina and their son Hero. The third house is that of Erronius who constantly bemoans the long ago kidnapping of his son and daughter. Pseudolus is a slave owned by Hero.
Pseudolus is quick witted and conniving and extremely anxious to gain his freedom by whatever means possible. Philia is a beautiful young woman currently in courtesan training at the house of Lycus but the word on this ancient Roman Street is that for now Philia remains a virgin and Hero is desperately in love with her.
Very aware of the desires of Hero, Pseudolus makes a deal with him. When Pseudolus wins the heart and hand of Philia for Hero, then Hero shall free Pseudolus. And if you think this is getting wee complicated just wait until you meet the Captain.
Yes I know it is a bit intense in detail and it gets much more so as the play goes on with the result of non-stop hilarity. The original production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opened on Broadway May 8th 1962 and closed after 954 shows on August 29th 1964. Music and lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim and the book was by Larry Gilbert and Burt Shevelove.
It was by any measure a smash hit on Broadway and now this classic musical comedy farce is on the West Coast at the fabulous Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank. I can’t honestly say that I saw the original production on Broadway but I will absolutely say that the cast in the Garry Marshall production is nothing short of superb,
At times the show is wildly madcap. Always highly energetic and filled with rich satire A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is pure entertainment even if somewhat challenging to explain. Yes it is funny and yes it provides a steady stream of comedy but it also touches upon tougher issues such as slavery and treating women as chattel. One may even wonder just how much our society has changed over the last 2000-plus years. But as you are contemplating you will also be laughing.
This is only the second show in the first season of the Garry Marshall Theatre formerly known as the Falcon Theatre and from the early indications it promises to be a season of non-stop audience pleasing hits.
It is also a fun but stressful time of the year so why not give yourself a pleasant escape and go and enjoy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, California 91505. Show times are Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 and 7:30 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling: 818-955-8101.
Photos provided by the Garry Marshall Theatre
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.