PVA Presents Tony Award-winning A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Published: November 05, 2010 | Read Time: 4 minutes

A wily slave, his love-smitten master, an innocent courtesan, a pompous warrior, a befuddled old man and others collide in the hilarious musical farce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Southern Utah University’s College of Performing and Visual Arts’ Department of Theatre Arts and Dance celebrates the 80th birthday of Stephen Sondheim, America’s acclaimed composer and lyricist, with a production of his Tony Award-winning musical comedy. The fun begins on Thursday, November 4, 2010, and continues November 5, 6, 8, 11, 12 and 13. The show is directed by Matt Neves and performances are at SUU’s Auditorium Theatre and curtain time is 7:30 p.m.

Set on a colorful street in ancient Rome, Pseudolus, a crafty and clever slave, will do anything to secure his freedom. When his naïve young master, Hero, falls in love with an equally innocent courtesan, the ever-resourceful slave sees his opportunity for emancipation. Pseudolus sets in motion a series of outrageous situations that lead to slapstick, door-slamming, mistaken identity and every device conceivable to create non-stop laughter. This wickedly funny and slightly naughty musical farce offers "something for everyone." The bouncy score by Stephen Sondheim includes the rousing "Comedy Tonight," the lyrical "Lovely" and the show-stopping "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid."

With a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (creator of the classic sitcom M*A*S*H), music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and based on the plays of Plautus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opened on Broadway in 1962 and won six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Book for a Musical. Interesting to note, Sondheim was not even nominated for the score of his first musical as composer and lyricist. He would go on to create award-winning scores for Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods, among others – receiving multiple Tony Awards including one for Lifetime Achievement.

Director Matt Neves is creating a colorful and energetic staging of this timeless musical comedy. Collaborating with Neves on bringing all the fun to the Auditorium stage are choreographer Jenny Smith, music director J.P. Kentros, scenic and lighting designer Michael M. Harvey, costume designer Kaylin James, and make-up and hair designer Kaitlin Woolley. Bryan Sommer serves as stage manager.

Undertaking the monumental role of Pseudolus is theatre faculty member and Equity performer Andrew Hunsaker, whose previous SUU appearances include his hilarious turn in the theatre department’s production of Lend Me a Tenor. Playing other principle roles are Payden Adams (Hysterium), Cesar Ad́an Bojórquez (Marcus Lycus), Anthony Carter (Hero), Alisha Fabbi (Domina), Steven Grawrock (Senex), MacKenzie Pedersen (Philia) and Joe Spear (Miles Gloriosus). The cast also features Emilie Andersen, Lara Coret, Tatem Credille, Matt Hanchey, Annoeska Kuppens, Jayson LeBaron, Grayson Moulton, Brian Nelson, Katelin Ruzzamenti and Jenny Smith.

For an evening of unending hilarity make your own way to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Ticket prices are $10 General Admission, $8 SUU Faculty and Staff, $5 Youth and free for SUU students with a valid student ID. For tickets, call the ticket office at 435-586-7872, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or order online at www.suu.edu/arts.

The Theatre Arts and Dance Series continues with Tennessee Williams’ classic American drama, The Glass Menagerie; Stephen Schwartz’s spirited musical, Godspell; Breaking Bounds: Student-Choreographed Dance Concert; and Journeys: Faculty-Choreographed Dance Concert.

The Southern Utah University College of Performing and Visual Arts is comprised of nationally accredited departments of Art and Design, Music, Theatre Arts and Dance, as well as a graduate program in Arts Administration. The College offers 16 different degree areas, including liberal arts Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees; professional Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Fine Arts in art and theatre degrees; and a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration degree. More than 60 full- and part-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 550 majors in the College. Over 1100 students enroll each year in over 195 arts classes on the SUU campus. The College presents 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year. The College’s affiliate organizations include the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, American Folk Ballet, Utah Shakespearean Festival, the performance group Acclamation, and the SUU Ballroom Dance Company.

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