Shakespeare Theatre Company to Stage A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, 11/21-1/5
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will take the stage at the Shakespeare Theatre Company this holiday season. Making his STC mainstage directing debut, STC Associate Director Alan Paul heads up the hilarious and fun musical farce based on the classic plays of ancient Roman playwright Plautus. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will play at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from November 21, 2013-January 5, 2014.
This hysterical musical features a beloved score by Stephen Sondheim and an uproarious book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. The musical's original Broadway production won several Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book. Forum has also enjoyed several Broadway and West End revivals.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum tells the bawdy story of Pseudolus, a slave in ancient Rome, who goes to great lengths to gain his freedom by securing a courtesan for his young master, Hero. Scheming slaves, mistaken identities and courtesans each with their own gimmick deliver on the promise of the famous opening number, that there will be comedy tonight. Director Alan Paul says, "This musical is about entertainment. It is important at this time in our city to make people laugh, give them an opportunity to forget their stresses and just enjoy themselves."
Forum's pre-Broadway tryout was held in Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre. The original production was still in development when Jerome Robbins lent his "show doctoring" talents and suggested that a new opening number be written. Sondheim wrote the now-infamous Comedy Tonight, introducing the musical as a wild comedy and from that point on the show was a big hit. Paul feels that "Washington, D.C. is a good luck charm for Forum. I'm pleased to bring it back to where it started."
Paul is delighted to tackle such an entertaining production for his STC mainstage debut. "Forum has one of the funniest books of a musical ever written, and we've assembled an amazing team to make this production the wittiest and most elegant it can be," says Paul. "I started working at the Shakespeare Theatre Company when I was 22 years old, so I have literally grown up at this theatre. Michael Kahn has been a mentor to me for these seven seasons, and really taught me how to be a director. I'm humbled and thrilled that, at 29, Michael has given me the opportunity to direct on STC's mainstage."
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is presented by the HRH Foundation.
To purchase tickets or to learn more, patrons can call the box office at 202.547.1122 or visit ShakespeareTheatre.org.
Returning to STC after appearing in last season's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Bruce Dow will play Pseudolus. Dow has acted in numerous Stratford Shakespeare Festival productions such as The Tempest (starring Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer), The Comedy of Errors, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Merchant of Venice, Into the Woods, Patience and Man of La Mancha, among others. He recently appeared on Broadway as King Herod in the Tony-nominated Jesus Christ Superstar. His other Broadway credits include Anything Goes, The Music Man and Jane Eyre. Off-Broadway he has performed in Grenadine (NYC premiere reading of the Yale Drama Award-winning play by Neil Wechsler). On screen, he has appeared in Murdoch Mysteries, Rick Mercer Report, My Big Big Friend and Total Drama Island. Dow is a guest lecturer at colleges and universities across America. He received his BFA in Acting and his MFA in Directing from the University of British Columbia.