Geva's 44th Season Begins with A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
Audiences are in for an outrageously hilarious time as Geva Theatre Center presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with a book by Bert Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and music and lyrics byStephen Sondheim and directed by Melissa Rain Anderson in the Elaine P. Wilson Stage from October 4 through November 6.
Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning, rollicking romp is fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musical comedies ever written. Pseudolus, a crafty slave, will do anything to win his freedom, including trying to win the hand of the beautiful (but dim) courtesan-next-door for his young master. With hilarious twists and turns, mistaken identity, slamming doors (and a showgirl or two), Forum has "something for everyone, a comedy tonight!"
Inspired by the plays of the Roman playwright Plautus, and featuring a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was the first musical for which Stephen Sondheim wrote both the music and the lyrics. It opened on Broadway in May of 1962 where it ran for two years and garnered several Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Author of Musical. It has enjoyed several Broadway revivals including a 1972 production starring Phil Silvers (later replaced by Tom Poston) and a 1996 production starring Nathan Lane (later replaced by Whoopi Goldberg and David Alan Grier). The 1966 film starring Zero Mostel was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, and won the 1967 Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment.
Steve Rosen will star as Pseudolus. A Rochester native, Mr. Rosen originated roles in the Broadway productions of Monty Python's Spamalot, The Farnsworth Invention and the 2009 revival of Guys and Dolls. He co-created and co-starred in the long-running late night comedy-improv benefit Don't Quit Your Night Job and the musical The Other Josh Cohen, for which he was nominated for six Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award. In addition to his stage credits he has appeared on screen in "Elementary," "Law & Order: SVU," "Nurse Jackie," "The Good Wife," "Masters of Sex," "Psych," "Elementary" and "Kings." He is featured in Woody Allen's newest film, Café Society, in theatres now.
Rosen is joined by Broadway veterans Bill Nolte (Broadway productions of Cats, The Secret Garden, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Amour, 1776, Jane Eyre, La Cage aux Folles, King David, A Christmas Carol and Me and My Girl) as Marcus Lycus; Michele Ragusa (Broadway productions of Young Frankenstein, Urinetown, Titanic, Ragtime and Geva's production of Company) as Domina and John Shuman (Broadway's La Cage Aux Folles and 13 Rue de L'Amour) as Erronius.James Michael Reilly (International Tour of West Side Story and Geva's production of Inherit the Wind) appears as Senex.
Making their Geva debuts are Mark Bedard (Off-Broadway's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Pearl Theatre and Fashions for Men at Mint Theater) as Hysterium; Anna Bucci as Philia, Jessica Murphy and Dennis O'Bannion (Broadway's White Christmasand the national tour of The Little Mermaid) as the Geminae Twins, Elyse Niederee as Panacea,; Robert Riordan as Hero, Tim Rogan (National Tours of Camelot and Disney's Beauty and the Beast) as Miles Gloriosus and Mackenzie Warren as Gymnasia.Nicole Eras returns to Geva following last season's Spamalot! as Tintinabula.
As previously announced, this production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum features 2 Ring Circus. Their four members, Lani Corson, Joshua Dean, Ben Franklin and Kenneth Ziegler will play Vibrata and the Proteans respectively.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is directed by Melissa Rain Anderson (last season's sell out hit production ofMonty Python's Spamalot and 2013's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) with musical direction by Don Kot, choreography by Rommy Sandhu and circus direction by 2 Ring Circus. The design team includes Adam Koch (scenic design),Devon Painter (costume design), Brian J. Lilienthal (lighting design) and Bart Fasbender (sound design).
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is the first production in the newly-renovated Geva Theatre Center. This $10 million, six-year renovation project began with structural repairs to the 148-year old edifice and has recently concluded with renovated lobby and café areas, new seats in the Wilson Stage and wheelchair access to the balcony. The theatre now boasts the new Dawn & Jacques Lipson, M.D. Lounge - an entertainment suite which can accommodate up to 120 people.
The 2015-2016 Wilson Stage Series is sponsored by ESL Federal Credit Union. The Honorary Wilson Stage Series Sponsor is Dr. Dawn Lipson. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is produced with support from Lead Co-Producer Boev Clinic PLLC; Associate Producer The College at Brockport and Media Sponsors 13WHAM TV and WARM 101.3.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum begins previews on October 4, opens October 8 and runs through November 6.