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BWW Review: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at TRT-Musical Comedy at its Very Best

Two River Theater (TRT) is now staging the blockbuster musical comedy, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum. The show enjoys extraordinary direction by Jessica Stone, inspired choreography by Denis Jones and excellent musical direction by Gary Adler. It features an all-male cast that is absolutely brimming with talent. This uproarious gem is on the Red Bank stage through December 13th.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum is one of Broadway's greatest musical farces. The book is by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbert based on the plays of Plautus, the ancient Roman writer known for theatrical comedy in the third century. The clever music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim and include memorable songs like "Comedy Tonight," "Free," and "Pretty Little Picture." Originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince, it was later adapted as a movie.

The show is set in three adjoining homes, the house of Marcus Lycus and his courtesans; the home of Senex, his wife Domina, son Hero and their slaves who include Pesudolus and head slave Hysteria; and the house of Erroneus, who has been away searching for his long-lost children that were kidnapped by pirates. In the story, Pseudolus is an ambitious and conniving slave. He tries to win his freedom by playing matchmaker for his young master, Hero who has fallen in love with one of the courtesans, lovely Phillia. But the maiden has already been sold by to a prominent captain by Marcus Lycus. Pseudolus' job of bringing the two young lovers together is complicated by a series of blunders that include anxious assistants, mistaken identities, and the unexpected comings and goings of the inimitable array of characters.

The stellar cast has perfect pacing with the show's ingenious dialogue and catchy musical numbers. As they portray multiple roles, character transitions are made seamlessly. The players include Christopher Fitzgerald as Pseudolus, Paul Castree as Protean/Geminae Twin, Eddie Cooper as Domina/Panacea, Tom Deckman as Protean/Erronius, Kevin Isola as Senex/Vibrata, David Josefsberg as Protean/Marcus Lycus, Max Kumangai as Protean/Gymnasia, Graham Rowat as Miles Gloriosus/Eunuch, Manny Stark as Protean/Tintinabula, Bobby Conte Thornton as Hero/Roman Soldier, David Turner as Phillia/Roman Soldier, Michael Urie as Hysterium/Eunuch and Geoffrey Allen Murphy as the Understudy for Pseudolus and Hysterium.

And the all-male cast adds even a greater touch of hilarity to the TRT production. Scenes that include Marcus Lycus' presentation of the courtesans to Pseudolus, the arrival of Captain Miles Gloriosus, Domina's sudden return home from a trip, and Pseudolus' funeral plot with Hysteria are just a some of the many laugh out loud moments.

The creative team has done a fantastic job of bringing the TRT production to life with scenic design by Alexander Dodge, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Jeff Croiter and Jake DeGroot, and sound design by Drew Levy. The projection designer is Aaron Rhyne, the orchestrator is Joshua Clayton, and the hair and makeup designer is David Bova. The casting is by Adam Caldwell, and the production stage manager is Libby Unsworth.

Don't miss A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum Don't and give the gift of laughter to your friends and family. It will be performed through Sunday, December 13th. Two River Theater is located 21 Bridge Street, Red Bank, New Jersey 07701. Ticket prices range from $37 to $65, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from or by calling 732.345.1400.

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

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From This Author Marina Kennedy