Laughter expected in ‘A Funny Thing Happened’

Roman slaves, virgins, senators and courtesans chase after each other as cast members in the Capital City Players’ upcoming production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” run through a rehearsal at Shikles Auditorium in Jefferson City.

Roman slaves, virgins, senators and courtesans chase after each other as cast members in the Capital City Players’ upcoming production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” run through a rehearsal at Shikles Auditorium in Jefferson City. Photo by Kris Wilson.

What: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” by Capital City Players

When: Nov. 7-10 and Nov. 21-24

Where: Shikles Auditorium, Jefferson City

Tickets: $35 which includes dinner buffet, 573-681-9012

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Audiences should be prepared to laugh as they enjoy the latest production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” presented by Capital City Players.

The Tony-award winning musical is one of the first with music composed by Stephen Soundheim, and one of the writers of the show is Larry Gelbart of MASH fame.

The musical tells the bawdy story of a slave named Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. The plot displays classic elements of farce including puns, slamming of doors, cases of mistaken identity and satirical comments on social class. It features nonstop high-paced action.

The title comes from the line that vaudeville comedians often used to begin a story, “A funny thing happened on the way to the theater.”

Director Rob Crouse said he is blessed with talented people to help with production, including LuAnn Madsen as choreographer and Michael Dodson as musical director.

Audie Cline is playing the role of Pseudolus; Philia, the love interest of Hero, is played by Rachel Steinmeier; Dustin Allison is playing Hysterium, the chief slave; Hero is portrayed by Michael Dodson; and Jerico Whitaker play Marcus Lycus, the purveyor of courtesans. The rest of the cast includes: Frank Bise, Dick Dalton, Maggie Hunter and Phil Wright.

According to Crouse, the songs in the show fit into each scene but the two that might be most familiar to audiences are “Comedy Tonight” and “Everyone Ought to Have a Maid.”

“I had fun directing this show,” Crouse said, “particularly since the last time Capital City Players performed the show, I directed and was in the show, playing the role of the slave. It is nice to sit back and direct and enjoy the cast and their talent.”

The show, with all of the slapstick, is very physical and the cast is learning to handle this and adjust to their roles.

According to Crouse, they are still in the stage where the cast breaks each other up with something new added at each rehearsal.

Helping with the technical aspects of the show are Ken Thompson, the light designer; Branden Bise, who is working sound; and Kathleen Lavery, the stage manager.

With Thanksgiving so close, the menu for the dinner buffet has a Thanksgiving theme, including turkey and dressing, baked ham, mashed potatoes and all of the fixings.

Crouse recommends the show to anyone junior high and older.

“There is no broad social messages. Everyone should just come to have a good time,” Crouse said.

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