A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

From ChatGPT

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is a side-splitting musical comedy that takes audiences on a wild and hilarious journey through ancient Rome. The story revolves around Pseudolus, a quick-witted slave with a burning desire for freedom. When he discovers that his young master, Hero, has fallen in love with the lovely courtesan, Philia, who lives in the house of the notorious buyer and seller of beautiful women, Lycus, Pseudolus sees an opportunity to gain his freedom. With a delightful book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and a superb score by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, the musical first hit Broadway in 1962 and instantly captivated audiences. The original production starred the brilliant Zero Mostel as Pseudolus and received multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical. "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" continues to be celebrated for its infectious tunes, memorable performances, and rib-tickling moments that leave audiences laughing in stitches. This timeless classic remains a cherished gem in the world of musical theater, reminding us that sometimes, the funniest adventures happen when we least expect them.}

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Authors

Original Authors

...
Book
...
Music and Lyrics
...
Source Material

Later Contributors

There are no known writers who contributed to revisions, etc. following the original production.
Genre: Musical Comedy

Studio Cast Recordings

No studio cast recordings listed.

Demos & Pre-Production Recordings

From ChatGPT

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is a side-splitting musical comedy that takes audiences on a wild and hilarious journey through ancient Rome. The story revolves around Pseudolus, a quick-witted slave with a burning desire for freedom. When he discovers that his young master, Hero, has fallen in love with the lovely courtesan, Philia, who lives in the house of the notorious buyer and seller of beautiful women, Lycus, Pseudolus sees an opportunity to gain his freedom. With a delightful book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and a superb score by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, the musical first hit Broadway in 1962 and instantly captivated audiences. The original production starred the brilliant Zero Mostel as Pseudolus and received multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical. "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" continues to be celebrated for its infectious tunes, memorable performances, and rib-tickling moments that leave audiences laughing in stitches. This timeless classic remains a cherished gem in the world of musical theater, reminding us that sometimes, the funniest adventures happen when we least expect them.}

More

Authors

Original Authors

...
Book
...
Music and Lyrics
...
Source Material

Later Contributors

There are no known writers who contributed to revisions, etc. following the original production.
Genre: Musical Comedy

Source

Based on three plays by Plautus: Miles Gloriosus, Pseudolus, and Mostellaria.

Synopsis

In Ancient Rome, Pseudolus is slave to Hero, son of Senex and Domina. Head slave in the household of Senex and Domina is Hysterium.

Pseudolus is desperate to win his freedom. On a day when Senex and Domina leave to visit Domina's mother in the country, Hero reveals to Pseudolus that he is in love with a young courtesan in the house of Marcus Lycus, buyer and seller of beautiful women, who lives next door to Domina and Senex. Hero has never met the young woman, whose name is Philia, but has fallen in love with her just from seeing her. He tells Pseudolus that if Pseudolus can get Philia for him, Hero will give Pseudolus his freedom.

For the rest of a frenetic day, Pseudolus schemes to win Philia for Hero. The young people fall in love immediately upon meeting. But Philia has been sold to a great Roman captain, Miles Gloriosus.

During the day, both Senex and Domina return unexpectedly early from their trip to the country. Also making an unexpected return is Erronius, an old man whose house is also next door to Senex and Domina's house. Erronius has been abroad for 20 years, in seach of his twin children, a boy and a girl, who were stolen in infancy by pirates.

Eventually, after many complications, including Hysterium impersonating Philia (who Miles Gloriosus is told has died), all ends happily, with Hero winning the hand of Philia in marriage, and Erronius finding his long-lost twins, who conveniently turn out to be Philia and Miles Gloriosus. Hero frees Pseudolus, who manages to obtain for himself Gymnasia, his favorite courtesan from the house of Lycus.

The show is framed as a play being performed for an audience in Ancient Rome.

Trivia & History

Composer Stephen Sondheim's first attempt at an opening number was titled "Happy Endings." Then he wrote "Love is in the Air", which seemed to make everyone happy. Except Sondheim. About a month before rehearsals started, he started to feel it was the wrong opening number because it didn't tell the audience what the show was going to be like and he wrote "Invocation" to replace it. George Abbott, the show's director, didn't like "Invocation" so "Love Is in the Air" remained as the opening number when the show opened to an unenthusiastic reception in New Haven and then a disastrous reception in Washington, D.C.

During the Washington run, Jerome Robbins, who at one time had been slated to direct the show, was asked to help out. After seeing the show, Robbins told them that everything was fine but the opening number led the audience to have the wrong expectations of what the show was to be like. Sondheim wrote "Comedy Tonight", and Robbins staged it. Robbins did a good deal of restaging elsewhere as well, which he would eventually detail in a letter to the show's producer, Hal Prince, in which he demanded additional royalties for his work on the show.

As soon as "Comedy Tonight" went into the show — at the first preview in New York — audiences responded with uproarious laughter to the same lines and situations that earlier audiences had greeted with silence.

Other Titles

  • Amor al Revés es Roma (Mexican title)
  • Miles Gloriosus (source material)
  • Mostellaria (source material)
  • The Plautus Project (working title)
  • Pseudolus (source material)

Audio Clips

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