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Wednesday, February 24, 1999

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," On Stage Beginning Mar. 5

SALISBURY, MD--Salisbury State University Theatre with the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra presents the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," opening Friday, March 5, in Holloway Hall Auditorium.

Based on the classic works of Plautus, one of ancient Rome's most famous comic playwrights, "Forum" has been a hit on both stage and screen. When it was originally presented on Broadway in 1962 with a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Forum won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book. The 1966 film version starred Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers and Buster Keaton. Broadway revivals in 1972 and 1996 earned Tony Awards for Silvers and Nathan Lane respectively, for their comic portrayals of Pseudolus, the slave passionately desiring to be free.

Set in the streets of ancient Rome, "Forum" takes place over the course of a single day, in front of three neighboring houses, one of ill-repute. Pseudolus, a slave trying to win his freedom, is given the task of secretly arranging his master's marriage to the virgin prostitute next door who is promised to another. Pseudolusās attempts are repeatedly stymied by ineptitude, lust, cross-dressing, mistaken identities and general buffoonery.

The waggish score includes such Sondheim favorites as "Comedy Tonight!" "Everybody Ought To Have a Maid," and "Iām Lovely."

"Forum" is directed by Dr. T. Paul Pfeiffer, who was responsible for SSU Theatreās production of "Twelfth Night" last season and the 1997 Sondheim musical, "Into the Woods." Dr. Thomas G. Elliot conducts the SSO.

Scenic designer Gerald Patt is creating a comic replica of the infamous Roman street. Lighting is by Tony Broadbent and costumes by Jocelyn Wright. Choreography is by Martha Pfeiffer, who has directed several successful musicals for MAC, Inc. Musical director is Dr. Michael Weber, SSU choral director who has served as musical director for some two dozen shows at the Victoria College, TX, theatre and Grand Forks, ND, Summer Performing Arts Co.

The cast is led by Brandon Palm in the role of Pseudolus. Others include Joshua Knapp as Hysterium, Dan Kim as Marcus Lycus and John Carlson as Miles Gloriosus. Dr. Darrell Mullins of the Communication Arts Dept., who also has extensive musical theatre credits, along with Cara Dustmann portray the dysfunctional married couple, Senex and Domina. Kate Montero and Gregg Pica are the sincere if not-too-bright young lovers.

"Forum" is Friday-Saturday, March 5-6, and Wednesday-Saturday, March 10-13, at 8 p.m. with matinees Sundays, March 7 and 14, at 2 p.m. General admission is $10, senior citizens $8. For reservations call the SSU Theatre Box Office at 410-543-6228


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