Area theater audiences will get the chance to see a comedy classic this month when the Croswell Opera House in Adrian stages “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
The musical features a score by Stephen Sondheim and a script by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, who was one of the creators of “M*A*S*H.” The Croswell’s production opens Friday.
“It’s one of those great Broadway shows that everybody needs to see once in a while,” said director Mark DiPietro. “If you’ve never seen it, it’s time. If you have seen it, it’s time to see it again.”
The show, set in ancient Rome, is a fast-paced comedy filled with both verbal humor and vaudeville slapstick. The performers come from across southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.
“We have a great cast, and the show is lots of fun,” DiPietro said.
Jared Hoffert of Ann Arbor plays Pseudolus, the role made famous by Zero Mostel on Broadway and in the 1966 film version. Pseudolus, a Roman slave, plots to win his freedom by helping his master win a beautiful courtesan who has already been promised to a vainglorious army captain.
Xavier Sarabia and Emily Hribar, both of Adrian, play Hero and Philia, the young couple whose unlikely romance forms the center of the plot. Ron Baumanis of Ann Arbor plays Hero’s father, Senex, with Julia Hoffert of Ann Arbor as Domina, his domineering wife.
John MacNaughton of Adrian plays Hysterium, the overworked and perpetually flustered slave of Senex and Domina. Cordell Smith of Riga plays Miles Gloriosus, the army captain who has purchased Philia to be his wife. Bill McCloskey of Monroe plays Erronius, an old man who wanders the hills of Rome searching for his vanished children.
Steve Kiersey of Brownstown Township plays Marcus Lycus, the owner of the house of courtesans, who are played by Jessica Adams of Adrian, Tara Althaus of Temperance, Madeline Auth of Blissfield, Jamie Buechele of Ottawa Lake, Beth Felerski of Bowling Green, and Sarah Nowak of Tecumseh.
John Bacarella of Monroe, Mark Hyre of Tecumseh and A.J. Howard of Adrian play the Proteans, three chorus members who play a variety of roles throughout the show, including slaves, soldiers, citizens, and eunuchs.
Jonathan Sills is the music director, leading a 17-piece orchestra, and Delle Clair is the choreographer. Costumes were designed by Meg McNamee and the scenic design is by Leo Babcock. Tiff Crutchfield is the lighting designer and Chris Goosman is the sound designer.
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opens Aug. 11 and runs for two weekends, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and Sunday shows at 2:30 p.m.
The Croswell is at 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian. Tickets range from $15 to $35 and may be ordered online at croswell.org.