When in Hobart do as the Romans do?

Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was recently voted the “Funniest Musical of All Time” by the readers of New York’s prestigious magazine Entertainment Weekly.

With music and lyrics by Sondheim and the book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, Forum is a filled with laughs as many of the traditional comedic conventions are put into play with mistaken identities, plans going awry and doors being slammed. The production satirises society and sends up theatre itself with reflections not only of traditional Roman theatre, but also that of Italian Commedia dell’Arte and the USA’s Vaudeville; the title of the show itself coming from a traditional comedian’s line of “a funny thing happened on the way to the theatre.”
The multi-award winning musical (including several Tony Awards with its initial 1962 Broadway run) revolves around three households in ancient Rome and their inhabitants, namely the slave Pseudolus and his ambitions of freedom. Pseudolus plots to help his master Hero acquire the love of a young lady, and will go to any lengths to ensure that this happens.

John Xintavelonis, of The Lion King and Billy Elliot fame will be returning to Tasmania after being involved in Threepenny Opera in Sydney to headline and produce this fabulous production. Joining him on stage will be a selection of Hobart’s finest comedic, musical theatre performers in Craig Wellington, Paul Levett, Andrew Colrain, Jeff Michel, Di Richards, Ben Paine, Imogen Moore, Daryl Peebles, Rob Manion, Rhys Johnson, Casey McCrickard, Cassie le Fevre, Karen Joyce, Kerri-Louise Hooper, Kristy Cleary, Kate Bennett and Georgia Blizzard.

Add to this stellar on-stage line-up an excellent creative team including Director:  Robert Jarman; Lighting Designer: Tim Munro; Musical Director: Ian Williams; Stage/Production Manager: Jen Cramer; Choreographer: Michelle Williams; Set Creation: Jon Bowling; Costume Creation:  Roz Wren …. and a 25-piece orchestra comprising Hobart’s finest musicians, and we have all the ingredients for a memorable night of some of the best theatrical entertainment you will see this side of Broadway!

Twelve shows only: Tuesday to Saturday 11 – 22 October 2011 (including two Saturday matinees).

Make sure you book early.  Call the Theatre Royal on 6233 2299 or visit www.theatreroyal.com.au

By Justan Wagner