Sometimes there’s nothing like the plight of a crafty slave in ancient Rome to make you cut loose and laugh out loud.
The Northumberland Theatre League will present Stephen Sondhiem’s Broadway musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” Friday and Saturday (Aug. 16-17) at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Northumberland Career and Arts Center.
“It’s hilarious,” said director and pianist Sharon Styer. “I’ve done this show three times before this, and I knew I had the people who would really bring this act to life.”
In collaboration with Heritage Restaurant at 52 N. Market St. in Shamokin, audience members are encouraged to stop in for dinner choices from among 15 new entrees, appetizers and desserts. Call 570-644-1724 for reservations.
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” tells the story of Pseudolus, a slave who conspires to earn his freedom by winning the hand of “a beautiful but slow-witted courtesan named Philia for his maser, Hero.” Toss in some time-tested comedic situations like puns, slamming doors and cases of mistaken identity, and you’ve got a farcical show that tempts you to chuckle, according to Styer.
“I sit there and laugh constantly,” she said.
David Kopitsky, who plays Senex, a hen-pecked Roman senator, agreed.
“The first time we read through it, I laughed out loud many times,” he said.
With songs like “Comedy Tonight” and “Everybody Ought to have a Maid,” the musical “gives seven individuals a chance to shine,” Kopitsky said. “Plus the ensemble gets involved as well.”
Most of the actors come from the Shamokin/Mount Carmel area, Styer said, with ages ranging from 14 to 70.
“So the audience will see a talent of all ages,” Kopitsky added.
Though the story is 2,000 years old, the irreverent humor somehow holds its appeal for modern audiences.
“They will have the most entertaining evening of, like, the whole year,” Styer said. “It will be a nice evening out. A funny evening out.”
The cast includes Tony Wondoloski as Pseudolus, David Kopitsky as Senex, Rose Zimmerman as Domina, Chris Olson as Hysterium, Trevor Taylor as Hero, Donnie Manley, Jr. as Erronius, David Wolfe as Lycus, George Zalar as Miles Gloriosus, Emma Dailey as Tintinabula, Katelyn Zawalick as Panacea, Molly Stevens and Samantha Stancavage as The Geminae, Barb Malick as Vibrata, Caycee Kalinoski as Gymnasia, Destiny Smith as Philea, Joshua Dombrowski and Blake Harris as Proteans, and Sandy Beaver-Krebs and Alma Kane as Passersby.