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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ set in Abrams

Critic At Large

Abrams Spotlight Productions

Show image.

ABRAMS, Wis. (WFRV) – Abrams Spotlight Productions will present the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” in eight performances starting this week.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Sept. 16-18; 1 p.m. Sept. 19, 7 p.m. Sept. 23-25; and 1 p.m. Sept. 26 in Nancy Byng Community Theatrer. Info: abramspotlightproductions.com.

The show is by Stephen Sondheim (famous for many Broadway shows), Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (famous for many TV comedies).

According to the troupe’s Facebook site: Due to COVID-19 concerns, the opening night gala with free food and beverages has been canceled. “Abrams Spotlight Productions is taking extra precautions at this time to keep everyone safe while still bringing you a fantastic production,” it says.

Audiences are transported to ancient Rome to follow Pseudolus, a slave who seeks to win his freedom by uniting his master, Hero, with the one whom his heart desires, courtesan Philia. FYI: The course of true love never runs smooth.

The show is inspired by the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, known for his comedic farces. In 1963, the original Broadway musical was a Tony winner for Best Musical and Best Author.

Directing is Wayne Strei, who has wide experience on stage, writing about it and teaching in the performance realm. He once played the role of Pseudolus. Assistant director is Abby Frank.

The cast features Elizabeth Jolly as Pseudolus, who is sly, conniving and willing to do anything for freedom.

The cast also includes Mike Eserkaln (Lycus), Will Knaapen (Miles Gloriosus), TJ Hock (Hero), Abby Frank (Philia), Preston Pelegrin (Hysterium), Bob Maloney (Erronius), Ali Carlson (Domina), Bobby Buffington (Senex); courtesans played by Chloe Jansen (Titinabula), Maggie Monte (Gymnasia), Maggie Dernehl (Vibrata), Ellie Finger and Betsy Finger (The Geminae Twins); and

Kevin Kuhn (Soldier), McKenna Coffey (Soldier), Sydney Eserkaln (Protean) and Sydney Surber (Protean).

The musical is famous for a line from its opening number: “Something for everyone, a comedy tonight.”

The production is rated “PG” for adult material.

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