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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Based on the plays of Plautus, this musical with a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart reveled in "low comedy" without playing off anachronisms. The plot concerned a young hero, named Hero, who has fallen in love with a courtesan from next door. He promises freedom to his slave, Pseudolus, in exchange for the girl. Out of the ordinary in that the songs' function was not to advance plot or illuminate character, but rather to give the audience a vaudevillian break from the breakneck pace of the farcical plot. Includes the songs "Comedy Tonight," and "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid."

Show Data

Original Broadway Production Info:

Opened May 8, 1962
Closed August 29, 1964
Ran 964 Performances
Theatre Alvin Theatre
Music Stephen Sondheim
Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
Book Burt Shevelove
  Larry Gelbart
  based on the plays of Plautus
Producer Harold Prince
Director George Abbott
Choreography Jack Cole
Set Designer Tony Walton
Costumes Designer Tony Walton
Lighting Designer Jean Rosenthal
Dance Music Arranger Hal Schaefer
Musical Direction Harold Hastings
Orchestrations Irwin Kostal
  Sid Ramin

Original Broadway Cast:

Prologus Zero Mostel
The Proteans Eddie Phillips
  George Reeder
  David Evans
Senex David Burns
Domina Ruth Kobart
Hero Brian Davies
Hysterium Jack Gilford
Marcus Lycus John Carradine
Pseudolus Zero Mostel
Tintinnabula Roberta Keith
Panacea Lucienne Bridou
The Geminae Elisa James
  Judy Alexander
Vibrata Myrna White
Gymnasia Gloria Kristy
Philia Preshy Marker
Erronius Raymond Walburn
Miles Gloriosus Ronald Holgate

Musical Numbers:

  1. Overture
  2. Comedy Tonight
  3. Love, I Hear
  4. Free
  5. The House of Marcus Lycus
  6. Lovely
  7. Pretty Little Picture
  8. Everybody Ought to Have a Maid
  9. I'm Calm
  10. Impossible
  11. Bring Me My Bride
  12. That Dirty Old Man
  13. That'll Show Him
  14. Lovely (reprise)
  15. Funeral Sequence
  16. Finale

Cut Songs:

  1. Love Is in the Air
  2. Love Story (Your Eyes Are Blue)
  3. Echo Song
  4. I Do Like You

Broadway Revival (1) Production Info:

Opened April 4, 1972
Closed August 12, 1972
Ran 156 Performances
Theatre Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
Music Stephen Sondheim
Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
Book Burt Shevelove
  Larry Gelbart
  based on the plays of Plautus
Producer Larry Blyden
Director Burt Shevelove
Choreographer Ralph Beaumont
Set Designer James Trittipo
Costumes Designer Noel Taylor
Lighting Designer H.R. Poindexter
Dance Music Arranger Hal Schaefer
Musical Direction Milton Rosenstock
Vocal Direction Milton Rosenstock
Orchestrations Irwin Kostal

Broadway Revival (1) Cast:

Prologus Phil Silvers
The Proteans Joe Ross
  Bill Starr
  Chad Block
Senex Mort Marshall
Domina Lizabeth Pritchett
Hero John Hansen
Hysterium Larry Blyden
Marcus Lycus Carl Ballantine
Pseudolus Phil Silvers
Tintinnabula Lauren Lucas
Panacea Barbara Brown
The Geminae Kerry McGrath
  Trudy Carson
Vibrata Keita Keita
Gymnasia Lisa Clarson
Philia Pamela Hall
Erronius Reginald Owen
Miles Gloriosus Carl Ballantine

Broadway Revival (1) Added Songs:

  1. Farewell
  2. Echo Song

Broadway Revival (1) Cut Songs:

  1. Pretty Little Picture
  2. That'll Show Him

Broadway Revival (2) Production Info:

Opened April 18, 1996
Closed January 4, 1998
Theatre St. James Theatre
Ran 715 Performances
Music Stephen Sondheim
Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
Book Burt Shevelove
  Larry Gelbart
  based on the plays of Plautus
Producer Jujamcyn Theaters
  Scott Rudin
  The Viertel-Baruch-Frankel Group
  Roger Berlind
Associate Producer Perseus Prod. LLC
Director Jerry Zaks
Asst. Director BT McNicholl
Choreographer Rob Marshall
Dance Captain Michael Arnold
Asst. Choreographer Sarah Miles
Set Designer Tony Walton
Costumes Designer Tony Walton
Hair Designer David H. Lawrence
Lighting Designer Paul Gallo
Sound Designer Tony Meola
Dance Music Arranger David Chase
Musical Direction Edward Strauss
Orchestrations Jonathan Tunick
Casting Johnson-Liff Associates
Production Manager Peter Fulbright
Production Stage Manager Arthur Gaffin
General Manager Dodger Productions

Broadway Revival (2) Cast:

Prologus Nathan Lane
The Proteans Brad Aspel
  Cory English
  Ray Roderick
Senex Lewis J. Stadlen
Domina Mary Testa
Hero Jim Staneck
Hysterium Mark Lynn-Baker
Marcus Lycus Ernie Sabella
Pseudolus Nathan Lane
Tintinnabula Pamela Everett
Panacea Leigh Zimmerman
The Geminae Susan Misner
  Lori Wener
Vibrata Mary Ann Lamb
Gymnasia Stephanie Pope
Philia Jessica Boevers
Erronius William Duell
Miles Gloriosus Cris Groendaal
Standby Pseudolus Bob Amaral
Understudies Cory English
  Kevin Kraft
  Jennifer Rosin
  MacIntyre Dixon
  Kenneth Kantor
  Ruth Gottschall
  Bob Amaral
  Patrick Garner
  Leigh Zimmerman
Swings Michael Arnold
  Kevin Kraft
  Amiee Turner
  Kristin Willis

Broadway Revival (2) Add Songs:

  1. The House of Marcus Lycus

Broadway Revival (2) Cut Songs:

  1. Pretty Little Picture

Film Information:

Release Date October, 1966
Released by Universal Artists
Screenwriters Melvin Frank
  Michael Pertwee
Cinematographer Nicolas Roeg
Music Stephen Sondheim
Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
Incidental Music Ken Thorpe
Producer Melvin Frank
Director Richard Lester
Production Designer Tony Walton
Costume Designer Tony Walton
Editor John Victor-Smith
Assembly Editor Richard Bryan
Sound Editors William Butler
  Don Challis
Art Director Syd Cain
Make-Up Trevor Crole-Rees
  Jose Marma Sanchez
Production Manager Miguel Gil
Sound Leslie Hammond
  Gerry Humphreys
Hair Stylist Bernadette Ibbetson
Assistant Director Jose Lopez Rodero
Special Effects Cliff Richardson
Music Editor Barry Vince

Film Cast:

Pseudolus Zero Mostel
Marcus Lycus Phil Silvers
Erronius Buster Keaton
Hysterium Jack Gilford
Hero Michael Crawford
Philia Annette Andre
Domina Patricia Jessel
Senex Michael Hordern
Gymnasia Inga Neilsen
Miles Gloriosus Leon Green
Vibrata Myrna White
Panacea Lucienne Bridou
Tintinnabula Helen Funai
The Geminae Jennifer Baker
  Susan Baker
Fertilla Janet Webb
High Priestess Pamela Brown
Guard Alfie Bass
Gladiator Instructor Roy Kinnear
Domina's Mother Beatrix Lehmann
Crassus Jon Pertwee
Roman Soldiers Frank Thornton
  Peter Butterworth
  John Bennett
  Andrew Faulds


  1. Original Cast Recording, 1962
    (Angel, ZDM 0777 7 64770 2 2)

  2. Original London Cast, 1963
    (EMI, 7243 5 65070 2 9)

  3. Original Film Soundtrack, 1966
    (United Artists Records, UAS 5144)

  4. Broadway Revival Recording, 1996


1963 Tony Awards - 7 nominations, 6 wins:

  1. Best Musical
  2. Best Producer (Harold Prince)
  3. Best Book (Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove)
  4. Best Director (George Abbott)
  5. Best Actor, Musical (Zero Mostel)
  6. Best Supporting Actor, Musical (David Burns)

1966 Academy Award - 1 nomination, 1 win:

  1. Scoring of Music Adaptation (Ken Thorpe)

1972 Tony Awards - 3 nominations, 2 wins:

  1. Best Actor, Musical (Phil Silvers)
  2. Best Supporting Actor, Musical (Larry Blyden)

1996 Tony Awards - 4 nominations, 1 win:

  1. Best Actor, Musical (Nathan Lane)

1996 Outer Critics Circle Award

  1. Best Director (Jerry Zaks)
  2. Best Actor in a Musical (Nathan Lane)

1996 Drama Desk Award

  1. Best Actor in a Musical (Nathan Lane)

Secondary performance rights handled by Music Theatre International

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