This spring Broad Run High School will be performing "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It takes place during a spring day on a Rome street in 200 BC. The action is continuous with a single intermission. To come up with the script they researched 21 plays by the Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus (254-184 BC) and arrived at the musical comedy in a style that once made Roman audiences convulse with laughter. Their original story incorporates such typical, laugh-catching Platus characters as the conniving slave, the callow hero (named Hero), the doddering old man, the seductive courtesan, the lustful husband and his shrewish wife, and the macho warrior. The main character Pseudolus, a slave, must go through a series of outlandish adventures in an attempt to "get the girl" for the romantic lead (Hero) in order to gain his freedom.
In the original production as well as in both revivals, the actor who played Pseudolus won a Tony Award for Best Actor: (Zero Mostel in 1962, Phil Silvers in 1972, and Nathan Lane in 1996).
"Forum" is the first musical for which Stephen Sondheim wrote both lyrics and music, and endures as a solid piece of American musical theatre that enlivens and depicts several centuries of the theatre history.