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Tragedy Tomorrow, Comedy Tonight!

Thursday, Jun. 05, 2014

cast members from the 2014 Lyric Rep production of 'Forum'
Comedy? Tonight? Cast from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" include (top left) Jonathan McBride (Senex), W. Lee Daily (Hysterium), (below left) Richie Call (Pseudolus) and Tyson Baker (Lycus).
Richie Call and W. Lee Daily from the Lyric Rep's production of 'Forum'
Richie Call (left) as Pseudolus and audience favorite W. Lee Daily (right) as Hysterium from the Lyric Rep production of 'Forum," which plays June 12-14 with additional select dates through Aug. 2 at the Caine Lyric Theatre in Logan.

The Old Lyric Repertory Company, part of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opening June 12 at the historic Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan.


With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (the award-winning writer of the film Tootsie and the M*A*S*H TV series), Forum made its Broadway debut in 1962.The Broadway production won several Tony Awards — including best musical, best book and best director — before being made into a 1966 film.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is one of Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpieces,” said Dennis Hassan, co-artistic director for the Lyric Rep. “It’s considered by many to be one of Broadway’s most successful productions.”


It starts with Pseudolus, a crafty slave trying to earn his freedom by helping his young master, Hero, with the hand of the beautiful but slow-witted courtesan, Philia. However, Philia is promised to another — the great Roman solider Captain Miles Gloriosus.


Directed by Vanessa Ballam and the kick-off production to the Lyric Rep’s 2014 season, Forum is a light, witty, fast-paced musical that takes comedy back to its roots. Forum combines situations and comedy from the Roman playwright Plautus with the energy and fast-pace of classic slapstick vaudeville.


Forum is a surprisingly complicated show, and I love a challenge,” said Ballam. “It’s great for the actors to flex their vaudevillian muscles and all while singing Sondheim’s lyrics and melodies. I’m working the cast very hard, this won’t be your traditional Forum in every sense, we have some tricks up our sleeves.”


Ballam first appeared on the Caine Lyric Theatre stage at the age of 5 in Ruth Call’s The Wizard of Oz. She recalls attending shows every season with her family and feels like directing Forum at the Caine Lyric Theatre is like coming home.


“I have had many opportunities to perform on the Lyric stage with Unicorn Theatre, Utah State University’s Department of Theatre Arts and with the Lyric Rep,” said Ballam. “There’s just something really special about the theater space itself — I’ve always felt that there’s an exciting and inspiring energy in there.”


A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum cast includes Camille Van Wagoner (Domina), W. Lee Daily (Hysterium), Nick Selting (Hero), Kayli Jackson (Philia), Richie Call (Pseudolus), Jonathan McBride (Senex), Tyson Baker (Lycus), Norm Schroder (Erronius), Wyn Moreno (Miles Gloriosus), Emilie Starr (Tintinabula), Kailin Vannatter (Panacea), Meg Campbell Clawson (Vibrata) and Sydnee Fullmer (Gymnasia), with Gordon Dunn, Jack Johnson, Chris Klinger and Lance Rasmussen (Proteans).


Opening the weekend of June 12-14, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum runs on select dates through Aug. 2. Evening curtain time is 7:30 p.m., with scheduled matinees at 2 p.m.


In addition to Forum, the 2014 season of Lyric Rep includes Tons of Money, The Musical of Musicals, The Musical and The Elephant Man.


For more information and tickets, visit the CCA Box Office located in room 139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s Logan campus, call 435-797-8022 or see the Production Services website. The box office is open from 9 a.m.–noon Monday through Friday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan at 28 West Center Monday through Friday 1-4 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain on show nights.


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Writer: Whitney Schulte, 435-797-9203, whitney.schulte@usu.edu

Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500, denise.albiston@usu.edu

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