CMTS Revives a Broadway Classic
Written by Bwog Staff
It’s the end of Columbia’s week from hell—how are you celebrating? Before you set up camp in Butler and become a slave to a paper on some obscure post-modern art movement (or something else that will never help you in the “real world”), I suggest taking time to support Columbia theater. Columbia Musical Theater Society’s presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” proves to be an entertaining two hours of music, dance, and laughter—a perfect escape from the stress of finals.
Taking on “Forum” was a bit of a lofty goal for CMTS; not only is the show 48 years old, but the original was on Broadway and in 1963 won a Tony for Best Musical. But a talented group of actors, creative team, and production team, did their best to successfully revive the show for the Columbia audience.
Forum tells the tale of an eccentric slave named Pseudolus (played by the incredibly talented Chris Silverberg) who attempts to win his freedom by setting up his young master with the courtesan next door. Hilarity ensues as the plan runs into many unsuspected, and often silly, challenges including a large amount of mistaken identity and an even larger amount of falling to the floor. Silverberg was the perfect choice for the lead role as his presence on stage is magnetic and his beautiful voice successfully took on each of the songs he sang. The role of Hero was also very well cast as the ever-adorable David Offit was incredibly convincing in the role of a young clueless boy in love.
This show employs many classic devices of comedy, including a great deal of physical comedy. The actors fight, they fall, they run into each other, they run into walls, and they dance in silly ways that adds to the comedy. Choreographer Sara Miller did a fantastic job choreographing each dance routine, making sure that the routines for this comedy were light and fun while still maintaining traditional elements and complexities of dance. Actors Miriam Pensack (Hysterium), Chris Silverberg (Pseudolus), and Sam Mickel (Marcus Lycus) showcased some incredible skills as physical comedians and were often the most fun to watch. Pensack was especially hilarious and at times, I would argue, even managed to steal the show. Her comedic timing was spot on, especially when her character (a male servant) dressed up as a fake dead girl.
One of the only qualms I had with the show was with the set. I understand that the set was supposed to look cartoon-like and silly as Forum truly is a cartoon-ish show, but it came across as a little more elementary than it did cartoon-like. Forum is such a big production that it seems as though the set could have matched up a little better with the grandeur of the rest of the show.
Overall however, CMTS’s presentation of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” was completely worth the five-dollar admission and the two hour “study break” in Roone. See it tonight at 8 pm in Roone Arledge Auditorium for its last performance!