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Averitt STARS to perform Sondheims Forum
Musical comedy begins today in the Emma Kelly Theater
The cast for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” - photo by Special
    If you’re in the mood for a wild comedy,  get your tickets to the next Averitt STARS production “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” The play runs for two weekends — April 11–20 — in the Emma Kelly Theater.
    Forum is a Stephen Sondheim musical comedy set in Ancient Rome, where slaves were fashionable, virgins were regarded as objects to be conquered, and eunuchs were in abundance. The play spoofs traditional Roman stereotypes — corruption, immorality and violence — and uses these vices to create a hilarious farce.
    “This is really going to be a great play, full of humor and crazy antics,” said Executive Director Tim Chapman, laughing.
    As Prologus (Jeff Akins) warns everyone when he sings, “Comedy Tonight” — there’s something familiar, peculiar, appealing, appalling — something for everyone. True to form, audiences will be wowed with “Pantaloons and tunics! Courtesans and eunuchs! Funerals and chases! Baritones and basses.... And a happy ending, of course!”
    Slapstick antics are intrinsic in Forum, providing ample gags, puns, farcical characters, and broad comedic schtick. The most entertaining aspect in the play is the colorful characters. The play takes place on an ancient Roman street and follows the action into three houses.
    The first house is owned by Erronius (Richard Sussman), a “befuddled old man” searching for his children who were stolen by pirates.
    In the next, Lycus (Alan Tyson) operates a house of ill repute where he sells his lovely collection of courtesans who are appropriately named Tintinnabula (Stephanie Kea), Panacea (Alison Lyall), the Gemini twins (Marie Maciejewski and Rachel Godbee), Vibrata (Meagan van Buren) and Gymnasia (Kimberly Roman). The guardian eunuchs serve to accentuate the humor.
    In the third house is Senex (Glenn Spell) — a husband and father who finds himself at odds with his son, Hero (Stephen Mullinax), as they compete for the attentions of a young virgin named Philia (Jennifer Luikart Russell).
    “It’s all coming together to be a great show,” said director Jaime White.
    Theater goers can expect a great script and score, an outstanding cast, recognizable music with witty lyrics, eye-pleasing sets and lighting designs and top-notch direction that is sure to milk the puns, gags, lechery, and raucousness for every ounce of comedy. Expect “nothing that’s formal, nothing that’s normal,” except that this show has “something for everybawdy.”
    For more information and to order tickets, call the Averitt Center for the Arts, (912) 212-ARTS(2787), or visit the box office Tuesday — Friday between 1 and 5:30 p.m.
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