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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To the Forum The Musical

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by: Burt Shevelove & Larry Gelbart

Recommended Resources

Plot Summary & Audition Tips

List of Characters in ... Forum

Forum Complete Script

Forum Complete Vocal Score

Forum Sheet Music (Vocal Selections)

Forum 1996 Broadway Revival Cast Rec.

Forum 1962 Original Broadway Cast Rec.

Forum MGM Film Soundtrack [Enhanced]

Forum 1966 Film Version

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is the first musical for which Stephen Sondheim wrote both the music and lyrics. The book is based on the comedies of the 3rd century BC Roman playwright Plautus, and is a unique combination of "Roman convention and American invention".

Hero makes a deal with his servant: the girl he loves, Philia, in exchange for freedom. Meanwhile, Pseudolus has to outsmart Hero's parents, the slave-master, Lycus, and the large man that has already paid for Philia, Miles Gloriosus. Also, an old man Erronious is desperately searching for his lost children. In the end, it turns out that Philia and Miles are brother and sister and the children of Erronious. Further, Philia is now allowed to marry Hero and Pseudolus gains his freedom.

Audition Preparation Suggestions for
A Funny Thing Happened
On The Way To The Forum

Compared to most other Sondheim musicals, the music in forum is fairly easy to learn and sing.

Most characters require light dancing ability, although certain characters (especially the courtesans) should have very strong dance skills. Performers who wish to play the role of Vibrata should have bellydancing experience.

During the song "Comedy Tonight" there are various references to tumblers, jugglers and other circus-type stuff. Having juggling and tumbling skills would definately be an asset.

Pseudolus/Prologus (Baritone, A - high G, 30-60)
A sneaky slave and playful prankster who desperately wants his freedom. Zero Mostel or Gene Wilder type.
Miles Gloriosus (Legit/Operatic Baritone, B - G#, 30 - 45)
An arrogant but strong warrior.
Domina (Mezzo, B - high F#, 40-55)
Dominating wife of Senex and ruler of the house.
Erronius (Baritone, 65-85)
A feeble old man searching for his son and daughter who were stolen by pirates.
Senex (Baritone, Bb - Gb, 60 - 75)
Hero's father. A lusty old man.
Marcus Lycus (Baritone, A - High E, 30-65)
The gullible buyer and seller of courtesans.
Philia (Soprano, B - high G#, 16 - 24)
A lovely but air-headed courtesan from Crete who belongs to the house of Lycus.
Hero (Tenor, B - G#, 17 - 25)
Pseudolus's handsome, innocent, kind master who is in love with Philia, a courtesan from the house of Lycus.
Hysterium (Baritone, C - High G, 35 - 65)
The fervent leader of the slaves.
Tintinabula, Vibrata, Panacea, The Geminae, Gymnasia (Mezzo, 16 - 25, dance)
Courtesans from the house of Lycus.
Courtesands and Proteans (Chorus, 16 - 65)

Forum Links - Related Websites

Audition Preparation Materials

List of Songs in ...Forum (Click the song title to download digital sheet music)

Sondheim Guide/Forum

Click on the name of the song for digital sheet music.

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