Nancy Sasso Janis
Naugatuck Teen Theater is presenting 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' this weekend and next weekend at St. Michael's Parish Hall on Church Street, the location that has supported the group for the last 20 years. The musical comedy based on the plays of Plautus was written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (the creator of 'MASH') with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. This funny farce brings the audience back to ancient Rome with all the trappings.
Daniel Wagoner directed this talented group of teens and Christy Jerome DeLong did the great choreography. Matt Durland, who has worked at Goodspeed Musicals, was the music director and conducted the group of young musicians in the pit while playing piano. From the overture to the "Comedy Tonight" finale, they sounded great. Jeanine Pray was in charge of the Roman garb for the young actors and it was pretty impressively Roman.
The cast of young actors featured Dalton Ahern, a graduate of Old Saybrook High School who is working his way through college, in the leading role of Pseudolus the slave to Hero. Mr. Ahern used his considerable acting ability to bring this fun role to life. Naugatuck High School senior Michael Newman gave a shining performance in the role of Hero. His father Senex was played by Jacob Rogotzke, who was juggling lines for his performance last week in Pomperaug High School's Little Women. The lovely Rhiannon Carta, a high school senior from Bristol, took on the role of Hero's loud and demanding mother Domina; unfortunately, her character spent a good part of the first act visiting her mother offstage.
The couple's slave Hysterium was played hysterically by Woodland HS sophomore Lindsey Rosa, who also played one of the Courtesans. The other young women in appropriate revealing costumes were played by NHS junior Kayla Kusy, City Hill Middle School student Sydney Lauer in her NTT debut, NHS freshman Hanna Zeliantsova also in her NTT debut, and Eve DiAngelis of Watertown. Marcus Lycus, their buyer and seller, was well-played by NHS senior Alex Tenbrink. Vlada Kerus, a NHS freshman, played the lovely virginal but clueless Philia.
A very funny old man named Erronious was played with good comic timing by NHS sophomore Matthew Goggin. NHS sophomore Kathleen Dowling played a male warrior Marcus Gloriosous with Chase Collegiate eighth grader Kathleen Green, City Hill Middle School eighth grader Quentin LeBrecque and NHS freshman Emily Wilcox as the proteans. NHS junior Megan Jennings was the only member of the ensemble.
I enjoyed watching the hard work that these teens had put into this fun and fast-paced show. Congratulations to Naugatuck Teen Theatre on yet another excellent production. 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' continues next weekend May 8, 9 at 8:00pm and May 10 at 2:00pm.$5 for students, $15 for adults. St. Michael's Parish Hall, Naugatuck.