Review: 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at The Muny
It was defiantly 'comedy tonight' as a funny thing happened in this production at The Muny. Actor Peter Scolari arrived in St. Louis and was introduced to our wonderful weather, which includes high amounts of allergies. After a few days of fighting through rehearsals, his voices gave out. But this is The Muny and magic happens at every performance. A call went out to Jeffrey Schecter, who had just arrived home from St. Louis after a successful run as 'Scuttle' in Disney's The Little Mermaid. With just a few days Schecter took over the role of 'Pseudolus'. Script in hand he commanded the stage. It was mentioned before the show during the pre-show talk from Artistic Director Mike Isaacson and once during (there is a line where Pseudolus admits he is illiterate, except for the script in his back pocket), but the crowd had heard the news and was excited to see what would happen. There was no need to worry. Personally, I only noticed two parts where he needed the script while delivering the line and one where he was looking at it to get ready for an upcoming scene.
The cast was top notch. John Tartaglia (Hysterium) brought the physical comedy and the wit. The audience was laughing and hanging on every word. Mark Linn-Baker (Senex) was charming and funny. Ali Ewoldt (Philia) has a beautiful voice and really made the character her own. Marrick Smith (Hero) and Nathaniel Hackmann (Miles Gloriosus) both had a great sense of humor. The 'Protean' trio of Marcus Choi, Justin Keys, and Tommy Scrivens were masters of the quick change covering many parts, some times in the same scene.
Mara Blumenfeld (costumes) were stunning and colorful. Choreography by Alex Sanchez was beautiful as each of the neighbors were introduced to 'Pseudolus'.
In recent seasons I have been surprised with the selections of shows. Many are not 'family friendly', which was a mission for The Muny in past years. Not that there has been anything to censor, but for those who do not research and bring children there may be surprises. I personally have never had an issue, but I have had to start my favorite game of 'who is coming back after intermission?'. In a few weeks 'a chorus line' opens and I am already drafting a response to parents who can not handle 'dance 10, looks 3'
Check out muny.org for more show and ticket information for the remaining shows this season. Photo: Phillip Hamer