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July 5, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
The MU Repertory Theatre goes back in time twice this month. Performances of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Importance of Being Earnest will transport audiences to ancient Rome and Victorian England, respectively.
A Funny Thing Happened is a musical comedy featuring songs by Stephen Sondheim, who also wrote the music for shows such as Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd. It centers on Roman slave Pseudolus, played by Jonathan Buell, and his escapades as he tries to gain freedom. Tammy Mullins will make her first musical appearance as Pseudolus’ love, Gymnasia. James Miller will direct this spin on a Roman farce.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Where: Rhynsburger Theatre
When: July 5–7, 12, 14, 19, 25 and 27, 7:30 p.m.; July 8 and 22, 2 p.m.
Cost: $18, $16 seniors, $10 day-of student tickets
“There’s not a whole lot of morals in the show,” stage manager Christine Snyder says. “Mostly just hilarity ensues.”
The cast will wear colorful and eye-catching versions of customary Roman costumes. According to Snyder, the costumes will give a character-driven pop to the standard white toga with bright colors and accessories.
With an extra dose of decorum, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy of confusion and misidentification surrounding two men who take the pseudonym of Ernest. Zack Ruesler and Grant Watkins will play the male leads, Ernest-imposters Algernon and Jack. Rounding out the main cast are Maddie Byrne and Emma Rojas as Gwendolyn and Cecily, love interests of Algernon and Jack. Cheryl Black will direct the show, subtitled A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.
The Importance of Being Earnest will stick to the Victorian period in both costumes and setting. “It’s going to look beautiful,” Mullins, who is also a crew member in Earnest, says of the set. “In the works now, it already looks stunning and picturesque.”