“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at Wick Theatre

Posted on 13 October 2015 by JLusk

Christopher Brand, Whitney Winfield and Ken Jennings

Christopher Brand, Whitney Winfield and Ken Jennings. Photo by Amy Pasquantonio.

By Rachel Galvin

Offering plenty of fast-paced frivolity, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opened Oct.1 at The Wick Theatre. The musical, which runs until Nov. 1, stars Broadway actor Ken Jennings, who keeps the action going with his antics, sometimes breaking the fourth wall with some Improv.

Jennings plays a cunning and creative slave, Pseudolus, who attempts to please his young master, Hero, in exchange for his freedom. Hero has fallen for the dim-witted courtesan next door, Philia, and hopes his loyal slave will secure her for him. But Philia has been sold to another. Meanwhile, Hero’s father has returned from a trip alone without his nagging mother and has an eye for Philia, too. There are many conflicts, many disguises and plenty of deceit in this madcap comedy. No set changes were needed as all the action took place between three well-crafted houses. The wardrobe helped add to the production value.

While Jennings was the focus, Michael Ursua, as Hysterium, had some great moments, as well as the rest of the ensemble cast. One of the highlights of the show is the great choreography of the “dancing” courtesans. Scantily clad, these ‘long, tall drinks of water’ show off their flexibility much to the delight of Pseudolus. Chris Brand, as Hero, and Whitney Winfield, as Philia, are perfectly adorable and make a perfect couple. The three Proteans, Wesley Slade, Brian DiRito, and Ronen Bay, were great comic relief in their various renditions, although it was Erronius’ (Troy Stanley) appearances that brought some of the biggest laughs. Michael Scott, as Senex, held his own subtlety, while actors like Jim Ballard (Miles Gloriosus), Dennis Setteducati (Lycus) and Erika Amato (Domina) gave more robust performances.

This was the kickoff to the Wick’s Season 3. They are already selling tickets also for the next show, which is “Hello Dolly,” opening Nov. 5, starring Broadway’s Lee Roy Reams, as Dolly Levi, and Lewis J. Stadlen as Horace Vandergelder.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.thewick.org. Check out their five-star restaurant too!


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