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Oct. 1, 2012

Contact David Gardiner at 608-796-3790 or 


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Viterbo University will present the very popular Broadway musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Friday, Oct. 12–Sunday, Oct. 14 in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

Inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a hilarious story in which crafty slave Pseudolus struggles to win the hand of a beautiful courtesan, Philia, for his young master Hero in exchange for his freedom. It is filled with witty one-liners, puns, phrases with double meanings, and cases of mistaken identity. The book is by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical was originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince.

“When selecting works to perform on the main theatre stage, we look for plays with a broad audience appeal and title recognition, and which enhance our student performers’ training,” said David Gardiner, Viterbo theatre and music theatre department faculty member, who is directing the production. “Musicals always do well, and Viterbo has many very talented music theatre students.”

Viterbo’s production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will be presented in a Vaudeville style, giving it a distinctive character different than many audience members have seen performed at the high school level, Gardiner said. The music director is music department faculty member Nancy Allen, who will conduct the pit band, rather than the traditional Broadway orchestra. The set designer is theatre and music theatre department faculty member Frank Ludwig and the costume designer is Viterbo alumnus Bryce Turgeon.

“We have terrific talent in the performers, and the production is very colorful,” Gardiner said. “It will be a treat for the eyes as well as the ears.”

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum stars Viterbo students Jennie Butler as Philia, Joey Miller as Hysterium, Jhardon Milton as Pseudolus, and Charles Ward as Miles. It is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. The media sponsor for this production is Soft Rock 101.1 FM KHME. Holiday Inn & Suites is the hotel sponsor.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12–13 and 2 p.m. Oct. 14. Tickets are $22 for main floor, $19 for lower balcony, and $16 for upper balcony seating. For more information or to order tickets, contact the Viterbo box office at 608-796-3100 or visit 


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