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Broadway Memories: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Written By | Nov 9, 2017

MISSOURI, November 7, 2017 ⏤ Years ago,  I saw the Broadway play  “A Funny Thing Happen on the way to the Forum”, starring Zero Mostel and written by American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

I had always been a fan of musical theater⏤I am an old guy⏤ growing up with stars like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, Gene Kelly, Mario Lanza, Bing Cosby and Frank Sinatra. While I have enjoyed musicals on the big and little screen, a live musical is truly entertaining.

Broadway: Entertainment like no other

At my first big Broadway show, I was amazed by the acting and singing. Zero Mostel and the supporting cast were outstanding. I saw this musical in the late 60’s and to this day, if I concentrate, I can hear the song “A Comedy Tonight”, the introduction to the musical.

The musical was based on the works of ancient Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus, who gave us some of the earliest examples of Roman literature. Zero Mostel played Maccius’ eponymous musical star  Psedolus, Simo’s chief slave.

Most of the singing included dialogue in support of the storyline. The music was mostly background for the action and for the dancing. The music was structured to reflect elements of drama and comedy. It was integral to the story line, not just decoration.

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How do I remember the play so clearly after so many years? The music combined with the lyrics and dancing worked together to create images both memorable and beautiful.

Not just on Broadway: Live music is entertainment

Playbill: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

The play began its Broadway run in 1962; in 1966, Richard Lester directed a film starring most of the Broadway cast. It failed, in my opinion.

When it comes to musicals, only live performances can fully bring the entertainment to the audience.

Years later we went to a local theater, Stages, that featured aspiring actors, dancers, and singers. The music and dancing brought all the joy of the musical to the theater; it was a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

Today we rely on the musical movies that we have taped over the years to jog our memories of the musical spectacles that we enjoyed on stage.

They bring tears to our eyes, but as “Old Blue Eyes” sings, “That’s Life”.

I think we spent our youth in the greatest era of our time; that’s my opinion.

However, that’s a time and place I am from-

Charles Vandegriff, Sr.

Charles spent a fifty-four-year career in technology, retiring at the director level from three major corporations. Followed by three-plus years as a freelance columnist, he has published three books, made over three hundred speeches to senior organizations, and been involved in numerous radio interviews and one television commercial. He has been married for sixty-five years, and has four children, seven grandchildren and thirteen great-grand children. Charles is also a Navy veteran.