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Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

This is the first time I have seen a musical at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. It's really pretty awesome. The audience, me included, laughed all the way through the show.

The play is very typical farce. I'd love to learn how playwrights structure a farce so that different strands of subplot always end in a big blowout in the climax. According to the playbill, A Funny Thing ... was almost dead after it premiered in Washington, before going on Broadway, because they couldn't come up with a satisfying ending. Yet somehow they wrung an ending out of it just in time. Yet again real life can be more dramatic than drama.

This was done very early in Sondheim's career, right after he wrote the lyrics to "West Side Story." The work here is clearly more funny and less bittersweet than his later products. Crowd pleasing.

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