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'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum'

February 06, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- The personalities of musically inclined students were the driving force behind the selection of this year's musical—"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

"I thought about the lead characters I might have in the show and their personalities and I thought they could do it," said Director Debbie Sebetic. "We have a lot of light-hearted and funny kids. Extremely funny."

A cast of about 40 students will perform "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," at 5 p.m., Feb. 21 and at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22-23, at the Brandon High School Performing Arts Center, 1025 S. Ortonville Road.

The musical tells the story of Pseudolus, a slave in ancient Greece who tries to win his freedom by assisting his young master in courting the girl next door. Sebetic calls the story, featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, "bawdy and a little on the PG side."

"There is a lot of depth and creative things they can do in this," she said. "They have to be able to deliver the lines and create the humor. We get into puns and comedy."

Taylor Manfroni, 17, plays the role of Philia, one of the main characters. The BHS senior pursued the role because although she is a brunette who takes advanced placement classes, her friends call her a "dumb blonde" as she has a tendency to be clumsy and quirky.

"My character doesn't know how to count or spell and she has one talent," said Manfroni, who then sings, "I'm lovely!"

"I'm Lovely" is just one of 22 songs featured in the musical, which begins with the melody, "Comedy Tonight," a fitting song for all that follows.

Joel Cornea, a BHS senior, plays the role of Pseudolus' best friend, Hysterium, a name which he said literally describes his character. He believes Sebetic chose him for the role after he played the White Rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland." Both characters, he said, are crazy. In "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," he will at one point have to dress up as a girl.

"I'm not comfortable with that at all, but it's OK," he sighed. "The things I do for this musical."

One scene that Cornea is looking forward to and calls his most memorable, will be the one in which he sings, "I'm Calm," in which he is anything but.

"It's basically me freaking out by myself on stage," said Cornea. "I sing the song while trying not to pull out every hair on my head."

Sebetic believes audiences will appreciate the romantic comedy that gets a little complex for the characters, but is "light, mindless entertainment."

Cornea said the musical is perfect for those who love to laugh.

"It plays to someone who doesn't mind cracking up—for that loud, laughing couple in the theater."

Tickets for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" can be purchased for $8 for the early show on Feb. 21, or $10 for the Feb. 22 and 23 performances. Tickets are available at the door, or can be purchased in the PAC lobby from 4-6 p.m., Feb. 13-15, and Feb. 18-19. Details: Sherri Morlock at 248-425-4780.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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