Happy Hour #57: Tragedy Tomorrow, Podcasting Tonight – ‘A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum’

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It’s back to Ancient Rome we go for Stephen Sondheim’s first solo outing as a composer/lyricist with ‘A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum.’ This time around the block Jimi and Tommy discuss whether farce and musical theatre are good bedfellows or whether one negatively impacts the effects of the other, the boys reveal the impact that the McCarthy era had on this show and they get ready to premier their new collective drag persona – Shéva LaVey.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (Original Broadway Cast)
Amazon / iTunes / Spotify


One of Jimi’s all-time favourite writers is Mr Larry Gelbart who wrote the very effective book for ‘Forum,’ but why not check out his own book – ‘Laughing Matters’ – filled with fascinating tidbits?

So whether it’s ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood,’ ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,’ or ‘A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum’ (these shows don’t like short titles do they?) – what do you think? Does farce work on a musical theatre stage? Do the songs slow down the action? Come and tell us what you think!

Sondheim is quite open about the fact he’s down on his lyrics for this show. You can get all of them, including Hero’s fantastic cut Echo song, in Sondheim’s collection ‘Finishing the Hat’ – a staple for every musical theatre household.

Ruthie Henshall and Carol Burnett are among the groups who have taken Forum’s songs and put them to good use outwith the confines of the show itself. Here they are in Putting it Together with their rendition of ‘Lovely.’

Also check out one of the campest songs in all of musical theatre, ‘Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,’ at Sondheim’s birthday concert at the Proms!

If you’ve not seen the film, we’re not going to make you watch it. But we’d be interested to hear what you think about it if you have – let us know over on Twitter! If you’re curious anyway, here’s the link.

And finally for your viewing pleasure, enjoy this clip of Zero Mostel being awkward in a tuxedo-cum-toga at the 1971 Tony Awards.


Sadly, the musical adaptation of this Young Adult novel does NOT star Keanu Reeves as the antagonist. What could it be?


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