Teen theater to present musical comedy

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Members of the Naugatuck Teen Theater rehearse a scene from the theater’s upcoming production of ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ at St. Michael’s Church. The production opens on Saturday.  –CONTRIBUTED
Members of the Naugatuck Teen Theater rehearse a scene from the theater’s upcoming production of ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ at St. Michael’s Church. The production opens on Saturday. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Teen Theater will take audience members on a trip back to ancient Rome.

The theater’s adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opens Saturday.

“This musical is based in some of the farces by Plautus, a roman playwright,” director Daniel Wagoner said. “It’s a show full of silly puns, a bunch of mistaken identities, and a commentary of social classes in the Roman times.”

The musical focuses on Pseudolus, a slave, as he tries to win his freedom by helping his master, Hero, win the heart of Philia.

“The kids have been working very hard on this show. They’ve learned a lot about a different style of comedy than what they are used to seeing in the movies and on TV. There is a lot more physical comedy than what they are used to,” Wagoner said.

Wagoner said the comedy is closer to the style commonly associated with Vaudeville rather than typical musicals.

For half the cast this musical will be a new experience.

Nine of the 18 actors in this production are new to the Naugatuck Teen Theater, Wagoner said.

“They’re all talented, but some of them have some above and beyond natural talent,” Wagoner said.

The new members have been able to fit right in.

“They picked it up and they learned it quick. They have positive attitudes. They are willing to try new things and it’s going really well,” Wagoner said.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opens Saturday at 8 p.m. at St. Michael’s Parish Hall, 210 Church St.

The theater will also present the show May 3, May 9 and May 10 at 2 p.m., and May 8 and May 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the door.

“It’s a very funny show. It’s a good way to spend two hours in the evening and get some entertainment,” Wagoner said.

The theater is also opening up its dress rehearsal Friday at 8 p.m. for free for any area middle school students that want to watch and see what the theater is all about. The showing also provides the actors a chance to do a final rehearsal in front of a live audience.

“The main reason is to expose our program to younger kids in area. We’re always looking for kids to join us,” Wagoner said. “Letting them come see the show is a good way to introduce and see how much fun it could be.”