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'Tragedy Tomorrow, Comedy Tonight!' Is the Theme of Musical at SUNY Plattsburgh

SUNY Plattsburgh’s departments of music and theater will present Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,”  in the Hartman Theatre, Myers Fine Arts Building, Nov. 3-6, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Kim Hartshorn is the director and Karen Becker is the music director of a cast  not limited to theater and music students. Any student interested in acting and singing was welcome to audition.

“Part of the fun is bringing the campus community together,” Hartshorn said.

“The students have been working very hard to give people an enjoyable night out with a lot of laughs,” he said.

For theater students Steven Hebert of Waterford, N.Y., and Emily Madan of Morrisonville, both seniors, “Forum” marks their third and last musical at SUNY Plattsburgh.

The “Forum” cast will serve up plenty of jokes and musical numbers as Pseudolus, a crafty slave, struggles to win the hand of a beautiful but slow-witted courtesan, Philia, for Hero, his master, in exchange for freedom.

This play combines the music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart — creators of the television series, “Mash.” It premiered on Broadway in 1962 and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.

“People will recognize some of the songs, including ‘Comedy Tonight,’” Becker said. “This is indeed one of Broadway’s funniest musicals and still the perfect escape from life’s troubles.”

Assistant Professor of Theater Erika Grayson is the set and lighting designer.This is her first musical at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“Students of all ages and disciplines are involved in the show, whether on stage or behind the scenes, and that makes it fun,” she said.

The musical is set in the Roman era, but Grayson describes the set design as stylized.

“I guess, I would say that I guarantee some surprises, especially for those who are familiar with the show,” Grayson said.

Ticket prices range from $5 to $15 and are buy one, get one free for the Thursday performance only. They are currently available at Hartman Theatre Box Office and will be sold at the door. For more information, including box office hours, call 518-564-2283.

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