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Roman comedy comes to Willsboro stage

WILLSBORO - The Willsboro Drama Club is gearing up to present their version of Broadway's most famous toga party, complete with music and dancing.

A cast of 25 students and two adults will perform the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," Nov. 11-14, at Willsboro Central School.

"Forum," one of Sondheim's most lighthearted comedies, tells the farcical story of a Roman slave named Psudolus who tries to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. They carry out half-baked plans using potions, disguises, and fake funerals, lending to an almost constant barrage of situational comedy and witty one-liners.

Willsboro teacher Derrick Hopkins, who directs the production, has an affinity for Sondheim musicals, and chose this one for its superb, witty humor.

"I wanted something really funny and there is no musical out there funnier than Forum," said Hopkins. "I knew I'd have a strong core of actors, and Forum allows me to feature many students."

The 1962 Broadway show features some very recognizable songs, including "Comedy Tonight," "Lovely," and "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid."

As a new addition this year, piano accompaniment for the singing students will be bolstered by a small pit orchestra.

"I know that Willsboro's new music teacher and our music director, Jennifer Moore, is very enthusiastic about providing our students with the opportunity to sing with a variety of instruments this production," said Hopkins.

Many of the actors in the show have experience on stage. All but three of the cast members have performed in past WDC productions.

"I'm most proud of the students," said Hopkins. "It has been a difficult process learning the nuances of farce in such a short time and they have really stepped up to the challenge."

Antonette Knoedl has been assisting with choreography for the show, which has been in rehearsal since late August. The technical director is Nikki Hilchey with additional technical support by Margaret and Joey Dumar.

Shows are scheduled for Nov. 11-13, at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee slated for Nov. 14. General admission is $10 per person.

Ticket sales from the show will be used to offset the costs of production, and any proceeds left over will go towards an Elementary musical production of "Sleeping Beauty" planned for next spring.

For more information, or to reserve a ticket, call 963-4456 ext. 400 or e-mail tickets@willsborocsd.org.

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