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Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage A Funny Thing Happened on The Way To the Forum

By • Sep 15th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage’s production of A Funny Thing Happened on The Way To the Forum [MP3 5:25 2.5MB].

Laura: This is the review of A Funny Thing Happened on The Way To the Forum. Performed by Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We saw the opening night performance.

Mike: This was a funny show. I’ve seen this show before and had high expectations. They did a pretty good job with it.

Laura: I really liked it also. I thought it was funny, with lots of energy. There were some opening night jitters, but overall they did a good job. It always amazes me how well they can do on that small stage at the Arts Barn.

Mike: I was really concerned by the small stage. The other times I’ve seen this show, it’s been a nice expansive stage with sets that are multi level. They had a short multi-level scene for a window that they could look out. For the rest of it they used the entire area. They used the side aisles of the seating at the Arts Barn. They used the main door entrance as one of the houses that’s in the show. That was great. I really liked how they did that.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum is a musical comedy. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbert. The show tells the bawdy story of a slave named Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. The plot displays many classic elements of farce, including puns, a two-tiered set with many doors, cases of mistaken identity (frequently involving characters disguising themselves as one another), and satirical comments on social class.

Laura: Pseudolus the slave was played by Jack Stein. He was quite the conniver. His main goal was to win his freedom. He was going to do that using ethical or non-ethical means. I liked his portrayal. He had a lot of energy and was very funny.

Mike: He had a great song sung with Hero called “Free.” That was where he was defining what would happen if he were to gain his freedom from his master. The light effects in that were pretty good. Stars would flash every time the word free was mentioned. Lighting effects were designed by Meng Chiao. I think he did a great job with that effect.

Hero, Pseudolus’ master, was played by Mark Hamberger. He did a good job as well. He was innocent. He was in love with one of the courtesans next door. That of course caused some conflicts because his mother did not want him to be in love yet. He had some conflict pretty early on. I think he did the role pretty well.

Laura: Hero did do a good job. To me he seemed kind of wimpy. It was as if he were living in a glass bubble. Everything was kind of hunky dory. He wasn’t quite sure about the outside world. Unlike Pseudolus who was quite open to everything going on around him. He still did a good job. He had a nice singing voice.

Philia the courtesan, played by Hannah Willman, who was originally owned by a captain who was played by James Raby. She was very pretty and had a nice singing voice. She was innocent to the point of being ditzy. She also did a good job. She was very sweet and very kind of walking through the clouds and whatever happened happened.

Mike: She was a really good match with Hero. I think they were a nice couple. Hysterium was the other slave that was owned by Hero’s family. Hysterium was played by Brandon Mitchell. He had a fun part because he was serious and was going to keep everything together and do whatever the master’s wanted. Five minutes into the show all that was gone out the window. The whole show he was running around crazy and reacting. I think he did a pretty good job as well.

Laura: A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Forum was actually a fairly large cast. You had some people doubling up on roles, but on that small stage they really made enough room for everybody. The dance numbers I thought were really well done.

Mike: They were a little bit cramped on the sides, they may have had a little bit of stumbling there. To a point that was expected because it was a farce. It didn’t really detract too much. Some of the lighting effects I wasn’t really happy with. It took me a little while to figure out that they were referring to an aside. They used the overall area really well.

Laura: The show was about two hours and twenty minutes long with one intermission. This is a fun show, not necessarily for small children. There were some double entendres that were pretty bawdy. It would be good for high school and above.

Mike: It’s playing at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn through Sunday the 30th of September, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 and Sunday’s at 2 on the 23rd and the 30th.

Laura: If you’ve seen this show we’d love to hear your comments. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list. Simply go to

Mike: And now, on with the show.


  • Pseudolus: Jack Stein
  • Senex: Micky Goldstein
  • Domina/Protean: Nikki Arbiter-Murphy
  • Hero: Mark Hamberger
  • Philia: Hannah Willman
  • Hysterium: Brandon Mitchell
  • Marcus Lycus: Micah Jensen
  • Miles Gloriosus: James Raby
  • Erronius/Protean: Eric Scerbo
  • Gymnasia/Protean: Megan McGill
  • Protean: Brian Rubiano
  • Production: Robin Covington
  • Direction: Robin Covington
  • Music Direction: Amy Martin
  • Assistant Everything: Kevin Garrett
  • Set Design/Construction: Mark Edwards
  • Costume Design: Robin Covington
  • Lighting Design: Meng Chiao
  • Lighting Assistant: Chris Curtis
  • Board Operation: Brian “BC” Campbell
  • Sound Design: Kevin Garrett
  • Painting & Properties: kG-Ro, Co.
  • KAT 2nd Stage Production Liaison: Donna Jean Garrett


  • Flute: Myonnie Bada
  • Cello: Katie Chambers
  • Percussion: Arthur Garrison
  • Electric Bass: Tedd Magsig
  • Piano: Amy Martin
  • Clarinet: Rose Welch
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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