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Fast-paced comedy opens Friday

Karel Ancona-Henry
For the Nevada Appeal
Karen Chandler/For the Nevada AppealMiles Glorioso (Tony Windisch), center left, listens to Pseudolus (Jody Paslov) who is trying to pass off the reclining Hysterium (Corey Stockton) as the bride who has died of plague.
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Now in its 5th season, Brewery Arts Center’s Performing Arts Collaborative brings “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” to the center’s outdoor amphitheater. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 23, with additional performances July 24, 25, 30, 31 and Aug. 1.

“We have an amazing cast with Jody Paslovo as Pseudolus, the slave who is trying to win his freedom,” said Karen Chandler, director.

Featuring music by Steven Sondheim and written by Larry Gelbart, who has many screenplay credits and was one of the primary creators of and writers for the television series “Mash.” “A Funny Thing Happened,” takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2000-year-old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus with the energy of classic vaudeville.

“This production showcases great music and that same, fast-paced humor,” Chandler said.

Audience members will be treated to an incredibly talented line-up, including such favorites as Corey Stockton in the role of Hysterium.

“Corey is a company regular and such a phenomenal, funny, physical actor,” Chandler said. “And we also have Steve Meyer and Mike Rapisora, who are both Nevada Opera performers.”

Other notables include Andie Anderson, who not only plays the role of Philia, but has served as company manager and choreographer for this production, June Joplin, owner of Comma Coffee as Domina and accompaniment by Andy Sonnemaker, musical director for Nevada Opera.

“Besides being funny and fast, it’s so bright and beautiful,” she said. “And our set changes function very well … we are so ready.”

Finding a play that translates well to an outdoor venue is a unique process, Chandler said, explaining that everything from set design, lighting, to costuming considerations went into deciding what production to mount for this season.

“There are other things we have to consider when putting together a summer stock, outdoor performance,” she said. “We considered doing “Oliver” but the costumes are dark and heavy and we couldn’t put people on stage in hot weather dressed like that … not to mention the (story) is rather heavy.”

Due to financial considerations and that outdoor restriction, finding a way to streamline set changes and have them be effective and dramatic is a challenge, with simplicity being key. Lighting and how it will play in an early evening performance is also taken into account.

“‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ is a story that takes place in a 24-hour period and is perfect, light summer fare and the entire cast is dressed in togas,” she said. “It just translates well.”

Chandler brought her costume design and sewing skills to bear, creating an explosive rainbow of color.

“My mother taught me to sew and when I started in theater, I was able to get my foot in the door by doing costume design and would eventually be cast in roles,” she said. “And I have that skill to bring to community theater.”

Light refreshments and beverages will be available, but theater-goers are welcome to take a picnic, Chandler said, adding that despite rising costs, ticket prices are the same.

“We’ve tried to design it so that a couple can go out for an evening for (less than) $50,” she said. “We’ve refused to respond to rising costs keeping the economy in mind. So far we’ve been able to do that.”

Tickets cost $18 for general admission and $15 for students, seniors and BAC members and can be purchased in advance at breweryarts.org or at the gate. For more information, call 775-883-1976. BAC is located at 449 W. King St., Carson City.