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Hillsboro Artists' Regional Theatre takes on 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.'

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Washington County actors rehearse for the upcoming play, 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,' for the HART Theatre on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. 
Every spring, the Hillsboro Artists' Regional Theatre likes to wrap up its season with a musical, and this year, it's the unforgettable Stephen Sondheim play, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

The tale takes audiences back to ancient Rome, as servant Pseudolus works toward freedom by helping his master win the heart of a woman, with lots of ups and downs along the way.

The title is a play on a line often used by vaudeville comedians to begin a story: "A funny thing happened on the way to the theater."

"It is really entertaining and funny," said Aaron Morrow, the show's director. "It makes no pretense to be anything other than a comedy. It's meant to have fun with, it's very well written. And the cast we have, if you walk in, you're going to leave with something you absolutely enjoyed. It's a comedy musical and isn't heavy. We want you to have a good time."

The cast is considered large for stage productions, with "A Funny Thing" showcasing the work of 21 actors and actresses coming from all over the county.

"All of them have important roles, and we don't have someone just show up and disappear," Morrow said. "Everyone is involved in the dance productions, as well as everyone has a line."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,' a musical comedy, is HART's last production for the 2018-19 season."A Funny Thing" takes slapstick to an elevated level, with mistaken identities, open and closed doors, and double takes.

"We want to respect the original material as much as possible, and we want to stay true to the 1962 Broadway version," Morrow said. "A lot of it is doing this at a level so great that people understand why this is a popular show."

Audiences will marvel at the set, which Morrow thinks is the best HART has ever created.

"The set is just beautiful to look at because it is set in ancient Rome," he said. "People are really going to enjoy it for that. Roman columns, marble-looking floors, it really is impressive."

By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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