Ancient Rome will ring with laughter when an enthusiastic group of local residents takes the stage next month in the Geneva Theatre Guild’s production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Appearing as Pseudolus, the slave who’s dream of freedom ignites the zany action, is Christopher Lee Bush of Williamson. Bush, an experienced actor has appeared in numerous shows, including Annie, Oliver, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound of Music, 1776 and Damn Yankees.
Penn Yan resident Ryan Bailey plays Hero, the young son of Pseudolus’ master. Bailey performed in last year’s GTG production of Gypsy and Penn Yan High School’s Into the Woods and Little Shop of Horrors.
Hero’s parents Senex and Domina are played by Shay Fitzpatrick of Victor and Nancy Caronia of Geneva. Fitzpatrick’s high school and college credits include Antigone, Lucky Stiff, West Side Story and The Crucible. Caronia, a professional writer, directed and acted in the GTG production The Red Coat, which was performed at the 2001 State Theatre Festival. Caronia received an outstanding acting award for her portrayal of Mary.
Emily Howard, of Newark, plays Philia, the love interest in the farce. Howard has performed in many college productions and locally in Bye Bye Birdie, Godspell, Carousel and Children of Eden.
The role of Hysterium, an aptly named slave, is played by Robert Dumas, of Penn Yan. Dumas was the assistant stage manager for GTG’s Gypsy last summer and has worked backstage for numerous Penn Yan High School productions and shows at the Smith Opera House. He acted in Little Shop of Horrors.
Two local favorites, Jim MacNeal, of Waterloo, and Paul Wenderlich, of Seneca Falls, appear as Erroneous, a befuddled neighbor and Lycus, a local flesh trader. MacNeal, a director and actor, has appeared in GTG’s Oliver and Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly and The Best Little Whore House in Texas.
Wenderlich, a veteran of numerous GTG productions, has also appeared in Twelve Angry Men, Damn Yankees and The Fantasticks. He was most recently the mayor in the award winning cast of Auburn Player’s Inherit the Wind.
The man-among-men warrior Miles Gloriosus is played by towering Richard Austin of Newark. He has performed in Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy and Children of Eden.
Appearing as the Proteans, an enterprising quartet who play various characters, are Elliot Fox, Geneva; Andrew Sloan, Newark; Tom Mastrangelo, Lyons; and Brian Pedersen, Palmyra.
Completing the cast are Emily Schuhle, Emily Cowles, Holly Pegues and Sarah TenEyck of Geneva; Melissa Bush, Bellona; Dorthea Sterling, Seneca Falls; Teri Kowiak, Fairport; Laura Black, Penn Yan; Katie Duprey, Phelps and Cyndi Park, Waterloo.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will be presented at 8 p.m. July 18 and 19, and at 2 p.m. July 20, at the Smith Opera House, 42 Seneca St., Geneva.
Tickets are on sale in Geneva at Don’s Own Flowers, Martin Music and the Smith Opera House; and in Seneca Falls at The Copy Shop. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for senior citizens and students; and $6 for children.