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'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' wraps Totem Pole's 2016 season

FAYETTEVILLE - Totem Pole Playhouse, Pennsylvania’s premiere summer theater located in Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, presents "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" July 30 through August 14.

One of the funniest musical comedies ever written, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" features the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim and book by multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning writer Larry Gelbart, who created the smash TV series “M*A*S*H.”

The musical is directed by playhouse veteran David Hemsley Caldwell, and closes out the theater’s 2016 summer season.

The show is a nonstop laughfest in which Pseudolus, a crafty slave, struggles to win the hand of a beautiful but slow-witted courtesan named Philia, for his young master, Hero, in exchange for freedom. The plot twists and turns with cases of mistaken identity, slamming doors, and a showgirl or two, three, four, five.

Starring as Pseudolus is Totem Pole Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director Rowan Joseph, who returns to the stage for the first time since 2009’s “The Queen of Bingo.” Since taking the helm at Totem Pole in 2014, Joseph has directed 2014’s “Godspell” and last season’s “Shenandoah” as well as the playhouse’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” at Gettysburg’s College’s Majestic Theater. He directed the National tours of “An Evening with Jack Klugman” and an all-male production of “The Queen of Bingo.”

In 2013, Joseph was featured on “The Amazing Race” with bingo partner Shane Partlow, who joins him in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” as Hysterium. Partlow was featured at Totem Pole as the title role in 2015’s “The Nerd” as well as in “Shenandoah” and has also played Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol.”

Returning to the Totem Pole stage for this show are local actors Paris Peet as Senex and Richard Sautter as Marcus Lycus.

Peet, who portrays Ebenezer Scrooge in Totem Pole’s “A Christmas Carol,” also appeared in last season’s “The Nerd,” and has been in numerous other productions at the playhouse. He is a theater professor at Shippensburg University.

Sautter was also seen in “A Christmas Carol” as Belle’s husband and appeared as Tinkham in 2015’s “Shenandoah” and in 2013’s “Leader of the Pack.” Sautter teaches theater classes at Gettysburg College and McDaniel College.

A veteran of at least 25 Totem Pole shows, Richert Easley also returns to the playhouse stage this summer as Erronius. He arrives at the theater from a sold out run of the new musical “Jane Austen’s Emma” at TheatreWorks, and he has appeared on Broadway in “Porgy and Bess” and “Oh! Calcutta!”

Joining the cast for their second show this season are Jonathan Cable, who appeared as Harper in “One Slight Hitch” and will portray Miles Gloriosus; and Louis Griffin, Derek Kastner, Gabe Wrobel, and Stavros Koumbaros, who starred in the audience favorite “Forever Plaid” and appear in this show as the Proteans.

Making their Totem Pole debut with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” are a host of New York actors, including Becky Barta from Broadway’s “Les Miserables,” as Domina, Will Carlyon, from Broadway’s “Cabaret,” as Hero, Ashley Marinelli as Tintinabula, Katie Mitchell as Gymnasia, McCallah Moriarty as Panacea, and Becca Andrews and Summerisa Bell Stevens as the Geminae.

Central Pennsylvania actress Amber Anne Emerson joins the cast as Philia. Darren Server will serve as musical director and Dann Dunn will choreograph the show. This "unforgettable musical is suitable for the entire family.

The production opens Saturday, July 30 at 8 p.m. The show will run through August 14. Tickets range from $30 to $50 with matinee performances Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 p.m. and evening performances Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Totem Pole will also continue to offer two special $20 preview performances for the show on Friday, July 29, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 30, at 2 p.m., with all seats general admission.  Student rush tickets are available one half hour before curtain for students ages (16 – 21) for $10.

Tickets for all performances can be purchased at or by calling the Totem Pole Playhouse box office at 888-805-7056.