1969 - 1970
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
The plot of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum concerns the efforts of a wily slave, Pseudolus, to win his freedom by procuring the beautiful but vapid courtesan Philia (a virgin) for his master, Hero (also a virgin). Only these two walking anachronisms could sing "Lovely" and actually mean it. Pseudolus' plans are hindered somewhat by Hero's father, Senex, who is himself smitten by Philia, but Senex has to admit that with love, at his age, sometimes it's just "Impossible". This sentiment is echoed by his wife Domina in the haunting lovesong "That Dirty Old Man".
As if that weren't enough, Philia is betrothed to Miles Gloriosus, a macho warrior, whose ode to love is "Bring Me My Bride". By the way, Philia was purchased sight unseen from the local dealer in courtesans, Marcus Lycus, who guarantees that she is untouched by human hands (and that includes the eunuchs). Infinitely more accessible are his other courtesans Panacea, Vibrata, Gymnasia, Tintinabula and the Geminae. These lovely ladies are real crowd pleasers and nobody is more pleased than Pseudolus, who dreams of buying one when he is finally "Free". Poor faithful Hero only wants Philia and so the plot continues.
To put Philia out of the running, Pseudolus concocts a plot that she is suffering from the plague, and blackmails Hysterium into aiding and abetting. Macho Miles arrives to claim his bride. Panic, chases and life-threatening situations ensue. The entire fiasco is finally saved by Erronius, a doddering old man who has just walked around the seven hills of Rome seven times, and the evening ends with "something for everyone - a comedy tonight".