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Cabrillo Music Theatre has outdone themselves this season with their hilarious and perfectly casted troupe of actors in their winter production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Lewis Wilkenfeld, Director and Artistic Director of Cabrillo Music Theatre, has outdone himself with this campy and hilarious mixture of slapstick, farce, mistaken identity, music and dance! Staged in the intimate Scherr Forum, the actors are able to take advantage of the entire theatre (from ushers to stage hands and all the aisles) ensuring that every seat is an excellent option for partaking in this Laugh Out Loud night out at the theatre.

Larry Gelbart (Tootsie & TV’s MASH) and Burt Shevelove’s zany script and Stephen Sondheim’s hilarious tongue-in-cheek lyrics/music will have you roaring with laughter if last night’s opening night (complete with standing ovation for the cast) is any indicator of what everyone has to look forward to during the show’s three weekend run!

Santa Maria, Raben, Ruprecht, Metzger. (c) CMT.

Guiding the audience through this riotous musical is Nick Santa Maria in his fourth turn as Roman house slave, Pseudolus, who dreams of being Free so concocts a plan to unite his master, Hero (Tyler Miclean), and the Lovely but oh so blonde Philia (Claire Adams), a virgin courtesan from The House of Marcus Lycus (Andrew Metzger) who is promised to Captain Miles Glorious (Matt Merchant in a bigger than life version of his previous incarnation as Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast).

If that sounds zany, wait! It only gets crazier and crazier with the help of loyal household slave, Hysterium (Larry Raben),  Hero’s father, Senex (David Ruprecht), Senex’s suspicious wife, Domina (Elise Dewsberry), and the recently returned neighbor Eronius (Tom Hall) and a gaggle of beautiful and talented courtesans (including Beth Alison and former Radio City Rockette Amy Lenhardt) and versatile Proteans (Marcus S. Daniel, Jake Novak, Pablo Rossil).  There are cases of blackmail, crazy disguises, missing children and mistaken identities!

The entire cast is strong but Nick Santa Maria and Larry Raben tend to steal the show whenever they are on, including their side-splitting reprise of Lovely. As my friend said, Larry Raben’s portrayal of Hysterium really grows on you throughout the show.  Kuddos to Nick Santa Maria for his perfect timing and great improvisations! On opening night his mic pac fell out of his pants and without blinking he carried on and even made lite of it with his effortless improvisation.  This is probably one of the strongest casts Cabrillo Music Theatre has put together. No weak links.

Nick Santa Maria, Amy Lenhardt. (c) CMT.

Parents, the 1960s-era burlesque and sexual innuendos mean the show is not the best choice for little ones. Cabrillo Music Theatre suggests ages 8+.  Most likely the innuendos will go over their heads and the dancing is mild in comparison to what they’ll see in video games and on cable television.

Dates: 29 January 2016-14 February 2016
Special Performances:
– Midweek Matinee (10 February @ 1pm with free parking)
– Post Show Discussion w/ Cast/Audience (30 January @ 2pm)
– Signed Performance (5 February @ 8pm)
Location: Scherr Forum, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA
Parking: $8 per car (cash only)
Tickets: $30-69, Ticketmaster & TO Civic Arts Plaza Box Office

Disclaimer: I had my ticket comped for review purposes but all opinions are my own.