A Funny Thing is Happening on the Way to THIS Forum

Kristen Mengelkoch plays the male servant, Pseudolus, in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Hi. My name is Kristen and I am playing Pseudolus in Gulfshore Playhouse’s upcoming production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Pseudolus is a man. So…

image1There is something very magical happening in our lovely rehearsal space which sits in the middle of a park and looks out onto an expansive and deliciously green football field. We are creating a production of a show that is so well known, so tried and true, so hilarious, so brilliant and so (uh-oh)…sexist.

No wait! Keep reading! The show is actually about freedom and love!!!! Two of my favorite things!!!! There is tremendous joy in this piece. It is a story worth telling. The challenge is how to do just that despite the fact that one of its ‘hit numbers’ is “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid.” Luckily, we are working in Kristen Coury’s theatre and Darren Katz is directing.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that women are playing men’s roles. Men are playing women’s roles. Men are also playing some men’s roles and women are playing some women’s roles. Humans (and a few inanimate objects) are playing parts they are perfect for and it’s making all of this 1960’s quick witted, vaudevillian, and yes- unapologetically sexist- comedy sing and thrive and teach and work again. Work better.

I am a 5’4” ‘soprano with belt’ playing a part made famous by Zero Mostel and again by Nathan Lane (not sopranos). I walked into our first morning rehearsal a few weeks ago eager and appropriately terrified to prove myself worthy of such casting. The company essentially met for the first time and after an hour we lept into the traditional first read through with most of the theatre staff present and I couldn’t help but sweat a bit, throw some ideas out there and just hope I did ok. (Did you know that most actors are self conscious?;)
image1 (1)Then, we ate lunch and drove over to our magical rehearsal hall (with the aforementioned verdant view) for the first time and began hearing each other again, laughing, building trust, good jokes, great harmony, fabulous choreography and physical comedy and that, friends, is where you can find us now…improvising our faces off, laughing together, bringing these brilliant words and songs to life, and creating something special, all its own, and just for you. There is great storytelling and great comedy happening and it is a BLAST and a privilege to tell some of the best jokes written for Broadway and play with some of the funniest and smartest talents around. Next week we move into the theatre and invite you in. I couldn’t be happier, and guess what? You are gonna love “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid.”

 

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