You’re Invited to the Most Outrageous Toga Party in Cincinnati at Cincy Shakes’ Production of Sondheim’s A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM

CSC_A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum promo

Matthew Lewis Johnson as Pseudolus. Photo by By Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Broadway’s Big, Fat, Roman Musical comes to life at The Otto M. Budig Theater as Cincy Shakes’ FIRST MUSICAL!

Cincinnati, August 7, 2018 – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company may be celebrating its 25th anniversary, but it is still breaking new ground as a company! In its second year at The Otto M. Budig Theater in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s home for the classics is turning to a new genre of classics: the classic musical. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, September 7-29, 2018 with a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, will be directed by CSC’s Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips and features longtime ensemble member Matthew Lewis Johnson in the principal role. The production is generously sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and Construction Process Solutions Limited.

Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a story of shenanigans, hijinks, and tomfoolery as a lowly servant endeavors to scheme his way to freedom in this antic romp through Rome with desperate lovers, scheming neighbors, and scandalous secrets under every toga.  Broadway’s big, fat, Roman musical will have audiences dancing in the aisles at the brand new Otto M. Budig Theater with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville!

“Part of our artistic mission is to entertain unabashedly,” said Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips. “We are here to be a light and to bring joy, even when things seem dark. Ours is a company of performers absolutely born to bring this piece to life. It’s the funniest and perhaps the most popular of Sondheim’s musicals, with a unique balance of ribaldry and sophistication.”

The production will bring an original and colorful “Vegas” influence to the Roman show setting, with outrageous costumes, sets, and lighting! The creative team includes Scenic Designer Shannon Robert who has designed a colorful Vegas-inspired Roman neighborhood; Costume Designer Brian Horton, who is incorporating colorful and risqué pieces into the shows dozens of characters; Lighting Design by Adam Zeek and Sound Design by Douglas J. Borntrager to round out the talented team!

“Presenting the company’s first musical has been a long time dream of mine and has been requested by our patrons for many years,” says Mr. Phillips. “Now that we have the new theater and added space we can fully realize this vision.” CSC welcomes Choreographer Vince DeGeorge to the creative team to design the dance elements for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”. Mr. DeGeorge is Assistant Professor and Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting for the Lyric Stage at University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) teaching both directing and choreographing.  Since 2013, while at CCM, Vince has directed and choreographed 12 productions to rave reviews and accolades.  CSC also welcomes Music Director Erin McCamley who will direct and lead the live music used in the production.  Ms. McCamley is a Cincinnati native that is now New York based and has music directed for The Carnegie, CCM, Know Theatre Cincinnati, Showbiz Players, and more.  She is also a co-founder of the Queen City Queer Theatre Collective (QCQCTC).  “Besides,” Mr. Phillips adds, “what better way to celebrate our 25th Anniversary than by having a Toga Party?!”

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum runs September 7 – September 29 with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM, as well as Saturday September 29 at 2:00 PM.  Preview performances are September 5 and 6 at 7:30.

Single ticket prices range from $14-$64.  Previews on Wednesday, September 5 and Thursday, September 6 are $40.  Advance student tickets are only $38 and day-of Student Rush tickets are $14 and may be purchased thirty minutes before a show with a valid student ID if available. This production is a part of this season’s subscription package. Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Ticketing fees may apply.  To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at

On Saturday, September 22, and Sunday, September 23, bring your younger kids (4+) for artist-led childcare DURING the performance! The “Playdate” program is only $15 and free for subscribers. The option to add this program will be available as you are buying tickets for either of these show dates. Activities will range from storytime to theatre games and crafts. Share the great benefits of CSC’s programming with your children: Playdate will style activities to correspond with each production, so even your youngest can join in the discussion on the ride home!

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is located at The Otto M. Budig Theater at 1195 Elm Street in OTR, adjacent to Washington Park.  There are many parking spaces available on the street and in nearby lots and garages- for more information visit

Valet Parking is also offered by CSC for every performance! Make reservations for $15 in advance when purchasing tickets. Purchasing in advance guarantees a spot at the discounted rate of $15 (vs. $20+ at the curb).  Valet is available right at the corner of 12th and Elm Street in front of the theater and begins approx. 1.5 hours before a performance. Cars can be picked up for up to one hour following a performance. (After one hour, you will need to arrange pick up with the valet service directly.) The valet will have your name on the list after you purchase- it’s that easy!


About Cincinnati Shakespeare Company:
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing Shakespeare and the classics to life for audiences of all ages.  In the summer of 2017, the theater relocated to the Otto M. Budig Theater, a brand new facility in OTR. CSC’s repertoire is made up of the works of William Shakespeare, literary adaptations, and contemporary classics.  CSC performs on a Small Professional Theatre contract with Actors’ Equity Association. Cincinnati Shakespeare is a member of the Theater Communications Group and the Shakespeare Theater Association.  Each year, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Education and Outreach Programs reach over 50,000 young people and underserved community members each season by taking Shakespeare into schools, parks, community centers and by hosting educational matinees of mainstage productions.  In 2015, CSC was proud to become one of the first five theaters in the United States to “Complete the Canon” by producing all 38 plays by William Shakespeare. CSC is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is proud to be Cincinnati’s stage for the classics!

About The 2018-2019 25th Anniversary Season:
The season is generously sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.  This season is funded by ArtsWave.  The 25th Anniversary sponsor is the The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, JR./U.S. Bank Foundation.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company receives operating support from The Ohio Arts Council, the Shubert Foundation.  The season’s marketing design sponsor is POSSIBLE. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program/organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. Production dates and information on the season are available online at


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