Tonawanda News

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September 29, 2013

Comedy tonight

Theater guild opens season with 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum'


Tonawanda News — "He's a funny guy to start with ... but you get him on stage and he's a big guy, 6-foot-five or so," Newton said. "But he's a very agile guy and does the physical side of it very well. He has to be cowed by people, but he stands head and shoulders above everyone else in the cast.

"You have to have guys or girls who have a good sense of comic timing. A lot of these jokes are one-liners. If you can't deliver those jokes with the right timing, it's not going to work well. That's what we look for. You don't even have to be the best singer; (the audience is) paying more attention to the lyrics because they're so funny. Fortunately, we have both."

Zerpa, for his part, said that the basic nature of the role comes easily to him. 

"It's not that far from who I really am," he said. "(Pseudolus is) always very fun, energetic, but has a wily nature to him. He's always confusing people with the patter and I'm something like that too."

As far as the timing, it's just a matter of keeping up with it and making sure lines are delivered with the right inflection, Zerpa said. "It's like an old Abbott and Costello scene, like 'Who's on First.' Where they just go, go, go and then pause for the audience, which starts laughing because they just sort of caught up with what's going on. 

"The show itself is a laugh and a half. It just sort of takes off ... and partway through the show, you can't speak just because of the laughter. At least, I hope it gets to that point, because there's some really hilarious material. And we put our own twists on everything. We're having fun."

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