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September 29, 2013

Comedy tonight

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

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Tonawanda News — Cassandra Grizanti of the Town of Tonawanda plays Philia, the young woman whom Pseudolus is attempting to help his master, Hero, win. It's a different sort of role than the other, more physically comedic, parts, she said — in part because Philia is, well, somewhat clueless.

"A lot of people have a lot of physical humor. My character is kind of the calm one in the storm," she said. "But sometimes it's like she's so stupid the audience actually has to stop to think about what she's saying. ... You have to figure out how to say these lines to make them funny. 

"Sometimes you have to shake your head at Philia because you're trying to figure out what the heck she's doing."

The quirks and challenges of her character aside, Grizanti said, the show is a one with a very broad appeal. "(There's) a really sweet love story ... and there's humor for everyone, there's highbrow humor and scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel humor."

That overarching sense of humor, Newton said, is what make the show such a joy for the actors and actresses of the theater guild.

"This one is for us ... the cast enjoys it probably even more than the audience," he said. "You just get to go out there and entertain. We have done some technically difficult shows, but here, what you think is just 'I have to go out and make these people laugh.' And that is an actor's dream. 

"This is a show you just can't wait to get here and get up there and make people laugh."

The show also features Amberly Panepinto as Domina, John Panepinto as Hysterium, Michael Breen as Erronius, Kim Ehrenburg as Gymnasia, Bob Maxierski as Senex, Joe Fratello as Hero, Andrew Polino as Lycus, Samina Raza as Tintinabula, Jillian Sternberg as Twins, Maria Crisafulli as The Geminae, Sarah Mullin as Vibrata and Ron Obringer, Tom Romans, Jacob Badding and Bob Brady as The Proteans.

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