Renee DeRossett has been involved with theater and film for most of her life. She jokingly recalls doing a play for summer stock “back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.”
Actually, it was more like 40 years ago, and she’s been dying to bring the same show to Tybee Island ever since. So, as the director for the upcoming Tybee Arts Association’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” she says watching all the hard work and constant rehearsals come together is “like a dream come true.”
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, will run from Aug. 17-19 and Aug. 24-25 at Tybee Post Theater.
DeRossett says this show is one of Broadway’s greatest plays and takes comedy back to its roots.
“It’s one of the funniest musicals ever written,” DeRossett says. “Sondheim is just a genius ... and the music is extraordinary.”
She notes the play also features many familiar faces from Tybee’s community.
DeRossett says Tybee City Council member Monty Parks is playing the part of Capt. Miles Gloriosis. “And Mr. Keith Gay, who owns Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals and is the vice president of the Tybee Post Theater board of directors, is playing the part of Senex.
“Make no mistake, both of these gentlemen are extremely talented musically. Although they may not have community theater in their background per se, they both have an extensive background in music.”
Local favorite Les Taylor is playing the lead — and very musically demanding role — of Pseudelous.
“He’s an extraordinary talent. I’ve been trying to get him out here for a show for a long time," DeRossett says.
And she adds that one of the most exciting finds in this production — and the youngest member of the cast who will make her stage debut during this performance — is Georgia Gillen. “She plays our ingenue, Phillia ... and also happens to be the daughter of our new city manager, Shawn Gillen.”
The rest of the talented cast is rounded out by Tony Marchetti-Knarr as Hysterium; Kim Trammell as Domina; Vinnie King as Hero; Howard Bowden as Lycus Marcus; J.R. Roseberry as Erroneous; and The Courtesans: Jamie Failing, Caroline Downs, Grace Downs and Shannon Bowden; and The Proteans: Charlie Williams, Heather Downs and Sally Cameron.
Though DeRossett says she couldn’t be more pleased with the casting and talent for this show, she adds the unique venue and costume/set designs are stunning.
“The Tybee Arts Association has had a small black box theater for many years now, and we love it, but you can’t do a large musical production there. So, we are happy that the Tybee Post Theater is now open so we can do big shows ... Melissa Turner at the theater has been so gracious to us in allowing us to use this beautiful space and bring this show to a Tybee audience.
“This is going to be a big Tybee event ... And to bring this show with this talent to a Tybee stage is more than what I ever dreamed it could be.”