Rehearsals begin while renovations continue in the Backdoor Playhouse

The Tech Players began working on their production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” despite continued construction in the Backdoor Playhouse as part of a major renovation project.The play is a musical based on a book by the same named written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Stephen Sondheim adapted the music and lyrics for the play.

“I’ve not been a big musicals guy,” Director Mark Creter said. “But the students had such a great time with ‘Assassins’, so that opened up my willingness to put on musicals.

“This is much more of a traditional outrageous comedy.”

Drawing on inspiration from the work of Plautus, an ancient Roman playwright, the story follows Pseudolus as he tries to win his freedom. He does so by helping his master woo the girl next door.

The play originally opened on Broadway in 1962 and since won awards, including a Tony Award for “Best Musical” and “Best Book of a Musical.”

The Tech production is directed by Creter with Mendy Richards handling the music direction.

And, just in time for the production, the newly renovated playhouse will open its doors with several new features and updated equipment.

“The first thing you’ll notice is the new sign we have above the front door,” Creter said. “Meredith [Purcell] did a great job with designing it, and it just looks great.”

On the new sign, the Tech logo has been added, and the color choices create a strong contrast.

In addition to the new sign, the light booth has been completely redone, with all the equipment being replaced. To accompany the new booth, a new light grid is being put up in the playhouse.

And on top of all the other additions, a new sound system will cap off the changes.

“I can’t give enough thanks to the Center Stage Fund for making this all possible,”Creter said. “Susan Maddox and Kurt Eisen have made the money available, and we could not have made this possible without them.”

Despite the renovations, the cast has already begun work on the production, which is scheduled to open in early November.

On top of the rehearsals, the playhouse has visitors almost every night as a myriad of events ranging from concerts to open mic nights fill the seats.

“Andy [Smith] is in charge of the musical performances and we have plenty scheduled,” Creter said. “You can find out the schedule and plenty of other information on our Web site.”

The schedule is available at http://www.tntech.edu/bdph.

When “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opens in November, tickets are set to cost $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, $5 for non-Tech students, and Tech students are free with their Eagle card.