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A Funny Thing Happened
Wily slave and consummate clown Pseudolus tries to win his freedom from his kindly master Hero through the most unlikely of schemes. Broad comedy, burlesque humor and clever vaudeville-inspired numbers make this show a perennial favorite.
Opened 5/8/1962 Ran for 964 performances.          

Version:     Original Broadway version      
Credits:     Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart

Music by Stephen Sondheim

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Based on the plays of Plautu      
Type:     Book Show      
Acts:     Two      
Rating:     PG      
Cast Size:     Medium (11-20)      
Orchestra Size:     Medium (12-17)      
Chorus Required:     small     
Dancing Required:     No     
Difficulty:     Easy to learn
Easy to sing      
Style:     Broadway      
Category:     Comedy
Period Piece
Satire      
Ideal For:     Colleges
Community Theatres
High Schools
Low Budgets
Middle Schools
Regional Theatres
Young People
Festivals      
Cast Size:     Medium (11-20)     
     10 Men & Women      
Casting Notes:     Star vehicle - male
Includes older role(s)     
Characters:     Pseudolus, playful, comic ringmaster of the show; baritone (A - high G)
Philia, the lovely-but-vacant courtesan, soprano (B - high G-sharp)
Hero, the handsome innocent master; tenor (B - G-sharp)
Domina, an overbearing wife; mezzo (B - high F-sharp)
Senex, Hero's father and the aging master of the house; baritone (B-flat - G-flat)
Hysterium, Pseudolus' hapless fellow slave; baritone (C - high G)
Miles Gloriosus, Lycus' pompous warrior client; baritone (B - G-sharp)
Lycus, a buyer and seller of courtesans; baritone (A - high E)
The Courtesans: Tintinabula, Panacea, The Geminae (two), Vibrata, Gymnasia
Three clowning, omnipresent Proteans (B - high A)
Erronius, a doddering old man     
Special Requirements:     Unit Set; three Roman Houses around a common square. It's easy and can be as cheap-looking as you want it to be.     



COMEDY TONIGHT



PSEUDOLUS
Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Something appealing,
Something appalling,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns;
Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!

Old situations,
New complications,
Nothing portentous or polite;
Tragedy tomorrow,
Comedy tonight!

Something convulsive,
Something repulsive,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Something aesthetic,
Something frenetic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Nothing with gods, nothing with fate;
Weighty affairs will just have to wait!

Nothing that's formal,
Nothing that's normal,
No recitations to recite;
Open up the curtain:
Comedy Tonight!

Something erratic,
Something dramatic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Frenzy and frolic,
Strictly symbolic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

ENTIRE COMPANY
Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everybody:
Comedy tonight!
Something that's gaudy,
Something that's bawdy--

PSEUDOLUS
Something for everybawdy!

ENTIRE COMPANY
Comedy tonight!

MILES GLORIOSUS
Nothing that's grim.

DOMINA
Nothing that's Greek.

PSEUDOLUS
[Indicating DOMINA]:
She plays Medea later this week.

WOMEN
Stunning surprises!

MEN
Cunning disguises!

ALL
Hundreds of actors out of sight!

ERRONIUS
Pantaloons and tunics!

SENEX
Courtesans and eunuchs!

HERO
Funerals and chases!

LYCUS
Baritones and basses!

PHILIA
Panderers!

HERO
Philanderers!

HYSTERIUM
Cupidity!

MILES
Timidity!

LYCUS
Mistakes!

ERRONIUS
Fakes!

DOMINA
Rhymes!

PHILIA
Crimes!

PSEUDOLUS
Tumblers!
Grumblers!
Bumblers!
Fumblers!

ALL
No royal curse, no Trojan horse,
And a happy ending, of course!
Goodness and badness,
Panic is madness--
This time it all turns out all right!
Tragedy tomorrow,
Comedy tonight!



LOVE, I HEAR



HERO
Now that we're alone, may I tell you:
I've been feeling very strange.
Either something's in the air, or else a change
Is happening in me.

I think I know the cause--
I'm sure I know the cause--
From everything I've heard, there's only one cause it can be.

Love, I hear, makes you sigh a lot,
Also, love, I hear, makes you weak.
Love, I hear, makes you blush and turns you ashen,
You try to speak with passion
And squeak, I hear.

Love, they say,
Makes you pine away,
But you pine away with an idiotic grin.
I pine, I blush, I squeak, I squawk,
Today I woke too weak to walk.
What's love, I hear, I feel, I fear I'm in.
Ahh...

See what I mean?
Da da da da da da dum...
I hum a lot too.
I'm dazed I'm pale, I'm sick, I'm sore,
I've never felt so well before!
What's love, I hear, I feel, I fear,
I know I am-- I'm sure--I mean-- I hope--I trust--
I pray I must
Be in!

Forgive me if I shout,
Forgive me if I crow.
I've only just found out,
And--well,
I thought you ought to know.



FREE



PSEUDOLUS
Oh, what a word!
Oh, what a word!
Say it again.

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
I often thought,
I often dreamed how it would be--
And yet I never thought I'd be--
Once again.

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
But when you come to think of such things,
A man should have the rights that all others--
Can you imagine what it will be like when I am--
Can you see me?
Can you see me as a Roman with my head unbowed?
Sing it good and loud!

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
Like a Roman having rights and like a Roman proud?
Can you see me?

HERO
I can see you.

PSEUDOLUS
Can you see me, a reformer fighting graft and vice?
Sing it soft and nice!

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
Why, I'll be so consciencious that I may vote twice!
Can you see me?
Can you see me?
When I'm free to be whatever I want to be,
Think what wonders I'll accomplish then!
When the master that I serve is me and just me--
Can you see me being equal with my countrymen?
Can you see me being Pseudolus the citizen?
Can you see me being--give it to me once again--

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
Yes!

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
That's it!

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
Now, not so fast!
I didn't think--
The way I am,
I have a roof, three meals a day,
And I don't have to pay a thing.
I'm just a slave and everything's free.
If I were free, then nothing would be free!
And if I'm beaten now and then, what does it matter?

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
Can you see me?
Can you see me as a poet writing poetry?
All my verse will be--

HERO
Free.

PSEUDOLUS
A museum will have me pickled for posterity.
Can you see me?

HERO
I can see you.

PSEUDOLUS
Can you see me as a lover, one of great renown?
Women falling down--

HERO
Free?

PSEUDOLUS
No.
But I'll buy the house of Lycus for my house in town.
Can you see me?
Can you see me?
Be you anything from king to baker of cakes,
You're a vegetable unless you're free.
Such a little word, but oh, the difference it makes!
It's the necessary essence of democracy,
It's the thing that every slave should have the right to be,
And I soon will have the right to buy a slave for me.
Can you see him?
Well, I'll free him!
When a Pseudolus can move, the universe shakes,
But I'll never move until I'm free.
Such a little word, but oh, the difference it makes!
I'll be Pseudolus, the founder of a family,
I'll be Pseudolus, the pillar of society,
I'll be Pseudolus the man, if I can only be--

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
Sing it!

HERO
Free!

PSEUDOLUS
Spell it!

HERO
F-r- double--

PSEUDOLUS
No, the long way!

HERO
F-r-e-e!

PSEUDOLUS AND HERO
Free!



LOVELY



PHILIA
I'm lovely,
All I am is lovely.
Lovely is the one thing I can do.

Winsome,
What I am is winsome,
Radiant as in some
Dream come true.

Oh, Isn't it a shame?
I can neither sew
Nor cook nor read or write my name.
But I'm happy
Merely being lovely,
For it's one thing I can give to you.

HERO
You're lovely,
Absolutely lovely.
Who'd believe the loveliness of you?

Winsome,
Sweet and warm and winsome,
Radiant as in some
Dream come true.
Now Venus would seem tame,
Helen and her thou --
Sand ships would have to die of shame.

HERO & PHILIA
And I'm happy,
Happy that you're/I'm lovely,
For there's one thing loveliness can do
It's a gift for me to share with you!



PRETTY LITTLE PICTURE



PSEUDOLUS
In the Tiber there sits a boat,
Gently dipping its bow,
Trim and tidy and built to float.
Pretty little picture? Now:
Put a boy on the starboard side,
Leaning out of the rail.
Next to him put a blushing bride,
Slim and slender and starry-eyed,
Down below put a tiny bed.
The sun gets pale,
The sea gets red,
And off they sail
On the first high tide:
The boat and the bed and the boy and the bride.
It's a pretty little picture, oh my!
Pretty little picture, how true!
Pretty little picture, which I,
Pseudol-iddle-us, give to you!
Feel the roll of the playful waves,
See the sails as they swell,
Hear the whips on the galley-slaves.

PSEUDOLUS, HERO & PHILIA
Pretty little picture?

PSEUDOLUS
Well:
Let it carry your cares away,
Out of sight, out of mind,
Past the buoy and through the bay,
Soon there's nothing but sea and spray.
Night descends and the moon's aglow--
Your arms entwined,
You steal below,
And far behind,
At the edge of day,
The bong of the bell of the buoy in the bay,
And the boy and the bride and the boat are away.

HERO & PHILIA
It's a pretty little picture to share
As our little boat sails to sea.

PSEUDOLUS
Take your little trip free as air--
Have a little freedom on me!

HERO & PHILIA
No worries, no bothers,
No captains, no fathers...

PSEUDOLUS
In the ocean an island waits,
Smooth and sandy and pink,
Filled with lemons and nuts and dates.

PSEUDOLUS, HERO & PHILIA
Pretty little picture?

PSEUDOLUS
Think:
In a cottage of cypress trees,
Seashells dotting the door,
Boy and bride live a life of ease--

PSEUDOLUS, HERO & PHILIA
Doing nothing but what they please.

PSEUDOLUS
And every night when the stars appear,
There's nothing more
To see and hear,
Just the shore
Where the lovers lie--

HERO & PHILIA
The sand and the sea and the stars and the sky--

PSEUDOLUS
And the sound of a soft little satisfied sigh.

PSEUDOLUS, HERO & PHILIA
All your/our petty little problems will cease,
And your/our little blessings will flow,
And your/our little family increase--
Pretty little picture?

PSEUDOLUS
No, no!

PSEUDOLUS, HERO & PHILIA
Pretty little masterpiece!
Pretty little picture...



EVERYBODY OUGHT TO HAVE A MAID



SENEX
Everybody ought to have a maid,
Everybody ought to have a working girl,
Everybody ought to have a lurking girl
To putter around the house.
Everybody ought to have a maid,
Everybody ought to have a menial
Consistantly congenial
And quieter than a mouse.
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be delicious,
Tidying up the dishes,
Neat as a pin.
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be delightful,
Sweeping out,
Sleeping in.

Everybody ought to have a maid,
Someone who you hire when you're short of help
To offer you the sort of help
You never get from a spouse:
Fluttering up the stairway,
Shuttering up the windows,
Cluttering up the bedroom,
Buttering up the master,
Puttering all around the house!
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be delicious,
Tidying up the dishes,
Neat as a pin.
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be delightful,
Sweeping out,
Sleeping in.

Everybody ought to have a maid,
Someone who in fetching you your slipper will
Be winsome as a whipporwill
And graceful as a grouse:
Skittering down the hallway,
Flittering through the parlor,
Tittering in the pantry,
Littering up the bedroom--

SENEX & PSEUDOLUS
Twittering all around the house!

HYSTERIUM
A maid?

SENEX
A maid.

PSEUDOLUS
A maid.

ALL
A maid!
Everybody ought to have a maid,
Everybody ought to have a serving-girl,
A loyal and unswerving girl,
To putter around the house.
Oh, oh,

HYSTERIUM
Think of her at the dustbin,
'Specially when she's just been
Traipsing about.

ALL
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be delightful,

HYSTERIUM
Living in,

SENEX
Giving out.

ALL
Everybody ought to have a maid,
Daintily collecting bits of paper n' strings,
Appealing in her apron strings
And graceful as a grouse.

HYSTERIUM
Pattering through the attic,

SENEX
Chattering in the cellar,

PSEUDOLUS
Clattering in the kitchen,

SENEX
Flattering in the bedroom,

ALL
Puttering all around the house!
The house!
The house!

LYCUS
A maid?

HYSTERIUM
A maid.

PSEUDOLUS
A maid.

SENEX
A maid!

ALL
Everybody ought to have a maid,
Someone who's efficient and reliable,
Obedient and pliable,
And quieter than a mouse!
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be so nimble,
Fiddling with her thimble,
Mending her gown.
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be delightful,

LYCUS
Cleaning up,

SENEX
Leaning down.

ALL
Everybody ought to have a maid,
Someone who'll be busy as a bumblebee
And even if you grumble, be
As graceful as a grouse.

LYCUS
Wriggling in the anteroom,

HYSTERIUM
Jiggling in the dining room,

PSEUDOLUS
Giggling in the living room,

SENEX
Wiggling in the other rooms,

ALL
Puttering all around the house!
The house!
The house!
The house!



I'M CALM



HYSTERIUM
I'm calm,
I'm calm,
I'm perfectly calm,
I'm utterly under control.
I haven't a worry:
Where others would hurry I stroll.
I'm calm,
I'm cool,
A gibbering fool
Is something I never become.
When thunder is rumbling
And others are crumbling,
I hum.
Hm--hmmm--hmmmmm!!!!!
HMMMMM!!!!
H-M-M-M!!!!

I must think calm comforting things,
Butterfly wings,
Emerald rings,
Or a murmuring brook,
Murmuring, murmuring, murmuring...look,
I'm calm,
I'm calm,
I haven't a qualm,
I'm utterly under control.
Let nothing confuse me
Or faze me-- [yawn] --
Excuse me.
I'm calm.
Oh so calm.
Oh so--

PSEUDOLUS (offstage):
Hysterium!

HYSTERIUM
I'm calm,
I'm calm,
I'm perfectly calm,
Indifferent to tensions and shocks.
Unruffled and ready,
My nerves are as steady
As rocks.
I'm calm, controlled,
So cool that I'm cold,
Aloofer than any giraffe.
When something's the matter,
Where others would shatter
I laugh. [Laughs hysterically]
I must breathe deep, ever so deep,
Think about sheep
Going to sleep,
Stop and count up to ten, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9...when
You need aplomb
And want to be calm
'Cause life is a horrible dream,
Just count up to ten
Very slowly, and then--

PSEUDOLUS (offstage):
Hysterium!

HYSTERIUM
(screams)



IMPOSSIBLE



SENEX
Why did he look at her that way?

HERO
Why did he look at her that way?

SENEX & HERO
Must be my imagination.

SENEX
She's a lovely blooming flower, he's just a sprout--
Impossible!

HERO
She's a lovely blooming flower, he's all worn out--
Impossible!

SENEX
Just a fledgeling in the nest...

HERO
Just a man who needs a rest...

SENEX
He's a beamish boy at best.

HERO
Poor old fellow!

SENEX
He's a child, and love's a test he's too young to pass--
Impassible!

HERO
He has asthma, gout, a wife, lumbago and gas--
Irascible!

SENEX
Romping in the nursery...

HERO
He looks tired...

SENEX
Son, sit on your father's knee.

HERO
Father, you can lean on me.

SENEX & HERO
Him? I'm- Possible!

HERO
But why did she wave at him that way?

SENEX
Why did she wave at him that way?

SENEX & HERO
Could there be an explanation?

HERO
Women often want a father, she may want mine--
It's possible!

SENEX
He's a handsome lad of twenty,
I'm...thirty-nine--
It's possible!

HERO
Older men know so much more...

SENEX
In a way, I'm forty-four...

HERO
Next to him, I'd seem a bore.

SENEX
All right, fifty!

HERO
Then again, he is my father;
I ought to trust--
Impossible!

SENEX
Then again, with love at my age,
sometimes it's just
Impossible!

HERO
With a girl I'm ill at ease...

SENEX
I don't feel well...

HERO
Sir, about those birds and bees--

SENEX
Son, a glass of water, please.

SENEX & HERO
The situation's fraught,
Fraughter than I thought,
With horrible, impossible, possibilities!



BRING ME MY BRIDE



SOLDIERS
One, two! One, two!

MILES
We not only fought, but we won, too!

SOLDIERS
One, two! One, two!
Left, right! Left, right!

MILES
There's none of the enemy left, right?

SOLDIERS
Right! Left...right...right? Left?

MILES
Halt!

PSEUDOLUS
Hail, Miles Gloriosus.
Welcome to Rome.
Your bride awaits you.

MILES
My bride...
My bride!
My bride!
I've come to claim my bride,
Come tenderly to crush her against my side.
Let haste be made!
I cannot be delayed:
There are lands to conquer, cities to loot and peoples to degrade.

SOLDIERS
Look at those arms!
Look at that chest!
Look at them!

MILES
Not to mention the rest.
Even I am impressed!
My bride!
My bride!
Come, bring to me my bride.
My lust for her no longer can be denied.
Convey the news!
I have no time to lose:
There are towns to plunder, temples to burn and women to abuse.

SOLDIERS
Look at that foot!
Look at that heel!
Mark the magnificent muscles of steel!

MILES
I am my ideal!
I, Miles Gloriosus,
I, slaughterer of thousands,
I, oppressor of the meek,
Subduer of the weak,
Degrader of the Greek,
Destroyer of the Turk,
Must hurry back to work.

MILES & ROMANS:
I/he, Miles Gloriosus,

SOLDIERS
A man among men!

MILES & ROMANS:
I/he, paragon of virtue,

SOLDIERS
With sword and with pen!

MILES
I, in war the most admired,
In wit the most inspired,
In love the most desired,
In dress the best displayed--
I am a parade!

SOLDIERS
Look at those eyes, cunning and keen,
Look at the size of those thighs, like a mighty machine!

PSEUDOLUS
Those are the mightiest thighs that I ever have theen!
I mean...

MILES
My bride!
My bride!
Inform my lucky bride:
The fabled arms of
Miles are open wide.
Make haste!
Make haste!
I have no time to waste:
There are shrines
I should be sacking,
Ribs I should be cracking,
Eyes to gouge and booty to divide.
Bring me my bride!



THAT DIRTY OLD MAN



DOMINA
For over thirty years
I've cried myself to sleep,
Assailed by doubts and fears
So great the gods themselves would weep.
The moment I am gone,
I wonder where he'll go.
In all your simple hon-
Esty, you can't begin to know.

Ohhhhh, ohhhhh, ahhhhh...

I want him,
I need him,
Where is he?
That dirty old man, he's here somewhere,
Cavorting with someone young and fair,
Disporting in every shameless whim.
Just wait till I get my hands on him!
I'll hold him,
Enfold him,
Where is he?
That dirty old man, where can he be,
Profaning my house for all to see,
Complaining that he's misunderstood,
Abusing me--if he only would!
Oh love, sweet love, why hide?
You vermin, you worm, you villain!
Confess and press your bride.
Wherever he is, I know he's still an
Angel,
My angel,
Where is he?
That dirty old man divine!
I loathe him,
I love him,
That lecherous, lewd, lacivious, loathsome, lying, lazy
Dirty old man of mine!



THAT'LL SHOW HIM



PHILIA
Let the Captain wed me and woo me,
I will play my part.
Let him make his mad passion to me,
You will have my heart.
He can have the body he paid for,
Nothing but the body he paid for.
When he has the body he paid for,
Our revenge will start!
When I kiss him,
I'll be kissing you.
So I'll kiss him morning and night--
That'll show him!
When I hold him,
I'll be holding you.
So I'll hold him ten times as tight--
That'll show him too!
I shall coo
And tenderly stroke his hair,
Wish that you
Were there.
You'd enjoy it!
When it's evening, and we're in our tent for two,
I'll sit on his knee,
Get to know him
Intimately,
That'll show him
How much I really love you!



LOVELY (REPRISE)



PSEUDOLUS
You're lovely,
Absolutely lovely.
Who'd believe the loveliness of you?
Perfect,
Sweet and warm and winsome,
Radiant as in some
Dream come true.
Now Venus would seem tame,
Helen and her thou-
Sand ships would have to die of shame.
You're so lovely,
Frighteningly lovely,
That the world will never seem the same.



FUNERAL SEQUENCE



MILES
Sound the flute,
Blow the horn,
Pluck the lute,
Forward, mourn!

MOURNERS
Ahh...ahhh...ahhhh...

MILES
Ah!

MOURNERS
Ah!

MILES
All Crete was at her feet,
All Thrace was in her thrall,
All Sparta loved her sweetness, and Gaul--

PSEUDOLUS
And Spain--

MILES
And Greece--

PSEUDOLUS
And Egypt--

MILES
And Syria--

PSEUDOLUS
And Mesopotamia--

MOURNERS
All Crete was at her feet,
All Thrace was in her thrall,
Oh, why should such a blossom fall?

MILES
Speak the spells,
Strum the lyre,
Toll the bells,
Light the pyre.

MOURNERS
Ahh...ahhh...ahhhh...

MILES
All Crete was at her feet,
But I shall weep no more.
I'll find my consolation as before,
Among the simple pleasures of war!



FINALE



PSEUDOLUS
Lovers divided
Get co-incided.
Something for everyone--

HERO & PHILIA
A comedy tonight!

PSEUDOLUS
Father and mother
Get one another.

DOMINA
Something for everyone--

SENEX
A tragedy tonight!

MILES
I get the twins, they get the best.

ERRONIUS
I get a family.

HYSTERIUM
I get a rest.

SOLDIERS
We get a few girls.

LYCUS
I get some new girls.

PSEUDOLUS
I get the thing I want to be:
Free!

ALL
Free! Free! Free! Free! Free!
Nothing for kings, nothing for crowns.
Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!
What is the moral?
Must be a moral.
Here is the moral, wrong or right:

PSEUDOLUS
Morals tomorrow!

ALL
Comedy, comedy, comedy, comedy,
Comedy, comedy, comedy, comedy tonight!