3.3 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum & Anyone Can Whistle!


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Today, Nathan & Peter take on an unlikely duo... TWO musicals with music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (a hit & a flop!)—A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962) and Anyone Can Whistle (1965)— which lead to an unexpected conversation about comedy, farce... and miracles.

We Talk About:

  • Sondheim’s love of obscure source material – how many musicals do you know that are based on the plays of an ancient Roman?
  • Opening numbers—especially Forum’s famous "Comedy Tonight"—and Jerome Robbins’ legacy
  • What to do with sexual jokes that haven’t aged well ("Everybody Ought to Have a Maid", anyone?)
  • A theology of comedy: what do we learn about God through laughter?
  • Sondheim’s wrestling with his own sexuality in songs like “Anyone Can Whistle” – and his romance with Lee Remick, who introduced the song on Broadway
  • The social upheaval of the mid-1960s and the sweetness of human connection – what French theologian Jean-Pierre de Caussade calls "the sacrament of the present moment"

You’ll Hear:

  • "Comedy Tonight," "Free," and "Pretty Little Picture," sung by Zero Mostel, Bryan Davies, and Preshy Marker from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum
  • "Everybody Ought to Have A Maid," sung by David Burns, Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford and John Carradine from the Original Broadway Cast Recording
  • The Cookie Speech, "Everybody Says Don’t," and "With So Little To Be Sure Of," sung by Bernadette Peters and Scott Bakula on the 1995 Carnegie Hall Concert Recording of Anyone Can Whistle
  • "Anyone Can Whistle," sung by Lee Remick on the Original Broadway Cast Recording – as well as a “demo” version sung by Sondheim himself (available as a bonus track on the Original Broadway Cast Recording)

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