Performing with friends makes Southeastern's 'Forum' a farewell treat for seniors
Contact: Christina Chapple
(1) COMEDIC DUO – Scott McDonough, left, will play Pseudolus and Brian Martinez will appear as Hysterium in the Southeastern Louisiana University Opera/Music Theatre Workshop Fanfare production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” Oct. 10-13, 7:30 p.m., at Southeastern’s Pottle Music Building Auditorium.
(2) PSEUDOLUS AND THE CAPTAIN -- Scott McDonough as Pseudolus rehearses a scene with Christopher Giffin of Baton Rouge, who plays Miles Gloriosus, the formidable warrior who has purchased the courtesan who is Pseudolus’s ticket to freedom, in Southeastern Louisiana University’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” opening Oct. 10 at the Pottle Music Building Auditorium.
HAMMOND -- Scott McDonough and Brian Martinez have taken many bows on the stage of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Pottle Music Building Auditorium.
But when the curtain goes down Saturday on the last of four performances of “A Funny Things Happens of the Way to the Forum,” the curtain call will be “bittersweet” for the pair of seniors.
McDonough, a vocal performance major from Slidell, will graduate in December, while Martinez, a music education major from Montz, will student teach next spring and receive his diploma in May 2008.
The bows they take on Oct. 13 may be their Southeastern finale, but they are going out in style.
Good friends and roommates, McDonough and Martinez were a comedic dynamic duo as St. Peter and Gabriel in the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop’s spring 2007 performance of “Too Many Sopranos.” In “Forum” they are matched up again, not as angels this time, but as slaves – McDonough as the rascally, conniving Pseudolus and Martinez as the loyal, but not so bright Hysterium.
The fast-paced, witty, and irreverent stage classic, which has been called “Broadway’s greatest farce and probably the funniest musical ever written,” will open Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Reflecting on their college stage careers, McDonough and Martinez agreed that the experience of starring in the last semester’s big hit “Too Many Sopranos” was probably the highlight of their many Opera/Music Theatre Workshop performances.
But McDonough said “Forum” “is right up there” as a really close second.
This show is special to him not only because he gets to play wily Pseudolus, “a dream role for any musical theater baritone,” he said, but also because he is performing with a stage full of friends.
“I’ve always liked the show, the music,” said McDonough. “But shows are 25 percent about what happens on stage and 75 percent about what’s backstage. There is not a person on this stage that I don’t love. They are all great, talented people.”
McDonough and Martinez said the camaraderie among the cast will be particularly evident in the first act, when they team up with Brandon Wear as “Sextus” and Colby McCurdy as “Lycus” to sing “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid.”
“I’ve known Colby since I was eight years old and Brandon since we were in freshman English together at Slidell High School.,” said McDonough. “We met Brian when we first came to Southeastern and lived across the hall from each other. We’ve all been pretty solid best friends for the last five years now.
“Being able to be on stage in a show-stopping number with my three best friends – it’s so great working with these guys,” McDonough said.
“We all came in together as freshmen,” Martinez said, “and now we’re finally getting to perform all together on stage.”
As he faces graduation, McDonough said his immediate career goal is simply employment – “anything that gives me money,” he said, laughing. Graduate school may be an option for the future, but if he does continue his musical pursuits, it will be in the musical theater genre.
“Opera is just not my scene,” he said. “I respect it as an art form and I respect people who choose to do it with their lives, but it is not for me.” He added, however, “It’s been absolutely fantastic to be in a program where you can do both opera and musical theater.”
Martinez knows what his career path will be when he leaves Southeastern next May. A talented young conductor, he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his Southeastern mentor, Alissa Rowe, director of the Southeastern Concert Choir and other university choral ensembles.
“I love to teach, I love to conduct. My goal is to be a college level conductor,” said Martinez, who has had opportunities at Southeastern to conduct the Concert Choir and University Chorus as well as the members of his music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
After graduation, Martinez and his fiancé, a Loyola graduate, will pursue their post-graduate degrees at a university that will accommodate both of their career tracks – choral conducting for him, marketing for her.
“I would also like to still perform,” he said. “Being able to do opera and musical theater and having a lot of opportunities to perform, that’s not something you get at a larger school, especially this caliber of performance. Being able to put so many things on my resume is a great help.”
General admission tickets for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” are $14, adults, and $10, senior citizens, Southeastern faculty, staff, alumni, and non-Southeastern students. Southeastern students are admitted free with their university I.D.
Tickets are available at the Fanfare box office at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, 220 E. Thomas Street, (985) 543-4371, and will also be available at the door. Fanfare box office hours are noon-5 p.m., weekdays.