Funny Thing Forum

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

By Stephen Sondheim

Presented in its original version (in English) with French subtitles

Stephen Sondheim’s hilarious musical farce for the first time in Paris in its original version.

Stephen Sondheim –  “theater’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century” (New York Times) – was introduced to Paris by Jean-Luc Choplin with the triumphant productions of A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Passion, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George…

For its grand reopening, the Lido2Paris will present Sondheim’s most successful work, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Take a lazy and mischievous slave, add his masters, zany chases, an improbable love story, and numerous misunderstandings. It’s impossible not to laugh and hum the tunes of this musical vaudeville.

Music and lyrics : Stephen Sondheim

Libretto: Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart

Originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince

Director: Cal McCrystal

Set Designer: Tim Hatley

Music Director: Gareth Valentine

Choreographer: Carrie-Anne Ingrouille

Costume Designer: takis

Lighting Designer: Giuseppe di Iorio

Sound Designer: Unisson Design

Poster Design: Catherine Meurisse

In accordance with Music Theatre International ( and Drama Paris (

Burt Shevelove Bio

Burt Shevelove , Co-Author of the book

Burt Shevelove (1915-82, co-author of the book) was born in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Brown University and earned a Master’s degree in theater from Yale. During his time at Yale, he penned lyrics for a musical adaptation of Plautus’s “Mostellaria” and later became the resident director for the Yale Dramatic Association. After serving as an ambulance driver in World War II, he embarked on a career as a writer, director, and producer for radio and television. He collaborated with notable figures like Judy Garland, Red Buttons, Jack Paar, Cyril Richard, Nancy Walker, and Victor Borge. His work garnered him Emmy and Peabody Awards. His Broadway journey began in 1948 with “Small Wonder,” a revue for which he contributed material, co-produced, and directed. He also directed a revival of “Kiss Me Kate” (1956), “Hallelujah Baby!” (1968), “No, No, Nanette” (1971; for which he also wrote the book), “The Frogs” (1974; co-written with Stephen Sondheim and performed in and around the Yale University pool), and “Happy New Year” (1980; for which he also wrote the book). He co-wrote the film “The Wrong Box” with Larry Gelbart. Burt Shevelove passed away in 1982.

Larry Gelbart Bio 3

Larry Gelbart, Co-Author of the book

Larry Gelbart (1928-2009, book co-author), a Chicago-born writer and producer who achieved success for his work in radio, television, film and theater. He began his professional career in the late 1940s, before reaching the age of twenty, writing for such radio shows as “The Eddie Cantor Show,” “The Maxwell House Coffee Time with Danny Thomas,” “Duffy’s Tavern,” “Command Performance,” “Jack Carter,” “The Jack Paar Show,” “The Joan Davis Show” and “The Bob Hope Show.” By the early 1950s he had begun writing for television, including “The All-Star Revue,” “The Red Buttons Show,” “Honestly,” “Celeste, “The Patrice Munsel Show,” “Caesar’s Hour” and “The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom”; his television work in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s included “The Danny Kaye Show,” “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine,” and the long-running and hugely successful landmark series,”M*A*S*H.” Other TV credits during that period included “Barbra Streisand…and Other Musical Instruments,” “Roll Out!,” “Karen,” “AfterMASH,” and the award-winning HBO television film, Barbarians at the Gate. In addition to A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, his work for the theater includes the plays Sly Fox (1976) and Mastergate (1989), and the musicals The Conquering Hero (1960), One, Two, Three, Four, Five (1988), and City of Angels (1989; winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical). His film work includes The Notorious Landlady, The Thrill of It All, The Wrong Box (co-written with Burt Shevelove), Not With My Wife, You Don’t, The Chastity Belt, A Fine Pair, Oh, God, Movie, Movie, Neighbors, Tootsie, and Blame It on Rio.

Stephen Sondheim - Lido 2 Paris

Stephen Sondheim, music and lyrics

Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021, music and lyrics) composed music and lyrics for numerous works, including “Saturday Night” (1954), “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (1962), “Anyone Can Whistle” (1964), “Company” (1970), “Follies” (1971), “A Little Night Music” (1973), “The Frogs” (1974), “Pacific Overtures” (1976), “Sweeney Todd” (1979), “Merrily We Roll Along” (1981), “Sunday in the Park with George” (1984), “Into the Woods” (1987), “Assassins” (1991), “Passion” (1994), and “Road Show” (2008). He also contributed lyrics to works like “West Side Story” (1957), “Gypsy” (1959), and “Do I Hear a Waltz?” (1965), and additional lyrics for “Candide” (1973). Anthologies of his creations include “Side by Side by Sondheim” (1976), “Marry Me a Little” (1981), “You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow” (1983), “Putting It Together” (1993/99), and “Sondheim on Sondheim” (2010). Sondheim composed scores for films like “Stavisky” (1974) and “Reds” (1981), as well as songs for “Dick Tracy” (1990) and the TV production “Evening Primrose” (1966). His collected lyrics, along with accompanying essays, were published in two volumes: “Finishing the Hat” (2010) and “Look, I Made A Hat” (2011). In 2010, Broadway’s Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed The Stephen Sondheim Theatre in his honor. Similarly, in 2019, London’s Queens Theatre was also renamed the Sondheim Theatre.

Cal Mccrystal Background
Cal Mccrystal Background

Cal McCrystal, Stage Director

Cal was born in Belfast. Working for many years as an actor, he trained as an actor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and École Philippe Gaulier.

Directing theatre credits include the West End production of Mother Goose starring Sir Ian McKellen, Drama At Inish at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, One Man, Two Guvnors at the National Theatre/West End/Broadway, Don Quixote at the Royal Shakespeare Company Stratford-upon-Avon/West End, ¡Vamos Cuba! for Sadlers Wells and Office Party at The Barbican Centre. He regularly directs in British Repertory and has created countless international touring shows for companies such as Spymonkey, Peepolykus, and The Mighty Boosh.

Opera: includes Haydn’s Il Mondo Della Luna for English Touring Opera, Rossini’s Le Comte Ory for Garsington Opera. Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe and HMS Pinafore for English National Opera.

Circus: Varekai and Zumanity for Cirque du Soleil, Palazzo Zirkus in Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Vienna, Pasion Sin Puñales at Teatro Circa Price in Madrid, Ohlala for Circus Knie, OPM and The Atomic Saloon Showin Las Vegas and The Hook at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City Cal has been director at Giffords Circus since 2012.

Film: Comedy Consultant work includes The Dictator, The Worlds End, Cats, Man Up, The Nice Guys, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dora and The Lost City Of Gold, Wonka and Paddington 1 and 2 (in which he also appears as Sir Geoffrey Wilcott) and Red, White and Royal Blue.

TV: Cirque du Soleil’s Solstrom, MTV Europe Video Awards, Comedy Cuts, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Inside Number 9.

Superstar Tim
Superstar Tim

Tim Hatley, Set Designer

TIM HATLEY DESIGNER – Scenic & Costume Double nomina>ons at the 2012 Olivier Awards – Best Set Design for Back to the Future and Life of Pi. (Winner) Tim has designed extensively for The Na>onal Theatre, West End and Broadway, and is the winner of 2 Tony Awards, 3 Olivier Awards, & 4 Drama Desk Awards, including the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Set Design for Life of Pi. Recent theatre credits include: Life of Pi (West End); Back to the Future (West End & UK Tour); Dreamgirls (West End & UK Tour); Traves8es (Menier/West End/ Broadway); Ghosts (Almeida Theatre/West End/Brooklyn Academy of Music); Li:le Eyolf (Almeida Theatre); Temple (Donmar Warehouse); Enemy of the People, Pyjama Game (Chichester Fes>val Theatre); The Slaves of Solitude & Drawing The Line (Hampstead Theatre); Mr. Foote’s Other Leg (Hampstead Theatre/West End), The Bodyguard (West End/Interna>onal Tours); Shrek (West End/ Broadway/UK Tour/US Tour); Spamalot (West End/ Broadway/ US Tour/Las Vegas); Singin’ in the Rain, My Fair Lady (Chatelet Paris) and Carmen & Don Quixote (The Royal Ballet). Film credits include Produc>on Design for: Closer, Notes on a Scandal and Stage Beauty

Carrie Anne Headshot

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille,Choreographer

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille is currently represented in the West End and on Broadway with her critically acclaimed choreography in the global phenomenon SIX – The Musical playing at the Vaudeville Theatre, London and the Lena Horne Theatre, New York, as well as touring in the U.S., U.K. & internationally. For her work on SIX – The Musical, Carrie has received Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier, WhatsOnStage, Offie and The Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award nominations for Best Choreography. Notable Choreography and Movement Direction credits include: Rock Follies (Chichester Festival Theatre), Village Idiot (Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse & Ramps on the Moon), The Good Person of Szechwan (Sheffield Crucible, Lyric Hammersmith & ETT), Monsoon Wedding – The Musical (St.Ann’s Warehouse, New York), Antigone (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), Our Generation (National Theatre & Chichester Festival Theatre), Wonderful Town (Opera Holland Park), This is My Family (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Catherine Tate Show Live (U.K. Tour), Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Duke of York’s Theatre), The Suicide (National Theatre), The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (Royal Opera House, The Roundhouse). Carrie is the U.K. Associate Choreographer for Hamilton, West End.

Gareth Valentine bio
Gareth Valentine bio

Gareth Valentine, Musical Director

Valentine began a career in 1981 working alongside composers such as Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods), Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin), John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss Of The Spiderwoman), Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber (Love Never Dies, Cats, Aspects Of Love) and Maury Yeston (Nine, Titanic.)

He has conducted the following West End musicals (all of which won Olivier Awards for Best Musical or Best Musical Revival): 42nd STREET (Drury Lane), KISS ME KATE (Victoria Palace), MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (Donmar), COMPANY (Donmar), CHICAGO (Adelphi), CITY OF ANGELS (Donmar).
He has most recently conducted MY FAIR LADY at The London Coliseum and is the UK Music Supervisor of it’s subsequent UK Tour.

Orchestras include: BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de Chamber de Paris, Pasdeloup Orchestra, Welsh National Opera Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Rome Opera House Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra.

He has conducted for many international artistes including: Barbara Cook, Eartha Kitt, Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige, Liza Minelli, Christopher Reeves, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Bryn Terfel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chita Rivera, Jerry Lewis, Sir Elton John, Marin Maisie, Sir Roger Moore, Sir Ian McKellen, Clarke Peters, Victoria Wood, Joel Grey and Wayne Sleep.

Gareth’s REQUIEM has been performed at Southwark Cathedral, in Warwick, Boulder, Colorado, Helsinki and Paris as well as recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London.

He was commissioned by The Old Vic to compose a new score for Aladdin starring Sir Ian McKellen as Twankey.

He composed the ballet Strictly Gershwin for English National Ballet which played the Royal Albert Hall and a sellout UK tour with seasons in Tulsa and Queensland, USA. This was revived in Europe in 2022.

He was recently described in The Stage as “one of the West End’s most sough- after musical directors.”

Giuseppe Photo

Giuseppe di Iorio, Lighting Designer

Giuseppe di Iorio Lighting Designer
Born in Naples, he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Recently, he has designed the lighting for numerous productions, including:
• Forza del destino (Verdi Festival, Parma)
• Otello (Oscarborg Operan, Norway)
• Elisir d’amore open air (Aslico Como Lake)
• Edipo re (Festival di Siracusa)
• Ballo in maschera (Verdi Festival, Parma, Copenhagen Opera)
• La Figlia del reggimento (Oscarborg Operan, Norway)
• Traviata and Trovatore (Teatro alla Verdura, Palermo)
• Farnace (La Fenice, Venice)
• Ernani in streaming (Teatro Massimo, Palermo)
• Zaide (Opera di Roma and Aslico)
• Parsifal (Teatro Massimo, Palermo)
• Ermione (Teatro di San Carlo, Naples)
• Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, and Le nozze di Figaro (Opera di Roma)
• Die Tote Stadt (Teatro alla Scala)
• Semiramide (ROF XL)
• Carmen and Zauberflöte (Sferisterio di Macerata)
• Edipo a Colono (Teatro Greco di Siracusa, Epidauro)
• La bohème (Comunale di Bologna, awarded the Abbiati Prize in 2018)
• Raymonda (Royal Danish Ballet)
• Stiffelio (Festival Verdi, Parma, awarded the Abbiati Prize in 2017)
• Ipermnestra (Glyndebourne Festival)
• My Fair Lady and Singin’ in the Rain (Chicago, Châtelet di Parigi, Mariinsky Theatre)
• Tetralogy, Tristan und Isolde, and Anna Bolena (São Carlos, Lisbon)
• Nozze and Idomeneo (Göteborg Opera, Lithuanian National Opera)
• Fidelio and Falstaff (Bucharest)
• Morgen und Abend (Royal Opera House, Staatsoper Berlin)
He has also designed site-specific productions for Birmingham Opera, including Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Wake, Dido and Aeneas, The Ice Break, Kovanisgate, Mittwoch aus Licht, Life is a Dream, Otello, and Idomeneo. Additionally, he has worked on Tristan und Isolde (Megaron, Athens), Macbeth (Maggio Fiorentino), War and Peace, The Makropulos Affair, and Boris Godunov (Mariinsky Theatre), Curro Vargas (Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid, awarded the Premios Líricos Teatro Campoamor in 2014), Die Zauberflöte (Bolshoi Theatre), Das Rheingold (awarded the Abbiati Prize in 2013), Die Walküre, Siegfried, Twilight of the Gods, and Anna Bolena (Teatro Massimo, Palermo), Mosè in Egitto and Guillaume Tell (Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro).

Takis photo

Takis, Costume Designer

takis is a leading creative designer whose visionary work can be seen on the global stage in a diverse body of work spanning theatre, opera, ballet, circus and fashion. He regularly collaborates with the world’s leading opera houses, theatres and producers including the National Theatre, Old Vic, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, The Globe and Cameron Mackintosh.

takis’ current and recent theatre and musical designs include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre); the first non-replica production of Moulin Rouge the Musical (Scandinavia); Flashdance & Jersey Boys (Oslo); Five Guys Named Moe (West End); In the Heights (West End) and the Swedish premiere of Wicked.

takis’ current opera works include La Traviata (Oslo Opera House), Don Giovanni (Finnish National Opera), Madama Butterfly (Opera Lambardia), Andrea Chenier (St Gallen) Le Comte Ory (Garsington), HMS Pinafore (ENO) and Phaedra (Royal Opera House).

Atomic Saloon and OPM (Las Vegas); The Hook (Antlantic City); Les Enfants Du Paradis, ¡CARPA!, for Giffords Circus are some of his designs for circus.

takis’ work has been exhibited at museums globally including the Design Museums (London & Helsinki), the V&A (London) and the Bucharest Modern Art Museum.

Commercial work includes the world’s first drive through immersive car launch for Toyota and Centrepoint’s 50th Anniversary Gala.

takis’ work has been nominated for over twenty major awards including the Laurence Olivier Awards, International Opera Awards and What’s On Stage Awards.

takis holds a PhD from Aalto University, Helsinki, where he developed the concept of the META-SUIT: an interchangeable costume where the form and design adjust in order to perform different expressions of masculinity in everyday life.

Unisson 1

Unisson design, Créateur son

Unisson Design is the synergy of strengths. Starting with the collaboration of two “sound designers,” Cyril Auclair and Léonard Françon, who rely on a network of excellence within the sound engineering industry. With a robust and proven experience gained over many years working with national and international productions, as well as an in-depth understanding of the field, Unisson Design operates in the sound engineering sector, redefining the role of amplified sound at the heart of live performances, in service of artistic intent, and in support of stage production. Recently, Unisson Design has distinguished itself in the following creations: Peau d’Âne, Funny Girl (Théâtre Marigny), Le Vol du Boli, 42nd Street (Théâtre du Châtelet), and in collaboration with Bartabas at La Seine Musicale for Le Sacre de Stravinsky and Le Requiem de Mozart.

Davidgrindrod Headshot
Davidgrindrod Headshot

David Grindrod, Casting Director

David Grindrod CDG for Grindrod & Burton Casting

Theatre includes: Sinatra, Back to the Future, Grease, Elf, Time Travellers Wife, Into the Woods, Waitress, Only Fools and Horses, Mamma Mia! (worldwide), Mamma Mia! The Party, Magic Mike Live, Matilda (adult casting), 42nd Street, Bat Out of Hell, Five Guys Named Moe, Ghost, Our House, Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Groundhog Day, Jekyll & Hyde(Old Vic), Chicago, Shrek, Grease, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mrs Henderson Presents, Fat Friends, The Commitments (UK tour), Man of La Mancha, Chess, Carousel, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, On the Town, Kismet (ENO), Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hello Dolly, Crazy for You (Regent’s Park Open Air), My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Kiss Me Kate, West Side Story, On the Town(BBC Proms/John Wilson)Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Oliver ,Sweet Charity (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), My Fair Lady, Candide, 42nd Street, Singing in the Rain, Kiss Me Kate (Châtelet, Paris), The Beggars Opera (Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris) and Guys and Dolls (Théâtre Marigny, Paris).For Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Likes of Us, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, By Jeeves, Evita, Tell Me on a Sunday, Cats, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Whistle Down the Wind, The Beautiful Game, Bombay Dreams, The Woman in White, The Sound of Music, Love Never Dies, The Wizard of Oz, Stephen Ward, School of Rock, Unmasked and Cinderella.Film includes: Musical Ensemble Casting: Greatest Days, Matilda, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Mamma Mia!UK Dancer Casting: Mary Poppins Returns and Nine and Casting Director: The Phantom of the Opera.Television includes: Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream, Sound of Music Live (2016 BAFTAAward), Superstar, Over the Rainbow, I’d Do Anything, Any Dream Will Do, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria (2007 Emmy Award), Kombat Opera presents… (2008 Golden Rose Montreux Award), Hollyoaks and West End Star (TV3 Sweden).Awards: Casting Directors Guild Award for Best Musical Casting 2022 –Back to the Future. David is also proud to be Associate Artist at Old Vic, Trustee Watermill Theatre, Newbury, Trustee Council Dance & Musical Theatre, Vice President Arts Educational School.GBC Casting Directors: Will Burton, Stephen Crockett GBC Casting Associate: Amy BeadelGBC Casting Assistant: Will Burry

A funny thing happened on th way to the forum by Jean-Luc Choplin

Sondheim, a Francophile genius overlooked in France

Stephen Sondheim - Lido 2 Paris

Join us in exploring the musical world of Stephen Sondheim

 Stephen Sondheim is the most significant composer and lyricist in musical theater of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Whether you’re a passionate music lover, a musical theater enthusiast, a theater buff, or simply a curious soul seeking exceptional artistic experiences, Stephen Sondheim’s genius is sure to move you.


A Musical Theater Virtuoso:

Stephen Sondheim is universally recognized as a master of musical theater. His innovative works have revolutionized the standards of musicals. His ability to weave original subjects with profound lyrics and complex melodies remains unparalleled. His clever and entertaining pieces deeply move us, such as his haunting “Sweeney Todd,” immortalized on the silver screen by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s adaptation, or his satirical tale “Into the Woods,” in which the famous witch was portrayed by Meryl Streep in Rob Marshall’s film.


A Diverse Body of Work:

Delve into Stephen Sondheim’s rich legacy by exploring the diversity of his works. His exploration of human relationships through complex characters brought a new level of sophistication to the musical theater genre. Yet, his talent also shone early on with the 1962 creation of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” a vaudevillian musical comedy inspired by the great Roman comedy master, Plautus, and considered the funniest musical ever written.


Sondheim: An Overlooked Francophile Genius in France:

Heavily influenced by French composers, Stephen Sondheim drew inspiration from Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, and Erik Satie. His attachment to France also takes shape in his work “Sunday in the Park with George,” which celebrates the pointillist painter Georges Seurat and, in particular, his famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Despite these influences, it wasn’t until the productions at the Théâtre du Châtelet that Stephen Sondheim was finally introduced to the French public. It was the theater where the composer enjoyed coming to hear his works produced on a grand scale with new orchestrations (“Little Night Music” in 2010, “Sweeney Todd” in 2011, “Sunday in the Park with George” in 2013, “Into the Woods” in 2014, “Passion” in 2016).


And today, introducing an absolute must-see at the Lido 2 Paris, a madcap vaudeville “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” for the first time in France in its original English version with French subtitles.



  • “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (1966): A filmed musical comedy based on the Broadway show of the same name.
  • “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007): Cinematic adaptation of Sondheim’s famous musical, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
  • “Into the Woods” (2014): A cinematic version of the musical that brings together fairy tale characters, featuring Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt.


His Musical Productions:

  • “Saturday Night” (1954)
  • “West Side Story” (1957) (lyrics)
  • “Gypsy” (1959) (lyrics)
  • “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (1962)
  • “Anyone Can Whistle” (1964)
  • “Company” (1970)
  • “Follies” (1971)
  • “A Little Night Music” (1973)
  • “Pacific Overtures” (1976)
  • “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (1979)
  • “Merrily We Roll Along” (1981)
  • “Sunday in the Park with George” (1984)
  • “Into the Woods” (1987)
  • “Assassins” (1990)
  • “Passion” (1994)
  • “Bounce” (2003)
  • “Road Show” (2008)

Find us on Instagram