A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is one of Stephen Sondheim
's earliest musicals, both in terms of performance date and setting -- the story takes place in Rome, around 100 B.C. The show itself premiered in New York in 1962, starring Zero Mostel
-- who is widely associated with the role he plays here -- as the slave Pseudolus. As he bargains for his freedom, all sorts of hijinks ensue. This musical comedy has a multitude of classic songs, like "Comedy Tonight" and "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid." The London cast, heard in this recording, premiered in 1963 and starred Frankie Howerd
in the Mostel
role. It's a joyous rendition of a well-loved classic. Extra material is included on the London recording that can't be found on the Broadway disc.