Pantaloons & Tunics! Courtesans & Eunuchs!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Still from a decidedly tame Goodspeed Opera House production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.. in 2009.


I won’t name names (this is NSFW, as they say), but thanks for sharing. In my ongoing quest to demystify and deghettoize live theater by showing how ubiquitous it is in all realms of pop culture…

A Funny Thing Happened…. is a lengthy porn story, found on the site Literotica here, about how a production of the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum gets way out of hand. It is credited to “Quince,” noted author of the “Sometime Succubus” series.

It begins thus:

If you’ve never seen A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum…, you’re missing out. It’s a great show, it’s the first musical for which Sondheim wrote both music and lyrics, and it’s basically a Roman sex farce with some pretty catchy songs: “Comedy Tonight”, “Lovely”, “Dirty Old Man”, great stuff. The plot—not that it matters much—concerns this young man who lives with his parents. The ‘rents go off to the country for the weekend, and he (his name is Hero, by the way) falls in love with a courtesan who lives at the brothel next door to his house. Her name is Philia, she’s a virgin, and she loves him too, but she’s due to be sold to this super-stud of a general called Miles Gloriosus. So Hero offers his slave, Pseudolus—Pseudolus is the real star of the show—his freedom if he, Pseudolus, can figure out a way for Hero and Philia to be together. Well, plans get made, lies get told, potions get drunk, men put on dresses, everybody chases everybody else, and hilarity pretty much ensues. It gets done a lot, because the music’s not too hard, the cast is not too big, and who doesn’t like songs, gags, and scantily-clad ladies doing the Roman equivalent of pole dancing? Anyhow, if you haven’t seen it, check it out the next time it comes to the local theatre or college or whatever. And if you have seen it recently, or if you see it in the next five to ten years, you probably have or will see me playing Gymnasia.

And then it gets really dirty, as a full-cast, deeply detailed orgy develops, inspired by the bawdy debauchery of Sondheim & Shevelove & Gelbart’s opus. But throughout this sordid tale (which I will refrain from quoting further), “Quince” demonstrates a keen knowledge of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum… that is to be commended. Just don’t know if I can ever see the show in the same frame of mind again.

A bit of browsing reveals another Sondheim-inspired porn story, It Is Love by yuna1981, which bills itself as “a loose riff on Sondheim’s Passion.” It is much less successful, and less silly, than A Funny Thing Happened…, but hey, to each his own, as the literoticians say.