->"''Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!''"

A {{Farce}} {{Musical}} based on the plays of [[Creator/{{Plautus}} Titus Maccius Plautus]], with a book by Burt Shevelove and Creator/LarryGelbart and music and lyrics by Creator/StephenSondheim. Set in AncientRome, it's about a slave, Pseudolus (Greek, "false liar"), helping his master's son woo the GirlNextDoor in exchange for his freedom. Along the way they get involved with the affairs of the houses on either side of them: one is a "[[TheOldestProfession house of ill repute]]" run by Marcus Lycus; the other the home of an old near-sighted man named Erronius (Latin ''errare'', "to wander" or "to make a mistake").

Many {{pun}}s appear in the names of the neighbors alone: Domina (Latin, "Lady," "female master"), the [[MyBelovedSmother Beloved Smother]], HenpeckedHusband Senex (Latin, "old man"), the son named Hero, panic-prone slave Hysterium, aforementioned error-prone old man Erronius, love interest Philia (Greek, "love, friendship" or possibly intended as the Latin "filia" meaning "daughter"), and MilesGloriosus (Latin, "boastful soldier" and the title of a play by Creator/{{Plautus}}) the general. He provides the main romantic competition, since Philia is a [[HighClassCallGirl Bride for Sale]] and he has just bought her. Meanwhile, Erronius trots around trying to find his lost children, who were stolen in infancy (by pirates!) but are recognizeable by an OrphansPlotTrinket. And the only reason any of this can happen is because Senex and Domina are off visiting her mother, thus giving Pseudolus and Hero the run of the neighborhood... but Senex finds an excuse to come home and, err, ogle the merchandise, with his wife in hot pursuit (that's for those of you who have no interest in pirates). Of course, HilarityEnsues.

The play opened in 1962, and did well enough to spawn a film (1966) and many revivals. The film was directed by Richard Lester and starred Zero Mostel as Pseudolus (reprising his part from the Broadway production), Phil Silvers as Marcus Lycus (the proprietor of the whorehouse), and Creator/BusterKeaton as Erronius in his final film role. The stage version has featured, among others, Zero Mostel, Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg and Creator/GaryChalk.
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!!This musical provides examples of:

* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: MilesGloriosus tends to speak like this.
-->'''Miles:''' ...the beautiful bride I bargained for.
-->'''Miles:''' Now, I rid Rome of a rascal.
** This is [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Pseudolus at one point:
-->'''Miles:''' Her bridal bower becomes a burial bier of bitter bereavement!\\
'''Pseudolus:''' Very good! Can you say "Titus the tailor told ten tall tales to Titania the titmouse"?
* {{Aesop}}: [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] and subverted. "Morals tomorrow! Comedy tonight!" (See SpoofAesop, below.)
* AmazonChaser: In many productions, Gymnasia is a scary dominatrix with a whip who towers over the rest of the cast and that's exactly why Pseudolus wants her so bad.
* AncientRome: [[CaptainObvious Ahem]].
* ArtisticTitle: The film features a closing credits sequence animated by RichardWilliams.
* BadassBaritone: Miles Gloriosus, especially compared to rivals {{Henpecked Husband}} Senex and {{Tenor Boy}} Hero.
* BatmanGambit: Pseudolus is good at these. He's also good at [[XanatosSpeedChess changing his plans at a moment's notice.]]
* BodySushi: A form of this decades before the trope became popularized, when someone is eating food off the belly of a scantily clad courtesan at Miles' orgy.
* BrainlessBeauty: Philia, being an AffectionateParody of TheIngenue and PurityPersonified.
** And to a lesser extent, Hero. He's usually portrayed as a quite handsome young man who's rather lacking in the brains department.
* BreadEggsMilkSquick: Hero says Senex can't be a suitor to Philia because "He has gas, chronic asthma, gout, and a wife."
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Pseudolus does this a few times.
** The song "Comedy Tonight" is addressed directly to the audience, and is about the show itself.
* BrickJoke: At one point, Pseudolus disguises himself as a soothsayer and tells Erronius he is under a curse and must run seven times around the seven hills of Rome to end it, in order to [[SnipeHunt get him out of the way]] so that they can hide someone in his house. He's seen running in the background of several scenes. Eventually, he runs into the rest of the cast, and it is revealed that [[spoiler: Miles Gloriosus and Philia are his son and daughter, so they can't marry]]. Then in the last scene Eronnius counts on his fingers, shrugs, and keeps running. Fade to black.
** Early in Act Two, Pseudolus touts Philia's beauty to Miles, saying "If you had been born a woman, you would have been she!" [[spoiler: At the end, Miles and Philia turn out to be siblings.]]
* ButtMonkey: Hysterium.
* ChekhovsGun: The passion potion that Senex tells Hysterium to make. [[spoiler: Pseudolus ends up drinking it by accident. In the movie, it's Domina who drinks it]]
* [[CommediaDellArte Commedia dell' Arte]]: Many of the characters from the Creator/{{Plautus}} play "Pseudolus" upon which this is based are probably the Ur-examples of several Commedia dell' Arte types, so it's not surprising that they show up here in spades:
** Pseudolus is the ''arlecchino''
** Gymnasia (despite being TheSpeechless) is the ''colombina''
*** (Speechless in the movie. Has one line in the play.)
** Hysterium is the ''pedro''
** Hero is the ''innamorato''
** Philia is the ''innamorata''
** Senex is the ''pantalone''
** Lycus is the ''brighella''
** MilesGloriosus is the ''capitano''
* CovertPervert: Hysterium and his [[PornStash pottery collection]].
* CuteMute: Gymnasia, mostly with Pseudolus. If you overlook the fact she's actually a tall AmazonianBeauty and more physically fit and proficient with weapons than the entire cast...
* CutSong: "Love is in the Air", "Invocation", and "The House of Marcus Lycus", amongst others -- some are included as underscoring, or added to revivals.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: When Pseudolus sings of the things he can do if he is free, they include having a slave of his own. Obviously, he has no problem with slavery when he is not in bondage.
** Also [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] in that he intends to buy a slave of his own ''[[PetTheDog just so he can free him.]]''
* DeusExMachina: Not in the literal sense (sadly), but Erronius just shows up at the end and solves everyone's problems (including his own) completely by accident. Legendary comedian Creator/BusterKeaton played him in the movie so that they could have bits of physical comedy with him throughout.
** Legend has it that the director, concerned with Keaton's advanced age, refused to let him do any physical comedy moments. Keaton bribed the cameraman to film him doing some pratfalls anyway and they were worked into the film.
* DirtyOldMan: Senex. Domina even sings a song about him with that exact title.
* DisguisedInDrag: Hysterium's disguising himself as the "dead" Philia. Marcus Lycus also spends the last half hour of the film disguised as a woman in an attempt to sneak into Senex's house while it's occupied by Gloriosus's troops.
* TheDitz: The eunuchs. Not to mention Philia and Hero.
* DramaticTimpani: Miles Gloriosus' [[{{IAmSong}} "I Am" Song]] is accompanied by sufficiently bombastic sounding timpani booms.
* EvenTheGuysWantHim: Miles, judging by what his soldiers sing about him during "Bring Me My Bride."
* EvilSoundsDeep: Miles Gloriosus has the lowest notes, as well as being the closest thing the show has to a bad guy. (Which is to say that he's as bumbling and well-intentioned as the rest of the cast, he just happens to lead a Roman legion.)
** In the movie, they even transposed his part down lower, presumably to accommodate the operatic bass (Australian actor Leon Greene) who was cast.
* FallingInLoveMontage: "Lovely". This gets an absolutely [[CrowningMomentOfFunny hilarious]] reprise when one of the (male) characters has to pretend to be Philia.
* {{Fanservice}}: Something for everyone, after all.
* ForegoneConclusion. Of a sort. The song at the start guarantees a happy ending.
* GambitPileup: Towards the end.
* GirlNextDoor: Hero loves Philia.
** Albeit, Philia is a courtesan, but she's a virginal one...
* GrandeDame: Domina, who is the stereotypical ''matrona'' of the Roman theater.
* GreekChorus: The Proteans, three men (usually) who "play many parts" -- not included in the movie.
* HenpeckedHusband: Senex.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Pseudolus and Hysterium.
* HilarityEnsues: Essentially a two-word summary of the play.
* HighClassCallGirl: The courtesans.
* HypercompetentSidekick: Hero and Pseudolus are a textbook example of the "stupid master/smart servant" trope.
* [[{{IAmSong}} "I Am" Song]]: "Lovely" for Philia [[spoiler: [[CrowningMomentOfFunny and Hysterium]]]]; "[[BlatantLies I'm Calm]]" for Hysterium.
* IJustWantToBeFree: Pseudolus, as heard in his IWantSong.
* {{Improv}}: Zero Mostel was notorious for doing this, which didn't always amuse the rest of the cast.
* IncrediblyLongNote: At the end of Miles Gloriosus's VillainSong. Followed immediately by {{Intermission}}.
* IncomingHam: Miles Gloriosus.
-->"Stand aside, everyone! I take ''large steps''."
* {{Intermission}}: Pseudolus triggers the intermission by saying [[MediumAwareness it's the only thing that can get him out of his current fix.]]
* IWantSong: "Bring Me My Bride" for Miles Gloriosus; "Free" for Pseudolus.
* KarmaHoudini: Miles Gloriosus, reputedly the monster who "raped Thrace thrice," and serves as the antagonist for a good part of the play. His ending: Married to [[TwinThreesomeFantasy beautiful twins]] and reunited with his long lost family.
* LongLostRelative: Erronius finds his kids in the end.
** Also qualifies under OedipusComplex and LukeIAmYourFather, as his children, Philia and Miles Gloriosus, were actually supposed to marry, but he decided to allow Hero to marry Philia after learning that she is actually his sister separated when they were kidnapped.
* LoveAtFirstSight: Pseudolus with Gymnasia.
* LovePotion: Actually it's a passion potion, and it causes its eventual drinker to run around the stage yelling "Kiss me! Somebody kiss me, anybody!"
* MeaningfulName: if you know Latin and Greek, it's easy to guess people's characters and roles.
** And, sometimes, even if you don't. Case in point: one of the protagonists is named '''Hero.'''
* {{Meido}}: Philia's cover story for being in the house when Senex gets home. Well "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid".
* MilesGloriosus: A character in the play has this name, but he's not exactly the stock character. Rather, he's borrowed from the play of the same name by Plautus, which is also the inspiration for the stock character's name.
* MistakenForSpecialGuest: Pseudolus impersonates Marcus Lycus.
* MistakenIdentity: And how! Senex mistakes Philia for his new maid, Philia mistakes Senex for Miles, Miles mistakes Hysterium for a eunuch, Erronius mistakes Hysterium for a woman, Miles mistakes Domina for a courtesan, and in the final chase scene, ''everyone'' mistakes Hysterium and Domina for Philia, since all three are dressed identically. Most of these misunderstandings can be traced back to [[TheTrickster Pseudolus]].
* NonverbalMiscommunication: Pseudolus pretends to be a fortune-teller, while Hysterium pantomimes the correct responses behind the subject's back. Or tries to, anyway.
-->'''Pseudolus''': You have two kids.
-->''(Hysterium pantomimes muscles)''
-->'''Pseudolus''': A fine strong boy...
-->''(Hysterium pantomimes a girl sticking her hip out.)''
-->'''Pseudolus''':...and a very strange boy.
* NoodleIncident: Why on Earth does a bodysnatcher owe Pseudolus a favor?
* OrphansPlotTrinket: a ring with a gaggle of geese on it.
* PaperThinDisguise: In some productions, Hysterium's crossdressing disguise is far from convincing, which makes it even funnier when all the men are completely fooled by it.
** In one particular production, Hysterium had 5 o'clock shadow. He was going to shave it, but the director told him to keep it.
* PlotLineCrossover
* RedHerring: The sleeping potion.
* RememberedTooLate: Pseudolus remembers he can't read, but seems to forget that Hero can, so the latter takes the recipe for the potion.
* RuleOfThree: "He raped Thrace thrice?"
* ScoobyDoobyDoors: the stage version can feature this.
* ServileSnarker: Pseudolus
* TheSoprano: Philia
* SomedayThisWillComeInHandy: Among the really few skills of Pseudolous there's the absolute mastery of a peculiar form of [[HandSignals sign language]], spoken by a small population of mute amazons (on the "Island of Silent Women"), one of whom was his nanny as a kid. Guess where his LoveAtFirstSight comes from and what language she uses -- ''Gymnasia the Silent''!
* TheSpeechless: Gymnasia, Pseudolous' love interest.
* SpoofAesop: the final sung lines:
-->''What is the moral? Must be a moral.''
-->''Here is the moral, wrong or right:''
-->''...Morals tomorrow! [[CatchPhrase Comedy tonight!]]''
* SuicideAsComedy: When Hero first learns that Philia has been sold, he tries to stab himself, only to miss (he gets the part of the toga under his arm instead). He tries again a minute later, only for Pseudolus to snatch the dagger and tell him to knock it off.
** Also spoofed when it turns out it's against Roman law to commit suicide. You get the death penalty.
* TenorBoy: Hero. (In the film, he was played by an unbelievably young [[Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera Michael Crawford]].)
* ThrowItIn: Done InUniverse... in a way. At one point Pseudolus pretends to be a FortuneTeller to distract Erronius. He will sometimes turn to the audience and ask for help. (In one version, Erronius' reply was, "[[WhoWantsToBeAMillionaire Is that your final answer?]]")
** The show being the celebration of absurdity it is, there's a lot more grounds to play this than other shows might offer. One example: two characters, who are eventually revealed to be blood siblings, were spotted being played in a community production in Oakland, CA by a white woman and a [[ChocolateBaby black man]]. And, completely aside of [[AbilityOverAppearance other considerations]], this made TheReveal of same even funnier.
* TheTrickster: Pseudolus
* TwinThreesomeFantasy: Lycus' house has twins. Draw your own conclusions.
** To quote Miles Gloriosus' line from the final song: "I get the twins, they get the best."
* VitriolicBestBuds: Pseudolus and Hysterium.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: A final song is devoted to TyingUpRomanticLooseEnds and otherwise clarifying what happened to everyone. [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters It's pretty necessary.]]
* WorldOfHam: Being a farce, there are very few subtle characters.
* YouDontWantToCatchThis: Used twice first Pseudolus claims that Philia has the plague in order to get her from Lycus for free; then Lycus pretends to be a leper when he's hiding from Miles.
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