Bringing a classic back to life: Groucho interpreter visits Worthington Sept. 29
WORTHINGTON -- "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas; how he got in my pajamas, I don't know." That's the kind of classic, quick-witted humor displayed by acclaimed actor/comedian Frank Ferrante, who will bring his award-winning portrayal...
WORTHINGTON - “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas; how he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.”
That’s the kind of classic, quick-witted humor displayed by acclaimed actor/comedian Frank Ferrante, who will bring his award-winning portrayal of Groucho Marx all the way to Worthington on Sept. 29 in a 7 p.m. presentation titled “An Evening with Groucho.”
“This is a huge show for our community,” said Tammy Makram, managing director of Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC), noting the event is sponsored by the Friends of the Auditorium in partnership with the Center for Active Living.
“Frank Ferrante has received numerous awards and is endorsed by Groucho’s family,” she continued.
“When he performs this in Los Angeles and New York, it’s an instant sellout, and that says a lot; people in the know, know not to miss it.”
Reviewed by The New York Times, Ferrante was said to be the “greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx’s material.”
And, as Makram attested, Ferrante was “discovered” by Marx’s son Arthur when Ferrante was still a drama student at the University of Southern California.
Among Ferrante’s numerous honors are New York’s Theatre World Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award.
But Makram doesn’t want audiences to merely be impressed by Ferrante’s credentials; instead, she guarantees a night of hilarious entertainment.
“This is a show for everyone - young adults, kids, grandparents, people of all ages,” she listed.
“Ferrante loves to interact with his audiences, and loves bringing kids up on stage, so this is an extremely family-appropriate show and would be a really fun time for grandparents to take their grandkids out for the evening.”
“Just who IS Groucho Marx?” many younger folks might be wondering.
Marx lived from 1890-1977 and is widely considered one of the best comedians of modern times, according to marx-brothers.org.
Wildly popular, along with his brothers Harpo, Chico and Zeppo, Marx transitioned from vaudeville to radio to movies to television, with a brand of rapid-fire humor and wit slightly reminiscent of Robin Williams or Sacha Baron Cohen (only “cleaner”).
Arguably, Marx and his work remain relevant today, as several contemporary comedians and entertainers cite his influence, and no less than the Guthrie Theater has included a revival of one of his theater productions, “The Cocoanuts,” in its 2015-16 season.
“It really doesn’t matter whether or not you know who Groucho Marx was, though,” assured Makram.
“This is simply a sensational show that Ferrante performs, accompanied by a truly amazing pianist. It’s really a Broadway-caliber performance available locally for a very affordable ticket price.
“We’re very fortunate it worked for Ferrante to fly in from California during that last week of September, which happens to be Active Seniors Week.
“I mean, he’s coming straight from Hollywood to Worthington to entertain here.”
Makram saw Ferrante in action about four years ago at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she says he captivated the full-house audience.
“It’s packed with classic comedy, one-liners, songs, stories and improvisation that has people in stitches,” said Makram.
“I promise that anyone who comes to ‘An Evening with Groucho’ will be ecstatic they took the time to see it,” she continued.
“You’ll leave with a smile on your face - and probably sore cheeks from laughing.”
“An Evening with Groucho” will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13th St., Worthington. Reserved seating tickets are available now at the box office, which is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; or, call 507-376-9101 or visit friendsoftheauditorium.com. There is a reduced rate for advance purchase of tickets, and Worthington Center for Active Living members receive a discounted ticket price when presenting proper identification.