ANIMAL CRACKERS Plays The Stage Theatre, Now thru 5/11
ANIMAL CRACKERS, with Book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, Music & Lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, and Adapted by Henry Wishcamper with Original Orchestrations by Doug Peck, will run today, April 4 - May 11 in The Stage Theatre. Press night is Thursday, April 10 at 6:30pm.
From the zinging one-liners to its slapstick brilliance, this boisterous and raucous comedy about the theft of a valuable painting from a society dinner party is quintessential Marx Brothers mayhem. Watch Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx come to life before your eyes - right before they tear up from laughter.
Fun notes: The Marx Brothers were a family comedy act from New York consisting of five brothers: Criss-crossing the country on the vaudeville circuit, the brothers developed the roles they became known for, each picking up a nickname along the way: Groucho, the wise- cracker with bushy eyebrows, moustache, glasses and a cigar; Chico (pronounced Chick- o, because he chased after the chicks), the con man with an Italian accent who played the piano - and Harpo, the wide-eyed innocent with bushy hair who didn't speak at all but liked to steal silverware and play the harp. Zeppo, the youngest, usually played the handsome straight man, although once during the run of Animal Crackers, Zeppo went on for Groucho and was accounted even funnier than Groucho himself. (A fifth brother, Gummo, left the group during World War I.)
They enjoyed success in vaudeville, Broadway and in film. Five of their 13 films were selected by the American Film Institute as among the top 100 comedy films.
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s.
Animal Crackers was originally a Broadway show that opened in 1928. It was made into a film in 1930.
The Marx Brothers liked brisk, sharp humor and loved physical action. Groucho, who relied on verbal humor, always had a fresh zinger up his sleeve.
Through Groucho's distinctive appearance, one of the world's most recognizable novelty disguises was born: "Groucho Glasses," a one-piece mask consisting of horn-rimmed glasses, large plastic nose, bushy eyebrows and mustache.
"Directing Animal Crackers is such a fun-filled gift! Based on the 1928 Marx Brothers musical hit that combines the brilliant comic genius of George S. Kaufman and the silly, anarchic genius of Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo, this musical features totally infectious classic songs like 'Everyone Says I Love You,' 'Three Little Words,' 'Why Am I So Romantic,' 'Show Me A Rose,' and the iconic 'Hooray For Captain Spaulding.' Add a swinging live band onstage, some of my favorite (and very, very funny) colleagues making up the Creative Team, and a stellar cast comprised of great DCTC regulars and exciting performers making their DCTC debut and we've got the perfect show to lift our spirits out of winter and usher in the springtime. And as we Americans try and keep our sense of humor after these latest financial debacles, how appropriate is it to celebrate today with this classic musical comedy that lit up Broadway and raised spirits after Wall Street crashed (one of those other times) in 1929?! What a perfect way to welcome summer and close out the DCTC season! Long live the Marx Brothers and their silly brand of chaos!" - Bruce K. Sevy, Director
"Animal Crackers was a Broadway show before it became a movie. People familiar with the movie think of the Marx Brothers and their funny antics, but what they may not know is how much dancing there is in the stage version of the show. True to its Broadway roots, this production of Animal Crackers incorporates singing, dancing, acting and comedy. Dance styles audiences will see include Harlem's Cotton Club of the late 20s, vaudeville movement, traditional musical theater, and Broadway-style tap. There is a fabulous, show stopping tap section of this piece that I think audiences will love. Dance fans are going to love this production of Animal Crackers!" - Christine Rowan, Choreographer
"Animal Crackers features songs written by the musical team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby for the original Broadway production (1928) and the movie (1930). This adaptation also pulls in more songs from the Kalmar/Ruby songbook and draws upon a few other musical 'surprises' (these are the Marx Brothers, after all). Kalmar and Ruby went on to contribute music for four other Marx Brothers movies: Horsefeathers, Duck Soup, A Night At The Opera, and A Night In Casablanca. Our production features a live pit of six very talented musicians, performing orchestrations created by Doug Peck for this adaptation. I love the music of this time period (I even rolled up my sleeves and orchestrated some of the additional musical moments in the show), and I hope Denver audiences will be as thrilled as I am to hear this music performed live again after all these years." - Gregg Coffin, Musical Director
Single tickets for Animal Crackers start at $35 (non-SCFD) and also are available for $10 (SCFD 10 for $10 program). To purchase, call Denver Center Ticket Services at 303.893.4100. For groups of 10 or more, please call 303.446.4829. TTY (for Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons): 303.893.9582. Tickets also may be purchased at the Denver Center Ticket Office, located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at www.denvercenter.org. Student rush $10 tickets are available one hour prior to curtain with a valid student ID subject to availability. Senior and military rush tickets are available one hour prior to curtain, subject to availability. No children under four will be admitted to any theatre.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is supported in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Please visit the website at www.denvercenter.org.
Theatre Thursday, "Make Your Marx" | April 17, 5:30pm
Join us for a special evening: "Make Your Marx." Tickets are $50 (enter promo code MARX) and include a complimentary cocktail, bar bites, live music and a ticket to Animal Crackers. Tickets can be purchased online at denvercenter.org or 303.446.4829.
Marquee Club Evening | April 17
Marquee Club consists of Denver's active professionals who support the city's cultural scene and the Denver Center Theatre Company. This group enjoys a four-play Thursday subscription with cocktails before the show and "meet the cast" opportunities after each play at Larimer Square hotspots. For information visit www.denvercenter.org/members.
Family Day | Apr 27, 12:30pm
Zany preshow activities for the whole family including mini-slapstick workshops, giveaways and more followed by some quintessential Marx Brothers mayhem.
Directors Society Evening | April 27
Directors Society consists of loyal theatre patrons who want to provide support for the continued success of the Denver Center Theatre Company. This group enjoys an 8-play Wednesday night subscription with cocktails before the show and dinner with the cast immediately following each play. Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into each production during dinner. For more information visit www.denvercenter.org/members.
American Sign Language Interpretation/Audio Described Performance | May 4, 1:30pm
Spark a dialogue today when you connect through our FREE discussion series.
Perspectives on the Play | April 4 at 6pm
The DCTC's creative team provides the audience a unique perspective on the production. In The Jones Theatre.
Talkback hosted by the Higher Education Advisory Council | April 27, post-show
Discussion led by members of our academic community. Please join us for this talkback after the show.
General Talkback | May 4, post-show
Please join us for this talkback after the show.
Theatre & Theology | May 6, post-show
In a continued partnership with Pastor Dan Bollman of the Rocky Mountain Evangelical Lutheran Synod, this discussion examines the relevant connections to the productions through the theological lens.
For more information on CONNECT, visit www.denvercenter.org/CONNECT.
About the Denver Center Theatre Company: The Tony Award-winning Denver Center Theatre Company, helmed by Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson, is currently in its 35th season of offering classic, contemporary and new works to the American West. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a not-for-profit organization.