Groucho Returns to the Walnut With Frank Ferrante in AN EVENING WITH GROUCHO
For one night only, Frank Ferrante will perform his acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx in An Evening With Groucho. The performance that Variety called "a Tour de Force" will happen on the Walnut Mainstage on Monday, February 25. Ferrante also directed and is now performing in Ken Ludwig's A COMEDY OF TENORS at the Walnut, on stage now through March 3.
In An Evening With Groucho, award-winning actor and director Frank Ferrante recreates his PBS, New York and London acclaimed portrayal of comedian Groucho Marx in a fast-paced 90 minutes of hilarity. The two-act comedy consists of the best Groucho one-liners, anecdotes and songs including "Hooray for Captain Spalding," and "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady." The audience becomes part of the show as Ferrante engages them throughout the performance in grand Groucho style. Accompanied by his onstage pianist, Ferrante portrays the young Groucho of stage and film and reacquaints us with the likes of brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Marx foil Margaret Dumont, and MGM's Louis B. Mayer.
As a drama student at the University of Southern California, Ferrante was discovered by Groucho's son Arthur. Arthur went on to write Groucho: A Life in Revue, and had Ferrante originate the off-Broadway title role. For that performance, Ferrante was nominated for a NY Outer Critics Circle Award and New York's Theatre World Award. The show debuted in the West End earning Ferrante a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for "Comedy Performance of the Year." Ferrante first recreated the role on Walnut's stage as part of the 1992-1993 season. He has been described by The New York Times as "the greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx's material."
An Evening With Groucho is directed by Dreya Weber, also currently performing in Ken Ludwig's A COMEDY OF TENORS (her Walnut debut!). Weber has directed extended runs of An Evening with Groucho at Seattle's ACT, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, The Pasadena Playhouse, the Bucks County Playhouse, and Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park. She most recently directed and choreographed Sensatia at the Faena theater in Miami. An accomplished aerialist, she has conceived aerial choreography for PINK's Glitter In The Air and Try for the Grammys, Michael Jackson's This is It, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Madonna, and Cher.
Gerald Sternbach will accompany Ferrante onstage for An Evening With Groucho as the onstage pianist. Sternbach has been traveling with the show for quite some time, accompanying Ferrante and Weber for the extended runs at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park, and the Bucks County Playhouse. An in-demand music director and accompanist, he has worked with a variety of artists including Mel Brooks, Carrie Fisher, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, and Josh Groban.
In the Theatre's great history, the Marx Brothers also performed on the Walnut's stage. In 1923, when they were transitioning from vaudeville to the legitimate stage, they debuted their first show I'll Say She Is. Following critical acclaim at the Walnut, the show went on to tour nationally before opening on Broadway. It was during this show that Groucho's signature painted mustached was created. Running late for a show one night, he used greasepaint instead of a glued-on mustache. He found it a much easier routine and decided to keep it as part of his routine.
Frank Ferrante will perform An Evening With Groucho one night only at Walnut Street Theatre, Monday, February 25 at 8pm. Tickets are $25 - $37. VIP tickets are $75 and include an exclusive meet and greet reception following the performance. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.