North Coast Repertory Theatre to Stage AN EVENING WITH GROUCHO

The performance starring Frank Ferrante is set for May 2nd and 3rd at 7:30pm.

By: Apr. 08, 2022
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North Coast Repertory Theatre to Stage AN EVENING WITH GROUCHO

Award-winning actor/director Frank Ferrante re-creates his acclaimed New York and London stage portrayal celebrating America's greatest comedian - Groucho Marx. You will feel as though Groucho is back, as Ferrante sings, dances and performs classic routines on the North Coast Rep stage, May 2nd & 3rd, 2022 at 7:30pm.

The two-act comedy consists of the best Groucho one-liners, stories, routines and songs including "Hooray for Captain Spalding," and "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady." The audience becomes part of the show as Ferrante ad-libs his way throughout the performance in magnificent Groucho style. Ferrante portrays the young Groucho of stage and film in a way that is "nothing short of masterful" (Chicago Tribune) and reacquaints us with the humor of brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields and Marx foil Margaret Dumont. "An Evening With Groucho" is a show perfect for all ages! Dreya Weber directs with accompaniment by Gerald Sternbach.

AN EVENING WITH GROUCHO will be performed on May 2-3, 2022 at 7:30pm at North Coast Repertory Theatre: 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive Solana Beach, CA 92075. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at or at the Box Office (858) 481-1055.

Frank Ferrante (Groucho/Writer)

The Chicago Tribune named Frank Ferrante as one of the top ten performances of 2019 for his work in the cirque spectacular Teatro ZinZanni. Frank recently directed and performed in the Walnut Street Theatre's production of Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors. Last year at the Walnut, he directed and played the lead role, Pseudolus, in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum acknowledged by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top performances in the country for 2017.

Described by The New York Times as "the greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx's material," Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera co-author Morrie Ryskind called him "the only actor aside from Groucho who delivered my lines as they were intended." Discovered by Groucho's son Arthur when Frank was a drama student at the University of Southern California, Frank originated the off-Broadway title role in Groucho: A Life in Revue (written by Arthur) portraying the comedian from age 15 to 85. For this role, Frank earned New York's Theatre World Award and an Outer Critics Circle nomination. He reprised the role in London's West End and was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for "Comedy Performance of the Year."

Frank played the Groucho role in the off-Broadway revival of The Cocoanuts and has played Captain Spalding in several productions of Animal Crackers, winning a Connecticut Critics Circle Award for his portrayal at Goodspeed Opera House and a Helen Hayes nomination in Washington, DC at Arena Stage. In Boston, he played the Huntington Theatre in the record-breaking run of Animal Crackers that landed Frank on the cover of American Theatre Magazine. Frank has now performed the Groucho role over 3,000 times in more than 500 cities. Frank toured An Evening With Groucho in Australia playing 50 cities as well as extended runs at Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. His other regional roles include Max Prince in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor at the Walnut Street Theatre (which Frank also directed); George S. Kaufman in By George (a one-man play written by Frank); Oscar in The Odd Couple and leads in The Sunshine Boys, Lady in the Dark and Anything Goes.

Frank directed M*A*S*H star Jamie Farr in the Kaufman & Hart comedy George Washington Slept Here and at the Walnut revivals of Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound and Lost in Yonkers. In 1995, he directed and developed the world premiere of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Old Wicked Songs. In 2001, Frank directed, produced and starred in the national PBS television program Groucho: A Life in Revue. Frank has played over 1,500 performances as the comic Latin lover Caesar in the cirque show Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle and San Francisco and in Palazzo in Amsterdam. On television, Frank played a speaking mime on Rob Corddry's Emmy Award-winning comedy Childrens Hospital and can be heard on the animated series Garfield and SpongeBob SquarePants. He is a question on the TV program Jeopardy. "He took his portrayal of Groucho Marx to New York in 1986." The answer: "Who is Frank Ferrante?"" Last October, Frank received a 'star' on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. The filmed version of this program recently rolled out nationally on PBS as Frank Ferrante's Groucho. Ask your local station when it will air.

Dreya Weber (Director) 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. Dreya recently directed and choreographed Sensatia at the Faena theater in Miami. Dreya produced and starred in The Gymnast and A Marine Story, collectively honored with 48 U.S. and international film festival awards including seven "Best Actress" honors.Dreya co-directed and wrote the recently released independent feature Raven's Touch in which she plays the title role.

She conceived and directed Caesar's World, now viewable on Funny or Die. Dreya writes extensively for many cirque/theater venues including Teatro ZinZanni, Palazzo and Le Studio. Her stage credits include As You Like It at Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company, A VERY OLD Man with Enormous Wings at CTG and the award-winning West Coast premiere of Austin Pendleton's Orson's Shadow in which she played Vivien Leigh.

On the East Coast, she appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival's Comedy of Errors, Childhood (with Glenn Close), Inadmissible Evidence and Macbeth. Dreya conceived and choreographed Pink's performances at the 2010 and 2014 Grammy's and was associate choreographer for Michael Jackson's This is It. For more than a decade, Dreya has created the aerials for all of Pink's record-breaking international tours. Her creative direction and aerial choreography has been featured in over 15 international arena tours including those for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Madonna, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue. Her work as aerial choreographer on Magic Mike Live is represented in the ongoing West End and Las Vegas runs. Dreya performed on the Walnut Mainstage in Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors. Dreya directed the currently running production of Chicago's cirque spectacular Teatro ZinZanni and is featured on HBO's Finding Magic Mike in her role as aerial choreographer. She is the director of the film version of Frank Ferrante's Groucho currently playing nationally on PBS.

Gerald Sternbach (Accompanist) one of Southern California's busiest musical directors with 12 Ovation nominations (2006 win), and seven Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nominations (winning in 2006, 2007 and 2011). He has accompanied and worked with Marilyn Horne, Jennifer Hudson, Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman, Carol Burnett, Adam Lambert, Nancy Wilson, Leslie Odom, Jr., John Lithgow and Judith Light. For Mel Brooks, he played the Live at the Geffen show (filmed for HBO), And made his London debut doing a one off of the same show at the Prince of Wales Theater. Other SoCal credits: the world premiere of Wishful Drinking (written and starring the late, great Carrie Fisher); Stephen Sondheim's 75th Birthday Concert at the Hollywood Bowl; Broadway credits: associate conductor for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Merlin and The Tap Dance Kid.

National tour credits: Les Misérables (LA premiere company) and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance (starring Melissa Manchester). He has taught at CSULA and for the last three years has been teaching at a performing arts high school magnet in the San Gabriel Valley. As a songwriter/composer, Jerry has contributed songs to Heartbeats (with Amanda McBroom); A-5-6-7-8! (with Faye Greenberg); A Very Cherry Christmas and Club Mom ( both with Elin Hampton); and Biting Broadway! (with Jordan Beck and John Blaylock).

His song (written with Faye Greenberg) "Mary," a tribute to Mary Tyler Moore, was sung by Eric McCormack on the 2004 TV Land awards in the presence of the original cast of the landmark sitcom, one of the thrills of his life. Jerry has accompanied Frank Ferrante in extended runs of An Evening With Groucho at Milwaukee RepertoryTheater, Cincinnati Playhouse and Bucks County Playhouse. This summer also heralds the world premiere of Witnesses (at the California Center for the Performing Arts, Escondido), in which he is one of seven songwriters bringing to life the diaries of five teenagers who were victims of the Holocaust.

Groucho Marx (Legend) Ninety-nine years ago, Groucho Marx played the Walnut Street Theatre in the Marx Brothers' musical I'll Say She Is. The Walnut was Groucho's favorite theater. The New York Times summed up the comedy genius as "America's most gifted funny man." Born Julius Henry Marx on October 2, 1890, Groucho was the third of five sons born to poor immigrant parents Sam and Minnie Marx. Chico and Harpo preceded him. Gummo and Zeppo followed. Straight from the streets of New York's upper Eastside, Groucho was thrust onstage at age 15 as one third of the singing Leroy Trio. Eventually, brothers Harpo, Chico, Gummo and Zeppo joined the act that began as the singing Four Nightingales and evolved into the world's funniest vaudeville act known as the Marx Brothers. After twenty years of touring their act all over the country, the Marx Brothers finally hit pay dirt with a musical comedy called I'll Say She Is. Audiences and critics went wild over the Brothers' irreverent humor, the expert pantomime, the wisecracks, the physical shtick, the outrageous musical talent.

Said one local Philadelphia critic about the show, "It was as if a tornado hit town. We've never seen anything like the Marx Brothers." I'll Say She Is moved to Broadway in 1924 and was an instant sensation legitimizing the Marx Brothers as world-class talents. Two more Broadway hits followed - The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers introducing audiences to Groucho's most renowned incarnation - Captain Spalding, the African Explorer. In 1930, Groucho and his brothers moved to Hollywood and changed the face of film comedy forever. There they made Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Room Service, At the Circus, Go West, The Big Store, A Night in Casablanca and Love Happy between 1931 and 1949.

The Four Marx Brothers appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1932. As a solo, Groucho launched a career on radio and television with his Emmy Award winning work as the host of the comedy quiz show "You Bet Your Life." The show flourished for fourteen highly rated seasons from 1947 to 1961 on ABC radio then NBC television. Groucho was a major fixture in 1950's television with his "secret woid" and a duck that dropped from the sky to pay wacky contestants "an extra hundred dollars." In the late 1960's, a renewed interest in the anarchic hijinks of the Marx Brothers swept across the nation - particularly among college age students. Fortunately, Groucho Marx survived long enough to experience his renaissance. He made TV appearances, performed at Carnegie Hall at age 82 and received a special Academy Award in 1974 for "the brilliant and unequalled achievements of the Marx Brothers". On August 19, 1977 Groucho Marx died at age 86. His final request? "Bury me next to Marilyn Monroe."

About the North Coast Repertory Theatre under the artistic leadership of David Ellenstein since 2003, is a professional Equity theatre, currently celebrating its 40th Season. North Coast Rep has received critical acclaim from media and audiences alike, and has evolved into one of the area's leading performing arts organizations. North Coast Rep prides itself on employing the majority of its actors from Actors' Equity Association for its high quality, awarda??winning productions, and staging works by established and emerging playwrights. Throughout its history, North Coast Rep has created a platform where artist and audience thrive through the intimacy of live theatre, recognizing the power of theatre to challenge complacency, revitalize the imagination, nurture the unexpected and embrace the variety and diversity in our lives.

Photo Credits: Michael Doucett

Pictured: Frank Ferrante


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