Tickets $29.50/$25 student concessions group 10+
Award winning actor Frank Ferrante will bring his much loved production “An Evening with Groucho” to The World Theatre from USA on his around AUS tour.
The one-man-show features Ferrante performing the songs, dance routines, and stand up of legendary comedian Groucho Marx during the prime of Marx’s career in the 1920s and ‘30s.
What is most interesting about Ferrante and his show is that, for more than 30 years he has spent a large part of his career playing Marx all over the world, yet he is still able to make each and every performance seem new and fresh. Such skill takes a specific type of admiration and dedication to the material, which was evident during an interview when Ferrante talked in depth with both an academic and personal sensibility about Groucho Marx, his brothers, and the era of comedy from which they came.
Perhaps this long career, spanning decades was written in the stars when Ferrante watched his first Marx brothers’ movie, or maybe it was the day when he was a boy and he saw Marx in person, a day he remembers vividly. His father had taken the day off to take him to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles where an 86-year-old Groucho Marx was making an appearance to promote a new book.
Even though Marx was three hours late and there was a multitude of people vying to see the comic legend, Ferrante was able to get a seat at “at his feet,” as he described. While Marx had long past his prime and was quite ill from old age, he was still able to answer questions from the audience with caustic, clever, and hilarious one-liners. Case in point, when asked if he was making any more movies – and again, Marx was 86 and ailing – he responded after a long pause, “No, I’m answering stupid questions,” which Ferrante said in the voice of an aged Marx.
“That image of him carried with me,” Ferrante continued an image that carried over to his coursework at the University of Southern California where he studied theatre and, under advisement from a mentor, created a one man show about Marx. This was when Ferrante was discovered by Marx’s son, Arthur, who hired Ferrante to portray Marx in his play, “Groucho: A Life in Revue,” which was adapted into a PBS television special.
Since then, in more than 400 cities around the world, Ferrante has played Marx in nearly every era of his life, as young as Marx in teens to his twilight years. And even after almost a century since Marx first graced the stage and screen with his comedy, Ferrante believes that Marx’s humor still holds up today. “I think his humour transcends,” Ferrante said, “it’ll go on long after you and I have left the planet.”
Now, 2,500 performances later, Ferrante still gets a high playing Marx, especially since he never completely knows what he will do or say next in a show, nor does his piano player. In this two act comedy, Ferrante will perform Marx’s best one-liners, anecdotes, songs such as “Hooray for Captain Spaulding” and “Lydia,” as well as rely on a great deal of improvisation, making the audience a part of the show.
“Part of joy of doing this show is I get to see the response from children and the elderly and everyone in between. It seems to cut across culture and gender and age.” And, when asked if he ever gets tired of playing Marx, Ferrante responded, “Do you ever get tired of living?”
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