An Evening With Groucho

Actor Frank Ferrante explains his fascination with Groucho Marx thusly: “I grew up a follow-the-rules boy in a Catholic school taught by nuns in Pasadena,” he says by phone from California. “He [Marx] was the first Mr. Politically Incorrect. He was a brash wise guy who took swipes at anybody in power. I found his comedy exhilarating.” So much so that Ferrante has spent the last 24 years portraying Groucho, most notably in his touring show An Evening With Groucho. In this fast-paced, 90-minute performance, he employs one-liners, anecdotes, songs, and improv to bring to life an unnervingly authentic Groucho. (Of course, Ferrante is no stranger to ad-libbing, being a regular at Teatro ZinZanni.) Ferrante warns that he, like Groucho during his pre-Hollywood years on the vaudeville stage, is relentless when it comes to picking on audience members: “The people in the front row are the ones I mess with most. Someone walking in late or nodding off, even sneezing… nobody’s off-limits.” ERIKA HOBART

Sat., March 21, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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