An Evening With Groucho

Frank Ferrante loves Groucho Marx (1890—1977) just like I do, and this one-man show is the closest recreation of his brilliant anarchic wit and stiletto tongue you're likely to witness. It's a freewheeling stream-of-consciousness romp, equal parts autobiography, and musical revue. Ferrante also pays tribute to Groucho's last showbiz hurrah, the radio (and later television) game show You Bet Your Life, by grilling audience members, too. Having perfected his act over 25 years, Ferrante doesn't need much of a set. There's a vanity where he paints on Groucho's eyebrows and mustache; an old sitting chair and vintage phone (to hector his next sputtering victim); and the redoubtable Jim Furmston on piano, to play straight man and accompany Ferrante on a few tunes. The show includes all the vaudeville and big-screen anecdotes you'd hope for: how the Marx Brothers evolved from a musical act into four unique comic characters; how they got their nicknames; how they swapped Zeppo for Gummo, etc. Ferrante also reveals Groucho's more gentle side in reminiscences of his departed brothers and his longtime comedic foil, Margaret Dumont. Through it all, Groucho's glee and Ferrante's delight in playing him come shining through. KEVIN PHINNEY

Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 3. Continues through May 20, 2012

 
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