Of all the irreverent entertainers who have shaped the American psyche, few are equal to legendary comedian Groucho Marx. An ongoing tribute to his genius made its way to Queens Theatre, where actor Frank Ferrante offered his zany one-man show March 28-30.
The production was directed by Dreya Weber, and performances included live music by pianist Eric Ebbenga.
Ferrante dons Marx’s greasepaint moustache and eyebrows as the audience watches. In minutes, he transforms into the familiar face that has brought sidesplitting laughter to generations. The 90-minute presentation resurrects the comedian’s heart and soul.
At Sunday afternoon’s performance, “Groucho” hurls his most famous quips at the audience along with countless ad libs. He jumps over furniture, salutes his safari helmet and generally creates comical chaos. At times, he halts the hilarity to reminisce about his childhood and his brothers (Chico, Harpo, Gummo and Zeppo). But soon he’s back with his silly songs, “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady,” and “Hello, I Must Be Going.”
But why is Groucho Marx still relevant more than thirty years after his last joke? Well, an 11-year-old in the audience has been laughing hysterically. She is brought on stage. Gently Ferrante/Groucho holds her hand as they face the audience. Then he paints a moustache and eyebrows on the still-laughing youngster. Clearly, laughter and affection are the strongest bridges uniting generations.
Queens Theatre is located at 14 United Nations Ave. South in Flushing Meadows/Corona Park (near the Unisphere). For information on “An Evening with Groucho” and future productions, call 718-760-0064 or visit www.queenstheatre.org.
As always, save me a seat on the aisle.