Thursday, March 17, 2011

This show is on the Marx

By Alex Rush

It takes more than just a bushy mustache and glasses to impersonate Groucho Marx. That’s why performer Frank Ferrante employed something extra to perfect his Groucho imitation: advice from the comedian’s son.

The Marx Brothers-obsessed Ferrante began to develop material for “An Evening With Groucho,” coming to the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center on March 19, after meeting Arthur Marx. With his help, Ferrante was able to fully transform into the cigar-jiggling slapstick legend.

“Working with Groucho’s son was amazing and daunting at the same time because I’ve admired his father’s work since I was a child,” said Ferrante.

“An Evening With Groucho” focuses on the best of the comedians works from the 1920s and ’30s. So expect songs, monologues and hilarious one-liners from your favorite Marx Brothers movies, such as “Duck Soup” and “Animal Crackers.”

“There aren’t entertainers like Groucho anymore,” Ferrante said. “He blended stand-up, music and story-telling.”

Ferrante also adds a dose of improvisation to Groucho’s repertoire, interacting with the audience and even dressing a random kid up like Groucho.

But even when he cracks spur-of-the-moment jokes, Ferrante makes sure he maintains an authentically Groucho style of comedy. His mustache and eyebrows are even exactly like Groucho’s, made with grease paint.

“Groucho is just exhilarating to watch,” Ferrante said. “And like him, I’m not satisfied until the audience is worked up into a frenzy of laughter.”

“An Evening With Groucho” at the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center at Kingsborough Community College [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Decatur Avenue in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368-5596], March 19 at 8 pm. Tickets $25. For info, visit


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