BREAKING NEWS: The filmed version of the stage performance of An Evening With Groucho (Frank Ferrante's GROUCHO) will roll out nationally on public television in 85% of the markets with a potential of 110 million viewers beginning April of 2022. It is available as PBS pledge break special on select PBS stations and will be subsequently streamed on other platforms.
Dubbed "nothing short of masterful" by the Chicago Tribune, award-winning actor Frank Ferrante recreates his PBS, New York and London acclaimed stage portrayal of legendary comedian in this fast paced 90 minutes of hilarity. The two-act comedy consists of the best Groucho one-liners, anecdotes and songs including “Hooray for Captain Spalding,” and “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady.” The audience literally becomes part of the show as Ferrante ad-libs his way throughout the performance in grand Groucho style. Accompanied by his onstage pianist, Ferrante portrays the young Groucho of stage and film and reacquaints us with the likes of brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields and Marx foil Margaret Dumont. A show perfect for all ages!
FRANK FERRANTE (Actor/Writer) is the recipient of New York's Theatre World Award for 'Outstanding Debut,' a New York Outer Critics Circle nomination, London's Laurence Olivier Award nomination for 'Comedy Performance of the Year,' Washington D.C.'s Helen Hayes nomination and two Connecticut Critics Circle Awards. He was picked a 'top ten' theater performance by the Wall Street Journal in 2017 and in 2019 the Chicago Tribune picked him as a 'top ten' stage performance for his role in cirque's Teatro ZinZanni. His New York, London and PBS performances in the title role in Groucho: A Life in Revue received not only acclaim from critics and audiences but from the Marx family.
Ferrante was discovered by Groucho Marx's son playwright Arthur Marx as a 22 year old drama student at USC performing An Evening With Groucho for a 1985 senior project. Arthur subsequently cast Frank to portray Groucho Marx for the heralded 1986-87 production of Arthur's Groucho: A Life in Revue that played Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre for 254 performances. Ferrante, who was 23 at the time, portrayed legendary Groucho from age 15 to 85. Morrie Ryskind who co-wrote the Marx Brothers classic films Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera and attended Ferrante's USC show said, "Frank is the only actor aside from Groucho who delivered my lines as they were intended."
Ferrante is one of the busiest touring performers in theater today with over 3,000 performances as 'Groucho' internationally in over 500 cities for over 35 years. He is considered a 'new vaudevillian' having performed in the variety world as the comic host 'Caesar' in Teatro ZinZanni since 2001 for over 1,500 performances from San Francisco to Seattle to Amsterdam. He has performed lead roles in many of the country's most prominent regional theaters including Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage, Goodspeed Opera House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Boston's Huntington Theatre, New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse and Atlanta's Alliance. Onstage, he has co-starred with Tony Award winners Faith Prince (Guys & Dolls), Liliane Montevecchi (Nine) and Kristin Chenoweth who received her Actor's Equity card in a production of Animal Crackers in which Ferrante headlined.
In 1996, Frank starred Off-Broadway in the 'Groucho' role in the Marx musical The Cocoanuts written by George S. Kaufman who Ferrante portrayed in his one-man show By George - which he also wrote. Ferrante directed and developed the premiere of Jon Maran's Old Wicked Songs at Philadelphia's historic Walnut Street Theatre in 1995. The piece about a Holocaust survivor subsequently played New York and then London starring Bob Hoskins and became a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama.
At the Walnut Street Theatre, Ferrante is the in-house director of many of their stage comedies including critically acclaimed revivals of Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, Laughter on the 23rd Floor (1997 & 2017 in which Ferrante also starred), The Sunshine Boys and Lost in Yonkers which was a co-production with Miami's Coconut Grove Playhouse and a 'critic's choice.' In 2017, Ferrante directed and performed the lead role Pseudolus in the Stephen Sondheim musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and his performance was picked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten in the country receiving kudos from Sondheim himself. In 2019, Ferrante starred in and directed Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors in the lauded Walnut Street Theatre production collaborating with playwright Ludwig on the production.
Frank has performed before millions of audience members including some talented friends. Sean Penn said to Ferrante, "You are a giantly talented guy with one foot in yesterday and one foot in today and you make it all your own." Hal Holbrook of Mark Twain Tonight referred to him as "an original." After a Ferrante performance of improvisation, Robin Williams told him, "You killed." Bill Irwin told Ferrante, "I'm a fan." Carol Channing called him, "Woooonderful!" and Kaye Ballard described him as "a great star."
On television, Ferrante appeared as a talking mime in the Emmy Award-winning Childrens Hospital and provided voice-work on SpongeBob Square Pants and Garfield. Ferrante has been featured on The Today Show, BBC Radio and TV and the nationally televised PBS version of his stage show Groucho: A Life in Revue produced by Ferrante. He has appeared on the covers of American Theatre Magazine, Plays International, London Visitor Guide and Bay Area Theatre. In 1986 while performing 'Groucho' in New York, he was drawn by the legendary illustrator Al Hirschfeld and the caricature appeared in The New York Times. In 2004, Ferrante was an answer on TV's Jeopardy in the Off-Broadway category: "He took his performance as Groucho to New York in 1986." The answer: "Who is Frank Ferrante?"
Frank Ferrante is the owner of Groucho Marx Productions, Inc. which represents the name and likeness of the iconic performer. The film version of his stage show re-titled Frank Ferrante's GROUCHO premieres on public television in spring, 2022. In October, 2021, Frank received a ‘star’ in Palm Springs, California on the Walk of Stars.
From Groucho Marx's Family and Friends:
"Nobody does Groucho better than Frank Ferrante." ~ Arthur Marx, Groucho's son and co-author of Groucho: A Life in Revue starring Frank Ferrante
"Frank doesn't just do Groucho...he is Groucho." ~ Miriam Marx Allen, Groucho's daughter
"Frank is the only actor aside from Groucho who delivered my lines as they were intended to be." ~ Morrie Ryskind, co-author of the Marx Brothers' hits The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera
"Nothing short of masterful" ~ The Chicago Tribune
“Artful...Mr. Ferrante's timing is digital sharp.” ~ The New York Times
" Ferrante does for Groucho...what Hal Holbrook does with his Mark Twain tribute: Channel a great American humorist." ~ The Seattle Times
"See this man. He is comic genius." ~ The Seattle Weekly
"What Mr. Ferrante offers is a re-creation accurate and rooted in character." ~ London Times
"Frank Ferrante won awards for his Broadway performance...and had I a bagful at my disposal right now I would send them right round to the theatre by special messenger." ~ London Daily Mail
"His comedy timing is right on cue." ~ Hollywood Reporter
"Ferrante's Groucho is a tour de force." ~ Variety
"An affectionate, funny and unsentimental portrait...a truly delightful show" ~ Hollywood Reporter