The Rep's 'Evening With Groucho' Satisfies Our Need to Laugh
In the divisive times we live in today, there is one commonality we all share: the need to laugh. And there is plenty of that and more in An Evening With Groucho, the one-man show about one of the funniest comedians of the 20th century.
Thanks to the amazing talents and dedication of actor Frank Ferrante, who also wrote the show, Groucho’s famous comedy routines are still alive and totally absurd in this absolutely hilarious, nonstop marathon that leaves the audience wanting more. Can 90 minutes (with 15 minute intermission) really go by that quickly?
In addition to that man with the trademark mustache and ever-present cigar, the Marx Brothers act also included Chico, Harpo, Gummo and Zeppo. Their popularity began in vaudeville and their movies included revered classics such as Duck Soup, A Day at the Races and A Night at the Opera.
But it’s Groucho that always stood out. Ferrante’s passion for the man and comic shine through in the writing and in his performance. We learn much of his family’s life, the brothers’ upbringing and their rise during the early 1900s.
Fans will recognize that every movement and gesture is there: the crazy leg twists, the uplifted, rolling eyeballs and, in particular, spontaneous jokes off script involving audience members. The double entendres to pretty women are ongoing as well as the humorous jabs to married couples.
With the help of accompanist Gerald Sternbach on piano (also a comic part of the act), we get to hear such classic movie tunes like “I’m Against It” (Horsefeathers) to the most recognizable “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady” (At the Circus).
So many of Groucho’s lines have stood the test of time. And at show’s end, the one that most comes to mind: "Hello, I must be going." That is, until the next time.
Through May 28 at the Stackner Cabaret, 108 E. Wells St. For tickets call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com.