Thursday, June 05, 2008

Guess Who is Coming to Dinner at Saddleback College? Groucho!

Guess Who is Coming to Dinner at Saddleback College? Groucho!

Frank Ferrante recreates his acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx

June 5, 2008

The Performing Arts Department at Saddleback College continues its Unconventional Summer Season with An Evening with Groucho on Tuesday, July 8 at 8pm in the McKinney Theatre.

Award-winning actor/director/playwright Frank Ferrante recreates his PBS, New York and London acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx. This fast-paced 90 minute 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, Jim Furmston, 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, Greta Garbo, Marx foil, Margaret Dumont and MGM 's Louis B. Mayer. A show perfect for all ages!

Jim Furmston is pianist and musical director

As an added bonus, Groucho’s daughter, Miriam Allen, age 81, who lives in San Clemente , will be attending the show!

Tickets can be purchased by calling (949) 582-4656 (noon-4 weekdays) or online at Ticket prices are $36 general; $33 students/seniors/Angels; $25 children 12 and under and Saddleback College community with current ASB card.

Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Pkwy in Mission Viejo , just east of Interstate 5 at the Avery Parkway exit. Parking is available in Lot 12. Take Avery Parkway to Marguerite Parkway turn left to the third traffic light, which is Saddleback’s Marguerite entrance. Turn right into the campus and take the third left to “ Theatre Circle ,” turning right into Lot 12.

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Frank Ferrante (Groucho) is an actor, director, and producer described by The New York Times as “the greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx’s material.” Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera co-author Morrie Ryskind called him “the only actor aside from Groucho who delivered my lines as they were intended.” Discovered by Groucho’s son Arthur when Frank was a drama student at the University of Southern California , Frank originated the off-Broadway title role in Groucho: A Life in Revue (written by Arthur) portraying the comedian from age 15 to 85. For this role, Frank won 1987’s New York ’s Theatre World Award and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. He reprised the role in London ’s West End and was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Comedy Performance of the Year.’ Frank played the Groucho role in the off-Broadway revival of The Cocoanuts and has played Captain Spalding in the several productions of Animal Crackers winning a Connecticut Critics Circle Award for his portrayal at Goodspeed Opera House and a Helen Hayes nomination in Washington D.C. at Arena Stage. In Boston in 1988, he played the Huntington Theatre in the record-breaking run of Animal Crackers that landed Frank on the cover of American Theatre magazine. His other regional roles include Max Prince in Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor at Philadelphia ’s Walnut Street Theatre (which Frank also directed); George S. Kaufman in By George (a one-man play written by Frank); Tom in the farce Perfect Wedding; Oscar in The Odd Couple and leads in The Sunshine Boys, Lady in the Dark, and Anything Goes. Frank directed M*A*S*H star Jamie Farr in the Kaufman & Hart comedy George Washington Slept Here and revivals of Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound and Lost in Yonkers. In 1995, he directed and developed the world premiere of the Pulitzer finalist Old Wicked Songs. In 2001, Frank starred in, directed and produced the national PBS television program Groucho: A Life in Revue. Frank currently stars as the comic lead in the European cirque Teatro Zinzanni in San Francisco and Seattle . In 2007 he became a question on the classic TV program Jeopardy. “He took his portrayal of Grouch Marx to New York in 1986.” The answer: “Who is Frank Ferrante?”

Jim Furmston (Pianist and Musical Director) is a native of Canada and graduate of the U.S.C. Thornton School of Performing Arts. Jim’s musical interests have always been wide-ranging, being equally at home in both classical and commercial music. In addition to his work as a session player in Los Angeles , he was invited to perform a debut recital at New York ’s Lincoln Center and the inaugural program of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles . In musical theatre, Jim has provided musical direction for such shows as Side by Side by Sondheim, Cabaret and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Jim music directed sold-out performances with Gene Barry at the Algonquin Hotel (Oak Room) and premiered the new work A Peek at a Poet: Langston Hughes with actor James Wheaton. Jim is the music director for the new Broadway bound musical Haven composed by William Goldstein, lyrics by the late Joe Darion, book by Jerome Coopersmith, and directed by Jerry Friedman. Jim began his collaboration with Frank Ferrante in 1983 and has accompanied Frank in his one-man show An Evening with Groucho since 1984. Jim’s most recent project is the CD for The Thrift Store Bears –an illustrated book of poems about teddy bears for all ages. For more info please go to In 2007, Jim played in the pit of Menopause the Musical in Los Angeles . When Jim is not working on musical projects, he can be found on a Squash Court or in front of his computer tracking the music of S&P.

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