Republished by kind permission from Neals Paper.Frank Ferrante can turn into his boyhood and current idol, Groucho Marx, on a dime. He begins a story in his own voice, as Frank, but gets every tone and inflection right when he lets Groucho take over for punch lines and embellishment. Like Groucho, Ferrante proves to be a vaudeville trooper. In addition to barnstorming the U.S. and points abroad with his one-man show, he knows how to prevail over a tough crowd. The New Hope audience was of the -sit-on-your-hands, nod-in-recognition-instead-of-laugh type, but Ferrante never let his enthusiasm, energy, of lightning quickness as Groucho flag for a second as he valiantly soldiered on with high-class entertainment and some deliciously digging ad libs.
Ferrante’s show is a combination of ingredients, some stories here, by him of Groucho, some Groucho shtick there, and a panoply of songs by Kalmar and Ruby, Morrie Ryskind, George S. Kaufman, and yes, Gilbert and Sullivan. Groucho’s cigar gets a workout, and the “You Bet Your Life” duck hangs left center stage. Frank Ferrante doesn’t play Groucho Marx. He becomes him, Head to New Hope to see two geniuses at once.
[Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main St., New Hope, Pa.] February 14-25, 2018; bcptheater.org