Legendary comedian Frank Ferrante, described by the New York Times as "the greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx, is coming to Pleasanton with his "An Afternoon with Groucho" at 3 p.m., Sunday at the Firehouse Arts Center.
Groucho Marx, who entertained America on stage, radio and television for decades and died in 1977, lives on in the classic joke glasses with eyebrows, nose and mustache attached.
Award-winning actor Ferrante will be recreating the legendary comedian with a face-paced 90 minutes of hilarity.
Groucho and his brothers Harpo, Chico (pronounced Chicko -- he liked the "chicks"), Zeppo and Gummo started off in vaudeville in New York with their irreverent humor, expert pantomime, physical shtick and outrageous musical talent.
When they moved to Hollywood in 1930, they changed the face of film comedy with movies such as "Monkey Business," "Horse Feathers" and "A Night at the Opera." In 1932, Time magazine featured them on the cover.
"Groucho" will be on stage at the Firehouse with his best one-liners, anecdotes and songs, including "Hooray for Captain Spalding" and "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady." The audience will join in the romp as Ferrante ad-libs the performance in grand Groucho style. He will also re-introduce his brothers, as well as Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, his favorite foil Margaret Dumont and MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer.
Ferrante was a drama student at USC when he was discovered by Groucho's son, Arthur Mark. Ferrante originated the off-Broadway title role in "Groucho: A Life in Revue," and he directed, produced and starred in the PBS adaptation in 2001.
Groucho Marx had a solo career on radio and television, including his Emmy Award-winning 14-season run as host of the comedy quiz show "You Bet Your Life," which was on radio from 1947-60, and on TV from 1950-61.
Groucho Marx also made other TV appearances, performed at Carnegie Hall at age 82 and received a special Academy Award in 1974 for "the brilliant and unequaled achievements of the Marx Brothers."
Bet your life you'll laugh
What: 'An Afternoon with Groucho'
Who: Groucho Marx re-creator Frank Ferrante. Appropriate for all ages.
When: 3 p.m., Sunday, April 3
Where: Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave.
Tickets: $20-$30; Go to www.firehousearts.org or call 931-4848.