One of the greatest New York City success stories is that of five brothers named Julius, Arthur, Leonard, Milton and Herbert. They were the sons of German and French Jewish immigrants who were born in the poor Yorkville section of New York’s Upper East Side in the late 19th Century. The boys created a family business, one that made them rich and famous, one which legacy lasts to this very day.
Those boys’ last name was Marx, and the world knows them better as Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo and Zeppo–the world famous Marx Brothers. And now, on the centennial of their adopting those stage names, their home city is celebrating their legacy with Marxfest, an event that runs throughout the month of may and spans all of New York’s five boroughs.
“In May 1914, four brothers at a poker table were given the names by which the world would come to know them,” the event’s website tells is. “They sat down as Leonard, Arthur, Julius, and Milton, and stood up — a few dollars poorer, perhaps, but with a future assured — as Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Gummo. In May 2014, Marxfest celebrates the centennial of this momentous event (in the city of their birth) with screenings, readings, events, theatrical performances, and remembrances.”
Highlights of the fest include the first performance of I’ll Say She Is in 90 years. This is the act’s first stage musical, and while the boy’s follow ups, Coconuts and Animal Crackers,were adapted to the screen, this one never was and was quickly lost to the sands of time.. The show has been reconstructed from various sources and will be presented on May 23 and 25th at The Player’s Theater, MacDougall St, NYC.
Another highlight would be Frank Ferrante’s acclaimed one man show, An Evening With Groucho. Ferrante revisits Groucho’s life through a series of anecdotes and one-liners. The show runs on May 3 and 4 at the Freeport High School Auditorium, Freeport, NY.
And if you have ever wanted to see the Brothers’ 1933 classic Duck Soup in an art museum, you’ll get your chance on May 22 as the film will be screen at the Museum of Modern Art.
Other events range from a Marx Brothers’ inspired burlesque review to a walking tour of the Jazz Age New York the boys rose to prominence in. All events can be found on the webpage’s events calendar, with more events to be added as May draws closer. Visit marxfest.com or follow @marxfest on Twitter for more information about the month-long celebration of 100 years of…the Marx Brothers.