Marxfest

Marxfest is the brainchild of Kevin Fitzpatrick, who envisioned a month-long, five-borough festival to honor the centennial of the Marx Brothers' stage names in May of 2014. To realize this goal, Kevin assembled a formidable team of deranged Marxists: Trav S.D., Brett Leveridge, Jonny Porkpie, Kathy Biehl, and me. And so the Marxfest Committee was born. Below are some memories from Marxfest 2014, as well as Marxfest's Marx Brothers Weekend, held on Governors Island in 2017.

Follow Marxfest on Facebook and Twitter

 My master logo design for Marxfest includes at least one visual reference to each of the Marx Brothers' thirteen films.

My master logo design for Marxfest includes at least one visual reference to each of the Marx Brothers' thirteen films.

MARXFEST, 2014

 At the Marxfest opening event (The Party of the First Part), the Marxfest Committee stands at the Algonquin Round Table for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Left to right: Noah Diamond, Trav S.D., Kathy Biehl, Jonny Porkpie, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Brett Leveridge.

At the Marxfest opening event (The Party of the First Part), the Marxfest Committee stands at the Algonquin Round Table for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Left to right: Noah Diamond, Trav S.D., Kathy Biehl, Jonny Porkpie, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Brett Leveridge.

Moments from the Marxfest launch party at the Algonquin Hotel, May 1, 2014.

 A conversation with Frank Ferrante, on stage following his performance of  An Evening With Groucho  for the Freeport Concert Association. (Video  here .)

A conversation with Frank Ferrante, on stage following his performance of An Evening With Groucho for the Freeport Concert Association. (Video here.)


Marxes in Manhattan (May 7, 2014): A recreation of the Leroy Trio, the first professional showbiz job for Julius (Groucho) Marx, in 1905. With Richard Taylor Pearson as Gene Leroy, Kit Russoniello as Johnnie Morris, and Zachary Catron as Julius Marx. Produced by Kathy Biehl.

Marxes in Manhattan: Zachary Catron as Julius Marx, performing at a Metropolitan Opera House benefit for the victims of the San Francisco Earthquake, on May 4, 1906. Produced by Kathy Biehl.

Marxes in Manhattan: Zachary Catron as Julius Marx. According to Robert S. Bader, Minnie Marx bought "Hello, Mr. Stein" from the publisher. The Marxes introduced the song in 1907, and continued performing it for most of the next decade. Produced by Kathy Biehl.


Marxes in Manhattan: Rob Schwimmer of the New York Theremin Society performs "Alone" (by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown) from A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. This performance was part of a presentation by Robert S. Bader, produced by Kathy Biehl at the Players Theatre.

 The Marx Brothers on Television: Special guests Dick Cavett and Robert S. Bader at the Players Theatre.

The Marx Brothers on Television: Special guests Dick Cavett and Robert S. Bader at the Players Theatre.

 The Marx Brothers on Television: Dick Cavett tolerates the Marxfest Committee at the Players Theatre.

The Marx Brothers on Television: Dick Cavett tolerates the Marxfest Committee at the Players Theatre.


Music of the Marx Brothers: Bill Zeffiro, Gelber & Manning, Tonna Miller, Dandy Wellington, Noah Diamond, and producer Kevin Fitzpatrick (behind the camera), rehearsing for Music of the Marx Brothers.

 The  Music of the Marx Brothers  company: Marissa Mulder, Dandy Wellington, Tonna Miller, Bill Zeffiro, special guest, Rebekah Lowin, Kate Manning, Jesse Gelber, Steve Ross. Photo: Kevin Fitzpatrick.

The Music of the Marx Brothers company: Marissa Mulder, Dandy
Wellington, Tonna Miller, Bill Zeffiro, special guest, Rebekah Lowin,
Kate Manning, Jesse Gelber, Steve Ross. Photo: Kevin Fitzpatrick.

 We knew it was going to be a good show when we saw the sign on our dressing room door.

We knew it was going to be a good show when we saw the sign on our dressing room door.


Music of the Marx Brothers (May 9, 2014): Gelber and Manning perform "You're Just In Love" at 54 Below.

Music of the Marx Brothers (May 9, 2014): Dandy Wellington and Jesse Gelber perform "Mama Wants To Know Who Stole The Jam" at 54 Below.

Music of the Marx Brothers (May 9, 2014): Noah Diamond (as Groucho Marx) and Bill Zeffiro perform "Omaha, Nebraska" at 54 Below.


 Trav S.D. delivers his lecture "From Angels to Anarchists: The Evolution of the Marx Brothers" at Coney Island USA.

Trav S.D. delivers his lecture "From Angels to Anarchists: The Evolution of the Marx Brothers" at Coney Island USA.

 May 15, 2014: Virtual Shindig with Bill Marx, son of Harpo.

May 15, 2014: Virtual Shindig with Bill Marx, son of Harpo.

 Jonny Porkpie, Tigger-James Ferguson, and Scout Durwood in Pinchbottom Burlesque's  The Pinch Brothers in the Bawdy House . Photo by Nishell Falcone. A video promo for this event can be found  here .

Jonny Porkpie, Tigger-James Ferguson, and Scout Durwood in Pinchbottom Burlesque's The Pinch Brothers in the Bawdy House. Photo by Nishell Falcone. A video promo for this event can be found here.


 Marxfest's staged readings of   I'll Say She Is  , at the Players Theatre on May 23 and 35, 2014, were the first time the show was seen on stage since the original production closed in 1925. Photo by Jonathan M. Smith.

Marxfest's staged readings of I'll Say She Is, at the Players Theatre on May 23 and 35, 2014, were the first time the show was seen on stage since the original production closed in 1925. Photo by Jonathan M. Smith.

 Noah Diamond, Robert Pinnock, and Seth Shelden, backstage at the  I'll Say She Is  reading at the Players Theatre, May 23, 2014.

Noah Diamond, Robert Pinnock, and Seth Shelden, backstage at the I'll Say She Is reading at the Players Theatre, May 23, 2014.

I’ll Say She Is talkback, May 25, 2014: Following the second staged reading, Trav S.D. moderates a Q&A session with Meg Farrell and Noah Diamond.


 The Marxes of Yorkville: Gathering on the steps of the Marxes' childhood home, 179 East 93rd Street.

The Marxes of Yorkville: Gathering on the steps of the Marxes' childhood home, 179 East 93rd Street.

 The Marxes of Yorkville: Lecturing on the Brothers' early years at the 96th Street Library.

The Marxes of Yorkville: Lecturing on the Brothers' early years at the 96th Street Library.

 At the Algonquin Hotel, Kevin Fitzpatrick kicks off his Algonquin Round Table / Marx Brothers Walking Tour.

At the Algonquin Hotel, Kevin Fitzpatrick kicks off his Algonquin Round Table / Marx Brothers Walking Tour.


 Notable Marxists gather for Kevin Fitzpatrick's walking tour.

Notable Marxists gather for Kevin Fitzpatrick's walking tour.

 A Night at Wit's End: Melody Jane, Noah Diamond, Amanda Sisk, Seth Shelden, and Trav S.D.

A Night at Wit's End: Melody Jane, Noah Diamond, Amanda Sisk, Seth Shelden, and Trav S.D.

 A Night at Wit's End: With Kathy Biehl and Trudy Marshall.

A Night at Wit's End: With Kathy Biehl and Trudy Marshall.


MARX BROTHERS WEEKEND, 2017

On September 9-10, 2017, the Marxfest Committee reconvened for MARX BROTHERS WEEKEND, in an historic house on Governors Island, hosted by the Empire State Center for the Book.

 Among the tentpole events of Marx Brothers Weekend was a public reading of  Cracked Ice , the little-known rough draft of  Duck Soup , featuring the Marxfest Committee and members of the Off Broadway cast of   I'll Say She Is  . Video of the event can be found  right here .

Among the tentpole events of Marx Brothers Weekend was a public reading of Cracked Ice, the little-known rough draft of Duck Soup, featuring the Marxfest Committee and members of the Off Broadway cast of I'll Say She Is. Video of the event can be found right here.

 Brett Leveridge hosts Marx Brothers Trivia at Marx Brothers Weekend.

Brett Leveridge hosts Marx Brothers Trivia at Marx Brothers Weekend.