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Ron MacClosky as Groucho

Ron MacClosky as Groucho shares the details of the Marx family version of a world map, a cartographer’s nightmare.

The New Community Theatre here in Pine Bluff just successfully presented the first of its 2014 series of live-on-stage performances, a great accomplishment. It did not come easy. Jack Stradley and his wife, Kathy Majewska, and their theatre crew, of this fair city worked long and hard to renovate the theatre, a building first occupied in 1889 and converted to a theater in 1922 after laying unoccupied for several years. The building, up until the renovation started, received only spotty use since 1996.

Groucho with book

Click here for more Groucho pix and stories

See more of the Ron MacClosky and Community Theatre in pictures and a story at the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

The idea was to gut the building and start over to restore it to the 1922 ambiance as much as possible — and then present live variety entertainment shows.

After delays, weather issues, and other unexpected gremlins nipping and clawing at the heels of Stradley and Majewska, they made it happen. The first shows, March 7 and 8, 2014, featured Ron MacClosky, a highly regarded Groucho Marx impressionist and comedian. He was perfect for the job.

Groucho with pith helmet

Groucho cavorts on stage during his “Animal Crackers” routine. Ron MacClosky authored the show, so it is a now a part of his DNA. At least that’s the way he performs.

Groucho and contestant

Groucho and his “You Bet Your Life” contestant exchange banter much to the delight of the audience.

Groucho Slide Show

Groucho puts on a slide show. Though his projector, the spotlight is doing a poor job of showing the image, the audience does not seem to care. The stage footlights at the Community Theatre present part of  the early twentieth century ambiance.

Groucho trips the light fantastic as he warbles "Lydia, the Tatooed Lady," a condition less prevalent among women in his time than it is now.

Groucho trips the light fantastic as he warbles “Lydia, the Tatooed Lady,” a condition less prevalent among women in his time than now.

MacClosky regaled the audience with his collection of Groucho and Marx Brothers legends, quips, and other rib-tickling wisecracks. He proved himself every bit as quick-witted as Groucho Marx as he bantered with the audience during a spirited and jaunty recreation of Groucho’s famous quiz show, You Bet Your Life.

Groucho and "The Adorables"

Groucho is all smiles as he strikes a pose with “The Adorables,” the greeter / usher team for The Community Theatre.

The show was also replete with sight gags that always invoked sight gag giggles from the appreciative audience. The audience repaid his stellar performance with a standing ovation for his efforts. Had I not been clicking away to photograph the event, I would have joined two-handed salute. The same for Stradley and Majewska for having vision and tenacity.

PS: Be sure and see pictures of the show at: Groucho Gallery 1 and Groucho Gallery 2.

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html