Lots of Laughs in CAESAR’S PALACE O’ FUN Upstairs at the Walnut

by Arnie Finkel

Frank Ferrante stars in Walnut Street Theatre's CAESAR'S PALACE O' FUN, running in Philadelphia PA through January 2, 2011. (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

Frank Ferrante is well known as Groucho Marx in his one man show GROUCHO: A LIFE IN REVIEW. He has brought to the Independence Theater on the third floor of the Walnut Street Theater another of his characters—Caesar. Caesar was created in nine years at San Francisco’s dinner theater Teatro ZinZanni. He is most welcome to Philly. Caesar (you can’t think of him as anyone else) presides over a ninety minute laugh filled variety show with the help of three other very talented actor/musicians/variety acts- more about them later.

Caesar fills the air with puns, outrageous costumes and quick wit playing off of audience participation. He is over the top and we wouldn’t want him any other way. He sings, he drinks, his painted-on mole grows in size and he very quickly lets you know that you are there to have fun. And, indeed you do.

Caesar surrounds himself with talent to keep the fun coming. David Smith has so many talents and performs so well that it’s hard to know where to start. He juggles; he is a contortionist, a singer, a dancer, a whip master and has a dead pan delivery of humor that is right on. Jennie Eisenhower as Fern provides the very slender and almost unnecessary plot line as Caesar’s long lost daughter. Along the way she sings very well, plays the piano, juggles, uses a whip, plays the piano, dances, and acts the unprepared audience member—all very well done.

Eric Ebbenga provides superior piano accompaniment and sound effects. I’ve enjoyed his work as music director of many shows at the Arden. It’s nice to put a face to his talent.

Are you stressed out by the holiday season? Do you need a laugh break? Are you seeking just plain fun? Hurry, hurry to the third floor of the Walnut and get your fix. Caesar and crew are waiting!

By Frank Ferrante and Stefan Haves
Directed by Stefan Haves
Musical Direction by Eric Ebbenga
November 23 – January 2, 2011
Walnut Street Theatre
Independence Studio on 3
825 Walnut Street
Philadelphia PA

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