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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

Cincinnati Playhouse 'Groucho' show repeats Thanksgiving week

The marquee over the stage projected images of the brothers Groucho, Chico and Harpo Marx and scenes from their movies.
Courtesy Frank Ferrante
"Frank Ferrante's Groucho," filmed at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park five years ago, returns to Cincinnati television on Thanksgiving.

Frank Ferrante's Groucho, the national public TV special taped here in 2017, will air five times Nov. 24-26 on WCET Arts channel.

While many of you eagerly await the TV return of Frosty The Snowman, Charlie Brown, Elf, The Polar Express or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, I'm excited to see WCET-TV bring back my favorite show for Thanksgiving week: Frank Ferrante's Groucho.

The one-man show, filmed during Ferrante's frenetic month at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Shelterhouse Theatre in 2017, will be broadcast five times next week on CET Arts (Channel 48.3). It has been airing on public TV stations across the country since April, and premiered here on CET Arts June 1. (For some reason, this national TV show filmed in Cincinnati has never aired on the main WCET-TV signal, Channel 48.)

Ferrante brings Groucho to life as he was in the 1930s, at the height of his career-making movies Animal Crackers, Horsefeathers, Duck Soup and A Night At The Opera with his brothers.

From my review of the show — Hooray For Frank Ferrante! — five years ago:

With great passion and precision, Ferrante performs Groucho's funniest one-liners as Rufus T. Firefly, Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, opportunistic agent Otis B. Driftwood, and Capt. Jeffrey T.Spaulding, the African explorer, who went into the jungle where all the monkeys throw nuts. (If I stay here I'll go nuts.) Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Dreya Weber's handheld camera provided intimate closeups for "Frank Ferrante's Groucho."
Courtesy Frank Ferrante
Dreya Weber's handheld camera provided intimate closeups for "Frank Ferrante's Groucho."

About one-fourth of Frank Ferrante's Groucho features Ferrante frolicking through the Shelterhouse and chatting with the audience about their lives in Greater Cincinnati. All the local references are especially entertaining for viewers here.

The TV show was filmed during four performances of Ferrante's An Evening with Groucho from three different angles. Dreya Weber, his longtime stage director (and daughter of Cincinnati actor Jenny Trier), also shot some of the show with a hand-held camera, and edited the 90-minute video. Read more about the filming in my May story, "Playhouse staff made their marks on public TV's 'Groucho' show."

"This is a Cincinnati show. It was done by a Cincinnati theater, filled with Cincinnati audiences, with Cincinnati references. Cincinnati should see it," Ferrante told me in May. The show has not aired in Cincinnati since its June 1-3 premiere on CET Arts.

Here are the five scheduled telecasts on CET Arts (Channel 48.3). They also will be listed in my annual Thanksgiving programming highlights list posting later this week.


FRIDAY, NOV. 25:  1:10 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, NOV. 26: 3:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.