I’LL SAY SHE IS: The Historic Production of the Lost Marx Brothers Musical!
Praise for the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival production:
“THE MARX BROTHERS ARE BACK! A restored gem, overflowing with comic gold.” — History News Network
“UNCANNY and HILARIOUS!” — Time Out New York
“I feel as if I saw Groucho himself perform live on stage!” — Theater Pizzazz
“The closest thing to a new Marx Brothers work we will ever see.” — Cinematically Insane
Before making their classic films, the Marx Brothers appeared in vaudeville and then on Broadway, where they starred in three classic musical comedies of the 1920s. Two of these,The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, remain well-known through stage revivals, and the Brothers’ classic films. But their 1924 Broadway debut, I’ll Say She Is, was never filmed or revived. From its 1925 closing onward, it existed only in fragments and memories, effectively lost to history.
Beginning in 2009, noted Groucho Marxist Noah Diamond spent six years researching I’ll Say She Is, discovering lost fragments of the script and score, reconstructing the show, and filling in the gaps. This odyssey of historical detective work took him to newspaper and magazine archives, performing arts collections, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the recollections of participants in the original production. The work finally resulted in a viable script and score for I’ll Say She Is. The show had its re-premiere in 2014, first in two historic staged readings at Marxfest (New York’s Marx Brothers festival), and then in five sold-out, critically-acclaimed performances in the New York International Fringe Festival.
The response was overwhelming. People came from all over the world to see this Holy Grail of classic comedy. (It even led to a new book: Gimme a Thrill, Noah’s comprehensive history of I’ll Say She Is, will be published in the spring of 2016 by BearManor Media.) But here is still much work to be done, and the Marxes’ comedy demands that the real work is done in front of audiences. For the next developmental step of the new I’ll Say She Is, we have booked six weeks at downtown Manhattan’s Connelly Theater, May 23 – July 2, 2016. We have engaged an ideal creative team to realize the first full production of I’ll Say She Is since the original closed, ninety years ago.
The Marx Brothers’ joyous assault on authority is as cathartic as ever, and this early work reveals their profound influence on modern comedy. We feel we have rescued a forgotten piece of our cultural history, and we can’t wait to share it. Please support this production, and help put this would-be classic Marx Brothers musical comedy back on stage where it belongs!