Freedonia Marxonia 2020 will be a virtual event

Marketing and Communications staff
poster for event

Author, performer, and Marx Brothers expert Noah Diamond will present his illustrated lecture, “Home Again: The Marx Brothers and New York City,” as a free live-stream event from his home in Manhattan on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.

The presentation is directed by Amanda Sisk. As the date gets closer, the streaming link will be available on the Freedonia Marxonia website.

Unlike other years, there will be no in-person activities or display in Reed Library. As there will not be an art contest this year, everyone is welcome to continue to make original Marx Brothers-related creations over the upcoming year for Freedonia Marxonia 2021. 

“New York City and the Marx Brothers” is the theme of Freedonia Marxonia 2020, held each year to salute the connection between Fredonia and the Marx Brothers. Oct. 2 is also the date of Groucho Marx's birthday.

Mr. Diamond has vast knowledge of the Marx Brothers and New York City, where he worked as a tour guide for several years. Diamond was one of the organizers of New York City's 2014 Marxfest; the creative force behind bringing the Marx Brothers' 1924 musical “I'll Say She Is” to the off-Broadway stage in 2016; and writer and performer of “400 Years in Manhattan,” an award-winning show at the 2019 United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City. He is currently a co-host of the Marx Brothers Council Podcast. He was also a guest speaker at Freedonia Marxonia 2017, presenting his illustrated lecture, “The Marx Brothers on Broadway: 1924-1929” at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center.

Diamond is the author of the books “Gimme a Thrill: The Story of I'll Say She Is, the Lost Marx Brothers Musical, and How it was Found;” “Love Marches On,” and “400 Years in Manhattan.” He has also written several essays, such as “Anatomy of a Moustache,” included in “That’s Me, Groucho! The Solo Career of Groucho Marx” by Matthew Coniam.

Diamond’s presentation is supported by a grant from the Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation. Freedonia Marxonia is supported by the foundation’s Hahn Family Freedonia Marxonia Fund.

Freedonia Marxonia is an annual festival that celebrates the connection between the village of Fredonia and “Freedonia,” the fictional setting of the 1933 Marx Brothers’ movie “Duck Soup.” The Marx Brothers were comedic stars of vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, and television in the first part of the 20th century. In 1987, Fredonia student Doug Canham spearheaded the creation of Freedonia Marxonia: Marx Brothers Film Festival and Symposium to commemorate the connection.

New York City was the birthplace of the Marx Brothers. It is where the comedy team performed on vaudeville stages, starred in three Broadway musicals, filmed two of their movies, and associated with creative contemporaries such as Irving Berlin, George S. Kaufman and members of the Algonquin Round Table.

For the second year, Founder’s Day is partnering with Freedonia Marxonia. Founders Day was initiated in 2017 to foster appreciation of the legacy of the village residents whose vision and significant financial backing helped establish a Normal School in Fredonia in 1867. There will be a link to a virtual exhibit about the founding of the university on the Freedonia Marxonia website. The exhibit is curated by Amanda Shepp and Pat Cummings-Witter of Reed Library’s Special Collections & Archives Division.   

For more information, see fredonia.libguides.com/marxonia, or contact Cindy Yochym via email at Cynthia.yochym@fredonia.edu.

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