Freedonia Marxonia to be celebrated
Music and the Marx Brothers is the focus of Freedonia Marxonia 2022, which will be a hybrid event held Sept. 29 and 30.
The Marx Brothers were comedic stars of vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, and television in the first part of the 20th century. Their 1933 movie “Duck Soup,” is set in the fictional country of "Freedonia."
In 1987, SUNY Fredonia students created Freedonia Marxonia: Marx Brothers Film Festival and Symposium to celebrate this connection.
All activities are free and open to the public.
Reed Library will be the site of an opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m., which will include the singing of "Hail Freedonia" from the movie, “Duck Soup,” a display containing art contest submissions and information relevant to music and the Marx Brothers, refreshments, and a group photo with attendees in Groucho glasses. The exhibit will be up in the library through Oct. 16. At 7 p.m. that evening, the Marx Brothers' 1930 film “Animal Crackers” will be screened at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center, at 9 Church St. (Village Hall).
The main activity of this year’s observance will be a livestream of “If You Get Near a Song, Play It!: The Marx Brothers and Music,” presented by author and performer Noah Diamond from his home in New York City at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30.
The event is the third event in a trilogy of virtual programs created by Mr. Diamond. It follows “There's Nothing Like Liberty: The Marx Brothers and America” (2021) and “Home Again: The Marx Brothers and New York City” (2020). Those in Fredonia will also have the opportunity to watch the livestream on the big screen at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House. 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 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;” “400 Years in Manhattan;” and “Love Marches On.” In 2020, Diamond and Amanda Sisk wrote and produced “Quarantigone,” an online adaption of Sophocles’ Antigone. He is currently a co-host of the Marx Brothers Council Podcast. Diamond presented his “The Marx Brothers on Broadway: 1924-1929” at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House as guest speaker for Freedonia Marxonia 2017, and created virtual programs for Freedonia Marxonia 2020 and 2021.
There will also be the annual Freedonia Marxonia Art Contest. Using any medium (including items found around the house or in nature), creative renditions of one or more of the Marx Brothers are welcome. All ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate. The art contest is intended as a fun activity to acknowledge the Marx Brothers and their connection to Fredonia. Entries will also be eligible for monetary prizes: $100 first prize, $75 second prize, $50 third prize. Artwork is due by Sept. 26. Please submit entries to Cindy Yochym in Reed Library.
Diamond's presentation is supported by a grant from the Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities and the Hahn Family Freedonia Marxonia Fund, both established through the Fredonia College Foundation. Freedonia Marxonia is supported by the Hahn Family Freedonia Marxonia Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation. Additional funding has been received through a Faculty Student Association Program grant.