Animal Crackers (2012)

Animal Crackers

  • February 19 - November 4, 2012
  • Directed by Allison Narver | Book by George S. Kaufman & Morrie Ryskind
  • Music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby | Reconceived from an adaptation by Henry Wishcamper
Run Time: Two hours and 27 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

Hello, I must be going!

Hurrah for Captain Spaulding, the African explorer, skirt chaser and wise-cracking guest of honor at a posh Long Island house party. High jinks meet high society when he and his cronies mix it up with social climbers and stolen paintings. Written for the Marx Brothers, this slapstick madcap musical busts out with zany songs and lavish dance numbers. Released as a film after the 1929 Wall Street crash and recently adapted, it proves that you can’t keep an anarchic comedy full of pungent one-liners down.

Audience notes: Strobe lights, e-cigarettes and e-cigars are used in this production. There is the sound of gun shots.

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Society matron Mrs. Rittenhouse has opened her Long Island estate to honor Captain Spaulding, the African ex-plorer, and to exhibit the famous Beaugard painting, “After the Hunt.” Not to be outdone, Mrs. Rittenhouse’s social rivals, Mrs. Whitehead and her sister Grace, set out to humiliate her. They convince Hives, the butler, to steal the painting and replace it with Grace’s obviously inferior imitation.

At the same time, reporter Mary Stewart urges down-on-his-luck painter John Parker to exhibit his copy of the Beaugard in order to prove his artistic talent. Mary enlists Emanuel Ravelli and the Professor, two dubious musi-cians, to steal the painting and replace it with John’s obviously excellent copy.

Complications ensue as gossip columnist Wally Winston discovers that financier Roscoe W. Chandler is actually Abie Kabibble, a fish peddler from “Czecho-Slovakia.” A scoop this big will surely get him a raise so he can marry Mrs. Rittenhouse’s daughter, Arabella.

Or will it?

The estate gets turned upside down when all three paintings go missing. Schemes get made and foiled, and no one’s quite sure who stole what from whom when. Absurdities abound as everyone inhales sleeping gas, Spaulding dreams of Madame DuBarry and “four of the three musketeers” sing “My Old Kentucky Home”—in French.

Artistic Team

Scenic Designer
Richard L. Hay
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Geoff Korf
Sound Designer
Matt Callahan
Voice and Text Director
Scott Kaiser
Lue Morgan Douthit
Musical Director
Musical Staging

Cast List

Captain Spaulding/Chorus
Mark Bedard*
John Tufts*
Jonathan Haugen*
Jeremy Peter Johnson*
The Professor/Chorus
Brent Hinkley*
Mrs. Rittenhouse/Chorus
K. T. Vogt*
Arabella Chorus
Mrs. Whitehead/Chorus
Kate Mulligan*
* Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)
**AEA Professional Theatre Intern
  • Animal Crackers Ensemble


    Get a sneak peek of our 2012 production of Animal Crackers, directed by Allison Narver, and playing February 19 - November 4, 2012.

  • Allison Narver

    The Story

    Director Allison Narver talks about the play.

  • Bruce Jennings

    Artist Profile: Bruce Jennings

    In this OSF Artist Profile, Bruce Jennings, Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Construction Supervisor, gives an insider's look at the set and build of Animal Crackers, and a brief run through of his job.

  • Lue Morgan Douthit

    Know Before You Go: Animal Crackers

    Dr. Lue Morgan Douthit gives insight into Animal Crackers.

  • Register Guard

    Oregon Live

    “As it turns out, sincere flattery seldom is as hilarious as Bedard’s inspired impersonation, which nails Groucho’s slippery sense of timing and finds a credible (if differently pitched) approximation of his simultaneously caustic and winking vocal tone. Bedard’s Captain is leader of a legion of comic delights deployed here by director Allison Narver -- highlighted by a dash of uproarious puppetry and another marvelous performance by the versatile Jonathan Haugen, quick-changing his way between the roles of a butler and a financier.” -OregonLive

  • Napa Valley Register logo

    Napa Valley Register

    “…for recession relief and pure escapist fun, there’s “Animal Crackers,” Henry Wishcamper’s adaptation of the classic Marx Brother’s work…In this polished, stylish, lavish production, the actors recreate the antics, the voices and mannerisms of the crazy Marx Brothers so well, the effect is to catapult the audience back in time. Skewering the rich — not an untimely sport in 2012 — it’s hilarious, nutty, and sheer fun.” -Napa Valley Register

  • Tri-City Weekly logo

    Tri-City Weekly/Eureka Times-Standard

    “It doesn't really matter if audience members are longtime fans (or just being introduced) to the zany antics of the incomparably crazy-like-a-fox, classic comedy team of the Marx Brothers, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's current, side-splitting production of 'Animal Crackers' (a Broadway hit in 1928 and a smash movie in 1930) is guaranteed to crack them up! From the hilarious opening scenes to the crazy closing curtain, the actors totally inhabit every Looney Tune moment with the true essence of sharply-drawn, over-the-top insanity that their iconic roles require.”