Photographing the artists of Teatro Zinzanni

Frank Ferrante is one of those people whose faces you will never forget. Perhaps that is because of his wildly popular portrayal of legendary character Groucho Marx and the trademarked cigar, painted on mustache, accentuated eyebrows and prop glasses. Called “the greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx’s material” by The New York Times, he’s an icon in our memories and history.

Behind the props, laughs and prods though, is a gentle man with a soft spot for humor, theatre and his family.

Upon our arrival to our location, Teatro Zinzanni, I was elated to see that Frank brought his two children to the shoot. Actually, it was his day off to spend with them, but instead of playing outside at the beach, all they wanted to do was hang out in the big, colorful building with their dad. If you’ve been to Teatro, you can understand why; the entire modular building is a set designed to transport, enchant and entertain patrons from the second they step foot inside. From the outside, it’s an international cirque that looks like it belongs in the heart of Paris. Inside, the surfaces are covered in rich, ornate carpets, detailed ceilings, oil paintings, stacks of money, vaudeville inspired custom bar, contraptions, gems and jewels and feathers. Under the big tent are walls of glitter, spotlights, a stage and a piano. The back hallways are a maze for actors to run in and out of during their three-hour improv comedy, revue, music, dance and cirque, all the while maneuvering around the staff serving a five-course meal designed by Northwest chef Erik Carlson who joined Teatro ZinZanni after stints at Gordon Biersch and Arnies Restaurants.

And on Frank’s day off, his kids get the run of the place; a dream playground for them and me.

Frank Ferrante

Frank Ferrante

Frank Ferrante

Frank Ferrante

Frank Ferrante

Frank Ferrante

Frank Ferrante

Frank Ferrante

It was so special for me to be able to photograph Frank with his kids. I love this environmental family portrait!Frank Ferrante

Special thanks to my apprentice, Cassandra Bell, for taking these fun and inspiring images of Frank and me!
Frank Ferrante with photographer LaRae Lobdell photo credit Cassandra Bell

Frank Ferrante


Go see Frank Ferrante in “Hail Caesar”!

Go see Frank Ferrante in “Hail Caesar! Forbidden Oasis” at  Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle, September 12 – January 26, 2014.

Frank’s world tour of “An Evening With Groucho” was recently at ACT – A Contemporary Theatre, and he is now a part of the “Working Artists of Theatre” project and part of the “Celebration Exhibit” at ACT.

The photo below is Frank Ferrente’s image exhibit placement proposal – photo courtesy Frank Ferrente.

Frank Ferrente's image exhibit placement proposal - by Frank Ferrente

Photography details

Nikon D700

Lens used on set noted with *:
*Nikon AF 50mm 1.4 – Aperture: f/7.1 – Shutter: 1/60 – ISO: 800
*Nikon 18-70 3.5/4.5g Ed-if Af-s Dx – Aperture: f/7.1 – Shutter: 1/60 – ISO: 800

Lighting used on set noted with *:
Natural Light
*Westcott Micro Apollo 2200
*Westcott 43 inch Apollo Orb Speedlite Kit 2340
*Nikon SB-800 Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
*Paul C. Buff White Lightning X1600
Paul C. Buff 86″ Silver PLM™ parabolic umbrella
Westcott 1895 72 x 72 Inch Large Scrim Jim Kit
Westcott 301 Photo Basics 40-Inch 5-in-1 Reflector

Bags used on set noted with *:
Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager Rolling Camera Case
*Think Tank Photo Airport Security V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag
Think Tank Photo Airport 4-Slight
*Think Tank Photo Airport AirStream Rolling Camera Bag
Think Tank Photo Retrospective 10 Shoulder Bag (Pinestone)
Think Tank Photo Retrospective 7 Shoulder Bag (Blue Slate)
*Think Tank Photo Travel Pouch—Large
*Think Tank Photo AA Battery Holder

Camera Straps used on set noted with *:
*BlackRapid Floral Woman’s Strap (RS-W1F) (Black)
BlackRapid RS-W1 Plain Black Woman’s Strap (RS-W1B) (Black)
BlackRapid RS-W1 Women’s Limited Edition WHITE Ballistic Nylon Camera Strap
Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap (Black)

*3 Legged Thing “EDDIE” Carbon Fiber Tripod System with AirHed 2 Ballhead

*Nice Industries Glow Blower

*Nasty Clamp

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