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  I'm Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce Reviews
I'm Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce
Royal George Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...For me, Marmo’s great achievement — no doubt forged with Mantegna’s help — is his ability to replicate not just Bruce’s essential vulnerability, a sweet neediness that made him seek constant relief, but his furious mind, forever fated to rail about the lack of intellectual honesty in America."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Sun Times- Somewhat Recommended

"..."I'm Not a Comedian ... I'm Lenny Bruce," the one-person show now playing at the Royal George Theatre after runs in New York and L.A., boasts a generally winning turn by writer-performer Ronnie Marmo. But the solid summoning of Bruce's ghost - he first talks to us naked and dead and sitting on the toilet - never provides a reason we should be watching him in the first place."
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Steven Oxman



Daily Herald- Recommended

"...Directed by Chicago favorite son Joe Mantegna, "I'm Not a Comedian" is an ardent homage to the self-described "surgeon with a scalpel for false values," who overdosed in 1966 at age 40. And while his humor is most certainly of its era, the truths he spoke about the injustice he perceived and the peril to democracy that comes from trying to silence dissent resonate in every decade."
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Barbara Vitello



Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Bruce's last years, encompassing myriad battles with authorities (including a famous trial for obscenity) and drug addiction, though the stuff of comedy legend, must have been a living hell. But Marmo also leaves us with the undeniable feeling that Bruce was a deeply flawed person, if clearly one of the best comic minds of his generation: a bad dad, a lousy lover, and a genius who may have needlessly squandered it all looking for a fix."
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Jack Helbig



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Many of you will not know the name, Lenny Bruce. This may be the time to use your “Google” so that you can truly learn about this man prior to going to The Royal George. When it came to social commentary, he was the master of his times. Yes it was the 1950’s and 1960’s. A great time in our history, but not for him. In this 90 minute, solo performance written and starring Ronnie Marmo, who truly brings Lenny back to life and directed with great care by Chicagoan Joe Mantegna. I must say the opening night audience was glued to every moment in the 90 minute ( no intermission) biography of THE MAN!"
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Alan Bresloff



NewCity Chicago- Recommended

"...With languid grace, Marmo delivers a performance that at times goes beyond acting and seems to channel Bruce’s iconoclasm and defiance of authority. As playwright, Marmo does a credible job of weaving in the details of Bruce’s life, which revolved around two women and a girl: his mother Sally Marr, herself a gifted performer, who raised and mentored him; his wife and great love, the one-time stripper Honey Harlow, of whom he said, “We were like a drug to each other”; and his daughter Kitty, whom he adored but could never nurture, and who was only eight years old when he died in a final act of abandonment."
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Hugh Iglarsh



WTTW- Recommended

"...Directed with just the right balance of the sacred and the profane by Chicago-bred actor Joe Mantegna, Marmo’s show is a seamless weave of excerpts from Bruce’s acts along with original material that deftly takes us inside the man’s psyche. And the intimate, club-like space of the Royal George Cabaret is enhanced by Matt Richter’s smoky lighting and Danny Cistone’s set, where a toilet is the principal piece of furniture."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Ronnie Marmo has created a script for himself that showcases his admiration for its source. It’s also beautifully suited to Mr. Marmo’s own talents. The series of excerpts from Bruce’s life and comedy routines provide just enough details for theatergoers to form a well-rounded impression of a man who was tortured by his own life. Marmo, quite literally, bares himself to play this iconic character. When the show opens, we are reminded that Lenny Bruce was found naked on a toilet in his hotel room, having (supposedly) killed himself with an overdose of heroin. Mr. Marmo then dresses and proceeds to tell Lenny Bruce’s story, from childhood to his final moments. Beautifully directed by the great Joe Mantegna, this one-man show is quite an astonishing, monumental tour de force that will not soon be forgotten."
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Colin Douglas



Buzznews.net- Highly Recommended

"...Ronnie Marmo's play has come at just the right time at its relevancy in today's world couldn't be timelier. Marmo makes his point on the importance of free speech to perfection in this powerful production while also delivering an engaging, inside look at someone who changed the landscape for comedy as we knew it."
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Ken Payne



Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...I’m Not A Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce is a one-of-a-kind production, not just because it’s a deep dive into the rise and fall of Lenny Bruce, but because of how it makes you think, not just about how far our country has come in the 53 years since Lenny Bruce’s death, but also about how much more we need to do to truly become “The Land of the Free”."
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James Brod



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...This is a top pick for lovers of comedy. It’s also a great conversation starter about the 1st Amendment, and the fight for our Constitution. W-T-F Lenny, you’re practically a founding father!"
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Amy Munice