ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Happening this week, Centerstage Theatre at the JCC of Greater Rochester presents Ronnie Marmo in “I’m not a comedian… I’m Lenny Bruce” — directed by TV and film actor Joe Mantegna and starring Ronnie Marmo.
The play tells the story of comic legend, Lenny Bruce, and his commitment to free speech that led to numerous obscenity charges and arrests.
Bruce fought for freedom of speech all the way to the Supreme Court. He died from a morphine overdose while out on appeal.
“Lenny died in 1966 and he was the first comic to get on stage and not have a set routine — a little out of the box in that way — not just a joke comic but he ended up finding his voice and realizing that he a right to say whatever he wanted to say and he fought free speech to the Supreme Court,” Marmo told News 8’s Brennan Somers. “Eventually he got sentenced to four months on Rikers Island for words, which is crazy but right now it seems first amendment free speech is always topical, and it feels really topical right now so this show is just striking a nerve with a lot of people.”
Comedy Central ranks Bruce third on a list of America’s 100 greatest comedians, behind only Richard Pryor and George Carlin.
The production runs through the weekend at the JCC. You can find info about tickets on the venue’s site.