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  • Carrie Specht

"Moon Over Buffalo" Brings the Golden Age Alive on Stage


If you enjoy stepping back to another world in another time and basking in the glories of better days then you should really enjoy the farcical, whimsical trip provided by the entire production of Open Fist’s “Moon Over Buffalo”. This is a classic piece of theater presented in the manner of a screw ball comedy, complete with silly misunderstandings and frequent asides.

“Moon Over Buffalo” can only be described as a madcap comedy centered on a couple of aging theater veterans, George and Charlotte Hay (well played by David Ross Paterson and Wendy Phillips). Whatever limelight they may have once experienced is fading fast as they tour the backwater repertory theater circuit of the 1950's. Virtually forgotten by the world of Hollywood of which they once so longed to be a part, the pair of self-idolizing thespians realize a long awaited second chance when the Frank Capra plans to see their matinee. And that’s when the wackiness ensues. Because just like one of the films by the acclaimed director, the characters can’t help foul things up when they try so hard to plan everything so perfectly.

The resemblance the Ken Ludwig play holds to a piece of classic cinema does not end there. As in The Dresser (a film about the behind the scenes antics of an aged member of a prestigious theater troupe), “Moon Over Buffalo” takes place nearly entirely backstage between performances of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” and the showy period piece, “Cyrano De Bergerac”. In the true fashion of a screw ball comedy and ripe with multiple possibilities for confusion, everything that can go wrong does.

The farcical tangle of events verges on the absurdity of a Marx Brothers film when the couple’s visiting daughter (a lovely Katie Costick) steps in to understudy for the pregnant second lead (the adorably ditzy Laetitia Leon). The daughter’s ex-beau (Benjamin Burdick) performs much like an overwrought Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace as he manages to handle a drunk leading man and manipulates a deaf stage manager, played with perfect aplomb by Norma Campbell. The rest of the able cast includes the daughter’s current love interest, John Bobek, and the mother’s ever pining lawyer, John LeMay who gets some of the best straight lines as a sort of male Margaret Dumont (Groucho’s long suffering co-star). Ridiculous results abound, but naturally there is a tidy happy ending waiting for everyone at the end.

You really can’t go wrong with this pay-what-you-can opportunity Friday, January 27 at 8PM and Sunday, January 29 at 2PM. And if you still have any doubts, remember this is the play that brought Carol Burnett back to Broadway after 30 years. Here in Hollywood it’s being directed by Bjorn Johnson who previously directed “Room Service”, the hit of the Open Fist's 2011 season.

If you happen to miss these two dates you can still make a night of it another evening for a very reasonable amount. Regular tickets are priced at $25.00 - a real deal for theater tickets, and half price tickets are also available on a limited basis (click here for more info).

#ScrewballComedy #FrankCapra #CinemaonStage