“Moon Over Buffalo is hilarious! Ludwig stuffs his play with comic invention, running gags and a neat sense of absurdity. An evening of farcical delight. Go and enjoy!” – New York Post (Clive Barnes)
“Moon Over Buffalo is what a staged comedy should be. It is a wild and wacky farce. It’s Waiting for Guffman meets Noises Off meets your favorite Shakespeare comedy as performed by the Marx Brothers. Be prepared to leave the theater exhausted from laughter.” – The News Tribune, WA
On June 4th, 5th and 6th, El Paseo Arts Foundation’s local players group will present Ken Ludwig’s madcap comedy, Moon Over Buffalo, at the South Padre Island Convention Center. The play, nominated for two Tony awards, centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950s. At the moment, they’re playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in repertory in Buffalo, New York. The acting company is on the brink of bankruptcy and the stars are on the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s dalliance with a young actress in the company, when they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte everything that could go wrong does go wrong and all of it is complicated by George’s confusion about which play they’re actually performing, as well as Charlotte’s deaf mother who hates every bone in George’s body, and a visit from their daughter who has ditched her romance with the company’s manager/lead actor for a “normal life with her clueless, TV weatherman fiancé.
The play has all the required elements of a high energy farce: over the top characters, improbable situations, mistaken identity, physical pratfalls, rapid entrances and exits, and the slamming of every single door.
Director JoAnn Evans has assembled an all-star cast of energetic actors with strong comedic skills. They will pull out all the stops to provide the non-stop zaniness essential for this hilarious farce. Brenda Bailey plays the delightful diva, Charlotte; and Danny Dollar is her perfect foil as her philandering, bombastic husband, George. These two experienced performers can capably handle the swordplay, verbal retorts, and physical comedy required by their roles, and they have the requisite chemistry to make their relationship believably romantic and volatile. Cianna Perez steps into the spotlight as Rosalind, George and Charlotte’s talented daughter, who is hoping to escape the theatre world for a “normal” life. Hayden Draker plays Paul the acting troupe’s company manager and Rosalind’s former boyfriend who is still trying to win her back. Mark Shellard is Rosalind’s nerdy fiancé, Howard, who provides the play with a visitor from the “normal” world outside the theatre and clearly demonstrates that not all the loonies are actors. Carol Kent is Ethel, George’s almost deaf, very critical mother-in-law who is also the company’s reluctant costume person and occasional bit player. Chuck Hofmeister III is Richard, Charlotte’s lawyer and would-be paramour who is still trying to woo her away from George. Finally, Andrea Wright rounds out the cast as Eileen, the beautiful, young actress with whom George had an affair.
Moon Over Buffalo demonstrates that a lot of comedy and drama goes on backstage in a theatre, and sharing the backstage experience with JoAnn on this show are Stephanie Wilson as assistant director and Barbara Teater as costumer. Mark Haggenmiller assumes his favorite role as lighting tech, and Gene Brewer will be heading up the sound work while his wife Judy takes on her regular assignment as house manager.
The evening of theatre begins at 6:30 P.M. with light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The “curtain” goes up for the performance at 7:30 P.M. Tickets for Moon Over Buffalo are $30 per person or $25 per person for El Paseo Arts Foundation members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., The Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.
This is the the final event of El Paseo Arts’ Fourteenth Season of performing arts. It’s been a fabulous season of music, dance and theatre, and Moon Over Buffalo provides a delicious and delightfully entertaining conclusion to the season with an evening of crazy farce. It’s laugh out loud comedy and a show that’s “not to be missed.”