Just what the doctor ordered…a rollicking good time. The City Theatre’s production of Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig is a mad-cap view of what life as an actor in a traveling company is reallllllly like. Forget the glamour, forget the big salaries, think shoestring, chaos and the ever-present quest for a big break.
George and Charlotte Hay have been on the verge of making it big-time in the movies only to have the opportunity slip through their fingers. They have gone back on the road, taking their show(s) from town-to-town, and they have been doing this for years and years. You get the picture?
They find themselves in Buffalo, NY when a freakish accident offers them a second shot at the big-time. A noted Hollywood actor has sustained an injury and Frank Capra is flying out to see if George might be a suitable replacement. In the meantime, George and Charlotte’s daughter, the transcendent Rosalind played by Terah Zolman, surprises them with a visit to announce her engagement. Her former love-interest is still with the acting company and the torch he is carrying for her could light up the New York skyline.
Add a few more characters to the stew…the mother-in-law/company seamstress, played delightfully by Cindy Brown, the suave business manager carrying a torch for Charlotte well-played by Rick Smith and let the games begin.
The acting is generally good, especially from the talented and comedic Christina Little Manley. Manley brings Charlotte Hay to life with perfect timing and just enough shrill to make her a DIVA! With this production, the real strengths in casting are undeniably the women, including the earlier mentioned Terah Zolman and Cindy Brown, who deliver stand-out performances. The area that is lacking slightly would be in the men’s performances, most notably with Scot Friedman, whose first act performance seemed a little overly dramatic and a bit ham-ish. That is quickly forgotten in the second act with his hilarious, drunken ramblings. Though funny and talented, Gabriel Diehl lacks volume and enunciation throughout the show. The gem of the boys in this show is with the shy and awkwardly adorable Howard played by Bobby DiPasquale with a near-perfect performance, which definitely deserves an honorable mention!
The tempo in the first act seemed a bit slow, but the rest of the production sparkled. Though comedy is thought to be easy, it is not, and The City Theatre’s production of Moon Over Buffalo directed by Andy Brown, does itself proud with this funny, entertaining show. This is a most needed breath of fresh air. We give this show 4 out of 5 stars and say you NEED to go see this show!