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Moon Over Buffalo
a Farce
by Ken Ludwig

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 3495

SHOWING : September 25, 2009 - October 18, 2009



Charlotte and George Hay, an acting couple not exactly the Lunts are on tour in Buffalo in 1953 with a repertory consisting of Cyrano de Bergerac "revised, one nostril version" and Noel Coward's Private Lives. Director Frank Capra himself is en route to Buffalo to catch their matinee performance. Will Charlotte appear or run off with their agent? Will George be sober enough to emote? Will Capra see Cyrano, Private Lives or a disturbing mixture of the two?

Director Robert Egizio
Costume Design Jim Alford
Sound Design Dan Bauman
Stage Manager Hayley Brotherton
Scenic Design Chuck Welcome
Lighting Design John David Williams
Howard Kelly David Carr
Rosalind Kelly Criss
Paul John Markowski
Eileen Brooke Reinhart
Richard John Stanier
Ethel Holly Stevenson
Charlotte Karen Whitaker
George Darrell Wofford
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by playgoer
Sunday, October 18, 2009
At a Stage Door Players production, I am often most impressed by the set. That's not the case with "Moon Over Buffalo." Don't get me wrong -- the set is well constructed, attractive in a utilitarian way, and even pale green, as befits a theatre's green room. But the performance of Darrell Wofford as George is so splendid that all else pales beside it.

Mr. Wofford's bellowing voice befits his role as a touring theatrical ham, but he is also capable of great nuance. What is most amazing in his performance, though, is the physical comedy. Robert Egizio has choreographed a series of rolls, staggers, and lurches that make the performance a standout. As one lady said when exiting the theatre, "It'll be hard to top this!"

Everyone gets into the comedy. Karen Whitaker, as George's wife Charlotte, has some particularly funny looks as the man she thinks is Frank Capra begins spouting meteorology terms. Kelly David Carr, as that man, has a giggle-inducing head bobble as he's being dragged to the closet by George and Paul. John Markowski, as Paul, assists in a wonderful bit helping George up the stairs. Paul's former flame, Rosalind, played by Kelly Criss, performs a wonderful set piece in the second act as an onstage performance begins to fall to pieces. The excellent John Stanier, as lawyer Richard, and Holly Stevenson, as Charlotte's mother Ethel, end the show with a cute bit of one-sided flirtation. Only Brooke Reinhart, as platinum-wigged Eileen, isn't given a big opportunity to shine.

Ken Ludwig's farces are well-written and pleasurable. The underappreciated "Moon Over Buffalo" is certainly both. The excellence of the production is marked by myriad small touches that add up to an overwhelmingly delightful experience. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Moon Shine
by Mama Alma
Monday, October 12, 2009
Shazam. Robert Egezio catches lightning in a bottle with Moon Over Buffalo. Egezio does many things well (act/direct/dance/choreograph and I'm sure I'm leaving several out), but his forte is directing farce, and this is a superbly entertaining production. Mistaken identities? Check. Slamming doors? Check. Cheating spouses? Check. Deaf mother-in-law? Check - Check and mate. Well done all round.

While all the performances are excellent, and the timing (an absolute necessity in farce) top notch, of special note is Darrell Wofford as the aging leading man, George Hay. He's the obligatory cheating spouse and the imminent (in nine months) evidence of his pecadillo doesn't bother him nearly as much as his leading lady (wife Charlotte, sharply embodied by Karen Whitaker) leaving him upon discovering his latest escapade, making it impossible for George to mount his matinee production of Cyrano (or is it Private Lives?) and impress Frank Capra, who is looking for a replacement star for The Scarlet Pimpernel. George reacts to losing his "big break" by getting piss-faced drunk and Wofford's performance, replete with many physical gags is one of the most incredibly funny things I've ever seen. Of course, Charlotte relents when she realizes what's at stake (a chance for her to star opposite hubby in The Scarlet Pimpernel - these are not altruistic people) and comes back just in time to entertain Mr. Capra and sober up George (with lots and lots of coffee - yeah, that always works).

Also very effective is John Markowski in a beautifully understated portrayal of Paul, the stage manager and ex-fiance of Roz, the Hays' non-theatrical daughter. As Ethel (Holly Stevenson, a crowd favorite), George's mother-in-law, says, life with the Hays is like "living in an asylum on the guard's day off." Roz (Kelly Criss) has tried to escape this life for something more "normal" (in the form of new love Howard, played with a sweetly awkward sensibility by Kelly David Carr) and so Roz has rejected both the theater and Paul. But every time Paul walks on stage Markowski projects the calm at the eye of the storm. That's not to say he doesn't bring the funny. There's one scene involving George and Paul and a pair of pants . . . well, it defies the imagination. Don't be drinking your wine while you watch it.

The secret to staying young is laughter. Go see Moon Over Buffalo and take a couple of decades off your chronological age.



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