'Moon Over Buffalo' - My Review

A backstage farce at the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre

Moon Over Buffalo is a farce written by Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor) It tells the backstage story of a couple of fading stars in 1953 that have one last shot at stardom involving Frank Capra. Their grown daughter, her clueless current fiancé and her former fiancé, their lawyer, an ingénue, and the wife's deaf mother help to move the story along. There is mayhem, zaniness, and pratfalls. Throw in some running gags, a little raunchiness and a razor-sharp cast with perfect timing that never misses a beat (even when their props, shoes, and scenery aren't cooperating) and you have this fun farce.

Lynn Paulella-Beard has directed the troupe with a keen eye to detail and Renee Purdy has worked her magic on costumes that fit the early fifties very well. Almost all of the action takes place in the theatre's greenroom that was designed by Nathan Bourke, who also designed the sound and lighting. It features five doors and the ensemble uses them to perfection. The swordfight scenes were choreographed by Rob Richnavsky

The show marked the return of Carol Burnett to Broadway and I could certainly see how she would be wonderful in the role of Charlotte. Betty L. Olsen grabs this role of the fading leading lady and runs with it. Sarah Tames, who usually works behind the scenes, returns to the stage as the hard of hearing mother and is a hot ticket. Tina Parziale shines as the young Rosalind and Rodney Kluessendorf (in his Warner debut) is perfect as her weatherman fiancé.

Stephen Michelsson plays the stage manager/former fiancé Paul and I quickly realized that I last saw him as Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods in Brookfield. Timothy Huebenthal (another Warner debut) is fine as the lawyer Richard and Trisha Carr (recently seen in Curtains, Gypsy and How to Succeed) is underused as the young ingénue.

As the fading actor George Hay, Dick Terhune is wonderful. Last seen as Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Warner, this gentleman is a superb comic actor with a wonderful speaking voice that he puts to use as a voice-actor. He had to act injured in the first act, under the influence for the better part of the second act and lots of other physical comedy for both.

The audience at the matinee that I attended was mostly old enough to remember Carol Burnett's television show and they thoroughly enjoyed it. Moon Over Buffalo continues next weekend at the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre down the street from the Warner Theatre and tickets are still available.

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Rodney Kluessendorf February 19, 2013 at 03:49 AM
I am Rodney Kluessendorf and I would like to say thank you for such a great review. And especially would like to say thank you for calling my portrayal of Howard the weatherman perfect! Again, thank you!
Stephen Paul Michelsson Jr. February 21, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Thank you Nancy for the great review! And for remember me in Into The Woods! I'm glad you enjoyed our show! Hope to meet you after one someday ;)


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