MOON OVER BUFFALO – Written by Ken Ludwig; Directed by Pat Payne. Produced by the Longmont Theatre Company (513 Main Street, Longmont) through September 23. Tickets available at 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org.
When what is basically a community theatre group can pull from the pool of actors from professional theatres, you know they’ve got a little sumpin sumpin going for them. Longmont theatregoers might not have seen Johanna Jaquith break your heart in her role as a mother who has agreed to allow a wealthier couple adopt her unborn baby. But they do get to see her on a faux balcony in a faux theatre under a spotlight trying to save face when her drunken castmate has missed his cue. The funniest moment in the play – a real actor’s nightmare. They may not have gotten to see Elliot Clough take on the gentle role of Mr. Lundie in Candlelight’s brilliant production of BRIGADOON, but they do get to see him fall back in love with his ex-girlfriend. These two plus Clint Heyn (who cut off his shoulder length hair for this role), Michelle Jeffres, and Linda Button are familiar faces in the Denver theatre scene. These actors are joined by Don Prather back on the stage after eight years, Reanna Magruder and Noah Cohen-Vogel to join in the chaos that is MOON OVER BUFFALO.
A professional theatre couple are trying to keep everything together to impress a Hollywood director scheduled to be at their next performance. Unrelenting marital difficulties, dissolving relationships, spiked coffee, mistaken identity, and the discovery of an unwanted little bun in the oven all conspire to keep the mad confusion going on on-stage and backstage. In typical Ken Ludwig fashion, the pace is fast and furious, the jokes are one after the other, and the action is a mile a minute. Director Pay Payne makes sure that all four doors on the set get slammed at every opportunity.
The set is a cleverly adorned green room in a small theatre in (obviously) Buffalo, New York – a far cry from Broadway. But small successes have kept big dreams alive for this small family of actors. Like many backstage spaces I have seen firsthand, the walls are adorned with posters and publicity photos from past glories. Pieces from previous productions provide the furniture for the room; people enter the picture dressed in costumes from a number of productions. It all works to create an authentic picture of backstage life. Think NOISES OFF without the British accents.
As the returning daughter, in spite of her desire to escape the theatrical life, Roz pitches in to help her parents when everything starts going downhill. Additionally, nice work was done by Noah as Roz’s shy, starstruck and overwhelmed fiancé. Linda Button plays the dotty and deaf mother-in-law with sly charm. Don Prather and Michelle Jeffres lend bombastic energy to their roles as the theatrical couple, George and Charlotte Hay, with big dreams. You can tell they thrive on the bedlam of their lives and wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite threatening to run off with their lawyer (Clint Heyn) and leaving her husband because of his tryst with the ingenue (Reanna Magruder), you never doubt that Charlotte will make it back to the green room where she belongs.
Longmont Theatre company is entering their 66th season and hope to entice you with a season of comedies (I HATE HAMLET and NANA’S NAUGHTY KNICKERS – I didn’t make that up!) and musicals (WINTER WONDERETTES and an unannounced musical show in May).
A WOW factor of 8!