Move over, Shakespeare, as Ken Ludwig steals some of your thunder when it comes to mistaken identities, misunderstandings and slapstick silliness.  In Ludwig’s comedy farce “Moon Over Buffalo” now entertaining laughter at the Ivoryton Playhouse until Sunday, August 3, the burning question is “Is there a Frank Capra in the house?”

For George and Charlotte Hay, the married stars of a theatrical touring company, playing repertory in Buffalo, New York in 1953 is not exactly a dream come true.  Television has eroded their audiences and their coffers are empty   and fans are not flocking to see either of their current offerings:  “Private Lives” or “Cyrano de Bergerac.”  Yet the pair persevere, despite his rumored infidelity and her boredom with their marriage.

Suddenly the stars are out of alignment when their daughter Rosalind (Elizabeth Erwin) and her new fiancé Howard (Michael McDermott) arrive, an ingenue Eileen (Diandra Schmitt) in the company tearfully announces her pregnancy, theater accountant Richard (Derek Corriveau) pronounces imminent financial ruin, theater manager Paul (Ed Walsh) frantically tries to win back Rosalind’s affections and Charlotte’s costume dresser mom Ethel (Maggie McGlone-Jennings) refuses to wear her hearing aids to complicated and comic results.

Real life husband and wife Buzz Roddy and Laurie Dawn set a merry pace with sword fights and slapstick, alcoholic binges and aggressive fisticuffs, broken legs and slamming doors.  For his directorial debut, Matthew J. Pugliese does an admirable job presiding  over the infectious insanity on stage.

For tickets ($35 adults, $30 seniors, $20 students, $15 children), call Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. (exit 3 or 4 off route 9).  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Discover for yourself if George and Charlotte have the talent and the stamina to grab their one last chance for stardom if and when movie producer Frank Capra comes to call.
This review first appeared in the Middletown Press on July 31.

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