by Emily Armentrout
Wabash Area Community Theater just finished its production of Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo. Moon Over Buffalo is a comedy set in 1953 Buffalo, New York, at the Erlanger Theater. Moon Over Buffalo marked Carol Burnett’s return to Broadway after 30 years according to Ludwig.
Traveling actors, George and Charlotte Hay, played by Gary Dale and Candy Russell, are currently putting on dual performances of Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac, with a small group of actors.
George and Charlotte find themselves drifting as George’s infidelity with Eileen, a young actress in the troupe, portrayed by Megan Smith, is brought to light and Charlotte receives an offer to run away with family friend and lawyer, Richard, played by Keith Martin.
George and Charlotte’s daughter Rosalind, played by Mandy Shull, has also returned to the chaos, with big news. She wishes to announce her engagement to weatherman, Howard, played by Ware Wimberly, but Howard is nervous to meet her famous folks. Chaos ensues as Rosalind searches for her scatterbrained parents.
Eric Seaman also joins the cast as Paul, fellow actor, stage manager and Rosalind’s ex love interest, with Cindy Rich as Charlotte’s hard of hearing, George hating mother, Ethel.
Upon the announcement that Eileen is with child and Charlotte is leaving him, George drinks himself into a silly stupor , which adds to the hysterics of the production.
Frank Capra offers the Hays one last shot at fame after two of his actors bow out of the remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Capra is to visit the Erlanger Theatre in hopes of casting George and Charlotte. George in his drunkenness causes all sorts of chaos including changing the production schedule, which causes confusing among the actors, and he and Paul, lock Howard, Rosalind’s fiancÚ in a closet after a huge misunderstanding.
As actors say “the show must go on,” which it did, both shows, while most of the group went into their rendition of Private Lives and drunken George appears in full costume, abnormally large nose and all, as Cyrano. After falling off the stage, and having the audience in stitches, the troupe reenters the dressing room where Howard leaves Rosalind for Eileen, after running into each other after many years, Paul sweeps Rosalind off her feet, and Charlotte and George manage to work out their differences.
The stars of this WACT production had the audience laughing within minutes of opening curtain and the laughs did not end until the final curtain. Dale’s drunken George was hysterical and very realistic. The entire cast brought a great comedy to life for the community of Wabash.
“It was great, we enjoyed it,” said Dr. Bing Fowler. “Lots of laughs, great humor,” added Fowler.
This Wabash Area Community Theater production was produced by Beth Miller, long time member of WACT. “I’ve been with it for 18 years. I started with the second show,” Miller told The Paper.
Moon Over Buffalo is currently Miller’s favorite production because it’s the one she’s been working on. “There is always another show coming to look forward to, but it’s always the one you are working on that is your favorite,” added Miller.
WACT is having a season of productions instead of its usual solo production. “We wanted to get a straight play in, a comedy. We had so many that wanted to perform and be a part of the group but really were not interested in doing musicals. So we added that. We have done a summer radio type show before and we wanted to add that back in. We’ve been doing Christmas shows for the last few years. We do the madrigal every other year, and we’ve added the Charley Creek one on opposite years,” Miller told The Paper.
You can check out the Wabash Area Community Theater Facebook page about upcoming auditions and events.