(Welcome to the World of Champagne’s first ever guest review! Our very own Miss Jaye, who ususally writes the theatre reviews, is involved in the production of Moon Over Buffalo as the assistant director, so we decided to bring in an outside reviewer with fresh eyes to take a look at the production. Let us know what you think! Who knows, we may make guest articles a regular feature here at the World of Champagne! Enjoy!)
Something coming. Do you know what it is? I think it’s summer; I’m not a hundred percent sure weather-wise, but I do know that summer movie season is coming and it’s filled with flappers and super iron men. Most importantly it’s frothy fun, and kicking off these four grand months is the ultra-fun and the frothiest of farces, Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig, the season closer at the Fire Hall Theatre.
Moon Over Buffalo’s general gist is that it’s 1953; second-rate actors George and Charlotte Hay (Patrick B. DeMars & Christa Weiler), who are running a third/fourth-rate touring rep theatre company, are currently in Buffalo, New York, extremely bitter about being passed up for Frank Capra’s sequel to Scarlett Pimpernel. Enter Roz (Houston Scharmer), their daughter, stopping in Buffalo to introduce and tell her parents that she is engaged to Howard (Frank J. Sikich), an eager star-struck weatherman, whom she met while running away from that tawdry life on the wicked stage! She’s in advertising dammit! Throw in Roz’s ex-beau Paul (Jared Kinney), the Hay’s company manager, who everyone says was the love of her life. Add a dash of dashing lawyer (David Watnemoe), a ditzy chlorine blonde (Cheyanne Hewitt), and a deaf octogenarian (Theresa Knox) and you’ve got yourself a Moltov cocktail of a show. You know exactly where the show is going from the set up but getting there is all the fun. And what fun it is!
In her first time at the director’s helm, Amy Driscoll, usually seen on stage, handles the show and it’s actors quite well assisted, of course, by the one and only Chris Star Stoner. Taking on the lead role of George Hays, Grand Forks treasure Mr. DeMars doesn’t disappoint. Whether he’s playing Cyrano de Bergerac or stumbling around drunk (which is how he spends most of the second act), he is always a joy to watch. Ms. Weiler, no stranger to the stage, is a few decades too young for the the role of Charlotte, but the way she speaks and holds herself, you go with it – sort of like how you go with the fact that someone who reads Variety doesn’t seem to know what Frank Capra looks like! Shh don’t think ‘bout that baby. The role was originally written for Carol Burnett, so she has all the best lines and business to do. Having the burden of fixing the hot messes in the show are the no-nonsense Ms. Scharmer & adorable Mr. Kinney, both of whom I felt sorry for their characters – I wouldn’t want to work for these people or have them be my parents! And poor Howard, that silly simple weather man; Mr. Sikich has some of the best reactions considering that the show treats him like a punching bag, which they break off and toss to the trash. Ms. Knox spends most of the show tottering around, fixing seams and stealing scenes! My guess is that she may need to fix a few split sides in the theatre (I couldn’t resist)! Ms. Hewitt & Mr. Watnemoe handle their brief and shit-starting characters well considering what they are given textually.
With a bright colorful set and fun costumes, this zany show shan’t be missed and I hope you get yo’self down the Fire Hall and help them close out their 65th season with laughs and full houses.
Further watching: There was a documentary called ‘Moon Over Broadway’ which followed the productions because it was the Broadway return of Carol Burnett who played Charlotte Hay. I saw it years ago on VHS. The library may still have it but who still has a VHS player?!
FYI/SPOILER ALERT: There are no buffalo in this show.
Mitzi Canard is the faux nom de plume of local theatre personality Chris Berg. Berg is the Artistic Director for the Empire Theatre Company; his next production for the ETC, Avenue Q, hits the stage at the Empire July 30 – August 3 & August 6 – 10. The World of Champagne would like to congratulate Mr. Berg for being our first ever guest reviewer, and thank him for taking the time to review our show. The “author photo” above is actually Mr. Berg as Chiclet in the Fire Hall Theatre Production of Psycho Beach Party.
Tags: Amy Driscoll, Avenue Q, Carol Burnett, Cheyanne Hewitt, Chiclet, Chris Berg, Chris M. Stoner, Chris Stoner, Christa Weiler, comedy, David Watnemoe, Empire Theater Company, Empire Theatre Company, farce, Fire Hall Theater, Fire Hall Theatre, Firehall Theater, Firehall Theatre, Frank Sikich, guest review, Houston Scharmer, Janessa, Janessa J, Janessa J Champagne, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, Jared Kinney, Ken Ludwig, Mitzi Canard, Moon Over Broadway, Moon Over Buffalo, Pat DeMars, Pat Mars, Psycho Beach party, slapstick, stage farce, theater, theatre, Theresa Knox