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‘Moon Over Buffalo’ A Comic Delight At Flowertown

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Cast & Crew Do Masterful Job Bringing Iconic Stage Production To Life

By: Jeff Walker, Entertainment Review

After sitting 2020 out due to the pandemic, the Flowertown Players return to the James F. Dean Theatre offering up a wonderful and zany rendition of Ken Ludwig’s ‘Moon Over Buffalo’. Now in their 45th season Flowertown assemble an octet of seasoned actors, all who totally immerse themselves in their respective characters, taking audiences on two fun filled hours in this madcap over the top farce.

Reduced to run of the mill rep theatre aging stars of the stage George and Charlotte Hay, hope to have one last shot at the big time after discovering famed film director Frank Capra is coming to see their performance. However, with more drama happening back stage than on, including drunkenness, love triangles, and mistaken identities, will the long time married couple be able to rise to the occasion, or will their own real life turmoil be the final curtain call to their thespian wedded bliss.

Retired USAF veteran Jamie Young and seasoned actress Rune Vaughan are delightful as George and Charlotte. Young brings a larger than life comic swagger to George, adding the much needed physical performances his character requires throughout. Vaughan plays beautifully off Young, imparting just the right amount of absurd sophistication to Charlotte, a dutiful wife filled with justifiable jealousy and dreams of Hollywood. Young and Vaughan have near perfect comic timing and their chemistry is palpable.

Stratford High School theatre arts teacher Maddie Latham is ideally well cast as George and Charlotte’s daughter Roz, a young woman tired of following in her parents footsteps. Latham shines throughout the production but never more brightly than in the final scenes when she is delivering dual lines for ‘Private Lives’, reduced to adlibbing when George shows up dressed as Cyrano de Bergerac. Among one of the many highlights during the production.

Hannah Weston is quite inviting as Eileen, a young actress in the show, with hopes of her own. A potential promise to play Roxanne in Cyrano, was enough to fall prey to a one night stand with George in Cincinnati, although neither expected the tryst would leave Eileen with child. Tensions run even higher when Charlotte finds out her understudy is carrying her husband’s baby. The dynamics between the three actors are fluid and wonderfully tangible.

Dale Fox and Nick Torres turn in capable performances as two very different young men vying for Roz’ attention. Fox portrays Paul, the quirky high energy stage manager formerly engaged to Roz, while Torres comes off as the more reticent TV weatherman newly engaged to the Hay’s daughter. Like hot tea, both men steep themselves in individual roles, and add nicely to the never-ending frantic pace. Will a cold front move through? Who knows!

With a career spanning 50 years, including her own theatre troupe in Luxembourg, Arlena Withers commands the stage as Ethel, Charlotte’s nearly-deaf mother, who has more love loss for George than she does her hearing impairment. In a smaller role, Withers delivers some of the best lines in the production, and she carries a certain amount of underlying comedic grace when on stage. Making his seventh appearance at Flowertown, Fred Hutter pleasantly fills in the cast as Richard, a love-sick lawyer content on taking Charlotte away from the madness. Withers and Hutter round out an already stellar cast.

‘Moon Over Buffalo’ is magnificently co-directed by husband and wife team Alan Rosenfeld and Leslie Ross. The New York natives who now call Del Webb home bring a lifetime of theatrical experience with them to Flowertown Players, and judging by the actors performances Rosenfeld and Ross brought the best out in all of them.

Kudos as well to the Leslie and her team of Jason Olson and Mels Magee for a stunning set, easily reflecting the theatre’s back stage green room during the mid 1950’s. The decor was positioned nicely to allow for the physical comedy that prevails through the production. Monica and Catie Shows do an equally meticulous task fitting the actors in period piece wardrobe. High praises all around.

Set in 1953 when regional theatre is taking a back seat to television and widescreen movies, ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ is a madcap romp, with Flowertown Players providing all the grandiose style this screwball comedy requires. The cast and crew have scored a home run in their first stage production for the 2021-22 season. If you appreciate good acting and love to laugh than I suggest catching ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ during its weekend run thru October 24th. https://www.flowertownplayers.org/

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