Moon Over Buffalo presented by Chicago's Glitterati Productions
by Al Bresloff
Chicago's theater scene keeps expanding as new companies take advantage of the large audiences seeking quality entertainment.Glitterati Productions is one of these new companies and their first production, " Moon Over Buffalo" a solid farce by Ken Ludwig that depicts the story of George and Charlotte Hay, two has-been actors trying to work their way back on top after having just lost out on a Frank Capra movie. They are now in Buffalo New York doing repertory theater. The year is 1953, so some of the references in the script will be lost on most of the audience ( there is a reference about Loretta Young and the people around me had a puzzled look as I laughed- guess I am older than I feel). This being a farce, almost everything is over played ( as it should be) and there are some wonderful moments in this production. Anyone who has seen this type of show knows that door slamming is a very important part of the timing of the show, so the set becomes another actor. While the set for this show is very well done for the Theatre Building ( Sheryl Nieman) the one flaw was the platform where the doors were ( except for one) making it a bit harder to get the doors perfect,although the platform was used to perfection when George ( the very agile David Besky) does his "chair bit". There are many slapstick moments in this play and director John Nasca ( who also did the costumes) truly understands what "farce" is- he uses this stage to the best advantage and has his people really into the spirit of Mr. Ludwig's work.
His wife is played by Rachel Urbanowicz who takes her role to another level.The other story in this play is that their daughter Rosalind ( the lovely Annika Johansson) has given up the life of an actor to go into the advertising business and since she left has met Howard ( Patrick Halley who is a perfect nerd) and they are engaged. The company assistant director, Paul ( Jim Kozyra) was her true love and this is the sub story. The young starlet in the company,Eileen ( Meredith Wood) has had a "thing" with George and it turns out is pregnant. Richard ( the very campy Damian Vanore) their lawyer/business manager, who is in love with Charlotte shows up to steal her away. And then there is Ethel ( Jan Vitt) Charlotte's deaf mother who works backstage and onstage to keep this show running. There are a lot of miscommunications, slapstick "shtick", falling and of course the door slamming.
While this is not a perfect production, it is very entertaining and the audience cannot help leaving the building with a smile on their faces, and let's face it that's what entertainment should be all about, just having a good time!