Sun will set on St. Vincent season with the farce 'Moon Over Buffalo'
Romantic love, love of family and love of the theater are all represented in Ken Ludwig's heartfelt farce, “Moon Over Buffalo,” the final performance of St. Vincent Summer Theatre's 2015 season. The play runs July 30 to Aug. 16.
Set in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1953, the play centers on Charlotte and George Hay, actors who own a traveling theater company. They believe their performances in “Cyrano de Bergerac” and Noel Coward's “Private Lives” will make them famous. However, mix-ups and misunderstandings backstage threaten to bring down the house, but not in a good way.
“It's literally laugh-out-loud,” says director Greggory Brandt. “It's a madcap adventure with doors slamming and people running all over the stage.”
Beneath the zany humor lies a storyline with rich emotions and well-drawn characters. Aspiring stage legend George Hay is played by David Cabot. “George fancies himself an actor of the caliber of Olivier and Barrymore,” Cabot says. “That's how he approaches life and his career.”
That's not to say George is unlikable. “George is a very, very likable character,” Cabot says. In the course of the play, George gets knocked down a peg or two.
“Moon Over Buffalo” is the fourth play by Ludwig that Cabot has done at St. Vincent. “Audiences like his plays because he writes thoroughly likable characters,” he says. “People come away feeling that they've met some people that they'd really like to spend some time with.”
Lisa Ann Goldsmith is Charlotte Hay. “This play is about family, and she's an incredibly loyal person, not just to the stage itself but to her husband, her mother and her daughter,” Goldsmith says. “Charlotte is a truly star-caliber actress who remains loyal to her husband's theater company rather than pursue better opportunities on her own.”
Goldsmith enjoys the character for her passion about every area of her life. “She's passionate to the hilt,” she says. “Everything she does, she does with 150 percent of her being.”
Charlotte's nearly deaf mother, Ethel, the matriarch of the theatrical family, is portrayed by Gael Schaefer.
“It's been 20 years since she's been on the stage, but she hasn't left the theater,” Shaefer says. “Her enthusiasm hasn't faded at all. She serves as the company's costume mistress and that's how she stays involved in the company.”
However, Ethel's participation is skewed by her hearing loss. “Pretty much everything that goes on happens around her, and Ethel misses most of it,” Shaefer says.
The cast is completed by Lauren Kerbs as Rosalind, the Hays' non-acting daughter; Christopher Herr as Rosalind's fiance Howard; Jenny Malarkey as Eileen, who had a brief fling with George; Kevin Daniel O'Leary as stage manager Paul, who happens to be Rosalind's ex-fiance; and Harley Allen as Richard, a lawyer with feelings for Charlotte.
“This is a great play to end the summer with,” Goldsmith says. “It's a farce, but it's about family, it's about love and it's about fidelity. I think everyone who sees it can take something away from it.”
Cynthia Bombach Helzel is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.