Moon Over Buffalo
February 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 2019

Click to see show poster.
George HayJerry Brucker
Charlotte HayBeth Sucro
EthelTrish Kane Steele
Rosalind HayJuliana Wardle
HowardSebastian Paff
EileenJessica Mulligan
PaulTom Wright
Richard MaynardTed Williams
Production Staff
DirectorCarrie Beleno
Stage ManagerBethany Carlisle
Set & Lighting DesignsBrett Oliveira & Kristen Wettstein
Light Board OperatorChris Fiegel
Run CrewAndrea Carlisle

Cast Photos
Click on any image for a larger version, if available.

Lehigh Valley Stage

At Pa Playhouse's "Moon Over Buffalo", director Beleno gives rein to spirited team of comedic workhorses
Published on Monday, 11 February 2019 18:50 | Written by Ara Barlieb

Newcomer Carrie Beleno carries on what has become a promising tradition of comedic excellence at a theatre far better known for its community-enveloping, foot-stomping musicals.

Last year, estimable director George Miller made silken scenes out of a sow's sore ears with his highly lauded rendering of playwriter Ken Ludwig's straight-to-regional-theatre and blue-haired favorite, 'The Fox on the Fairway'. (Miller's take on this show was like discovering the Fountain of Youth in a sand-trap).

Now, in early 2019, director Beleno successfully stomps moldy grapes into Chardonnay with Ludwig's earlier, "Moon Over Buffalo", best known as Carol Burnett's return to Broadway in the female lead and for D.A. Pennebaker's rich backstage documentary, "Moon Over Broadway".

Both Miller and Beleno calmly ignored what one might have called, in previous years, Pa Playhouse's aversion to risking its actors limbs that consequently drained life out of some of its physical comedy.

Beleno for many years directed non-musicals at a regional high school, and she clearly learned that actors have lots of limbs to spare, directing them accordingly in this production to land where they fall and to hit the ground with courage and gritted teeth. And they accommodated her beautifully.

That's comedy, folks!buffalo

"Moon Over Bufalo" has us trapped backstage with cast and crew of a tired, touring repertory company alternately performing Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" and Noel Coward's "Private Lives" throughout the culturally parched third tier towns of middle-America, as far removed from the coveted fame and riches of Hollywood and New York as Purgatory from Paradise.

George Hay. company partner and perennial lead actor, chases younger women and, to everyone's misfortune--- especially the woman's---catches one of them. When his wife and leading lady, Charlotte, finds out, she resolves to run off with a prominent show business attorney, thus dissolving the company.

Ah, but then....

Legendary screen star Ronald Colman has fallen down a stairs while filming legendary director Frank Capra's adaptation of 'The Scarlet Pimpernel', and George is told that Mr. Capra will be flying to upstate New York to catch a matinee performance and discuss George's taking over the movie's lead.

Is that enough of a springboard for an evening's entertainment?

No, not really.

But, this Playhouse herd is game to try.

And Ms Beleno blessedly does little to rein in a capable and runner-ish team of horses.

Jerry Brucker, with whom I have worked many times, gives probably his most spirited performance. His character, George, is an actor, and Jerry is naturally called upon to play additional roles-within-the-role.

And to both Jerry and his real life director goes full credit for channeling three of the Marx Brothers with some regularity during Jerry's fluid monologizing and, yes, even while miming with a bracing lack of restraint.

A man of Jerry's advanced age is often confined to some sort of walking stick or sitting device, but he eschews any of that, bounding up and down steps and merrily slamming himself onto whatever surface, soft or unforgiving, is nearest, sometimes even the floor boards, with abandon.

Socially, I never saw Jerry take strong drink; but, having been around actors most of his life, he certainly knows the mannerisms of a drunk and portrays one convincingly.

Beth Sucro does a highly believable and steady job as the long-suffering, unsteady wife, Charlotte, and shows formidable physical grace while leaping over fallen bodies and dragging others off-stage.

Ted,Williams plays wonderfully the lascivious lawyer whose hairpiece does most of his talking. But, Ted, whose trademark is his Jack Benny-like delayed responses to cues, stirs strong laughter at a great many, otherwise thankless lines.

Juliana Wardle, Trish Kane Steele, Jessica Mulligan, Tommy Wright, and Sebastian Paff add far more to the show than what was written for them on the page, culling outbursts of laughter at potentially tepid moments and keeping the show's pace brisk even when its heavy contrivances are threatening to collapse upon it.

The Morning Call

'Buffalo' a funny and perfectly paced farce
Published on Monday, 11 February 2019 18:50 | By Kathy Lauer-Williams - Special to The Morning Call

"Moon Over Buffalo" is a perfectly paced farce evoking plenty of laughs at Pennsylvania Playhouse in Bethlehem through Feb. 24.

The Ken Ludwig comedy is funny and fast without losing track of the typically complicated plot that takes place in a shabby theater in the 1950s.

Carrie Beleno's adept direction keeps the action moving, so that the two-hour show seems to fly by.

The story follows George and Charlotte Hay, a pair of married actors and fading stars who are performing "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Private Lives" in repertory at a theater in Buffalo, N.Y.

Jerry Brucker and Beth Sucro are ideally cast as the couple who are still clinging to their former glory and fame.

Brucker's George Hay is hilariously self-delusional as he dons an unfortunate nose and performs doggedly, despite a less-than-enthusiastic backing cast.

Sucro is perfectly brittle and imperious as the actress of a certain age who yearns for Hollywood, and is sharply contemptuous of the abilities of film star Greer Garson.

When George gets a call that famous director Frank Capra is coming to see their matinee to consider the couple for a Hollywood movie, miscommunication, mistrust and mistaken identity lead to chaos.

Juliana Wardle is spot on as Rosalind, the Hays' daughter and a former actress who has left the stage for a "normal" life. She returns to visit her parents and have them meet her new fiance, Howard, who is a TV weatherman.

Wardle has some of the funniest scenes, including a totally hilarious one with Tommy Wright as her ex-fiance, and the Hays' stage manager, Paul, in which the angry ex-lovers run the most hostile lines for "Private Lives" ever seen. She also is inspired when she is acting in the opening scene of "Private Lives," supposedly with her father, who is AWOL, and she must scramble to improvise as she stands miserably alone on stage.

Wright is likeable and straightforward as Paul; he's still in love with Rosalind, and tries to draw her back into the stage life.

Sebastian Paff plays Howard as star-struck, cheerful and somewhat clueless. He is humorously the unfortunate target of multiple mistaken-identity plot lines.

Ted Williams lends a conniving air to the role of Richard, a rich lawyer in love with Charlotte and eager to steal her away from George.

Trish Kane Steele also is amusing as Ethel, Charlotte's hard-of-hearing mother, and there is a funny running gag about her repeatedly repairing a pair or ripped pants, which are immediately ripped again.

Jessica Mulligan is woeful as Eileen, a young actress who is pregnant with George's child after a brief affair, and who drives a wedge between George and Charlotte.

Brett Oliveira's set cleverly recreates a second-level stage and a backstage area with the multiple doors required of this type of slapstick farce.

Kathy Lauer-Williams is a freelance writer.

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