Review: ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ at Vagabond Players

As a former actress, I can attest that the goings-on backstage are often just as dramatic as what is happening onstage. Celebrating their 100th anniversary season, the Vagabond Players expertly demonstrate the ups and downs of being an actor in Ken Ludwig’s hilarious play, Moon Over Buffalo.

First appearing on Broadway in 1995 and set in 1953, Moon Over Buffalo tells the story of George and Charlotte Hay, a once-famous acting couple who shined for years in the theatre but have yet to make their big break onto the big screen. A potential opportunity for a feature film comes about for the couple…but at the worst possible time in their relationship. Can they figure out a way to mend their marriage AND achieve their dreams of becoming film stars?

Greg Guyton, Henry Reisinger, Jr., and Michele Guyton. Photo by Tom Lauer.

Greg Guyton, Henry Reisinger, Jr., and Michele Guyton. Photo by Tom Lauer.

The chemistry between the actors playing George and Charlotte Hay is so fantastically genuine—perhaps because they are married in real life! Greg Guyton is remarkable as George, reciting Shakespeare in a rich, booming voice one minute and tripping over his own feet in a classic slapstick fashion the next. You would never know that this incredibly talented actor spends his days as an orthopaedic surgeon! Michele Guyton (Charlotte) is an absolute superstar. She radiates talent and grace every moment that she’s onstage, and the timing of her quick-witted lines is impeccable.

Carol Conley Evans, who I last saw in Vagabond Players’ Born Yesterday, is comedic gold as the half-deaf grandmother Ethel.

Caroline C. Kiebach, Carol Conley Evans, Jim Baxter, Michele Guyton. Photo by Tom Lauer.

Caroline C. Kiebach, Carol Conley Evans, Jim Baxter, and Michele Guyton. Photo by Tom Lauer.

Caroline C. Kiebach plays the Hays’ daughter Rosalind, a former actress who gave up the theatre life to work in advertising. Kiebach is like a ray of sunshine every time she walks onstage – full of energy, spirit, and perfect comedic timing.

Vying for the love of Rosalind are Paul (Jim Baxter) and Howard (Henry Reisinger, Jr.). Baxter plays an excellent “straight-man” to balance out of the wild antics of the Hays family, and Reisinger’s portrayal of the eager, star-struck Howard is simply wonderful.

After seeing his production of Ruthless! The Musical at the Dundalk Community Theatre late last year, I had no doubt that Director John Desmone would once again wow me with this production. Desmone did not disappoint, and I was incredibly impressed by his complex staging, which led to much of the hysterics of the production.

Maurice “Moe” Conn designed a beautiful and classic 1950’s backstage set, complete with vintage furniture and a variety of set pieces from the Hays’ different repertory shows.

The Community Connection and A.T. Jones & Sons provided exquisite costumes for the cast, especially for Charlotte Hay, whose red satin jacket and gorgeous flowered robe were just perfect.

Lighting Designer Bob Dover kept the stage beautifully lit throughout the entire production.

Special praise should go to Fight Choreographer Robert W. Oppel. The swordfight between George and Charlotte was spectacular!

If you enjoy a show full of belly-laughs, make your way to Vagabond Players to see their hilarious Moon Over Buffalo!

Jim Baxter, Jessica Kim, Caroline C. Kiebach, Greg Guyton, Michele Guyton, Henry Reisinger, Jr., Carol Conley Evans, and Richard Manichello. Photo by Tom Lauer.

Jim Baxter, Jessica Kim, Caroline C. Kiebach, Greg Guyton, Michele Guyton, Henry Reisinger, Jr., Carol Conley Evans, and Richard Manichello. Photo by Tom Lauer.

Moon Over Buffalo plays through June 26, 2016 at the Vagabond Players—806 South Broadway, in Baltimore, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (410) 563-9135, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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