The play, set in Buffalo in 1953, is a slapstick, high velocity comedy with so many twists and turns and mistaken identity that the actors are literally running in one door and out the other.
“It is sheer entertainment,” said NPHS Drama Club advisor Nancy Owens, who said that while reading the play in her office she “was laughing so hard my sides hurt.”
After having her drama enthusiasts delve into the drama and beauty of Anne Frank two years ago and then murder mystery last year, she felt it was time for a new challenge.
“They’ve never performed this sort of play and it reaches a frenetic pace, challenges them in all sorts of ways and they’re certainly rising to the occasion,” she said. “I like to change theatrical directions as often as I can to provide the students with new areas to grow and experience.”
Moon Over Buffalo, which starred Carol Burnett while on Broadway, has a plot as complicated as a Rubik’s Cube, which leads to its fast-paced humor.
The lead characters are once-famous actors George and Charlotte Hay, who suffered one flop after another, found themselves eking out a living in a repertory theatre in Buffalo, where they perform Cyrano de Bergerac and Private Lives. Charlotte has grandiose dreams of becoming a film star and George, par contre, is satisfied being a stage actor, believing that craft is superior to film.
Things begin to get wild when George receives a call from Frank Capra, the famous film director, who says he needs replacements for the two stars of his current film -- The Scarlet Pimpernel -- and plans to visit Buffalo to see George and Charlotte perform and consider them for the roles.
Charlotte, however, does not believe George and takes off based on romantic rumors she’s heard about him and other actresses, only to discover later, that the famed director was visiting. By the time she returns to her husband he is missing in action, drunk in Buffalo bars.
The plot continues to get more complex with George being found intoxicated, propped up to perform alongside his daughter -- only he’s performing Cyrano de Bergerac as opposed to Private Lives, and in his drunken stupor falls into the orchestra pit, breaking several instruments and sending him to the hospital.
Capra himself calls to say that he missed the afternoon performance and will instead see the show in the evening, thus allowing George and Charlotte another chance at Hollywood stardom.
Leading the NPHS Drama Club cast is Sadie Moran as Charlotte Hay, Miki Flores-Amper as George Hay, McConnell Wade as Paul, Luisa Walsh as Ethel and David King as Howard. There are six other members of the cast, as well as two understudies, and 15 students working on crew, costumes, sets and lighting.
Aiding Owen is NPHS alumna Karyn Morehouse with music direction and Owen’s daughter, Kate Weston, with costumes.
The play will be performed on Thursday, Nov. 18, 19 and 20 with a show time of 7:30 p.m. There are no reserve tickets, but the box office opens at 6:45 p.m. and rates are $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.