Farce: ‘Moon Over Buffalo’ to UWO

See the comedic farce Feb. 21-24 at Fredric March Theatre


Lydia Sanchez

UWO senior Gerret Johnson (right) plays lead George Hay, the struggling actor looking for his big break.

Fredric March Theatre is set to showcase the situational comedy “Moon Over Buffalo” Feb. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.

Set in 1953, the play focuses on two people who own a theater company and are struggling to make it in the acting world. They have one last chance when the renowned director Frank Capra comes to their matinee.

“Moon Over Buffalo” was written by playwright Ken Ludwig who called the play “deeply about American theatre.”

Director Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft called the show “a door slammer” that the actors have taken off and run with.

Purse-Wiedenhoeft said the actors of the ‘50s had a larger -than-life presence on stage and said the actors performing the show at UW Oshkosh are comfortable with being in that character.

“They get the comedy; they don’t try to make it too important,” Purse-Wiedenhoeft said. “With comedy, it’s about timing, and that’s where they’re at.”

Purse-Wiedenhoeft expressed her joy in doing a comedy.

“Life needs humor or some irony and I haven’t done just a slapstick, crazy comedy like this in a while,” Purse-Wiedenhoeft said.

UWO senior Garret Johnson will play lead George Hay, the traveling actor who is on the backhalf of his career.

Johnson compared training for his role to an insane asylum in that everybody has their quirks they can bring out.

“We try to bring some of that natural, bombastic energy that we have in our personalities into our performance while still staying true to our character,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the transition from the previous thriller “Sweeney Todd” to the comedic “Moon Over Buffalo” has been refreshing.

UWO senior Kaitlyn Polka will play Charlotte Hay, George Hay’s wife and accompanying actress on the road.

“It’s a fun play about theater and a misshaped family and the imperfections of play,” Polka said. “It’s all bigger than life.”

Polka said Charlotte Hay is a woman who knows what she wants and will do whatever it takes to get it.

“She’s a very self-actualized woman who, even in her ‘50s, is saying, ‘I’m going to make it big; I’m going to be a movie star,’” Polka said.

UWO junior Rachel Ryan will play Rosalind, George and Charlotte Hay’s daughter who leaves the group for a normal life.

“She comes back to introduce her family to her fiancé, and we find out her ex is in the theater company her parents run, and there are a couple complications when she comes back,” Ryan said.

Ryan said she hasn’t played a humorous romantic in a while and said developing the character has been interesting.

“I feel like I can relate to this character because I have the kind of big personality like her,” Ryan said.

Ryan, Polka and Johnson all said the play is fun for anyone to come to because it is a relief from the day-to-day hustle of life and offers a chance to relax and watch a funny show.

Purse-Wiedenhoeft said the comedy was chosen with UWO students in mind.

“It’s a fun night out at the theater for students who want to get out of the winter and the snow,” Wiedenhoeft said. “After, they can go out and get dessert,” Purse-Wiedenhoeft said, laughing.