Lexington Park, MD — Moon over Buffalo, the Newtowne Players latest production at Three Notch Theatre in Lexington Park, is an acting tour de force. The production of Ken Ludwig’s 1995 Broadway hit gives each of the eight actors and actresses key roles in which to shine. They all live up to the challenge.

Moon over Buffalo opens Friday, September 19 and runs through October 5th, with performances Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees at 3:30 p.m. For ticket information check out the Newtowne Players website at http://www.newtowneplayers.org/joomla/

The play, set in the 1953 in Buffalo, NY, relies on misunderstandings and misidentifications for its situation comedy. It also contains some period references, particularly to the movies, that may send some younger playgoers scrambling for Wikipedia.

The local production’s director is William Farrar. Robin Finnacom is the producer and technical director is David Groupé. All are Three Notch Theatre veterans.

The play open with husband-wife acting team George (Greg Rumpf) and Charlotte (Stacey Mulrooney) stuck doing Repertory Theater in Buffalo, namely “Cyrano de Bergerac” and “Private Lives.” This causes confusion later when everyone mixes up what play they really are supported to be doing.

The couple hears that famous director Frank Capra has cast Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson as the stars of his movie, “The Twilight of the Scarlet Pimpernel.” That proves a little too much for the couple, who consider them hacks and their own acting skills superior. Charlotte dreams of Hollywood while George seems more content with his current situation.

Rumpf plays George to perfection. George, quite frankly is a flawed character, with womanizing and boozing among his lesser virtues. George’s roving eye has led him astray to an affair with one of the play’s actresses, Eileen, played by lovely Catherine DiCristofaro, in her third Three Notch performance. We learn early on that Eileen is pregnant.

Charlotte’s mother Ethel is virtually deaf without her hearing aids. Her dizzy character, who pops in and out throughout for comic relief, is played to perfection by Three Notch veteran Ellynne Brice Davis, last seen in Arsenic and Old Lace.
Charlotte and George’s daughter, Rosalind, or Roz, returns unexpecte4dly after having left the troupe. She has in tow her new boyfriend, Howard (Jonathan Berry), a TV weatherman, much to the chagrin of Roz’s former boyfriend Paul (played by JR Cook).

Charlotte is so desolate at not getting the movie part that she threatens to leave with Richard (Billy Klein), who is the troupe’s lawyer, who ends up at play’s end being the odd man out in all of the evolving love triangles.

The husband and wife team learn that Coleman has been injured and Garson has withdrawn because of that and thus replacements need to be found. Things are thrown into a tizzy as Capra calls and says he is on the way to Buffalo to see George and Charlotte perform.

George meanwhile has gone on a drinking binge because Charlotte is leaving and a hunt ensues to get George back and sober enough to perform for Capra. Ethel unwittingly spikes the coffee and George continues to get drunker as everyone thinks he is trying to sober up.

Things get really out of whack when Charlotte confuses Howard, who is flustered at meeting his girlfriend’s parents, for Capra. Howard (Capra) says he is attending the next performance, which brings everyone desperately and unsuccessfully trying to sober up George. Then the misunderstandings collide in a balcony scene in which the actors and actresses are alternately dressed for the two plays to hilarious consequences.

In the end everyone learns that Capra really wasn’t in the audience but is coming for that night’s performance. In the meantime George and Charlotte have made up, Howard decides he really can’t take the craziness and hooks up with Eileen and Roz rediscovers Paul. Richard is sent packing and Ethel is still trying to figure everything out.

Rumpf’s role requires a lot of physical activity as he staggers and stumbles around the set. He has been involved in Three Notch pretty much from its beginning 10 years ago. He is perfect in the role. The other performers also seem to have found roles that ideally suit them.

To join in the fun, come out to Three Notch Theatre for one of the performances. Moon over Buffalo is destined to be a hit for the Newtowne Players. Get your tickets early so you won’t be left out of the fun.