The comedic farce “Moon Over Buffalo” pulls back the curtains of theater and gives a funny, unique glimpse behind the scenes.
“It’s truly a love letter to the theater, and I think this is a great end to our inaugural season to have this particular play close for us,” said Richard Vines, co-artistic director of Ghostlight Theatre and director of “Moon Over Buffalo.”
The play, which opens June 3 at Valley Vista High School Performing Arts Center in Surprise, revolves around two older actors past their prime as they get one more shot at stardom, thanks to a phone call from the legendary Frank Capra.
Many comic mishaps occur along the way in the show by Ken Ludwig, who also wrote “Lend Me a Tenor” and the book of the musical “Crazy for You.”
In 1995, Ludwig’s “Moon Over Buffalo” opened on Broadway with Phillip Bosco and Carol Burnett for 309 performances. It garnered two Tony Award nominations for the stars.
Vines said there aren’t many shows that capture a behind-the-scenes look at theater. This one in particular captures some funny moments.
As with most farces, there is plenty of door-slamming, as well as physical comedy and some sexual innuendo.
“There are times where I believe you’re going to laugh until you cry,” Vines said.
Janice Lombardos, who portrays the lead role of Charlotte, said she agrees.
It’s the third time Lombardos has performed “Moon Over Buffalo,” and she said she always wanted to be Charlotte. Being cast in Ghostlight’s production couldn’t have made her any happier.
“Honestly, I love farces so much, especially going in and out of the doors,” said Lombardos, who is president of Theatre West in Sun City West. “The characters are so funny and over-the-top. And if you’re a theater person, you really identify with this piece right away.”
Lombardos said she loves that the audience get a voyeuristic view of backstage life in the theater.
In addition, Lombardos said it’s the most physical role she’s had in her history of performing “Moon Over Buffalo.”
“This is the first show ever where I’m doing sword fighting, and I’m actually loving every last bit of it,” she said with a laugh.
Because of the physical comedy and “ludicrousness of putting it all together,” Vines said it was the toughest show to cast.
“When you have a show like this, you must have people at the top of their game,” he said. “We had to turn some really good people away, but you’ll see we have a top-notch cast.”