Moon Over Buffalo Shining at North Coast Repertory Theatre

A great cast is currently treading the boards at North Coast Repertory TheatreMoon Over Buffalo has played steadily since its debut in 1995. Written by Ken Ludwig, the plot concerns six people mostly backstage in a repertory theater in Buffalo, although the current Solana Beach setting is poignant.

Arthur Hanket & Katrina Ferguson – photo by Aaron Rumley

The first time I saw this play Carol Burnett played the role of Charlotte Hay, and it was her first return to the live stage in three decades. In this production Katrina Ferguson ably plays the role of Charlotte. Excellent in the co-lead role is Arthur Hanket as George Hay. His ability to swing through several different accents (and also at the end while blindingly drunk) is remarkable. The husband and wife alternate between performing Cyrano de Bergerac and Private Lives, with disastrous results when the productions collide at the finale.

Arusi Santi & Brittney Bertier – photo by Aaron Rumley

Josh Braaten & Jacque Wilke – photo by Aaron Rumley

The rotating stage, designed by the stalwart Marty Burnett, allows most of the action to occur backstage, with the play within a play onstage at the beginning and end of the evening. Set in the 1953 in the somewhat faded Erlanger Theater (a venue my parents visited often back in the day), the action revolves around daughter Rosalind (Jacque Wilke) seeking to leave the craziness of her parents’ peripatetic lifestyle. In the mix are an unlikely weatherman (Arusi Santi), a perky actress (Brittney Bertier) who gets in the middle and a stage manager (Josh Braaten) who has been in the picture perhaps too long. Rounding out the cast are Ethel (Roxane Carrasco), Charlotte’s seemingly deaf mother and Richard (Matthew Salazar-Thompson), the couple’s attorney who pines for Charlotte.

The many slamming doors require precise timing for effective comedy, and the troupe is well oiled. The laughs come fast and furious, with the audience grinning at the intermission and the final curtain.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.