The Full Moon: CVTG to stage Moon Over Buffalo

Barbara Arnold, photos by Andrea Paulseth

GET TO THE POINT! A recent rehearsal for Moon Over Buffalo had cast members Sue Kelly and Reid Sollberger showing Russell Slack (center) how their performances are a cut above.
GET TO THE POINT! A recent rehearsal for Moon Over Buffalo had cast members Sue Kelly and Reid Sollberger showing Russell Slack (center) how their performances are a cut above.

Looking for some deep belly and gut-busting laughs in the midst of winter in the frozen tundra? Then head over to The Grand Theatre for Moon Over Buffalo, a situation comedy about two fading 1950s stars of the stage who hear that the famous movie director Frank Capra is coming to see their matinee. Whatever could go wrong does go wrong in hilarious fashion, with slapstick, pratfalls, risqué humor, sexual innuendo (and not so innuendo), and more.

“We’re having so much fun rehearsing that by the time the show starts, who knows what will happen, and that’s the beauty of an improv-like performance.” – Bob Carr, director, Moon Over Buffalo

The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild will present the comic play, directed by Bob Carr, on Feb. 9-12 and 16-19 at The Grand Theatre, 102 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire.

Carr attended the opening of the play when it debuted on Broadway in 1995. Playwright Ken Ludwig wrote the comedy specifically with Carol Burnett in mind, and the show marked her return to Broadway after a 30-year absence.

“The show was hilarious, and at the time, I said to myself, ‘If I ever get the chance to direct this’ … and now I do,” shared Carr. “For the audition, I had the actors read and then presented some Saturday Night Live-type scenarios for them to ad lib and improvise to see how everyone played together.”

Reid Sollberger plays George, the male lead, and Sue Kelly, plays Charlotte, the female lead. They play with an ensemble of six other local community theater performers. By day, Reid, a husband and dad, works as a teacher’s aide at St. James Elementary School, where two of his children are enrolled. Sue works at radio station I-94, on air during the morning show and behind the scenes in the creative department working with sales and traffic to make commercials.

“We’re having so much fun rehearsing that by the time the show starts, who knows what will happen, and that’s the beauty of an improv-like performance,” Carr said.

His two leads agree. Both are also hitting the gym more to build up endurance, strength, and balance to handle physically demanding scenes, such as fencing, falling, and being thrown on the floor.

“This is a very funny show – funny script, funny actors, funny and smart directors,” Sollberger noted. “Sometimes, I wish we could video record our rehearsals and share the outtakes in a gag reel to show after the performance.”

Kelly agreed. “The script is hilarious and full of energy … all the other cast members are an absolute joy to work with, FULL of talent, and fun! I look forward to rehearsals every night, and I can’t wait to see how each scene unfolds.”

Moon Over Buffalo presented by the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild • 7:30pm Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 and 16-18 • 1:30pm, Sunday Feb. 12 and 19 • The Grand Theatre, 102 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire • $22 adults, $10 youth/students • (715) 832-7529 • cvtg.org

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