Crossroads Repertory Theatre is the new name of the professional regional theatre company based at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. They opened their 42nd season with Ken Ludwig’s comedy "Moon Over Buffalo." As in past summers they’re offering a comedy, a classic, a musical and a new play. The classic will be Henrik Ibsen’s "A Doll House" in a new translation by Rolf Fjelde. "You’re a Good Man Charley Brown" will fill the musical slot and Crossroads Repertory will partner with Indianapolis’s Phoenix Theatre for the new play Kathleen Tolan’s "Memory House."
Playwright Ken Ludwig is familiar to regional theatre goers for his "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Crazy for You." "Moon Over Buffalo" is a nicely managed wild backstage farce directed by Kristin Kundert-Gibbs. In the cast of "usual suspects" there’s the incredibly flexible Mark Douglas-Jones and the redoubtable Susan Monts-Bologna as a sort of bargain basement husband and wife, Lunt-Fontaine pair, George and Charlotte Hay. It’s 1953 and theatre has been hit hard first by movies and now by the rise of television. The Hay’s company is down to doing "Cyrano de Bergerac" with a company of five. Julie Dixon was the family grandmother and seamstress equally funny with and without her hearing aid. It’s Dixon who says "It’s like living in an asylum on the guards’ day off. Ashley Dillard was the company’s ingenue. Samuel Mikeworth was the dutiful company manager and second lead. Frequently he had the role of closest to being a sane insider.
Into the turmoil of "Moon Over Buffalo" comes the family daughter played by Amy Attaway. She’s decided to leave the crazy business and to marry a staid TV weatherman played by Brandon Wentz. The company manager is still carrying a torch for the daughter. We have one more character to add and that is Andy Rabensteine as the company attorney. He’s carrying a more restrained but still smoldering torch for Susan Monts-Bologna’s character
Things come to a head, and quite a head it is with plenty of humorous comings and goings in moments of both high and low farce. Will the daughter be sucked back into the theatre and her love with the company manager? Will the father run off with the ingenue? Will the mother yield to the yearnings of the attorney. What will happen to the weatherman? Well, the predictable does quite satisfyingly become the inevitable, but there are plenty of nicely done surprises along the way in this production
Ken Ludwig’s "Moon Over Buffalo," at the Crossroads Repertory Theatre, in the New Theatre on the ISU campus, plays this Wednesday. Ibsen’s "A Doll House" opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. "Moon Over Buffalo" returns for two more performances on Thursday July 20th and Friday July 28th.
You can find an interview with director Kristin Kundert-Gibbs and actor Susan Monts-Bologna on our Arts Interviews page .