Moon Over Buffalo is a comedy by Ken Ludwig set in Buffalo, New York in 1953.
Moon Over Buffalo relies heavily on situation comedy for its humor, as well as some sexual innuendo and a little slapstick. The actor who plays George, in particular, must be able to deliver a highly physical performance; George engages in a mock fencing match with Charlotte, a wrestling match with Howard, and a stunt fall into the orchestra pit. The action and dialogue are fast-paced, as the characters are constantly bickering or frantically trying to resolve some confusion.
George and Charlotte Hay, traveling actors, are performing Cyrano de Bergerac and Private Lives in a repertory theatre in Buffalo. Charlotte has grandiose dreams of becoming a Hollywood film star; George, on the other hand, is quite satisfied as a stage actor, and sees live theatre as being superior to film.
George receives a phone call from Frank Capra, a very famous film director, who says that he needs replacements for the two stars of his current film, and that he plans to see one of George's shows and consider George and Charlotte for the parts. Charlotte, however, doesn't believe George when he gives the news; she has just learned that George has had an affair with one of their actors, Eileen, and that Eileen is pregnant with George's child. To further complicate issues, one of the actors in George's company walks out. Soon after, Charlotte leaves George and the company to be with Richard, the successful and charismatic lawyer. George, despondent, gives up hope and reverts to alcoholism to drown his misery.
When Charlotte hears the news about Capra losing his actors, she returns to the theatre, only to find that George has left. Charlotte and Rosalind, her daughter who has recently come to visit, contact all the bars in the city, looking for him. They can't find him, but Charlotte does meet Howard, Roz's new fiancé, whom Charlotte's hard-of-hearing mother mistakenly introduces as Frank Capra. Thinking that Howard is the famous director, Charlotte gives him the "red carpet" treatment, for which Howard is grateful, but confused. And when George returns, he believes that Howard is actually Eileen's brother, seeking revenge for George's affair with Eileen. In what he thinks is self-defense, George ties up the innocent Howard and locks him in a closet.
When Charlotte and Roz finally meet George again, they try to get him prepared for the afternoon's showing of Private Lives, which Capra intends to see. George, in his drunken stupor, decides he would rather do Cyrano, and dresses appropriately. The resulting show is a disaster, as George is several minutes late to arrive onstage and in the wrong costume and character. In the end, Howard, still bound in ropes, hops onstage and calls out for help; then George falls into the orchestra pit, twisting his leg and presumably breaking a few instruments.
After the show, a sober George offers his apology to Howard. Howard is not satisfied, though; his encounter with Roz's parents frightened him away from staying engaged to Roz. He announces that he and Eileen have decided to get engaged instead, and eagerly plan to start a family right away. Howard isn't aware that Eileen is already carrying George's child, but Eileen seems satisfied to keep him in the dark. Paul, now that Roz is now single, takes the opportunity to (almost literally) sweep her off her feet, and they get engaged again on the spot. Charlotte forgives — or at least forgets — George's infidelity and decides to stay with him instead of Richard. Finally, in a deus ex machina-like plot twist, Capra himself calls to say that he missed the afternoon performance and will instead see the show in the evening, thus allowing George and Charlotte another chance at Hollywood stardom.