Moon Over Broadway

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

There's no business like show business -- thank God. Veteran documentary filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus sneak a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of a Broadway show, and the result is both hilarious and thoroughly nerve-wracking. The show is Moon Over Buffalo, itself a backstage farce set in early '50s Buffalo. The show, which starred Carol...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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There's no business like show business -- thank God. Veteran documentary filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus sneak a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of a Broadway show, and the result is both hilarious and thoroughly nerve-wracking. The show is

Moon Over Buffalo, itself a backstage farce set in early '50s Buffalo. The show, which starred Carol Burnett and Philip Bosco as bargain-basement Barrymores who get a shot at meeting Frank Capra, ran for nine months in 1995 and 1996. The cameras start rolling with the very first press

conference announcing the cast and production, and continue through first readings, dress rehearsals, out-of-town previews, New York critics' previews and opening night. No one is spared: Director Tom Wilson worries whether Burnett's small-screen shtick is suitable for the stage; writer Ken Ludwig

fights to protect his play while major cuts are planned behind his back; Bosco explodes when he's told in no uncertain terms that improvisation will not be tolerated; and everyone slowly comes to the awful realization that the play isn't funny enough. As Moon Over Buffalo undergoes its

umpteenth rewrite, the only certainties are the production's 32.3 million price tag and the fast-approaching opening night. Pennebaker, who went backstage with Bob Dylan in DON'T LOOK BACK and caught the cream of late-60's rock world in MONTEREY POP, has an unobtrusive, easygoing approach to his

subjects that disguises a keen eye for small moments of damning truth. In the film's most casually revelatory moment, a literally showstopping technical snafu brings Burnett out onstage, out of character and without a script or a single prop. What follows is 10 hilarious minutes of pure,

unfettered comedy -- everything Moon Over Buffalo could never be.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: There's no business like show business -- thank God. Veteran documentary filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus sneak a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of a Broadway show, and the result is both hilarious and thoroughly nerve-wracking. The show… (more)

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