A CONVERSATION WITH KEN LUDWIGby: Simon Chang
Ken Ludwig is a very busy man. When The Milton Players first approached the award-winning playwright about an interview, Ludwig was in the midst of closing his play Baskerville, a world premiere co-production between the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ and Arena Stage in Washington D.C. The coming months looked equally packed, as Ludwig revealed that the Cleveland Play House’s 100th anniversary season would include his newest show A Comedy of Tenors, sequel to the Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced Broadway hit Lend Me a Tenor.
In-between all that, Ludwig also keeps busy in more conventional ways, such as the responsibilities of being a parent: “I have to pick my son up from school,” Ludwig apologizes, asking to push out our scheduled call by a few minutes. It’s an easily accommodated request, and as Ken Ludwig finds himself moving on to his next appointment a half hour later, the Milton Players have been treated to an insightful look into playwriting by the Moon Over Buffalo author.Milton Players: Where does the name Moon Over Buffalo originate from? What [does] that ultimately reference in the show?
Ken Ludwig: I’ve just heard that question recently. In the 1930s or 40s, there was a famous song (and a famous movie) that were known for their sense of romance called Moon Over Miami. So the notion was that Buffalo, New York is the dregs of the earth, forgive me New York citizens of Buffalo (laughs), and that this couple who were once great have been reduced to playing Private Lives and Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s meant to be ironic, and it was a title I came up with and it stuck, so I just left it at that.
MP: Moon Over Buffalo is the textbook definition of a farce; the mistaken identities, slamming the doors, all the plot twists. What in your opinion is the secret to writing a good farce?