In April 2011, New Phoenix Theatre founder Richard Lambert ran across a touching image in the pages of The Buffalo News. The photograph of a deer and a goose in Forest Lawn Cemetery, which captured the region’s brief fascination with the pair’s strange relationship, got Lambert thinking about the way unexpected families seem to form under difficult circumstances.

That is the motivating idea behind his new play-with-music “Buffalo Moon,” the third in a trilogy of unorthodox, multimedia theater pieces that explore the history and culture of Lambert’s adopted city. The show, running Friday to April 12, also explores the relationship between the wrongfully convicted Anthony Capozzi and his devoted mother, Mary, as well as Lambert’s own experiences as an aspiring actor in New York City and the new family he eventually found in Buffalo.

“I think, sometimes you have to build your own family. Sometimes you’re given a family you can lean on and be protected by, and sometimes that don’t work,” Lambert said. “I’ve never written a piece that has less irony in it. It’s very straightforward.”

The production, with 17 songs by Lambert and Steven Borowski, will feature puppetry by New Phoenix favorites Franklin LaVoie and Michele Costa. It stars Wendy Hall, along with Todd Fuller, Nick Lama, Eric Mowery and Makar, who also wrote the lyrics for one song in the show. It is directed by Drew McCabe.

Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 853-1334 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski