Over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week, go from barefoot on the beach to Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park," presented by the Panhandle Players at the historic Chapman Auditorium in Apalachicola.
Five performances of the classic romantic comedy are set for this weekend, Friday and Saturday, June 30 and July 1, at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee Sunday, July 2, at 3 p.m., followed later in the week by two final performances, Wednesday and Thursday, July 5 and 6, at 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Ed Tiley and stage managed by Bob Inguagiato, the story sizzles with explosive comedy revolving around newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter (Scott Wilson and Michele Boston). He's a serious-minded, up-and-coming lawyer and she's a high-energy free spirit, a rapturous romantic. The fireworks take place in their new apartment, her most recent find. She loves it, but it's too expensive, in need of a paint job, with bad plumbing, no bathtub, no heat in the middle of February, and one tiny bedroom.
To make matters worse, it's six floors up with no elevator, to the heart-pounding consternation and exhaustion of telephone man (Gary Niblack) and delivery man (Bob Inguagiato). But, Corie sees hope in making the New York City apartment "their" place, Paul isn't happy with it at all.
He just doesn't understand Corie, as she sees it. He's too staid, too boring, a stuffed-shirt lawyer. She wants to talk love; he wants to talk law. She wants him to be a little more spontaneous. Running "barefoot in the park" would be a start. Discovering now that they are such opposites, is the newly-minted marriage about to fall apart?
To add to their stress, and before the furniture arrives, they get a surprise visit from Corie's loopy mother Ethel (Liz Sisung). Where are they going to put her? What can they do with her? Paul is just not ready for this. So, in an effort to make things wonderful for her widowed mother, Corie decides to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor-in-the-attic, Velasco (Tom Loughridge), known as the "Bluebeard of Manhattan." Of course, everything that can go wrong, does.
"Barefoot in the Park" opened on Broadway in 1963 and closed in 1967 after 1,530 performances. This was Simon's longest-running hit, and at the time, the 10th longest-running non-musical play in Broadway history. The New York Times declared it "A bubbling, rib-tickling comedy."
Tickets are $15 and may be purchased online at Panhandle Players.com, or at the door one hour before curtain. Chapman Auditorium is on U.S. 98 at 14th Street. This production is funded in part by Duke Energy.
Make this sparkling comedy part of your July 4 holiday week.