Barefoot in the Park’s small cast gives a large performance in Civic Theater’s rendition of Neil Simon’s 1963 hit. As a Civic regular I have grown accustomed to the big ensembles, choruses, and multi-set-change performances. With this cast you grow to know and love the six performers throughout Barefoot’s two act play.
The story follows newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter as they begin their life together in a small and drafty, but charming, New York apartment. Corie, played by Civic newcomer Lexee Longwell, sees only the good in everything. No furniture? No problem, it will arrive soon. No heat? No problem, the super will fix it when he has time. Her zest for life puts a positive spin on the five flight climb, snowing skylight and unsavory neighbors.
Corie’s new husband Paul, played by David Hatter, has a differing view on their new surroundings. While Corie lives each moment to the fullest Paul would rather focus on his budding law career.
Life for the Bratters gets a little more complicated when they go on a double date. Corie fixes her prim and proper mother (Nancy Wagner) up with the worldly neighbor Victor Valasco (Don Vanden Heuvel). Victor introduces the group to a number of delicacies including brown salad and Ouzo. And when her mother goes missing, Corie takes the situation more seriously than previous events. Conversely, Paul surprises Corie by coming home drunk and barefoot, shedding his stuffed shirt image, for that day anyway.
It was refreshing to watch Corie and Paul figure out that compromise and listening to your partner will strengthen a relationship. Their differences provide a balance that will make their love last.
Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park ran on Broadway from 1963 – 1967. It was Simon’s longest running play. Come enjoy Civic Theater’s performance from January 15 through January 31. Please visit the GRCT website for all of the details.