Fasten your seatbelts Princeton – another hit Broadway show is coming to Princeton’s Riverside Centre! River Road Theatre is following up the highly successful run of their musical comedy I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change with a production of Neil Simon’s classic screwball comedy, Barefoot in the Park.
Similkameen audiences can experience the fun and flair of this 1963 rom-com every weekend from July 8 to July 24. Barefoot in the Park tells the story of newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter and their experience of living in a tiny hole-in-the-wall apartment in Greenwich Village. Their married bliss soon begins to crumble in the face of overprotective in-laws, crazy upstairs neighbours, a crumbling apartment, and one wild drunken trip to Staten Island.
“This play is timeless, and has been a favourite of audiences around the world for more than fifty years,” says Chelsea Turner. Turner is one of River Road Theatre’s five co-founders, and will also be playing the leading role of Corie in the play. “It’s a story about finding love in unexpected places and learning to take a chance. It’s funny and heartwarming, and the characters are all so relatable and engaging– they’re people you can really root for.”
River Road Theatre has been in rehearsals for Barefoot for the past three weeks while performing I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change on the weekends. “It’s quite a feat creating an entire show from the ground up in just three weeks on top of performing the musical,” says director Rachel Hart. “It’s the ultimate challenge of multi-tasking. None of us had ever been in Barefoot in the Park before this, so we’re learning everything from scratch.”
Marcus Stusek – who will be playing the role of Paul Bratter – is designing and building Barefoot in the Park’s extensive set. “It’s been a lot of fun creating the look of a tumbledown, eclectic 1960’s New York loft apartment.” Stusek has many years of experience in professional set design in his hometown of Victoria B.C., but admits “I’ve never had to pull off designing and building a set while also learning the part of a leading man.”
“This is a great show for all ages,” adds Hart. “Many will remember the 60’s film version starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. But it’s also a show that younger audiences can enjoy discovering for the first time – it has a very youthful energy and the story is about growing up and making choices in the “real world”.”
Barefoot in the Park is River Road Theatre’s second production of the summer. It will run every weekend until July 24. Then the company’s production of the mystery/farce The 39 Steps opens, and this final production will run until August 14.
“Reaction from audiences has been sensational,” says Turner, “Everyone says how much fun the shows are, and what a wonderfully enjoyable evening it is. We try to keep the pacing of the shows quick and the material light and fresh. We’ve been lucky enough to have audiences coming from Keremeos, Penticton, Merritt and even Vancouver, and we want to keep them coming. This is a really great offering of summer entertainment and we don’t want anyone to miss out.”
Tickets for Barefoot in the Park are available at the Princeton Shopper’s Drug Mart, by phone at 250 293 6152, or at the door. Shows are running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm – and also at 2:00 pm on Saturdays – at the Riverside Centre. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students.