COLDWATER – The iconic romantic comedy “Barefoot in the Park” opens July 28 bringing a timely message to the stage in the final show of Tibbits Summer Theatre’s 2022 season.
Hailed as one of Neil Simon’s best works, this classic comedy follows newlyweds Corie and Paul, who are over the moon to begin their life together in their new Manhattan apartment. Their small space, the six-flight climb, the busted heat, snow falling through the skylight, a surprise visit from Corie’s conservative widowed mother, and the antics of their eccentric bohemian neighbor, turn their life into comical discord.
“Barefoot in the Park” is co-directed by Brenda Sparks and Peter Riopelle. The show features Tibbits newcomers Kate Turner as Corie Bratter, Doran Berger as Paul Bratter, and Janet Essenpreis as Mother, with Summer Theatre veterans Paul Kerr as Victor Velasco and Chad Tallon as the telephone repair man.
The design and technical staff features set design by Lindsay Webster, costume design by Dusti Donbrock, lighting design by Jamie Gresens, props by Maddy Byrnes, and sound design by Josh Rockwell. Aaron Bell and Cordell Smith serve as technical directors with Ariel Sheets as production stage manager.
Though the play is set in 1963, the message is still timely. Sparks says, “Not only has technology changed how we communicate, it has changed how we love. Social media platforms and online dating apps have minimized the mystery of love to a checklist of common interests and other superficial criteria. We’re led to believe that certain boxes must be checked in order for us to justify being drawn to someone. Perhaps most destructive is the converse belief that if someone doesn’t think exactly like we do, they are the enemy.”
She continued, “This show not only reminds us that opposites can and do attract, but that they’re worth fighting for. Compromise doesn’t mean giving too much of ourselves. It means giving just enough to make room for someone else. Love, like life, is messy. But if we’re willing to truly see each other, and look past our differences to the love that binds us, the reward is great.”
“Barefoot in the Park” is sponsored by Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C., whose attorneys have more than 200 years of combined legal experience. This year marks their 21st season as a sponsor of Tibbits Summer Theatre, demonstrating their commitment to the arts and the community.
James A. Fisher, the Firm’s president stated, “We believe Tibbits Theatre in general, and its excellent summer program of plays in particular, are a wonderful asset for Coldwater and all of Branch County. We are happy to support the fine work and productions Tibbits offers year after year.”
Tickets for “Barefoot in the Park” range from $15-36 including fees. Discounts are available for Tibbits members, groups and students. Performances run July 28 and 29 and August 4-6 at 7:30pm with matinees on July 28, 31 and August 3. Tickets are available online at Tibbits.org, at the Tibbits Admin Office at 93 W. Chicago Street 9 am to 5 pm weekdays, by calling 517-278-6029, or at the box office in the theatre one hour prior to all performances. All tickets are charged a facility/ticketing fee whether in person or not; there are no additional fees for ordering online.
Tibbits also receives grant funding from the Michigan Arts & Culture Council as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.
To add to the Tibbits experience, Tibbits Ghost Light Bar in the theatre’s lower-level art gallery is open before the show and at intermission. Patrons are also invited to view current Patricia Polacco exhibit or the historic exhibit displays throughout the theatre.
All performances are held at the beautiful historic Tibbits Opera House, 14 S. Hanchett Street, in Coldwater. For more information call or visit Tibbits.org.