What happens on the sixth floor of a brownstone New York City apartment building – and in the attic above – may not stay there for long in the Neil Simon comedy “Barefoot in the Park,” opening this weekend at Marathon Community Theatre.
When newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter (Michelle Macoskey and Alex Rickert) make the ascent up six flights of stairs, they soon realize they’re in for more than they bargained for – or less, in the case of their overpriced apartment with backwards plumbing and a hole in the roof.
While straight-laced lawyer Paul thinks it’s his time to shine with new career milestones, Corie’s more concerned with getting Paul to loosen his necktie – literally and figuratively – and help her set her buttoned-up mother up on a date with their dead-broke kook of an upstairs neighbor, Victor Velasco. Added to the mix is a telephone repairman who always seems to answer the “call” of duty at the worst possible time.
In a first for MCT, no two nights of the show will feature identical casts, as a rotating troupe of 12 Marathon celebrities from county commissioners to real estate agents and veterinarians – most of whom will make their theatrical debuts – play the cameo role of the “delivery guy.”
“One of the best parts about MCT is that it puts members of our island community from all walks of life on a single stage together, and nowhere is that more evident than with the guest appearances in this show,” said MCT president Joanne Zimmerman. “Combine that with a Tony Award-winning show, a record-breaking script and a seasoned cast and crew, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
“Barefoot” is the first MCT main-stage production with complete creative control for director Allison Sayer, who previously assisted her late father Les White in his one and only MCT show – 2020’s musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” With more than 60 shows to his name, White directed “Barefoot” twice, with a third run playing the role of Paul. Sayer said it was her mission to honor his legacy with a cast and production crew she considered family.
“Directing my first show with this group was the ideal situation,” she said. “Our bond is what keeps bringing me back to do theater. The show was a favorite of my late father’s, and I had to do it justice. I know he would be proud of me.”
Paying homage to beloved family and mentors is a theme for the “Barefoot” gang, though in a way few would notice; multiple costume pieces, props and set items belonged to White as well as other former MCT directors and relatives of the cast and crew.
“All of these people – Marilyn Tempest, my dad, our stage manager Karen Witte’s mother – had a huge impact on our lives and journeys at MCT,” said Sayer. “They’ve passed on, but parts of them are still with us in every act of ‘Barefoot.’ It’s extra motivation to put on a show they’d love.”
“Barefoot in the Park” runs on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Jan. 11-27 at 8 p.m. with a matinee on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at marathontheater.org or by calling 305-743-0994. All ages are welcome.