‘Barefoot in the Park’ wraps up Tibbits’ summer season

The iconic romantic comedy “Barefoot in the Park” opens July 28 at Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, bringing a timely message to the stage in the Tibbits Summer Theater’s final show of the 2022 season.

Hailed as one of Neil Simon’s best works, this classic comedy follows newlyweds Corie and Paul, who are thrilled to start their life together in their new Manhattan apartment. Their small space, the six-story climb, the scorching heat, the snow falling through the skylight, a surprise visit from Corie’s conservative widowed mother, and the antics of their eccentric bohemian neighbor, turn their lives into comedic discord.

Performances are July 28-29 and August 4-6 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on July 28, July 31, and August 3.

“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 Theater veterans Paul Kerr as Victor Velasco and Chad Tallon as the phone repairman.

The design and technical staff includes 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 are technical directors with Ariel Sheets as production manager.

Although the play is set in 1963, the message still holds true, says Sparks.

“Technology has not only changed the way we communicate, it has changed the way we love. Social media platforms and online dating apps have reduced the mystery of love to a checklist of interests. common and other superficial criteria,” she said. “We are led to believe that certain boxes must be checked in order for us to justify being attracted to someone. Perhaps most destructive is the reverse belief that if someone doesn’t think exactly like us, they is the enemy.

This show reminds us that opposites can and do attract and are worth fighting for, Sparks said.

“Compromising doesn’t mean giving too much of ourselves. It means giving just enough to make room for someone else,” she said. “Love, like life, is messy. But if we are willing to truly see each other and look beyond our differences to the love that binds us, the reward is great.”

Tickets range from $15 to $36 including fees. Discounts are available for Tibbits members, groups and students. Tickets are available at Tibbits.org; Tibbits Administrative Office, 93 W. Chicago St.; by dialing (517) 278-6029; or at the box office one hour before the show. All tickets are charged an installation/ticketing fee, whether in person or not; there is no additional charge for online ordering.

“Barefoot in the Park” is sponsored by Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher PC, whose attorneys have over 200 years of combined legal experience. This year marks the firm’s 21st season as a sponsor of Tibbits Summer Theatre.

James A. Fisher, company president, said, “We believe the Tibbits Theater in general, and its excellent summer play schedule in particular, is a tremendous asset to Coldwater and all of Branch County. We are happy to support the great work and productions that Tibbits delivers, year after year.

Tibbits also receives grants from the Michigan Arts & Culture Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Tibbits Ghost Light Bar in the lower level Tibbits Art Gallery is open before the show and during intermission. Guests are also welcome to view the current Patricia Polacco exhibit or the historical exhibits throughout the theater.

Online: Tibbits.org

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