Abrams theater to present Neil Simon comedy

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Eccentric characters induce laughter in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Joan Koehne, Special to the Times Herald

David Jolly and Julie Muenster rehearse their roles as Victor and Ethel in the Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. summer show, “Barefoot in the Park.” The show will be staged June 15-17 and June 22-24 at the Byng Community Theater in Abrams. (Photo by Joan Koehne)

Characters run the gamut from straight-laced to eccentric in the Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. presentation of “Barefoot in the Park.” The romantic comedy will have everyone laughing at performances scheduled June 15-17 and June 22-24 at the Byng Community Theater in Abrams.

“This is a Neil Simon comedy so you can expect a funny, yet grounded show with a bit of an absurd streak running through the middle,” said director Tim Rutten-Kempees. “Everyone should find someone they identify with on stage with this show.”

The play features newlyweds Paul Bratter, a straight-as-an-arrow lawyer; Corie, his free-spirited wife; Corie’s loopy mother; and an eccentric neighbor-in-the-attic, Victor Velasco. Corie wants her husband to be more spontaneous, and running “barefoot in the park” would be a start.

“Every character in this show is someone to watch out for, so it is definitely an ensemble effort,” Rutten-Kempees said. “There won’t be any singing or dancing, as this isn’t a musical, but the acting is great and the humor flows off the performers.”

The clever comedy includes a winter scene, enhanced by snow falling on stage.

Rutten-Kempees, who has performed in and directed numerous shows, makes his directorial debut in Abrams with “Barefoot in the Park.”

“I’ve directed Shakespeare to first premier shows, usually comedies, so I like to make people laugh with almost any kind of material. I’m grateful ASPI chose me to bring this wonderful comedy to their stage,” he said.

Tickets for the show are available online at www.AbramsTheatre.com or by calling the box office at 920-826-5852.

ASPI will celebrate opening night on June 15 with a gala after the show. The audience is invited to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks with the cast and crew after the performance.

Performances continue at 7 p.m. June 22; at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 16 and June 23; and 1 p.m. June 17 and June 24. All shows will be performed at the Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple St., Abrams.

“Barefoot in the Park” is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.