Barefoot in The Park Still Funny At 44

Review February, 1963 . . . Manhattan . . . East 48th Street . . . Five story walk-up. . . Newlyweds . . . . Barefoot in the Park, Neil Simon’s longest running Broadway show – 1530 performances. Barefoot in the Park, inspired by the early days of his marriage at the time, was Simon’s third play and first major hit. Yes, at 44, she’s a bit of a dowager. However, the story of fresh love (married six days), contrasting characters (he’s a straight-laced attorney, she’s a spontaneous free spirit), a garret apartment (slanted roof window and broken skylight), a strange neighbor, and his mother-in-law; all the ingredients for comedy.

Newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter (Michelle Burkhart and Joseph Baker) are moving into their new apartment after a six-day honeymoon at the Plaza Hotel. She found it, rented it, and has ordered the furniture brought in. Alas and alack, Paul hasn’t seen it until just this moment. As with any old converted brownstone, there are a few problems such as broken skylight (good for indoor snow), unpredictable heat, no closet space, and much more.

The Bratters also have an eccentric neighbor, Victor Velasco (Kirk Irvine), who bounces in unannounced. Mrs. Banks (Lee Donnelly), Corie’s mother, is not really a terrible mother-in-law to Paul. She does, however, get into enough trouble on her own.

Jeff Laurence plays a telephone man not too thrilled by a second trip to the fifth floor. Mike Rush as a Lord and Taylor delivery man is a delight. He doesn’t have any lines, but pants his way through the package delivery. The six flights, counting the tall stoop, would wind anybody.

The PowPAC production was directed by Mark Loveless and Krystal Price Workman. Their teaming worked well. The timing is flawless. Burkhart and Baker are just the perfect contrast both physically and in their style of acting and moving. Donna Reed’s costumes worked well. Sherrie Colbourn’s set reminded me of some of the Manhattan digs I’ve been in. Simon’s humor still plays well even after all these years.

PowPAC’s production does the playwright justice. I hope you have an opportunity to see Barefoot in the Park in the ensuing weeks. Be prepared to laugh and have a good time at the expense of the Bratters. It plays weekends through May 18, 2008. PowPAC is located 13250 Poway Road in Poway. For reservations and information call 858 679-8085 or


Michelle Burkhart, Jeff Laurence, Mike Rush, Joseph Baker, Lee Donnelly, Kirk Irvine

Technical Staff

Producers Chris & Brenda Robinson, SM Christine Putnam, Asst SM Mike Rush, Set Designer Sherrie Colbourn, Set Decoration Sabato Fiorello, Sherrie Colbourn & Krystall Price Workman, Scenic Artists Sabato Fiorello, Sound Designer James Caputo, Lighting Designer Chad Oakley, Techs Buzz & Billie Stanley, Costume Designer Donna Reed, Asst Costume Designer Marina Piccioni, Properties Sabato Fiorello & Mark Loveless

Genre: Comedy

Author: Neil Simon

Director: Mark Loveless & Krystal Price WorkmanCaution Guidance

Date Reviewed: April 25, 2008

Dates: Weekends, thru May 18, 2008

Running Time: 152 minutes with 25-minutes of intermissions


13250 Poway Road

Poway, CA 92064

Box Office Phone: (858) 679-8085


Robert Hitchcox is a playwright, critic and fiction author, who reviews live theatre.