Barefoot In The Park

By Neil Simon

Directed by Kelly Goeller
June 2 to 18, 2017


Read the Reviews:
Waukesha Freeman, Shepherd Express, WaukeshaNOW

Photos:
Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Lloyd Munson

Sponsored In Part By

WCT projects are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.

Cast 

Scott Fudali

Delivery Man

Benjamin Johnson

Paul

Katie Krueger

Corie

Donna Lobacz

Mother

Lloyd Munsen

Telephone Man

Rick Richter

Velasco

Production Staff 

Director

Kelly Goeller

Stage Manager

Debbie Volden

Scenic Designer / Master Carpenter

Michael Talaska

Costume Designer

Darcy Devins

Lighting Designer

Scott Fudali

Sound Designer

Keith Handy

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

Properties Designer

Susan Schoultz

Waukesha Civic delivers with ‘Barefoot’

Laughing at Neil Simon classic rom-com is pretty much a walk in the park

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
June 8, 2017

WAUKESHA — Neil Simon’s works continue to draw and delight audiences. Along with his humor, he always has some insights to share concerning human relationships.

“Barefoot in the Park,” one of his most popular comedies, now playing in Waukesha, is about young love and the vicissitudes it must inevitably face as time passes. Understanding and accepting another person’s individuality is often a challenging task. Six characters comprise the cast. The young newlyweds, Paul and Corie; Corie’s mother; a kooky neighbor, Victor Velasco; a telephone repairman; and the delivery man. All, without exception, contribute to the ongoing hilarity.

The scene opens in the unfurnished sixth-floor walk-up apartment that Paul and Corie have just rented. It typifies many New York apartments — small and smaller and not particularly well-maintained. Some of the humor is elicited by the characters entering the “cozy habitat” in various states of collapse after the arduous climb. Corie’s mother, Paul and the repairman’s entries are especially chuckle-worthy.

Paul is a struggling new lawyer, Corie stays at home wishing she were still on her honeymoon, Corie’s mother tries not to interfere, and Victor doesn’t care if he does, though he sees his intrusions and mooching as neighborly friendliness.

Corie tries to be a matchmaker for her single, woebegone mother and her unusual new neighbor. She definitely doesn’t have enough to do as a homemaker in a tiny apartment.

Things start to fall apart after a relatively unsuccessful dinner at an obscure Albanian restaurant, recommended by Victor. The four parties come back to the apartment in various states of inebriation and disparate moods. Their reactions to the event are quite revealing of their personalities and how each person defines enjoyment. This scene has a lot of physical comedy, very well-executed by all four actors.

Fights are often funny when you’re not in them. The first massive altercation between Paul and Corie is beautifully rendered. It is masterfully written and executed by both Benjamin Johnson and Katie Lynne Krueger.

The mysterious disappearance of both Corie’s mother and her neighbor Victor provides us with some added drama along with more visual humor. Both Rick Richter and Donna L. Lobacz are gifted, versatile actors and are well-cast in these roles. Scott Fudali, as the delivery man, played a small role.

Both Johnson and Krueger capture the spirit of their characters.

Johnson’s role is demanding emotionally and physically, but he was up to the task. Krueger flits around like a butterfly. Her naive romanticism is charming but probably problematic for the long haul. Eventually they might establish a harmonious balance between their divergent personalities, but as Corie’s mother so wisely advised, not without a willingness to bend and compromise.

Lloyd Munsen also did a worthy job in his cameo role as the telephone repairman, providing good facial reactions. Richter mastered his role as Victor, including the accent. It has been gratifying to watch his growth as an actor over the years.

Director Kelly Goeller did an excellent job of pacing, timing and bringing out the best in all the characters, thus capturing the refreshing spirit of this romantic comedy. Don’t miss this one.

Welcome to '60s Laugh & Laughter in Waukesha Civic's
'Barefoot in the Park'

By Hannah Klapperich-Mueller
Posted: June 5, 2017

A tiny New York City apartment, a newlywed couple and a host of crazy neighbors complete the recipe for comedy in this long-time favorite by Neil Simon, first performed in 1963. Apart from the occasional comment or reference, Simon’s script holds up to the 54 years it weathered, containing enough one-two punches to leave an audience stunned, then rolling with laughter, in the hands of the right actors. Waukesha Civic Theatre’s production boasts a well-rounded and balanced cast, quick and lively, that hit their stride in the second act, capturing the speed and wit of the dialogue.

When Corie (Katie Lynne Krueger) and Paul (Benjamin Johnson) move into their new apartment after a six-day honeymoon, Corie is determined to infuse the same level of romance into their fifth-floor walkup—a detail that gets a lot of stage time, and gets funnier with age. Her beloved, practical Paul is less than thrilled with the lack of bathtub, hole in the skylight, and their flirtatious upstairs neighbor, Victor Velasco (Rick Richter). Corie’s love of spontaneity sends the couple on a wild evening adventure with the goal of a love connection for her widowed mother, and the potential for unresolvable differences between the young lovers.

Costumes and scenic elements, designed by Darcy Devins and Michael Talaska, respectively, do an admirable job of enhancing the storytelling, despite an unfortunate wig that dulls Krueger’s natural charm. During intermission, the stage transforms remarkably, believably underscoring shocked and impressed comments from Corie’s mother about her daughter’s decorating skill.

Donna L. Lobacz delivers a standout performance as Corie’s mother and self-professed ordinary housewife. She deftly navigates the physical comedy of her character, providing many of the play’s largest laughs. Richter as Velasco and Lloyd Munsen as the Telephone Man find warmth and sincerity in their characters, infusing a sense of love and care, which contributes greatly to the success of the production.

Waukesha Civic Theatre’s ‘Barefoot in the Park’ an effortless
comedic romp

By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
June 5, 2017

I didn’t think Benjamin Johnson could get much better than his effortless mastery of song, dance and comedy in recent productions of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Gypsy” and “Anything Goes.”

This time around, he can just concentrate on comedy – Neil Simon’s, to be exact. And Simon and Johnson are at their best in “Barefoot in the Park,” Waukesha Civic Theatre’s present show.

Not only does Johnson have the role of Paul Bratter nailed down in every way, he is surrounded by an equal in Katie Lynne Krueger as his new wife, Corie, and a veteran cast that skips easily through this rollicking comedy.

Simon’s comedy is rapid fire, and if you can’t keep up with the pace it falls flat. This cast, under the direction of Kelly Goeller, keeps the high-speed volleys at the rate of a Williams sisters’ tennis match.

But there is the occasional lob – that slow, deliberate response that gets the optimum laugh, such as when Corie’s mom appears in their apartment wearing only a man’s robe and slippers. “Where are your clothes?” asks Corie, to which her mom, played by Donna Lobacz, pauses just long enough, then carefully responds, “That, I can’t tell you.” Perfectly timed, and the audience chortled.

Setting the scene
“Barefoot in the Park” opens with newlywed Corie in her small, fifth-floor New York apartment.

There is no elevator, and the phone installer, delivery man and others all reach the Bratters’ apartment comically out of breath. (It is a device that Simon, perhaps, overuses. Although, when Paul brings in Corie’s mother after a night on the town, the physical comedy is hilarious.)

Corie has a blue Princess phone installed and there are references to a Toni home permanent and the TV show “What’s My Line?” to help place the setting squarely in 1963, which this audience appreciated.

The apartment has its issues – a hole in a skylight, a bedroom that barely fits a bed, a leaky closet – which provides lots of fodder for comedy. “I’m going to be shoveling snow in my own living room,” says Paul. (Simon loves to poke fun at the New York lifestyle.)Paul is a lawyer, while Corie is a housewife (it’s 1963, remember) who can’t wait until her Type A-personality husband gets home. They have just spent a blissful six-day honeymoon, but the realities of marriage begin to set in as Paul returns to his high-powered job and an intrusive, epicurean neighbor (who Paul calls “a Hungarian Duncan Hines”) named Velasco (Rick Richter) and Corie’s mother complicate their lives.

Pitch-perfect
Paul and Corie’s first big fight is a scene that requires a totally in sync pairing, and Johnson and Krueger handle it absolutely pitch perfect – better than their counterparts in any of the several versions of this show I had seen.

Simon’s dialogue homes in on Corie’s emotionality and free spirit, as well as Paul’s practicality and lack of spontaneity. “You don’t seem to have the least bit of adventure in you,” Corie bemoans, recalling how he wouldn’t walk barefoot in the park with her – even though it is the middle of winter. However, she admits, “Even when I didn’t like you, I loved you.”

Adding spice to the production are the wonderful performances of Lobacz and Richter, both area veterans who slip into these roles like a comfortable pair of loafers.

Lobacz has us empathize with Corie’s mother rather than having her seem annoying or cloying.

Richter simply is one of the area’s finest actors, adding an ease and confidence to every role he dives into. His Velasco is suave enough to not seem smarmy, confident, yet not arrogant. Richter is always engaging.

In a small role, Lloyd Munsen as the Telephone Man fits easily into this fine-tuned production, as does Scott Fudali in his brief moment.

This show is simply loaded with laugh lines and funny situations, but there is also a lot of humanity, a lot of moments that most everyone can relate to, and this cast captures that quality to a T. There is a near constant ripple of laughs, a sure sign of expert delivery.

Student rate is available for children and any patron with a current student ID. Senior rate applies to all patrons 60 years or older. Military rate is available for any patron with a valid current Military ID.

For our "Pay What You Can" performances, patrons can buy tickets for that show on the day of the performance at whatever price their budget will allow.

Subscriber rate is available to any subscriber for unlimited additional tickets outside their package.

10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Educational Group Rate is only available for all educational groups and Boy and Girl Scout troops. 10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Volunteer of the Production - Lloyd Munson

Lloyd gave in every way, shape, and form with professionalism and enthusiasm. He picked up any task that was asked of him with gusto. His excitement and commitment are inspiring. He has been a joy to work with and we can’t wait for him to return to WCT time and time again!

Way to go, Lloyd. Thank you!