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Neil Simon’s ‘Barefoot in the Park’ opens Feb. 7

Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm


rosie graham


The Community Playhouse, Inc. invites theatergoers from all around to celebrate the St. Valentine’s Day season with the award winning Neil Simon romantic comedy, “Barefoot in the Park.”

This will be the second show of the 2013-14 season for the playhouse. Show dates for this production are Feb. 7-9 and 14-16 at the South Jackson Civic Center. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the Ticket prices are $12 for Adults, $10 for seniors and students (with ID) and $8 for children 12 and under.


The Story

“Barefoot In The Park” follows the lives of newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter as they adjust to married life in a tiny Greenwich Village apartment.

Paul is a buttoned-down, straight-arrow lawyer who’s wound a little too tight, while Corie is an effervescent free spirit who won’t let anything disturb her romantic bliss. Aside from the five-flight climb and the hole in their skylight which lets in the snow and cold, the Bratters must also contend with eccentric upstairs neighbor Victor Velasco, who must go through their apartment to get to his.

Corie hatches a plot to get her mother together with Mr. Velasco, but the entire evening goes awry and even casts doubt on the viability of the Bratters’ new marriage, as Corie tries unsuccessfully to loosen Paul up.

All ends well, however, and situations are full of youthful appeal in this light domestic comedy.  The original play premiered on Broadway in 1963 and starred Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley. The play was made into a film in 1967, also starring Redford, and Jane Fonda.


The Playhouse Cast

Director Charlie Winton of Manchester has pulled together a group of veteran actors from around the Middle Tennessee area to portray the unique and delightful characters in this play.

Cast in the part of the bubbly Corie Bratter is Laurie Burger of Woodbury. This is Burger’s first play with CPI, although she has been seen onstage here last year as Lucy Ricardo in “Jamie Harden’s Ultimate Oldies” show or on stage in Woodbury or Manchester in numerous other performances.

This year begins Burger’s 21st year of involvement in community theater. Some of her favorite roles include Cassie in Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” Rose in “Dancing at Lughnasa,” Suzanne in “Dearly Departed,” and Schwartzy in “The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” She is currently serving on the board of directors for the Arts Center of Cannon County and is the board secretary for Millennium Repertory Company in Manchester. She works for the Forensic Institutes for Research and Education at MTSU and enjoys crocheting and traveling when she is not on stage.

David Jernigan, from Manchester, returns to the stage after a 5-year absence as the straight arrow lawyer, Paul BratterPreviously he has appeared in over 25 theatre productions across Middle Tennessee. Jernigan began his acting career on the CPI stage in the production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” where the acting ‘bug’ hit himHis credits since then include performances in “Rumors,” “It Runs in the Family,” “The Foreigner,” “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” “Over the River and Through the Woods,” “Noises Off” and “Little Women.”

Jernigan works at Motlow College in the IT department and is the father of two children: son Vincent, who encouraged him to come back to do this production, and daughter Zuri who has been supportive during all of the rehearsals.

Peggy Heyden from Winchester will portray Mrs. Ethel Banks, Corie’s mother in this production. Heyden is well known in the Community Playhouse, Inc. circles, having been the director of two of the blockbuster major musical shows for CPI, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in the spring of 2012 and “South Pacific in the spring of 2013.

She also appeared on stage in the CPI production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” in the fall of 2011. Heyden’s theater background, however, goes way beyond Community Theater activities. She holds a degree in theater arts from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she also studied voice. She performed in summer musicals in Dallas with such actors as Juliet Prowse, Patrice Munsell and Alan Case. She moved to New York to pursue her theatrical career, continue he vocal training and show performances. After marrying, she and her husband, Louis, moved to Chicago where she trained at Northwestern University in technical theater. She performed on Cape Cod in such shows as “Guys and Dolls”, “Damn Yankees,” “Hello Dolly”, and “My Sister, Eileen.” Heyden and her husband retired to Winchester in 2006 where she has been active in the community ever since. She currently serves as the vice president of the playhouse.

In addition to his directing duties for this production, Charlie Winton will also make his appearance in the play as Victor Velasco, the eccentric landlord and upstairs neighbor to the Bratters.  Winton is a well-known face in the area theater circles having performed in over 75 productions over the years. He has been seen both on stage and behind the scenes as a director for many CPI shows as well as at MRC in Manchester.

In addition, he has been a regular performer at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater in Nashville, and has appeared on stage at the Arts Center in Cannon County and the Arts Center in Murfreesboro.  Some of Winton’s favorite roles have been Captain Von Trappe in “The Sound of Music,” Ellwood P. Dowd in “Harvey,” George Hay in “Moon Over Buffalo,” John Smith in “Run for Your Wife,” and Frank in “Over the River and Through the Woods.”

Winton is a retired schoolteacher, a tennis aficionado.  He is the proud father of two sons, Chad and Justin, and a new grandson Max.

Rounding out the cast members will be Mike Yanofski, Manchester, as the telephone repair man, and Rex Brown, Tullahoma, as the stage manager and the delivery man.

Yanofski is originally from Brooklyn, New York, but he has lived in Tennessee for 14 years. He’s best known for his role of Oscar in “The Odd Couple” which he has portrayed on several occasions.  He has performed in theater roles for over 12 years now and loves doing comedy.  In the daytime, he is a mechanic.

Brown is a well-known face to many in Tullahoma.  He has been performing on stage with the Community Playhouse and at South Jackson Civic Center for over 20 years. He is a regular in character roles and has done his stint backstage as well serving as stage manager, props manager, as well as house manager for numerous shows.  He has served on the boards for both the Community Playhouse and South Jackson Civic Association in director roles.

In his spare time, Brown is a Realtor with Coffee County Realty in Tullahoma.


The Production Team

In addition to Winton, the show director,  the production staff includes:  producer Belinda Bricken; assistant producer Debbie Sanders and stage manager Rex Brown; Lights will be handled by David Ford and Cynthia Reddekopp, while sound will be run by Tim Warren.  Noel Clements, Bob Ritch, Ralph Graham, Suzanne Fulkerson, Janet Veeneman, Debbie Sanders, Bill Sanders, and Cynthia Reddekopp have handled the set design and construction for this production.


Remaining Playhouse Season

The remainder of the Playhouse Season will include the award-winning Irving Berlin musical “Annie Get Your Gun,”coming in April, which will be produced and directed by Janet Patterson and Rosie Graham, along with Ann Baldwin on vocals, Peggy Burton on orchestral music and Beverly Long on choreography.

Completing the season will be the comedy/drama, The Dixie Swim Club,” which will be directed by Morgan Underwood.  Those wishing to purchase discounted season tickets for the remaining shows may call 931-581-7767 or 931-455-0620 for information.