Cumberland University


CU Theatre Presents "Barefoot in the Park"


Cumberland University’s School of Music and the Arts will present the classic Neil Simon romantic comedy “Barefoot in the Park” on Feb. 28-March 3 in the campus’ Heydel Fine Arts Center Theatre.

A free, public production directed by Theatre Professor Dr. Larry “Doc” Menefee and featuring the talents of Cumberland’s Phoenix Players, “Barefoot in the Park” tells the story of Paul and Corie Bratter, two newlyweds whose approaches to life could not be more different.

Artwork designed by senior Entertainment Design student Casey Phillips

Paul is a tight-laced lawyer establishing his new practice, and Corie is a free spirit encouraging her new husband to loosen up. The play follows the young couple’s comic adventures in their tiny fifth-floor apartment in Greenwich Village, as they deal with Corie’s mother, their eccentric neighbor Victor Velasco, and all the quirks and foibles of a new marriage.

The show’s familiar themes have made it a perennial hit, according to Menefee.

“‘Barefoot in the Park’ is one of the best of Neil Simon's comedies, and a favorite with audiences,” Menefee said. “This is always a delightful and fun show for audiences of all ages.”

The production will feature a strong student cast from Cumberland’s Phoenix Players, including  Jessica Bryant as Corie Bratter, Wesley Simmons as Paul Bratter, Brittany Heater as Corie’s mother, Mrs. Banks, Jack Yatsko as Victor Velasco, Larry Davis as a telephone repair man, and David Webb as a delivery man.

Chris Byrd will provide technical direction, Andrea Davis will serve as assistant director, and Brittany Heater will handle props and costumes. The production is an exciting challenge for Cumberland’s Theatre Department on multiple levels, according to Menefee.

“This production is always a challenge for actors in character development, both in physical and verbal comedy,” said Menefee. “The set has special problems in regard to the use of the stage space, and a skylight above the apartment.”

Byrd and the play’s cast and crew are constructing the production’s sets, which are designed by Menefee and will include a large skylight window attached to the ceiling, as well as custom furnishings.

Menefee hopes that the production will bring Neil Simon’s classic comedy to new audiences.

“People always enjoy seeing ‘Barefoot in the Park,’ and it will also give young people in the community and the university an opportunity to see the show for the first time,” Menefee said.

All performances of “Barefoot in the Park” will be held in the Cumberland University June and Bill Heydel Fine Arts Center Theatre. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28-March 2 and 2:30 p.m. on March 3.  Admission is free, and donations are encouraged. For cast biographies, directions to the theatre, and to reserve tickets with the new online reservation system, visit the “Barefoot in the Park” website, designed by senior Entertainment Design student Casey Phillips, at For additional information, please contact Administrative Assistant Debi Goodwin at (615) 547-1364.