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Classic Comedy Spotlighting Newlywed “Odd Couple”
in 1960’s New York Opens July 22 at Culbreth Theatre

Opening July 22 at Culbreth Theatre

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – July 13, 2010 – No one illustrates the power of opposites like Neil Simon. And rarely has he done it so beautifully as in his beloved comedy Barefoot in the Park, which comes to Heritage Theatre Festival and Culbreth Theatre beginning on July 22nd.

And while the play’s action takes place in 1960’s New York, the story proves that love’s challenges are timeless.

Free-spirited Corie and conservative Paul are fresh off their honeymoon and ready to start their life together as newlyweds in the heart of midtown Manhattan. What had only days before seemed like a match made in heaven appears to head in a whole different direction thanks to a matchbox-sized and heat-challenged apartment, mother-in-law issues, and most importantly, their polar opposite personalities. In typical Simon fashion, these conflicts are fodder for pure comic genius, making the play one of the most popular of his remarkable career.

Barefoot in the Park, directed by Douglas Sprigg, will run from July 22-24 and on August 3rd and 6th at Culbreth Theatre. Shows will be presented at 7:30PM each evening, and there will be a 2PM matinee performance on Saturday, July 24th. Tickets for the show are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors (60+) and U.Va. faculty and staff, and $15 for students. Tickets for this show and for the season-ending production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are now available at the U.Va. Arts Box Office in the Culbreth Theatre building, online at www.uvahtf.org or by calling 434-924-3376.

“Neil Simon is very interesting in that he thinks of himself as writing drama with some funny twists,” Sprigg said. “I guess all of his dramas have to do with families and relationships and he, as all good drama does, tries to find conflicts, and really enjoys the conflicts of opposites,”

In classic Simon fashion, Sprigg said, the conflicts are always smoothed over with his legendary wit. The couple is constantly sparring about her free-spirit and his penchant for perfection. “There is a scene in which she tells him he is so dignified and proper that he is almost perfect. He responds by saying that is a rotten thing to say about anybody!”

Simon’s gift for focusing on universal relationship issues, Sprigg said, makes the play as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1963. “The issues of one person being different than the other -- one person liking to take chances and the other liking to be careful, that sense of opposites is still with us today. I would guess that many of us look at our relationships with our spouses and say My goodness he or she is so different from me, whether it is the little daily things like leaving a cupboard or drawers open, leaving clothes on the floor, or what have you.”

“I think that sense is still relevant today, which is one of the reasons Simon’s plays keep coming back and doing so well on Broadway and around the world.”

The 2010 Heritage Theatre Festival Season will conclude with the William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which runs at the Culbreth from July 29-31 and August 4 and 7.

For complete ticket and schedule information or to order your tickets today, visit www.uvahtf.org or call the box office at 34-924-3376.

Press photos are available at http://www.virginia.edu/heritagetheatre/pressCenter.htm

Heritage Theatre Festival Publicist-
John Kelly
John Kelly PR