WEST CHICAGO – Although March is still roaring like a lion, West Chicago’s Gallery Theater invites community members to run “barefoot in the park” with its spring production.
The theater will present Neil Simon’s popular play “Barefoot in the Park” this weekend as its third show of the season.
With a cast of five, the play is well-suited to the Gallery Theater’s modest space, which comfortably seats about 35 people.
“It gives that intimate, kind of one-on-one feeling,” theater Manager Janet Gilleland said.
The show tells the story of newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter as they adjust to married life in a tiny New York City apartment. While Paul is a buttoned-up lawyer, Corie is a fun-loving free spirit.
The two characters are joined by others, including Corie’s mother, Mrs. Ethel Banks; the Bratters’ eccentric upstairs neighbor, Victor Velasco and a telephone repair man.
The play premiered in the 1960s, and the West Chicago production stays true to the time period with its costumes and set pieces.
“Barefoot in the Park” has the most extensive set the Gallery Theater has seen, being the first to feature constructed walls, rather than only props.
The set was built by Corey Kaylor of West Chicago.
The cast is a mix of West Chicagoans and residents from elsewhere in the Chicago area. It includes Gail Cannata of West Chicago, Mark Fortman of West Chicago, Amy Gage of Chicago, Jim Rathjen of West Chicago and Carl Zeitler of Lombard.
This half-and-half mix is common for Gallery Theater plays, and it has its benefits, Gilleland said.
“It kind of just brings people in and helps them to know there is some art activity going on in town,” she said.
As a mother herself, Gail Cannata could relate to her role as Mrs. Banks, whom struggles with living alone after her daughter marries. The character provides ample comic relief to the show as she tries to figure out what to do with herself, Cannata said.
This is the West Chicago actress’s second show with Gallery Theater, having performed in “Over the River and Through the Woods” in 2013.
She came back for a second show because of the great time she had with the theater, whose members were very welcoming to a newcomer, she said.
Calling “Barefoot in the Park” entertaining and relatable, Cannata hopes people will come to the show to help support the arts in West Chicago.
The cast has been rehearsing the play for six weeks. It will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Shows will continue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Those interested in purchasing tickets should contact Gallery Theater at 630-234-5919 or GalleryTickets@aol.com.
“It will be a good addition to their weekend,” Gilleland said.
If you go
What: "Barefoot in the Park"
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court, West Chicago
Cost: $11 tickets ($10 for seniors and students)
Gallery Theater will hold auditions for its May production of "The Fantasticks" from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court in West Chicago.
"The Fantasticks" tells the story of two fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud, according to a city news release.
The fathers hire actors to abduct Luisa so that Matt can heroically "save" her, ending the fake feud. When the children discover they were tricked, they reject the arranged match and separate.
Each then has a disillusioning experience in the real world. They return to each other and renew their vows with more maturity.
Characters to be cast include:
• El Gallo (the narrator/bandit)
• Hucklebee (the boy's father)
• Bellomy (the girl's father)
• Henry (the old actor)
• Mortimer (the man who dies – an actor, pretending to be a Native American)
• The Mute (at times acts the part of the Wall).
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. While monologues are always welcome, they are not mandatory.
Additional arrangements can be made for those who are unable to attend the scheduled audition times.
For more information, contact Gallery Theater at email@example.com or 630-234-5919.