Playmakers bring Neil Simon favorite to the stage this week

Mar 15, 2023 | Featured, Entertainment | 0 comments

The stars of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” at Playmakers Civic Theatre this week are (left to right) Cyrus Foos, Samantha Meyer, Margaret Helbing and David Blankenbeker. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)


There is a sparkling fusion of talent in the cast of “Barefoot in the Park,” which debuts at Playmakers Civic Theatre on March 17. The female lead actress, Samantha Meyer, coveted the part of free-spirited newlywed Corie Bratter, but she also wanted a strong support team for the play.

Meyer recruited her real-life boyfriend, Cyrus Foos, to audition to play her husband, the straight-laced lawyer Paul Bratter, and she asked Brenda MacDonald to consider directing the play.

“Barefoot in the Park” will be performed at Playmakers Civic Theatre starting this weekend on March 17-18, and again on March 24-25 at 8 p.m., and on Sundays, March 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Tickets can also be purchased at Lilly & Gerts through March 18.

Samantha Meyer, left, and Margaret Helbing practice a scene from Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” at Playmakers Civic Theatre. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Meyer, an experienced community theater actress, knew what she was doing when she pulled Foos and MacDonald into the theater with her. The trio teamed up with Assistant Director Millie Butts and performers Margaret Helbing, David Blankenbeker, Jim MacDonald and Lisa Meyer to create a funny and heartwarming delivery of “Barefoot in the Park” by Neil Simon. The play is an emotional mix of romance, comedy and drama, and the play’s performers excel at portraying the wide range of theatrical demand.

Meyer and Foos have been performing in community theatre since they were young children, and MacDonald made her directorial debut in “Mama’s Boys” in 2011. But MacDonald first stepped onstage as an actress in the play “Oliver” in 1995.

“I was recruited at church, and I ended up playing a barmaid,” she said.

“Barefoot in the Park” stars Samantha Meyer, left, and Cyrus Foos, who have both been performing in community theatre since they were young children. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Cyrus Foos, left, and Samantha Meyer practice a scene from Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” at Playmakers Civic Theatre. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Today, MacDonald works most often behind the scenes at Playmakers.

“I’m in the booth. I run the lights. I do a lot of tech stuff,” she said. “I was the theater’s business manager, and I still have box office duties and am the program editor.”

For “Barefoot in the Park,” she accepted Meyer’s request to sit in the director’s chair once again.

“She wanted to play Corie so badly, and she approached me to direct it. She wanted someone she was comfortable with,” MacDonald said.

“Barefoot in the Park” is a good play for a winter performance at Playmakers. It is a well-known play that requires a small cast when many performers are out of town.

“A lot of our people have left our vacationland for other vacationlands,” MacDonald said.

Together, the director-performer team has created a delightful play.

“It’s romantic, and I hope it brings people into the theater,” MacDonald said.

Also debuting on March 17 is the Port Clinton Drama Club presentation of “Anastasia.” The play is directed by Drama Club advisor Sierra Kytta, and Bruno Bush serves as music director. “Anastasia” will be performed at the Port Clinton High School Performing Art Center on March 17 at 7 p.m. and March 19 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the high school main office or at the box office prior to each performance.

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December 2023

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