The play Barefoot in the Park debuted in the early 1960s, before tablets and smartphones, before Facebook and Twitter.
But there’s plenty in it that will resonate with young people today — and with people of all ages.
“This play is about fighting for the love of your life, fighting for relationships to grow,” said Sergio Bueno, who stars as Paul Bratter in the Richland Players’ production of Neil Simon’s classic comedy.
“A lot of people are going to appreciate the situations in this play. They’ll appreciate the relationships,” Bueno said.
Never miss a local story.
Barefoot in the Park opens May 1 at The Richland Players’ theater at 608 The Parkway.
Show times are 8 p.m. May 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16 and 2 p.m. May 10 and 17.
In the play, Paul and his wife, Corie, have returned from their honeymoon and are living together for the first time.
Corie is a free spirit, while Paul is a more careful and straight-laced — an ambitious young attorney.
They’re opposites, and that causes tension as they navigate their new life together.
Toss in a potential romance between Corie’s reserved mother and the young couple’s eccentric neighbor, and “the fun ensues from there. It’s very funny. There are a lot of great one-liners, quips,” said director Carolyn Parker.
“It is a show for everybody. Even though it’s set in 1962, I think it does reach all the different ages of the audience. The older can remember when and younger people can identify with (the themes),” Parker said.
The play is the 10th-longest running nonmusical in Broadway history, opening at the Biltmore Theatre in fall 1963. It spawned multiple adaptations, including a 1967 film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and a 1970 TV series.
Along with Bueno, the Richland cast includes Heather Johnson as Corie; Connie Hull as Corie’s mother, Ethel; Steve Montgomery as neighbor Victor Velasco; Mark Miranda as telephone man Harry Pepper; and Rich Lane as a delivery man.
The actors are “a dream team,” with several who’ve taken part in numerous local productions, Parker said.
That includes Bueno.
The 33-year-old, who graduated from Southridge High School in Kennewick in 2000, studied at Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City and appeared in productions there, along with many shows in the Tri-Cities.
Barefoot in the Park is one of his favorites, he said.
“It doesn’t come around this area a lot. To get this role — it’s an iconic play. Any actor who’s around my age should want to do this part. It’s a really fun role,” he said.
Bueno has found some common ground with Paul. The Kennewick actor works in the business world, so he understands Paul’s ambition. And Bueno, like Paul, is married, so that connects too.
“People young to old (will) appreciate this play,” Bueno said. “I promise them a good time. They don’t want to miss it.”