Robbie Gay (Paul Bratter) and Casey Tuma (Corie Bratter) in Barefoot in the Park Photo Credit: Lauren Kennedy
Robbie Gay (Paul Bratter) and Casey Tuma (Corie Bratter) in Barefoot in the Park Photo Credit: Lauren Kennedy


Auditions may be over and all shows have been cast, but after five successful seasons, Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy has decided to add a little audience participation to the opening show of their sixth season; the Neil Simon comedic classic, Barefoot in the Park (June 9-20).

The show features a brief role of a “Delivery Man” who finds himself quite winded after he walks up five flights of stairs to the tiny New York City apartment of conservative lawyer “Paul Bratter” (Robbie Gay) and his irrepressible new bride “Corie” (Casey Tuma). “Paul” and “Corie” are struggling with marital discord after the ecstasy of the honeymoon gives way to the reality of setting up housekeeping in their tiny piece of heaven five flights up. To make the already comedic piece of playwriting even more humorous, Hot Summer Nights and director Richard Roland decided to bring a little bit of Raleigh to the role and cast a number of notable faces in each performance including on-air personalities, politicians and area businessmen. Additionally, the company is having a contest on their Facebook and Twitter pages to fill two of the performances on Thursday, June 10 and June 17. Two lucky winners will not only perform the role, but receive two tickets to share their on stage performance with a guest.

We had great success with the walk-on role in 2006 when we produced Forever Plaid. The role of the “Box Girl” was performed by well-known women in the area. This included a number of television personalities and even Miss North Carolina. Now we are giving the guys a chance to shine”, says Hilary Russo, who is one of theatre’s producers and the publicist for Hot Summer Nights. Roland, who has performed as an actor in North Carolina before, is elated to have the opportunity to return and direct.

“I have always known of the immense resource of talent in Raleigh and am so thankful to Hot Summer Nights for bringing me back here to tap into that resource for Barefoot in the Park. I am impatient to get to work with my cast and designers on one of Neil Simon’s earliest and funniest plays”, says Roland.

Roland’s cast also features Pauline Cobrda (Ethel Banks), Paul Paliyenko (Victor) and Brook North (Repairman). Under his direction, he has assembled a quality production crew including Tiffany Owle (Production Stage Manager), Chris Bernier (Set/Lighting Designer), Leanne Heintz (Props Mistress), Kristen Grieneisen (Costumes), and Brian L. Hunt (Sound Designer). The 2010 Season is hitting multiple parks this summer. During the second show of the season they cross the tracks to the other side to bring The Great  American Trailer Park Musical to life (June 30-July 11). Followed by the chilling moral thriller Death and the Maiden (July 28-August 8) and closing with Broadway Star and Raleigh native Lauren Kennedy starring in Tell Me on a Sunday (August 18-Sept 5).

All performances run Wednesday-Saturday at 8PM. Sunday matinees are at 3PM. Shows take place at the Kennedy Theatre inside the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC. A special engagement of Tell Me on a Sunday will run Sept 1-5 at the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre at Barton College in Wilson, NC. Tickets are $22.00 for general admission and $18 for senior adults and students. Tickets can be purchased by calling 866-811-4111 or online through the Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy website: