Be prepared for explosive laughter when Panhandle Players presents Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park at the Chapman Auditorium in Apalachicola for five great performances.

Shows are Friday and Saturday, June 30 and July 1, at 7:30 p.m., a matinee on Sunday, July 2, at 3 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday, July 5 and 6, at 7:30 pm.

Directed by Ed Tiley, Barefoot in the Park is a romantic comedy, full of whacky situations, smart retorts, a bit of slapstick, silly drunkenness, and classic playwright Neil Simon fun. When it opened on Broadway in 1963, featuring Robert Redford, the play was a smash hit, running for over 1,500 performances and was later turned into a very successful film.

In the play, Corie and Paul are newlyweds, fresh from their honeymoon. Corie (Michele Boston) is still enthralled by the romance and excitement of their wedding and honeymoon and wants this passionate life to continue at full speed. Straight arrow Paul (Scott Wilson), however, feels it is time to focus on his burgeoning career as an up-and-coming lawyer. Corie feels Paul just doesn't understand her exuberance, her manic energy, ande wants him to be more spontaneous, like running "barefoot in the park." So, when they don't see eye-to-eye about their apartment, their neighbors, and their attitude about romance, the new marriage heads into rough weather.

On a set ingeniously designed and constructed by Mark and Natalie Parsley, and Ed Aguiar, the play takes place on the fifth floor of a New York five-floor walk-up apartment building (no elevator). Corie is optimistic the dump will become “their” place”; Paul is aghast with each shortcoming the apartment features (no bathtub, little heat, and a tiny bedroom). When he almost passes out from the long six-floor climb, the apartment becomes a foil for terrific comedy. Walking up the stairs completely exhausts the characters, granting hilarious, out-of-breath entrances for the telephone repairman (Gary Niblack), delivery man (Bob Inguagiato), and mother-in-law (Liz Sisung).

In addition, an older gentleman, Victor (Tom Loughridge), an eccentric neighbor and a larger-than-life character who lives in the attic, enchants Corie with his zest for life. That stresses Paul, mainly because Corie is trying to hook Victor up with her mother, Ethel, a widow living in New Jersey and worried about everything, including her health?

Can Ethel learn to embrace life with the help of Victor? And even though it appears the newlyweds have discovered they don't like each other, will love and spontaneity rekindle the magic? Can they walk "barefoot in the park?”

Tickets are $15 and may be purchased online at PanhandlePlayers.com, or at the door one hour before curtain. The historic Chapman Auditorium is on U.S. 98 at 14th Street. This production is supported in part by Duke Energy.

Come laugh with us.