Meet KELLY HOULEHAN, who is performing as Corie Bratter in Barefoot in the Park. Read on to learn about the rehearsal process, how she’s developing her character, and why you should take a chance on this show! LA: Where are you originally from?
KH: I grew up in Edina, MN, graduating from Edina High School in 2007. I went to college at Nebraska Wesleyan University, getting a performance degree in Theater, and from there headed back to Minneapolis to act!
LA: Why did this particular play interest you?
KH: I think it’s exciting anytime you see a Neil Simon show get put up because you know you’re guaranteed to see some amazing comedy. Specifically, I love the romantic comedy element of Barefoot in the Park. Corie and Paul are so absolutely in love and that makes every aspect of their relationship endearing and fun, even the arguments, because they have that foundation underneath it all.
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with Barefoot in the Park can you tell us about the show?
KH: Barefoot in the Park is the story of two newlyweds, Paul and Corie, who are just moving into their first apartment together after being married. The story follows them as they try to navigate what day to day married life is like, especially when they have different perspectives on life, with Corie loving adventure and impulse and Paul loving plans and order. A big point of contention is when Corie sets up her mother, who is a lot more like Paul, on a blind date with the strange man who lives above their apartment. Chaos and hilarity ensue!
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Barefoot in the Park. How have you developed this character?
KH: I play Corie, the free-spirited new wife in the show, and she has been an absolute blast to get into. She is so impulsive, so when I’m playing her I just have to follow all her rabbit trail thoughts and just get as excited about life and being married to Paul and setting up her mother on a blind date as she does. Corie has inspired me to be less uptight in my own life and look at what’s exciting about a situation instead of what might be challenging.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast. How do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
KH: This cast is unbelievable! This is the smallest cast I’ve ever worked with, so we’re really getting a chance to know each other and develop some really fun and complex relationships between our characters. I love watching Patti and Tom work together, as Brendan and I are trying explore this dynamic of what it’s like to be married, they really model what married life really looks like and how to make it work, since they’ve been married for 31 years! For all of us, the characters are very over the top and it’s been fun to see everyone’s characters grow from the first read through to now.
LA: Even though Barefoot in the Park was written in the 1960’s how will today’s audience relate to the show?
KH: I think people will really relate to Paul and Corie’s naivety as they start their married life together and relate to their young love. Their lack of practical knowledge is so charming! It does matter what time period you’re in- love is always exciting and never easy, but worth the challenges!
LA: What is your favorite Neil Simon piece of work and why?
KH: I honestly think Barefoot is my favorite Neil Simon piece, but if that’s off the table, I love the Odd Couple! Probably because Felix and Oscar remind me of Paul and Corie- opposites who share an apartment and have to figure out who to cram two big personalities into a small space and make it work. I love when Felix puts the apron on and cooks for the date scene!
LA: What is your favorite aspect of performing at Lyric Arts?
KH: I think the northern suburbs are so lucky to have such a vivacious, active theatre in the area producing so many different kinds of shows. My favorite part of working at Lyric Arts is the community. The artistic staff, designers and volunteers clearly care so much about Lyric Arts and our show, and work so hard to make it the very best it can be!
LA: What is your favorite theater, movie, and TV comedy?
KH: This one’s hard! Theater comedy: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Movie comedy: School of Rock. TV comedy: Arrested Development.
LA: Sum up Barefoot in the Park in 3 words?
KH: Love. Chaos. Knichi.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
KH: Well, the basics are that I’m 23 and spend my days working in Youth Ministry and my nights and weekends acting. The fun stuff is that I love Coke Zero, High School Musical, manatees, Batman and anything that makes me laugh so hard I snort.