High Springs Playhouse president to make directing debut

Julie Mackland is the first to admit that directing a play entails a lot more planning than she imagined.

“It looks a lot easier than it is,” Mackland said about her upcoming production of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot In The Park.”

 “But it is fun and you don’t realize the details,” she added. “It’s like planning a wedding.”

The comedy will be on the stage at the High Springs Playhouse starting this Friday, Feb. 5, though Feb. 28. Mackland currently serves as the president of the playhouse and is excited by the opportunity to feature some new and old faces.

According to the playhouse website, the play summary is: “Paul and Corie Bratter are newlyweds in every sense of the word. After a six-day honeymoon, they get a surprise visit from Corie’s loopy mother and decide to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor-in-the-attic Velasco, where everything that can go wrong does.”

This one is perfect for Valentine’s Day,” Mackland said in an interview hours before the cast was getting their photos taken. “It’s a newlywed couple learning about compatibility and relationship.”

The cast is as follows: Kelsey Waltermire as Corie Bratter, Nick Turner as Paul Bratter, Olga Petrovic as Ethel Banks and Donny Smith as Victor Velasco.

Barefoot in the Park 2

Nick Turner has been in a couple of shows, Mackland said. Waltermire, who plays Corie, just graduated from the theater program at the University of Tennessee and was headed to New York City when the pandemic ended her opportunity.

Petrovic plays the mother and Mackland said theatergoers might recognize her from her many appearances in plays in Gainesville theaters.

Smith hasn’t done a play in two years and serves on the board of the playhouse, Mackland said.

Because of their combined stage experience, Mackland said audiences will enjoy the ensemble and that as a first time director, “This will be the easiest cast I have ever seen come through this playhouse.”

To purchase tickets, which are $16 for adults, $11 for students and $11 for seniors, visit the playhouse website

The theatre requires face masks and is operating at 75 percent capacity.

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