As posted in the Gwinnett Daily Post on June 22, 2008:
Button Theatre role up for grabs in ‘Barefoot in the Park’
By Jamie Ward
Lory Cox and Jake Cullens rehearse their roles as Ethel and Paul for the Button Theatre’s upcoming production of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park.”
DULUTH – For any adult who’s ever dreamed of becoming a professional actor, now’s your chance.
In a unique effort to generate community interest in its upcoming show, Gwinnett County’s professional theatre troupe – Button Theatre – is selling one of the roles in their production of Neil Simon’s comedy classic “Barefoot in the Park.”
“This role is an exciting opportunity for anyone to experience theater from the performer’s point of view,” said Director Celia Rosenblum. “Our hope is that the community will become involved in the production, and that involvement will help us give back to Gwinnett County.”
The walk-on role for sale is that of an elderly delivery person who trudges up five flights of stairs in a New York apartment building. Out of breath and exhausted, the role will allow the actor to deliver the package and receive a signature while failing to utter a word. Considering Neil Simon’s many humorous works, the role will offer the actor the chance to receive a few laughs from the audience while demonstrating their acting chops and comedic abilities at the same time.
“It’s a great way to get audience participation in a show and it’s a novel idea,” said Jake Cullens, an actor and also the drama teacher at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee. “It should generate a good buzz.”
According to Mary Conti, a founding member of the group and its artistic director, the role has already been sold for several performances. She also said selling the role seemed appropriate considering professional actors are paid for their services and the Button group is a nonprofit.
“It wasn’t fair to an actor to just sit there the rest of the night anyway,” she said.
“Barefoot in the Park” will run at 8 p.m. July 5 through 27, Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays at the Hudgens Center for the Arts. Any individual or business interested in purchasing the role should contact Button Theater at 770-831-0591 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.