The musical dominates Broadway today in almost every aspect. Cast recordings galore, performances on the Tonys, performances in the Macy’s Day Parade, etc. However the Broadway play still maintains a presences and we are gifted yearly with new works from new playwrights. To highlight the plays that helped pave the way for the American Theatre we will be highlighting the 10 longest running Broadway plays ever.
Kicking off the list at number ten is a classic play Barefoot in the Park, by the one and only Neil Simon. Simon was and still is a lasting presence on Broadway and pop culture in general. His string of successful plays such as Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, and Brighton Beach Memoirs to name a few. Simon’s work made him a leading writer of the Broadway community and he subsequently worked on a magnitude of projects. Alongside his original plays, Simon worked on musicals as well like They’re Playing Our Song. Occasionally Simon would be brought in as a sort of “Script Doctor” to help fine tune and add pieces to different shows.
Barefoot in the Park was Neil Simon’s second play on Broadway premiering October 23, 1963. The show follows newly wed couple Corie and Paul Bratte, and their experiences with moving in to their first apartment together. The apartment is on the top floor of a brownstone in New York City, and Corie is optimistic about their future from the onset of the show. Paul however is constantly aught up in the various issues the apartment seems to present.
Cories mother plays a role as well when her daughter begins trying to set her up with their new neighbor Mr. Velasco. The show takes course over four days and deals with the couples growing pains in learning to live with one another.
The show was wildly successful and ran at the Biltmore Theatre for 1,530 performances after nearly four years on Broadway. The show was Simon’s longest running hit ever followed closely by his other hits however. Due to the success of the show Simon adapted his play for the 1967 film of the same name. Since 1967 Simon’s show has securely landed itself the title of 10th longest running non-musical play in Broadway history.