Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Comedy, science take center stage

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Bryan Haynes⁄The Gazette
Corie (Denise A. Levien) and Paul (Steve Backus) are newlyweds adjusting to marriage in Neil Simon’s comedy, ‘Barefoot in the Park.’ The play opens Friday at the Bowie Playhouse and is scheduled through Feb. 23.
Neil Simon’s first hit play is approaching 45 years old and it still has audiences laughing out loud. The play’s central theme of two people trying to live together in difficult circumstances never feels dated.

Prince George’s Little Theatre opens its production of Simon’s classic comedy Friday at the Bowie Playhouse.

Paul and Corie are a newlywed couple living in a small Manhattan apartment with little heat, a skylight with a gaping hole and several long flights of stairs.

Throw in the fact that they married quickly, without really getting to know one another. Paul is a straight-lace attorney and Corie is a bit of a free spirit who loves to run barefoot through the park.

‘‘It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day show,” said Steve Backus of Laurel, who plays Paul. ‘‘It’s the odd married couple, I guess you could say.”

Director Jeff Lesniak chose to do this play, saying he picks the shows that he thinks audiences want to see.

‘‘Despite being 40 years old, it’s still current,” Lesniak said. ‘‘First of all, it’s funny. Neil Simon plays speak for themselves.”

Denisa A. Levien of Crofton plays Corie. Other actors in the show are Danny Brooks of Annapolis (who plays Victor Velasco), Millie Ferrara of Laurel (Mrs. Banks); and Williams Powell Jr. of Lanham (telephone repairman).

Mapping DNA

A new play opens Friday in Mount Rainier that explores the scientific battle to map the structure of DNA. The play is called ‘‘Photograph 51,” and is being produced by Active Cultures, based at Joe’s Movement Emporium.

History records that Francis Crick and James D. Watson of Cambridge University were the first to publish a model of DNA in April of 1953.

What some do not know is that a good portion of their work was based on the work of a rival female scientist, Rosalind Franklin of Kings College.

Some believe that Franklin could have been first to publish, but she wanted to wait until she had finished a complete map of DNA.

The play’s title comes after a X-ray image of DNA that Franklin took in 1952 that was critical evidence used to identify the structure of DNA. Crick and Watson viewed the photograph without Franklin’s knowledge and it helped them with their own work.

‘‘The instant I saw the picture my mouth fell open and my pulse began to race,” Watson said in 1968 in the book, ‘‘The Double Helix.”

If You Go

Barefoot in the Park

When: 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 23

Where: Bowie Playhouse, White Marsh Park, 6314 Crain Hwy, Bowie

Tickets: $15, $10 seniors and students

Box office: 301-937-7458

Photograph 51

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays; and 11 a.m. Thursdays through March 2

Where: Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mount Rainier

Tickets: $10 cash; $12

Box office: 800-494-8497