Riverside Theatre presents Butterflies Are Free

news release

Riverside Theatre, led by Producing Artistic Director/CEO Allen D. Cornell and Managing Director/COO Jon R. Moses, presents the romantic comedy Butterflies Are Free. Sponsored by Riverside Theatre’s Patron Producers Group, Butterflies Are Free performs on the Stark Stage from October 25 – November 13, 2022. 

Butterflies are Free, by American playwright Leonard Gershe, revolves around a 20-something young man, Don Baker, who has just moved into a new apartment in New York City. Don has lived a sheltered life and his move to the city is his opportunity to prove to his mother of his self-sufficiency and the ability to live on his own. Due to his blindness, Don has never lived apart from his mother.

Once a larger residence, Don’s apartment was cordoned off to make two separate living spaces many years ago. In the adjoining apartment lives Jill Tanner, a flighty, commitment-phobe, who also recently moved into the city with dreams of becoming a famous actress.

With paper thin walls, Don asks Jill to turn down the volume of her television beginning a conversation from their separate dwellings that culminates with Jill inviting herself over.

When she enters, Jill is astonished at the expanse of Don’s apartment and marvels that everything is neat and tidy – everything is in its proper place. She wonders how he, a man, can keep the place so orderly, while her place is so sloppy. It takes Jill a while to figure out why things are in specific places.  

Jill is as fascinated by Don’s orderly life as Don is interested in Jill’s bohemian lifestyle. As their comforts grow, the two neighbors quickly fall for each other and by the end of the first act, they begin an affair.

Enter Don’s domineering mother, Mrs. Baker, who’s not too pleased with what is transpiring. Understandably, Mrs. Baker is very protective of her son and sees Jill as a passing fancy that will break her son’s heart. When Don offers to get some food from the store downstairs, Mrs. Baker tries to paint Jill a dour picture of what life will be like with a blind person. Scared of an uncertain future with Don, Jill falls into the arms of the director of her next audition.

What will become of the star-crossed lovers? Will Don return to living with his mom or stay living on his own?

Butterflies are Free is a funny, touching and emotional play about the risks that go with loving someone. 

Loosely based on the life of attorney/activist Harold Krents, Butterflies are Free opened at Broadway’s Booth Theatre on October 21, 1969 and ran for 1,128 performances. The original production starred Keir Dullea as Don, Blythe Danner as Jill, Eileen Heckart as Mrs. Baker and Paul Michael Glaser as Ralph.

A 1972 film adaptation relocated the story to San Francisco and starred Goldie Hawn as Jill and Edward Albert, in his first film role, as Don. Eileen Heckert, who reprised her Broadway role as Mrs. Baker for the film, won the Academy Award as outstanding actress in a supporting role.

Riverside Theatre’s production is Directed and Scenically Designed by Allen D. Cornell and features Alec Nevin as Don Baker, Allison Elaine as Jill Tanner, Laurie Carter Rose as Mrs. Baker and Alec Ricardo Ruiz as Ralph Austin.

The production crew includes: Anna Hillbery (Costume & Wig Designer), William Gibbons-Brown (Lighting Designer), Ryan Gravett (Sound Designer), Ingrid Olson (Production Stage Manager) and Jason Weixelman (Assistant Stage Manager).

Butterflies Are Free performs October 25 – November 13, 2022 on the Stark Stage at Riverside Theatre. Tickets start at $45. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at http://www.riversidetheatre.com.

Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; with matinees on Wednesdays, select Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. 

Performance Schedule:

October 25, 26, 27, November 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 & 10 @ 7:30pm

October 26, 29, 30, November 2, 3, 5 ,6, 9, 12 & 13 @ 2pm

October 28, 29, November 4, 5, 11 & 12 @ 8pm

Butterflies Are Freeis presented by Riverside Theatre’s Patron Producers Group: Brad and Fran Anderson, Anonymous, Lois Appleby, Linda Aronberg, Anita Astrachan^, Carol Atkinson, Barbara Baldwin, David and Cynthia Bardes, Paul and Jayne Becker, Sam and Susie Bell, Dick and Sue Bergeman, Ted and Debbie Berghorst, Eric and Fuzzy Billings, Jerry and Anne Blatherwick, John and Anita Brennan, Peter and Susie Brinckerhoff, Bill and Laura Buck, Tim and Carol Buhl, Tony and Joyce Caldarone, Bill and Karen Campbell, Chris and Faris Chesley, Don and Rose Ciampa, Dottie Currie, Dick and Maryanne Davis, Willem and Marion de Vogel, Don and Vicky DeMuth, John and Sue Dobbs, VJ and Veronica Dowling, Bill and Laura Frick, Michael and Mary Fuller, Bob and Wheatie Gibb, Jennifer Grant, Mary Jane “MJ”^ Grant, Herb and Anne Gullquist, Bill and Eva Gurley, Duke and Gael Habernickel, Robert and Pat Hall, Dick and Rosemary Haverland, Calvin and Sally Hills, Joan and Michael Hoben, Dave Horner and Constance Pitcher, Ron Hunt and Lisa Amorosa, Dave and Barb Kaytes, John and Pam Kean, Robert and Nell Kleinschmidt, Judy and Lou LaFage, Bill and Joy Lane, Charlie Long, Betty MacMillan, Jacqueline Malloy, Jim Marver and Shirin Kaufman, Marilyn McConnell, Ray and Sonia McGowan, Mike and Sandy McManus, Brooke Megrue, Ted and Dawn Michael, Cliff and Sheridan Morris, Bob and Susan Morrison, Wally and Peggy Nelson, Jay Newman and Elissa Kramer, Bobbie Olsen, Don and Connie Patterson, Pat and Ed Pavlish, Michael and Kathie Pierce, Helen Post, Ted and Carol Price, John and Barbara Reed, Bill and Peg Regan, Michael and Anne Rhoads, Bob and Karen Ritter, John Roberts and Juli Blunt, Mary and Randy Rogers, Randy and Sandy Rolf, Ron and Nancy Rosner, Bill and Judy^ Schneebeck, Van Schreiber, Virginia and Warren Schwerin, Ned and Emily Sherwood, Dick and Nancy Shoemate, Anna Bain Slater, Joe and Mary Alice Smith, Stephanie Smith, Dick and Stephanie Solar, Charlotte Stifel, Bill and Carolyn Stutt, Doug and Dhuanne Tansill, John and Tobey Taylor, Charlie and Sue Thomas, Janet Tribus, Marjorie P. Turley, Steve and Anne Warhover, Heidi Waxlax, Lorne Waxlax, Pat and Carol Welsh, Liz and Ken Whitney, Gail D. Williams                                                                                                               ^ deceased

Riverside Theatre is located at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963. Riverside Theatre programs are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Riverside Theatre is a member of the Cultural Council of Indian River County, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, and the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce.

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