Thursday, February 29

Gulfshore Playhouse announces world premiere of Higher

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Gulfshore Playhouse will open its 2020 – 21 season with the world premiere of Higher, written by and starring Jeffrey Binder, associate artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse, and directed by Kristen Coury, founder and producing artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse.

Running Nov. 7 to Nov. 29, the new one-man production was created expressly for Naples audiences, prioritizing new safety standards while maintaining the highest artistic quality.

In this thrilling one-man tour-de-force, two worlds, lives, and times collide in Prague, a magical city filled with ghosts, saints, and whispers of the past. In 1997, a Wanderer makes his way to Prague after a life-altering event causes him to question his purpose in the world. And in 1413, a master architect struggles to build a worthy addition to the crown jewel of the Holy Roman Empire, the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral. These separate timelines intersect in strange and mysterious ways as both men grapple with their faith, families and identities.

Members of the creative team are scenic designer Kristen Martino; costume designer Kirche Zeile; and sound designer Christopher Colucci.

“Gulfshore Playhouse is committed to the Naples region and our mission to create live professional theater that stirs the soul, expands imagination, challenges the senses, and provokes discussion,” said Coury. “As we all navigate this new reality, the arts are more important than ever to help us process the challenges we face and foster an understanding of our common humanity. We’re excited to kick off our new season with this fascinating new work from Jeffrey.”

Binder has appeared in numerous Gulfshore Playhouse productions, including another one-man production, An Illiad, heralded as one of the “Best of” performances from the 2018-19 season, along with The Mystery of Irma Vep, Merchant of Venice, Hound of the Baskervilles, My Fair Lady and An Enemy of the People.

Binder’s Broadway credits include The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh and Side Man by Warren Leight. New York credits include 10 years as Zazu in The Lion King and George Banks in the hit musical Mary Poppins, both performed at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street.

Gulfshore Playhouse has taken a measured approach to produce a five-show season underscored by stringent safety guidelines to ensure social responsibility. The Playhouse is following guidance by the Actors’ Equity Association, CDC, OSHA, City of Naples and Naples Community Hospital.

“The safety of our staff, performers, and audiences is at the forefront of these efforts,” said Coury. “We want to give audiences the opportunity to see live theater again, in the safest way possible. ‘Higher’ allows us to start the season off with a new show that reinforces social distancing in a way that also entertains and inspires local theatergoers.”

Safety procedures that will be implemented for Gulfshore Playhouse shows at The Norris Center include:

  • Mandatory face masks: Face masks are required for all patrons except for children under the age of two or people for whom wearing a mask poses a medical risk. 
  • Ticket-less entry: Reservations will be confirmed by guest name and ID; no physical tickets will be distributed.
  • Norris Center facilities will be disinfected prior to the performance, before and after intermission, and following the performance. Hand sanitizer dispensers are located at multiple points within the lobby.
  • Playbills will be offered in digital format via mobile device in addition to one-time-use physical playbills.

Evening shows begin at 7:30 Wednesday; Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $23 – $71.

“We look forward to gathering safely at The Norris Center (in Naples) starting in the fall,” said Coury. “And we hope the world premiere of Higher, followed by the rest of the season, gives our audiences something to look forward to and the opportunity to smile, laugh, think, and be taken to another world, if only for a few hours.”

Season packages, flex pass and single tickets for the 2020-21 season are all available for online purchase only. To purchase, visit www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org.

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