As Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples’ premier professional theater, looks to the future, it does so with the safety of its artists, staff, students, patrons and wider community as its top priority.
Never wavering in its commitment to creating live professional theater that stirs the soul, expands imagination, challenges the senses, provokes discussion, and revitalizes in its audience an understanding of its common humanity, 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 also working with healthcare professionals as well as following guidance by the Actors’ Equity Association, the CDC, OSHA, and the City of Naples.
As the Playhouse celebrates its 16th season, it forges a new path from previously announced plans in February. After careful consideration and evaluation, the Playhouse has canceled plans for The Syringa Tree and Around the World in 80 Days. As many of the actors cast in both productions would have come from New York, Gulfshore Playhouse decided to mitigate any potential health risks to the Naples community as a result of actors’ domestic travel and relocation to the area. The Playhouse is also forgoing plans for this year’s New Works Festival, which draws playwrights from around the country. Anticipated plans include the return of the festival in 2021.
“There is no user’s guide or manual to determine the right course of action, however, we can control our efforts to minimize potential risk of sickness for our community, and have recreated a season focused on safety for all,” said Kristen Coury, founder and producing artistic director. “In response to the global pandemic, we are also creating something new that reinforces social distancing yet provides professional entertainment that will uplift and inspire Naples audiences.”
Rather than starting the season in October, Gulfshore Playhouse will resume operations on Nov. 7 with a world premiere written by and starring associate artistic director Jeffrey Binder and directed by Coury. This new one-man production has been created expressly for Naples, prioritizing new safety standards without compromising the highest artistic quality.
“After each rainstorm comes new life, and that’s exactly what this situation has brought about with Jeff’s newest play,” added Coury.
The season will continue with a moving musical, a hilarious comedy, an esteemed classic, and a stirring new work, including:
- The Pin-Up Girls by James Hindman and Jeffrey Lodin, Jan. 8 to 31: From George Gershwin to Beyonce. From World War One to Afghanistan. The Pin-Up Girls is a cavalcade of musical hits inspired by real letters from troops overseas. While singing at their local VFW hall, Leanne and her friends stumble upon a stash of letters that go back 100 years. Inspired by what they find – funny, romantic, heartbreaking, and sexy – the ladies put on a show that celebrates the guys and girls who fight to defend our country.
- Bang Bang! by John Cleese, Feb. 11 to March 14: Legendary actor John Cleese of Monty Python fame brings to life this new adaptation of Georges Feydeau’s classic comedy Monsieur Chasse. When a respectable society lady is hoodwinked by her husband, she devises a scheme to get revenge. Everyone has a secret, and things go quickly awry in this new production brought to the stage by one of the greatest comedic geniuses of all time.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, March 25 to April 18: Theseus and Hippolyta, about to marry, are figures from mythology. In the woods outside Theseus’s Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves out into couples – but not before they form first one love triangle, and then another. Fantastical sequences and romantic desire collide in one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.
- Another Revolution by Jacqueline Bircher, April 29 to May 16: The year is 1968. Two graduate students are forced to share a lab at Columbia University and find they are opposed in more ways than just their scientific disciplines. Amid interpersonal differences, a campus devolving into political chaos, and the uncertainty and turmoil of the outside world, they each discover what it’s like to be thrown into someone else’s orbit. Audiences won’t want to miss this timely new work about finding hope through the uncertainty.
“While we still have a long road ahead and will continue to need generous donations as ticket sales only make up half of our operational budget, we are confident that the decisive and quick action made by our management team has ensured our financial sustainability and impactful robust programming for the 2020-21 season,” said Coury, “We will continue to be a ray of light for those in need of joy and laughter – and look forward to gathering safely at The Norris Center in the fall.”
Gulfshore Playhouse Education will also debut two new productions in December, with more details announced at a later date.
“As the situation continues to evolve, we will remain proactive in implementing safety procedures at The Norris Center, including reducing capacity, removing rows and seats in between guests, and integrating scanned ticketing,” added Coury. “Our playbills will no longer be recycled, and in fact, will now be offered in digital format via mobile device in addition to one-time use physical playbills.
The 2020-21 season will also feature all-new season packages and flex pass offerings. Season Packages offer patrons the option of a three-show, four-show or five-show selection, with savings of up to 20% off regular tickets and the added bonus of prime seats, exclusive access to VIP events, and additional discounted tickets for family and friends. Patrons who have already purchased packages will be contacted by the administrative staff with additional information regarding updates to the season line-up.
Season Packages, Flex Pass and single tickets for the mainstage season are all available now for online purchase only. To purchase, visit www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org. Tickets to the Gulfshore Playhouse Education productions will be available for purchase at a later date. Previous ticket holders will be contacted by a member of the management team with further instructions.