Kristen Coury: The Force Behind the Drama
How the Gulfshore Playhouse founder is leading the way to fresh initiatives and a bold new theater space.
“This was by accident. Completely.”
Sitting in her office at Gulfshore Playhouse’s Fifth Avenue South administrative headquarters, Kristen Coury gives a quick shake of her brunette curls and giggles at the irony of the plot twist that wrested her out of New York, landed her in Naples and led her to this moment of reflection on a late August afternoon. The 2018-19 season marks an anniversary year, her troupe’s 15th, but that milestone had not occurred to her until she was asked about it. Coury right now is consumed by a bigger undertaking—as momentous as the company’s debut back in 2004. We’ll get to that news in a minute. Her tale is still unfolding:
“We were gonna go to Miami,” she continues, eyes dancing, voice rising, storyteller that she is. “I had the tour book out, and it says there is a cute, Caribbean-style island called Marco Island.” She laughs again, this time at the mis-characterization. “Anyway, we got off at Exit 107 and came down Pine Ridge Road toward 41 and took a left and for whatever reason ended up eating at Venetian Village and decided to stay overnight.”
The other half of “we” was her former husband, a chef. The couple had been on a much-needed winter vacation from a post-9/11 city that was in a “funk,” and she herself from a theatrical career that, while impressive on paper, lacked emotional gratification. If you know Coury—even peripherally—you know that emotional flatness and she do not jibe.
By the next morning, Coury was smitten.
BY JENNIFER REED