All My Sons

March 28 – April 19, 2014
by Arthur Miller

GOOD DRAMAS

William Parry, Claire Brownell, and Zolan Henderson in ALL MY SONS. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

William Parry, Claire Brownell, and Zolan Henderson in ALL MY SONS.
Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

We knew something special was in store, because when we spied Gulfshore Playhouse Founder and Producing Artistic Director Kristen Coury in the theater, she glowed with confidence and calm reserve, knowing the audience would be wowed.
The show’s plot, based on actual events, concerns two families in the aftermath of World War II and takes place in a quiet Ohio neighborhood. A marriage proposal unlocks secrets and threatens to shatter the American dream. We were riveted by this classic from the beginning to the end. For the final 15 minutes, I could hear people crying. The two-plus hour performance seemed like minutes, and as the house lights came up for the curtain call, the audience rose as one for a standing ovation. Gulfshore Playhouse’s production of All My Sons is the best play I have ever seen.

All My Sons
Linda Harden, Naples Illustrated

Theater review: Dreams prove fleeting in powerful ‘All My Sons’

Zac Hoogendyk and William Parry in ALL MY SONS. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Zac Hoogendyk and William Parry in ALL MY SONS.
Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Gulfshore Playhouse explores greed, delusions and devastating family secrets in the Arthur Miller classic.
Director Kristen Coury and her cast open their story with friendly banter between the Kellers and their neighbors, but things aren’t nearly as neighborly as they seem. The tension tightens steadily as guilt and shame are revealed and the play speeds toward its powerful finale.

Powerful ‘All My Sons’
Charles Runnells, News-Press.com

Curtain Up: Gulfshore Playhouse should be commended for making ‘All My Sons’ fresh and powerful

Zac Hoogendyk and Amy Van Nostrand in ALL MY SONS. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Zac Hoogendyk and Amy Van Nostrand in ALL MY SONS.
Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Gulfshore Playhouse again demonstrates that it can take on an important, iconic work and make it fresh and powerful.Director and Artistic Director Kristen Coury has assembled a group of actors who seem perfectly cast, and elicited exceedingly fine performances from each of them. Every actor totally inhabits his or her role, and almost every character is nuanced and complex.

Fresh and powerful
Citizen Contributor, naplesnews.com

ARTHUR MILLER’S “ALL MY SONS” EARNS HIGH PRAISE

Zolan Henderson and Claire Brownell in ALL MY SONS. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Zolan Henderson and Claire Brownell in ALL MY SONS.
Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

No one is writing plays today with the brilliance and depth of Arthur Miller. I was so fortunate to see two brave theaters doing him this season. Did you miss the thoroughly professional “Death of a Salesman” that Annette Trossbach did in January at The Laboratory Theater of Florida? I highly recommend you get to Lab Theater soon if you haven’t discovered them yet.
(more…)

“ALL MY SONS”
Sid Simon, The Sanibel/Captiva Islander

Gulfshore Playhouse delivers stunning dream in ‘All My Sons’

Emily Townley and Cody Nickell in ALL MY SONS. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Emily Townley and Cody Nickell in ALL MY SONS.
Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Friday’s opening night audience wept at the play’s shattering conclusion. If any play this season has been a must-see, it is this one.
Arthur Miller, one of America’s great playwrights, wrote about fathers and sons. He wrote about war and peace and money. He wrote about the American Dream. Gulfshore Playhouse’s emotionally searing production of “All My Sons” warps that dream into a gorgeous nightmare.

Stunning Dream in ‘All My Sons’
CHRIS SILK, NaplesNews.com

Ken Ludwig's The Game's Afoot

February 21 – March 16, 2014
By Ken Ludwig’s

Review: Gulfshore Playhouse solves ‘Case of the Critic Who Knew Too Much’

Claire Brownell in THE GAME'S AFOOT. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Claire Brownell in THE GAME’S AFOOT.
Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

The gentleman behind me served up a running commentary during opening night of Gulfshore Playhouse’s “The Game’s Afoot.” The second act alone earned five squawks of “that’s funny!” Two more “now that’s really funny!” An additional “now that’s hilarious!” came as tuxedo-clad Cody Nickell and partner-in-body-hiding-crime Christopher Gerson stepped backward (in unison, mind you) over a divine white leather couch like guilty penguins reversing smoothly over a whale. It was sublime, especially the encore in the opposite direction.
Marotta guns “Game” like a Ferrari, sending his all-Equity professional cast tumbling over furniture, up and down stairs, through doors and over the rotating hidden bar with obvious glee. Trust that like any mystery, if a dead body can pop up, out or in, it most definitely will.

The God Game

January 17 – February 9, 2014
by Suzanne Bradbeer
WORLD PREMIERE!
In Association with Capital Repertory Theatre

Theater Notes: Three plays a second time

Laurence Lau and Yvonne Perry in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

Laurence Lau and Yvonne Perry in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

I went back again to see three plays I have already reviewed. Why do I do that? Well, if you’re a theater lover, you’ve done it as well. But these three, in my not so humble Theater Critic’s view, are the three best things I’ve seen all season, and it has been a pretty lively season, as you know. I put them clearly on a MUST SEE LIST for you. Sadly, only two of them will still be running when you read this.
(more…)

Three plays a second time
Sid Simon, Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Theater review: Gulfshore Playhouse premiere impressive

Yvonne Perry and Laurence Lau in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

Yvonne Perry and Laurence Lau in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

The God Game

Bradbeer and Coury have crafted a winner in The God Game that will change the way you look at politics and politicians.

The God Game premiere
Charles Runnells, news-press.com

With ‘The God Game,’ Gulfshore Playhouse provokes, intrigues

Jeffery Binder and Laurence Lau in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

Jeffery Binder and Laurence Lau in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

What if a candidate went to church faithfully and dropped God’s name often, as if they were best friends, but his or her voting record harmed the poor, the young and the disenfranchised — a direct violation of their religion’s commands?

Is it ever right for candidates to misrepresent themselves, even if they believe that getting into office would then allow them to do the greatest good? Conversely, is it ever possible for a politician to get elected if they’re totally honest?

“The God Game” presents a lot of issues and raises a lot of questions, but doesn’t spoon feed us any answers. And I love it for that. This play is as fresh as today’s headlines.

The God Game provokes, intrigues
Nancy STETSON, Florida Weekly

Curtain Up: ‘The God Game’ at Gulfshore Playhouse well produced, directed and acted

Jeffery Binder and Yvonne Perry in THE GOD GAME at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Jeffery Binder and Yvonne Perry in THE GOD GAME at Capital Repertory Theatre.

It is wonderful to see the people at Gulfshore Playhouse display the courage to present a new play and the discernment to pick such a fine one.
The play gets a first-class handling in its first live incarnation – the show is well-produced, well-directed and well-acted. The characters are alive, attractive and believable. The dialogue is literate and the themes are timely.

The God Game well produced
Citizen Contributor, naplesnews.com

Preview: Gulfshore tackles God, gays and the GOP in a world premiere

Jeffery Binder and Laurence Lau in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

Jeffery Binder and Laurence Lau in THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse.

Kristen Coury wants to create a conversation. Gulfshore Playhouse’s latest play should spark one. It’s got everything. God. Gays. The GOP. Everything but guns, the third fiery rail of hot-button Republican issues.

Gulfshore tackles God in world premiere
CHRIS SILK, NaplesNews.com

Gulfshore Playhouse presents world premiere of play about politics, religion and truth

The God Game

Laurence Lau and Jeffery Binder in THE GOD GAME at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Laurence Lau and Jeffery Binder in THE GOD GAME at Capital Repertory Theatre.

MANY THINGS CAN SPARK THE writing of a play.
For Suzanne Bradbeer, the genesis of “The God Game” began while following the 2008 presidential campaign.

“I was watching John McCain, who I thought was an interesting person,” says the playwright. “I didn’t agree with him a lot, but I like it when somebody bucks their party line. I appreciate that.

World premiere about politics
NANCY STETSON, Florida Weekly

Gulfshore Playhouse takes on religion and politics in world premiere of ‘God Game’

Yvonne Perry in THE GOD GAME at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Yvonne Perry in THE GOD GAME at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Gulfshore Playhouse brings its first world premiere to Naples this weekend with the political drama “The God Game.”
Written by New York City playwright Suzanne Bradbeer, the play focuses on a Virginia senator asked to run as a vice presidential candidate. But here’s the catch: He needs to sound more “Christian” on the campaign trail.

World Premiere The God Game
Charles Runnells, News-Press.com

Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol

December 6 – 22, 2013
by Tom Mula

Curtain Up: Catch these seasonal treats at Gulfshore

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Cody Nickell, in a true star turn, plays Charles Dickens, who in turn performs all the characters in a version of the classic Christmas story told from Marley’s point of view. Dickens was famous during his lifetime for his readings of his own works, where he did exactly what Nickell does here, doing all the roles in different voices. Nickell/Dickens portrays a wide range of Dickensian and Dickensian-style personages, including Marley, Scrooge, Cratchit, Tiny Tim, all three ghosts and a number of newly-created characters.

Cody Nickell: Scrooge
Citizen Contributor, Naples News

Review: Nickell delivers in magical ‘Marley’ at Gulfshore Playhouse

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL.

It’s magically delicious. Cody Nickell turns in a tour de force performance as Jacob Marley (and 17 other characters) in the Gulfshore Playhouse production of “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol.”

Nickell delivers Jacob Marley
Chris Silk, Naples News

A Season Of Scrooges (And One SQuja’)

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Like peppermint lattes and mall Santas, the arrival of Ebenezer Scrooge is a sure sign that Christmas is around the corner. For many theaters, mounting a version of “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens’s Victorian morality tale, is more than just a holiday tradition. It can also be a box office gold mine that helps underwrite the rest of the season. Just how ubiquitous is “A Christmas Carol” and its variations? Here is a sampling of many — but by no means all — of this year’s Scrooges, from the comfortably traditional to the brazenly unorthodox.

A Season Of Scrooges
The New York Times

Something Intangible

November 1 – 24, 2013
by Bruce Graham

REVIEW: Curtain Up: ‘Something Intangible’ at Gulfshore Playhouse ‘an intense and powerful work’

Shawn Fagan in Something Intangible by Bruce Graham.

Shawn Fagan in SOMETHING INTANGIBLE. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Something Intangible by Bruce Graham now at Gulfshore Playhouse, falls in the currently popular mode of using thinly disguised historical figures to engage the audience. “The Aviator’s Wife” does this for Anne Morrow Lindbergh. “The Paris Wife” is “about” the Hemingways. As in the case of those books, “Something Intangible” raises questions in one’s mind. How true to life is this story? Does the writer know something we do not? Does it matter?

REVIEW: Naples’ Gulfshore Playhouse production dulls Disney’s luster

Shawn Fagan and Ian Merrill Peakes in SOMETHING INTANGIBLE. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

Shawn Fagan and Ian Merrill Peakes in SOMETHING INTANGIBLE. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda.

“Something Intangible” starts out slow, setting up details about Dale’s family life and his relationship with his brother that pay major rewards later on. But stick with it: Once Tony gets the idea for “Glorioso,” the play sparkles to life as if Tinkerbell has just waved her magic wand.
You’ll never look at Disney the same way again after this.

Gulfshore’s Something Intangible
Charles Runnells, Marco Island Florida

REVIEW: GULFSHORE CAPTURES SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL WITH “SOMETHING INTANGIBLE”

 

Shawn Fagan, Peter Reznikoff, and Ian Merrill Peakes in SOMETHING INTANGIBLE. Photographer: Pedro Zepeda

Shawn Fagan, Peter Reznikoff, and Ian Merrill Peakes

“Something Intangible” searches for that elusive “something” that transcends art. What makes a play sing? A movie come alive? A night at the theater dance with magic? Audiences can find the answers to all those questions at Gulfshore Playhouse. “Something Intangible” finds its something intangible.

Something Intangible
Chris Silk, Naples News

Venus in Fur

October 4-20, 2013
by David Ives

Steamy, sexy, powerful. ‘Venus in Fur’

Nick Duckart and Kelley Curran in VENUS IN FUR.

Nick Duckart and Kelley Curran in VENUS IN FUR.

If I didn’t fear it might confuse readers and perturb my editors, my opening sentence for this review of “Venus in Fur,” playing at the Gulfshore Playhouse, would be a big, bold exclamation point.
Or maybe even three in a row, for emphasis (like the band named !!!).

On stage at The Norris Center through Oct. 20, “Venus in Fur” is the kind of play that makes critics reach for the thesaurus, searching for better adjectives.

It’s smart, funny, sexy, complex, clever and insightful – one of those rare theatrical experiences where your brains are involved at least as much as your emotions. It’s both visceral and intellectual. No wonder it was nominated for a Tony for Best Play when it was on Broadway.

Steamy, sexy, powerful. ‘Venus in Fur’
Nancy Stetson, Florida Weekly

Tension-filled play looks at the power and sexual politics lurking within S&M

Kelley Curran in VENUS IN FUR by David Ives

Kelley Curran in VENUS IN FUR.

Lightning flashes outside Thomas’ New York City audition studio, but don’t mistake that low rumble for mere thunder.
It’s the sound of a man’s life changing forever.

Of course, poor Thomas doesn’t know that when a young actress bursts into his studio several hours late and asks to audition for his new play – an adaptation of the S&M-filled novel “Venus in Fur.”

Thomas does get a little suspicious, though. For one thing, the actress just happens to have the same name as the script’s female character, Vanda. And for someone who claims to have only glanced at the play, Vanda has an impressive grasp of both the script and the original novel.

Venus in Fur by David Ives
Charles Runnells, News-Press.com

‘Venus’ rises to triumphant opening

Nick Duckart and Kelley Curran in rehearsal of VENUS IN FUR.

Nick Duckart and Kelley Curran in rehearsal of VENUS IN FUR.

The fur flew.
Oh, come on. That pun wrote itself. The play is called “Venus in Fur.” Caucasian sable from Kazakhstan.

And subtext. Acres of subtext – even if we never get acres of skin. This isn’t porn, after all.

Unless you use your imagination. “…opening the fur to reveal her glories?”

And Kristen Coury knows how to use her imagination. “Venus in Fur” requires it. Think of this as “The Importance of Being Earnest” meets “Fifty Shades of Grey,” with two superb performances, laugh-out-loud one-liners and one long, round, tall and bulbous phallic symbol that dominates the stage.

Venus rises to triumphant opening
CHRIS SILK, Go Naples

New Works Festival

August 12-17, 2013
Point Last Seen by Scott Organ
The Butcher by Gwydion Suilebhan
Out of Orbit by Jennifer Maisel

Playwrights from DC, LA and NYC arrive in Naples with trio of smart, sharp works
Each of the playwrights headed to Naples for the Gulfshore Playhouse New Works Festival describes the workshop process differently. I hear “awareness,” “testing ground,” “feedback,” “clarity” and even “the great stew of creativity.”

Cody Nickell, Gulfshore’s artistic associate and the man to blame for all this fun, goes so far as to call it a sort of “summer camp for writers.”

Gulfshore Playhouse kicks off inaugural New Works Festival
CHRIS SILK, Go Naples

Southwest Florida theaters are bringing more premieres to the stage this season, including next week’s festival at Gulfshore Playhouse.

Curtain rises on new plays
Charles Runnells, News-Press.com

ATTENDING A NEW PLAY FESTIVAL IS like getting a backstage pass to a playwright’s mind.
Not only do you get to experience brand-spanking new plays, but afterwards, you’re usually given the opportunity to talk to the playwrights in person and question them about their inspiration, their creative process and character motivations or plot developments you may not have understood.

New play festivals are a theater lovers paradise. You’re the first to see the work, often still in progress, with no reviews to influence your experience.

Brand new PLAYS
NANCY STETSON, Florida Weekly