Audrey Zielenbach is the Artistic Content Curator at Gulfshore Playhouse.
As the fabulous 2017-2018 season comes to a close, it’s time to start looking forward to 18-19 and all the wonders it will bring!
Picking a season can be an elusive, challenging enigma of a process. Over the past few years, Kristen, Jeff Binder, and myself have worked hard on developing a system to stay organized and to plan ahead. But even the best-laid plans would be no good if they weren’t flexible!
When it came to selecting the shows for 2018-2019, there were very few headaches. Often when looking at seasons ahead, we look at the past and bring into the conversation shows that had been slated for previous seasons but, for one reason or another, were moved into the “maybe next year” category. Sometimes, a show is presented to us through one of the many artists we’ve had the pleasure of working with and it is so perfect, it feels like serendipity. We also draw inspiration from what shows are being done around the country. No matter what the show, we always feel it should timely and timeless, and something we know will enrich our audience. All of these factors, and many others, are part of the conversations Jeff, Kristen, and I have throughout the year as we puzzle together the season.
For 2018-2019, we have a healthy mix of shows that came to us through various means.
An Iliad was first presented as an option by Jeff as something we could potentially present as a special engagement in the summer. However, we always love to open our season with something intimate and thought-provoking, this one-man show on the brutal cost of endless war based on Homer’s The Iliad seemed like a perfect fit. It is theatrical and poignant, intimate and epic, and will be a virtuosic performance from Jeff and directed by Kristen Coury, a one-man show expert after previously directing Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol.
Ever since producing My Fair Lady in the fall of 2016, we were asking ourselves what and when our next musical would be. We are limited in many ways by our space at the Norris Center in terms of cast size and stage space, but these limitations encourage brilliant creativity. We’d heard of a 13-person, all-male version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum production in New Jersey. This was our inspiration for what will be our 10-person, gender-bent version. This production will bring back the wonderful director of Leading Ladies, Darren Katz, who was the resident director for Broadway’s The Lion King, as well as the brilliant minds of choreographer Adam Cates and musician Matt Aument who you’ll remember from My Fair Lady. It’s going to be outlandishly hilarious and I hope you are making plans to return to Naples in November so you can see it!
The Revolutionists is a phenomenally clever play by the most popularly produced playwright in America, Lauren Gunderson. The play brings together 4 historical women who lived and rebelled during the French Revolution: the opulent Queen Marie Antoinette, the righteous assassin Charlotte Corday, the passionate freedom fighter Marianne Angenelle, and the idealist playwright Olympe de Gouges. The play is sharply witty, wild, and wonderful and will be directed by Producing Artistic Director Kristen Coury!
The next play is one that has been on the “to-do” list for many years. Sarah Ruhl’s Tony-nominated period comedy In the Next Room or the vibrator play is both hilarious and heartfelt. Wrapped in a story about a doctor’s scientific invention is one about a married couple learning to break free of the societal expectations that impair their relationship with one another. This will be Jeffrey Binder’s directorial debut on the Gulfshore Playhouse mainstage! You won’t want to miss this funny and frank play!
Sherlock Holmes is a character so etched into our culture that we never seem to grow tired of him. The play Holmes and Watson by Jeffrey Hatcher is a thrilling mystery featuring not one but three Sherlock Holmeses. The play will be directed by Andrew Paul, who you’ll remember as the director of the hilarious Hound of the Baskervilles, and is sure to enthrall every one of our wannabe detectives.
Closing the season will be another play that has been on the “to-do” list for many years. David Hare’s Skylight is an enticing small ensemble piece about two people who love one another despite their often debilitating differences in both ideals and circumstance. This production will be directed by Kristen Coury and will close out the season with a spectacular drama performed by the best actors you’ll see on stage anywhere.
See you next fall!