Audrey Zielenbach is the Artistic Assistant at Gulfshore Playhouse.
Season planning is maybe our quietest, longest project at Gulfshore Playhouse and it requires a lot of faith, trust, and pixie dust. As much as we try to plan ahead, there are so many factors we have to consider, both tangible and intangible, so it has of way of coming together just before we make the announcement. Sometimes plays have been on our list for ages and some become possibilities in the blink of an eye.
It’s a really fun, collaborative process that keeps you on your toes. It starts with our awesome Artistic Associate, Jeff Binder, who usually acts as the gatekeeper of scripts. Jeff has a great eye for knowing what scripts will be a hit with our audience and artistically satisfying. Because of our present location, we have specific criteria so scripts that don’t meet those needs will get shelved for later consideration (we have a good sized list of plays we can’t wait to do in the future) so that helps us narrow things down. There are plenty of scripts we read that we think hit all of the markers but for one reason or another, they just don’t fit into the season we are planning. We make sure to keep careful track of all of these scripts so that when conversations begin for the 2018-2019 season, we already have a big list of plays to look at once again. Once a play passes through several rounds and becomes a serious contender, we run it through our Production staff to make sure there aren’t any serious concerns that we missed. After that, it’s down to our Artistic Director, Kristen, to make the final decision.
If you are a long time patron of Gulfshore Playhouse, you know the types of plays we love to program. Thought-provoking dramas, hilarious comedies, classic works with relevant themes, new work, and after the success of My Fair Lady, musicals have entered the process.
After many months and hours of conversation, we finally arrived at our 2017-2018 season. We think that this season offers everything that audiences have come to expect from Gulfshore Playhouse. Here’s what they are and why we’re excited about them:
Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella – If you attended the Fourth Annual New Works Festival, this title will be familiar to you. Paradise will be having its World Premiere at Boston’s Underground Railway Theater in April and then coming here to open our season. Laura is an incredibly talented writer who has developed a wonderfully unique story that we are excited to share with our audience. We think it is an important story to tell as well as a beautiful one.
Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig – Ken Ludwig is undeniably the modern master of farce and Leading Ladies is his favorite play that he has written. If you’ve seen any of the amazing Ken Ludwig plays we’ve staged in our history, you can rest assured that this one is just as good, if not better, than those. It’s non-stop laughs as two male Shakespearean actors disguise themselves as women to trick an old woman so they can inherit her fortune.
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare – Although rehearsals for Merchant of Venice haven’t even started yet, we have been prepping for it since the end of last season. This version of Merchant has been adapted in house so it can be performed by a cast of 9. Kristen mentioned Julius Caesar some weeks ago but since its more of a historical epic with a large number of characters, we just didn’t think we would be able to produce it on our stage. But then, just days before our announcement, we heard of a brilliant theatre in Glencoe, Illinois called the Writer’s Theatre had just done a 9-person rendition of Julius Caesar so we knew that if they could do it, so could we. This is perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays in a long list of famous plays, and it is as timely as ever.
Scapin by Moliere – In step with our desire to produce classic works to our modern audience, we wanted to bring back one of the original masters of comedy, Moliere. Scapin will star Jeff Binder as its eponymous protagonist and will be a hilariously funny, beautiful costume extravaganza.
Miss Keller Has No Second Book by Deb Hiett – A World Premiere production that was featured in our Fourth Annual New Works Festival! Deb’s incredible play is evocative of Harper Lee as it follows an author who published an incredibly beloved book and 50 years later, has not since published a word. The New Works Festival audience raved about this one. It’s both funny and touching, a thought-provoking comedy that we think you will just eat up. We love bringing new work to the stage and we can’t wait to workshop and then produce this wonderful piece.
The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam – If you loved The Hound of the Baskervilles, then you need to come back for Irma Vep. This is a two-man spoof of Victorian melodramas like Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, and every Golden Age movie featuring vampires, werewolves, and mummies. This will be one high note of an ending of the 2017-2018 season and we can’t wait for you to see it.
If you are interested in learning more about our 2017-18 season or are interested in purchasing tickets, please visit www.gulfshoreplayhouse.org .