I try to mention Gulfshore Playhouse as often as possible—Bob and I are proud to be part of this wonderful professional theater. Even after coming off a record-breaking season, there is even more exciting news to share. Gulfshore Playhouse has been growing each year since it found a temporary home at the Norris Center in Old Naples at the corner of Eighth Avenue South and Eighth Street South.
A scene from Gulfshore Playhouse's recent production of A Streetcar Named Desire. (Photo: Gulfshore Playhouse)
As the theater’s seventh season approaches, the future looks brilliant. On May 14, the Naples City Council gave approval to Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Kristen Coury (left) to begin discussions with the City of Naples regarding the expansion of the Norris Center to be a bigger and better home. The center’s auditorium now accommodates just about 200 people. Coury wants to increase the number to 300 or 350. With the Council’s approval, talks can begin—and we are thrilled.
There is more excitement to share. As many Neapolitans know, Coury has been bringing top-drawer talent—equity actors mostly from New York—to the Playhouse from the beginning. Alan Campbell, who starred in Doubt for the Playhouse a couple of seasons ago, was nominated for a Tony Award a few years ago for his role in Sunset Boulevard opposite Glenn Close. This year’s Tony nominations have been announced, and a Gulfshore Playhouse alumna is in the running—Elizabeth A. Davis has been nominated for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her role in the show Once. Davis did a superb job for Gulfshore Playhouse in Doubt. The Tony Awards will take place June 10, and our fingers will be crossed for this fine actress.
While we are watching the Tony Awards presentation, another person will definitely be on our minds … our friend Patty Baker (below). Patty and her husband, Jay, have been supporters of the theater for a long time—and with great results. The Bakers backed the Tony Award-winning show Blithe Spirit with Angela Lansbury, and more recently the wonderful musical Memphis won the Tony for Best Musical.
Now Patty and Jay have a Tony Award sitting on their coffee table. Sweet. This year, shows Patty has been involved with, either as a producer or an investor, have been nominated for 24 Tony Awards. Yes, I said 24. The shows are The Best Man, Death of a Salesman, Nice Work If You Can Get It, End of the Rainbow and Bonnie & Clyde. Fingers crossed for the Bakers too … and my guess is that they may need a bigger coffee table.