Summer Theater on the Paradise Coast

Just because summer is upon us, that does not mean Southwest Florida’s cultural happenings have evaporated in the heat—especially when it comes to the stage. Here, we take a look at what the summer stage has in store for the Paradise Coast.


The Marco Players

Steven Dietz - Shooting Star - The Marco PlayersFor those in search of live theater this summer, look no further than The Marco Players. The nonprofit theater based in the Marco Town Center Mall, is filling the cultural void of the warmer months with its final summer production, Steven Dietz’s Shooting Star, on stage August 6-23. A classic “remember when” tale, Shooting Star centers around a snowed-in Midwest airport where a chance encounter rekindles old memories. Trapped in the airport, Reed McAllister and Elena Carson, college lovers who have not seen each other in 25 years, unexpectedly bump into one another, which inevitably leads to the two reexamining their pasts and how that led them to their presents. Reed, a conservative businessman (one he vowed never to become) is at first at odds with Elena, the free-flowing hippy type (a lifestyle she has maintained since college), but as the night creeps onto morning, secrets held from the past begin to inform the two on the now, to both emotional and comical ends. Tickets cost $25.


The Naples Players

Legally Blonde, The Musical - The Naples PlayersJust when you thought the theater fun had run dry at Sugden Community Theatre, The Naples Players brings the bubbly Elle Woods to the Blackburn Hall stage in Legally Blonde, The Musical, through August 9. Based on the book and movie that made Reese Witherspoon a star, this musical rendition of the perky sorority sister turned Harvard Law student will have the audience rolling in the aisles. The summer performance makes for a solid break from the standard movie and dinner routine of date night.

  • Showtimes: July 8-August 8; Wednesday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets cost $40.

Gulfshore Playhouse

During season, Gulfshore Playhouse is one of the Paradise Coast’s top professional theater outfits, producing a series of dramas and comedies that either tests the audience in a way only theater can, or have them laughing with delight, in a way only theater can. But during the summer, it’s all about the future of theater with Gulfshore Playhouse’s STAR Summer Camp. Part of the theater house’s education program, STAR stands for “Student Theatre Artists in Residence,” and is designed for kids as young pre-K all the way through senior year of high school.

Theater in the Paradise Coast -

   Separated by age groups (Twinkling STARS, Pre-K and kindergarten; Rising STARS, grades 1-2; Bright STARS, grades 3-5; Shining STARS, grades 6-8; and Shooting STARS, grades 9-12), each camp session is filled with developing performance skills and playing theater games, all while learning lines, rehearsing, and preparing for an end-of-camp production. This year, campers of all ages will be working toward an array of goals, and productions, which are open to the public—mostly adoring friends and family—for the campers to show off their acting chops at the Norris Center.

Here’s a look at what campers can expect the remainder of summer:

  • You’ve seen the movie, maybe even read the book, now it’s time to see the play when the Bright and Shining STARs prepare and perform in Peter Pan & Wendy, for the “STAR in a Play” camp session, July 20-August 7. The timeless classic of the boy who doesn’t grow up will once again capture the imagination, but this time starring your little star. Two performances are scheduled for August 8 from 4-7 p.m. Cost is $300 per student.
  • Running concurrently with “STAR in a Play,” the Twinkling and Rising STARs camp, “STARs in Neverland” will prepare the younger students for their big break in Peter Pan & Wendy. Running from July 27-August 7, the younger campers will prepare for parts as the Lost Boys and fairies, joining the main production on August 8. $200 per student.
  • For the Shooting STARs (high school students), camp sessions are geared toward students with a penchant for acting, and are designed to be a bit more intensive in terms of skills development. From August 10-14, students wishing to pursue acting as a possible career, “STAR Smarts: The Business of Theatre” is a must. Led by Jeffrey Binder, a star of Broadway’s The Lion King and Mary Poppins, this camp session gives students a look behind the scenes of the acting industry, helping them with skills development in performance, auditioning, and more ($150 per student).

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