by Lauren Speirs
The Naples Players (TNP) is excited to announce their dynamic 70th Season, presented by Porsche Naples. This upcoming season is dedicated to building community, instilling laughs, and looking to the future. In the next few months, The Naples Players will begin an exciting $20m renovation on their 5th Avenue Building.
From July 5 – July 23, The Naples Players will present the epic musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Community School of Naples, home to TheatreZone. What makes a monster and what makes a man? This timeless retelling of Victor Hugo’s renowned novel, partnered with Disney and Alan Menken’s sweeping score and Stephen Schwartz’s moving lyrics, demonstrates the power of love, acceptance, and what it means to be a hero. The Teen company will then perform The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Teen on August 4 – 6.
Next, A.R. Gurney masterfully weaves together 60 different characters from different families, time periods, and backgrounds in the second show of the season, The Dining Room. Each of these pieces brings life, laughter, and togetherness to the place where families gather: the diningroom. Catch this classic family comedy from October 4 – 22 in McSpadden Hall at Naples United Church of Christ.
Celebrate the holidays in style with Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, playing November 1 – 19 in McSpadden Hall at Naples United Church of Christ. Two years after Mr. Darcy sweeps Elizabeth Bennet off of her feet in “Pride and Prejudice,” the Bennet family is celebrating Christmas at Pemberley, the Darcy residence. When an unexpected visitor joins the celebrations, the sisters are forced to change their perspectives on life, love and their role in society.
For a limited time (November 9 – 19) the jukebox musical, The Marvelous Wonderettes, will be performing in Beverly Hall at Naples United Church of Christ. This show uses popular songs from the 1950s and 60s to tell the life and love stories of four friends – from senior prom to their 10 year reunion. Featuring nostalgic hits such as “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “Stupid Cupid,” “It’s In His Kiss,” and “Heatwave,” this comedic musical will have audiences laughing, crying, and singing in their seats!
December 8 – 9 For two nights only, celebrate Christmas in Cambier Park with It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as alive 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.
From January 10 – 28, 2024 in McSpadden Hall at Naples United Church of Christ will be Lauren Gunderson’s classic play, Harvey. In this show, friendship comes in all shapes and sizes – at least, that’s what 47-year-old Elwood P. Dowd and his very best friend, Harvey, believe. The only challenge? Harvey is an invisible, 6-foot-tall rabbit. Made popular by the movie starring Jimmy Stewart, follow the duo in the hilarious Pulitzer prize winning show about loyalty, friendship, and acceptance.
The Fantasticks, performing from January 18 – 28, 2024 in Beverly Hall at Naples United Church of Christ, is the longest-running musical in the world, and with good reason: at the heart of its breathtaking poetry and subtle theatrical sophistication is a purity and simplicity that transcends barriers. The result is a timeless fable of young love that manages to be nostalgic and universal at the same time.
From February 14 – March 3, 2024 in McSpadden Hall at Naples United Church of Christ, The Naples Players will highlight local talent in the form of the laugh-out-loud comedy, Laugh, Cry, Pee, Repeat! From local playwrights Patti Caroli, Carole Fenstermacher, and Natalie King comes this uproarious comedy about womanhood, aging, and everything in between! No topic is off the table as these women tell it like is, and was, and should be.
From March 13 – April 7, 2024, The Naples Players will reopen the 5th Avenue building with the Mel Brooks classic musical, The Producers, presented on the newly-renovated Kizzie Theater stage (previously Blackburn Hall) by Lake Michigan Credit Union. Mel Brooks’ laugh-out-loud spectacle follows a Broadway producer and his accountant, who mastermind a scheme to produce Broadway’s biggest flop and exploit their investors. But when the show is an accidental smash hit, the two scramble to put it together, finding themselves in one hilarious snafu after another.
To complete the season, The Play that Goes Wrong will be presented on the Kizzie Theater stage from May 1 – 26, 2024.The Play that Goes Wrong welcomes you to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s “TONS OF FUN FOR ALL AGES” (HuffPost) and “COMIC GOLD” (Variety)– sure to bring down the house!
CEO/Artistic Director, Bryce Alexander, says, “This is an exciting year for The Naples Players, and our community. Not only breaking ground on our renovation but continuing to serve our community as we build a new home. We have chosen a season that reflects our current state of celebrating where we come from while anticipating where we will go and we hope audiences feel that too.”
The Naples Players is also pleased to announce their education season! From June 23 – 25, 2023, Into the Woods, Jr. will be presented in McSpadden Hall at Naples United Church of Christ. Be careful what you wish for, as Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s cockeyed fairytale comes to life in this adaptation of their groundbreaking, Tony Award winning musical. Into the Woods Jr. features all of your favorite characters — Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk) and the Witch — in this lyrically rich retelling of classic Brothers Grimm fables.
From July 28 – 30, 2023 in McSpadden Hall at Naples United Church of Christ comes the classic musical, Beauty and the Beast, Jr. Based on the original Broadway production that ran for over thirteen years and was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and the Academy Award winning motion picture, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. is a fantastic adaptation of the story of transformation and tolerance. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. features some of the most popular songs ever written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with new songs by Mr. Menken and Tim Rice.
During the 2023 – 2024 Season, The Naples Players will also feature new plays by their Readers Theatre program. A Source of Innocent Merriment (October 8, 2023), A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted (November 12, 2023), Annual New Play Festival (January 21, 2024), and Love is a Tenuous Adventure (April 14, 2024).
If interested in auditioning for any of The Naples Players’ productions, please keep an eye on their websiteNaplesPlayers.org for more information. Each main stage production will feature a Red Carpet Opening Night outside the theater with local sponsors, vendors, and entertainment for patrons and passersby to enjoy. Sensory friendly performances will be available for select productions and announced at a later date.
Season tickets are on sale at the TNP Box Office. Season Ticketholders to Season 70 get first choice of seats in the renovated Kizzie Theatre. Please note that KidzAct performances go on sale April 3, 2023.Those interested can visit NaplesPlayers.org anytime or call the TNP Box Office at 239-263-7990.