Tony-winning playwright August Wilson’s Radio Golf comes to Naples this fall
October 13, 2021
NAPLES, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2021) – Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright August Wilson’s play “Radio Golf” will officially open the 2021-2022 mainstage season at Gulfshore Playhouse. Directed by Marshall Jones III, “Radio Golf” will play at Gulfshore Playhouse beginning Nov. 11 through Dec. 5, 2021.
The final play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, “Radio Golf” tells the story of Harmond Wilks, an ambitious real estate developer in 1990s Pittsburgh. Determined to save his blighted childhood neighborhood and become the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh, Harmond quickly learns that revitalizing his neighborhood comes with a cost. Harmond’s plans to demolish a dilapidated house that sits on a development site are interrupted when the home’s owner, Elder Joseph Barlow, refuses to let the property go. As the opposing forces of history and progress collide, Harmond’s mission becomes a battle for his soul.
“Radio Golf” brilliantly weaves together the modern issues of assimilation, gentrification, the cost of success and the consequences of making moral choices in an amoral world. Wilson is renowned for his rich language and compelling characters, both of which are on display in “Radio Golf,” his final gift to theater.
Producing Artistic Director Kristen Coury said, “Relevance is a huge factor when it comes to season selection. ‘Radio Golf’ was a relevant choice for myriad reasons. The most important of these is that in the midst of ongoing conversations surrounding race, theater can contribute to that conversation through telling stories. August Wilson is one of our artform’s most gifted storytellers, and his work does what I always aim to do as a theater-maker: foster a discussion that helps us understand our common humanity. I think our audience will find ‘Radio Golf’ relatable as it mirrors many of the issues we are facing in our community and in our nation. Naples is currently undergoing a period of growth and development, and as a community we are asking ourselves similar questions to those posed in ‘Radio
Golf.’ This stunning story will be brought to life by an astonishingly talented creative team that I am so thrilled to have as part of the Gulfshore Playhouse family.”
Director Marshall Jones III brings over 35 years of experience as a director and producer. A decades-long admirer and scholar of the works of August Wilson, this will be Jones’ professional debut directing one of his plays. For 13 seasons, Jones served as the Producing Artistic Director for the Tony® Award-winning Crossroads Theatre Company. Since 2002, Jones has been on faculty as a professor of Theater Arts and head of the theater program. Highlights of Jones’ directorial work include “Paul Robeson” by Phillip Hayes Dean at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, “A Christmas Carol – the Musical” at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the world premiere of Walter Mosley’s “Lift.”
The cast features Joseph C. Phillips as Harmond Wilks. Phillips has numerous theater, film, and television credits including the Broadway production of “Six Degrees of Separation” and television series like “13 Reasons Why,” “The Resident,” and “The Cosby Show.”
Genevieve VenJohnson will play Mame Wilks. VenJohnson is a Chicago-based actor who has performed in numerous productions both regionally and internationally. She has performed at Steppenwolf, Broadway in Chicago, and the Goodman Theatre, as well as in the European tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Marvin Bell, an actor with a passion for the work of August Wilson, will star as Elder Joseph Barlow. Bell, who started his career as a stand-up comedian, has previously starred in three of Wilson’s works among many other productions.
Brian Nelson Jr. will make his Gulfshore Playhouse debut as Sterling Johnson. Nelson Jr. has performed at many theaters across the country and in Chicago. Nelson most recently starred as Dun in Dominique Morrisseau’s “Pipeline” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Rounding out the cast is Chauncy Thomas as Roosevelt Hicks. Thomas has starred in dozens of productions across the nation at major regional theaters including “A Raisin in the Sun” at Bay Street Theatre and “Our Town” at Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
The “Radio Golf” creative team includes scenic designer Ed Haynes, costume designer Ali Turns, lighting designer Jose Santiago, Tony® Award-nominated sound designer Lindsay Jones, and production stage manager Kelli Karen.
Tickets for “Radio Golf” are on sale now starting at $43 per person. $36 tickets are available for preview performances on Nov. 11 and 12. Gulfshore Playhouse has numerous ticketing discounts available, including student tickets. To purchase, visit www.gulfshoreplayhouse.org or call 239-261-7529.
Thanks to a generous donation from Arthrex, Synexis™ technology will be located throughout the audience chamber as an additional safety measure. Synexis™ mobile units emit a low level of dry hydrogen peroxide, proven to kill airborne and surface bacterias and viruses. For more information, visit https://synexis.com/science/reports-data/. Gulfshore Playhouse is currently requiring masks to be worn by all audience members. These measures are part of a continuing effort by Gulfshore Playhouse to produce live theatrical experiences as safely as possible.
Gulfshore Playhouse is passionately committed to enriching the cultural landscape of our region by producing professional theatre to the highest artistic standards and providing unique educational opportunities to diverse groups of people in a spirit of service, adventure, and excitement. The work of Gulfshore Playhouse is inspired by a belief in the magic of theatre to expand the imagination, challenge the senses, provoke discussion, and revitalize in its audiences an understanding of our common humanity. This belief drives the care with which Gulfshore Playhouse treats its artists, audiences, students, staff, and members of the greater community.
The professional theatre is also leading the nation’s growth for arts and entertainment with progress for the new Gulfshore Playhouse at the Baker Theatre and Education Center. Recently announcing the public phase for the fundraising campaign for the new building, welcoming gifts of all sizes, the new Cultural Campus is slated to break ground this fall. The Cultural Campus has been created as a cornerstone for culture, education, and community engagement that epitomizes the region’s growing reputation as a destination for the arts. The Baker Theatre and Education Center will be home to
world-class professional productions that have the power to foster connections, catalyze conversations, and bridge cultural differences. The new theatre and education center will also serve the entire region with accessible education programming and elegant cultural engagement spaces open to the public.
For more information about Gulfshore Playhouse or its new facility, visit www.gulfshoreplayhouse.org or call 239-261-PLAY (7529).