There’s a buzz building at Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples’ premier professional regional theater. That’s thanks to its fourth production of the 2018-19 season, “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play.” Running from Feb. 16 to March 10, the provocative Tony Award–nominated comedy is sure to get audiences talking.
Written by American playwright and essayist Sarah Ruhl, “In the Next Room” explores the nature of love, intimacy – and electricity. Set in 1880, a well-to-do Victorian doctor’s innocent invention to treat female “hysteria” sends a shock wave through the lives of his patients and his own marriage. His machine gets everyone buzzing throughout the lighthearted but thought-provoking production, especially his young and lively wife, who begins to wonder what her husband is up to in the next room as she tends to their newborn baby. The show shines a spotlight on questions of intimacy and ultimately forces the doctor and his wife to examine their own relationship with naked honesty.
The show is directed by Broadway veteran and Gulfshore Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Jeffrey Binder, who appeared earlier in the season in the theater’s one-man production of “An Iliad.” “In the Next Room” marks Binder’s mainstage directorial debut at Gulfshore Playhouse.
The production stars real-life married couple William Connell and Hanley Smith from last season’s “Leading Ladies,” who take on the roles of Dr. Givings and his wife, Catherine. Connell also starred in the Broadway revival of “A View from the Bridge” and “The Coast of Utopia” at The Lincoln Center. Smith’s credits include “Venus in Fur” and “Les Misérables” at The Fulton.
The cast also includes:
Alex Trow (Sabrina Daldry), whose New York credits include “London Wall,” “Flamingo,” “Straight” and “Scarlett Fever” as well as roles on TV’s “The Good Fight,” “Blue Bloods” and “Twenty Five”;
Evan Sibley (Leo), from “Antony and Cleopatra” at Bard City at Classic Stage in New York, and “Intriguing Engagements” at New York Fringe;
Mhari Sandoval (Annie), past resident with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and recently played the voice of the Nerberdine recruiter on the Netflix hit series “Maniac” with Jonah Hill;
Christopher Russo (Mr. Daldry), previously in the Madison Square Garden production of “ELF: The Musical” and “Grapes of Wrath” on Broadway; and
Ashley Bufkin, whose credits include “Pride and Prejudice” with Pittsburgh Public Theater, “A Doll’s House Part Two” with Barrington Stage Co, and “Julius Caesar” at the Shakespeare’s Globe.
In addition to Binder, the creative team for “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” includes Scenic Designer Kristen Martino, Costume Designer Whitney Locher, Production Stage Manager Jamie A. Eckhold, Lighting Designer Kendall Smith, and Sound Designer Christopher Colucci.
Evening shows begin at 8 PM; matinees begin at 3 PM. Show subscriptions are available and include priority seating, exclusive events, and discounted pricing. Tickets begin at $42; all tickets are $37 two hours before a performance. For purchase information, visit www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org or call 866-811-4111.
Free pre-show discussions take place Feb. 17 and 20 and March 3 and 6, where Gulfshore Playhouse artistic staff lead conversations about themes and topics related to the production. Audience members can also stick around for post-show conversations on Feb. 21 and 24.