‘The Gold Coast Club’ delivers hopeful message

Themes focus on addiction, making positive choices.

“The Gold Coast Club” will be one of the most dynamic and entertaining performances to come to the Greater Cincinnati area this year,” said Greg Stallworth, playwright and director of Emerald Entertainment.

He said the production is set in a nightclub and addresses the perils of alcohol addiction in the entertainment industry. Chauntelle, the lead singer of Shades of Brown, becomes addicted to alcohol while on tour. As a result, it starts a downward spiral and causes financial and emotional hardships for the successful up-and-coming act. In a turn of events, Chauntelle has to deal with conflict, anger, rage, hurt and pain. Hitting rock bottom, after a major confrontation with members of the group, she faces two critical choices — either to get help for her addiction or die.

“This is pretty consistent with what’s happening in the entertainment industry, the stress of it and everything else,” said Stallworth. “As a result of her addiction, she begins to have some real, serious, on-stage, or performance issues, where it caused a lot of show cancellations and created a lot of friction and problems within the group.”

Made up of a talented cast, the production stars Sonya Watkins-Flowers (as Chauntelle) in the leading role. Supporting cast members include Karen Flowers, Tarhona Tolbert, Jewel Sisk, David Livers and Terri Slaughter. Also appearing will be local comedian Roy’d.

“I had issues at one time, not alcohol, I had drug problems, years and years and years ago. I recovered from that and to me, this was my gift to be able to help someone else to discover, or see in the character and the issues that I have in the character, would be something that they could recognize within themselves,” said Sonya Watkins-Flowers.

“This is my first time ever playing a main character. We’ve done shows with Greg before, but I’ve never actually had a key role. I’ve sang in the other productions,” Watkins-Flowers said.

Songs featured in the show include “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin and neo-soul tunes, she said.

“I honestly believe that I bring a lot of light to the character. It’s funny, but at the same time, it’s kind of sad, because, like I said, some people will probably recognize themselves within the character and I also recognize myself in the character. The role gives me an opportunity to say this is part of my past, so I will live on from that and move on and move forward.”