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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news April 1-7, 2022


Grouped under headings that include art openings, film, outdoor art fairs and festivals and theater are advances, announcements and articles about the actors, artists, filmmakers and events making news in Southwest Florida this week:


1      ACTORS (alphabetically)


Emilie Baartman part of the ‘Head over Heel’s ensemble at New Phoenix

Emilie Baartman appears in the ensemble of Head over Heels the Musical for New Phoenix Theatre. The actor/singer/dancer’s stage credits include flight attendant Gloria in Boeing Boeing for The Naples Players, Macbeth: The Murder Mystery for the CFABS Players, Pam Lukowski in The Full Monty (New Phoenix Theatre, 2020), Heather in Getting Sarah Married (Mighty Corson Art Players, Brandon, South Carolina 2019) and Emily in Twas the Night Before Christmas (Mighty Corson Art Players, Brandon, South Dakota 2018). Go here to view here extensive stage and other credits.



Gerrie Benzing plays Madame de Volanges in ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Gerrie Benzing plays the part of Madame de Volanges in Lab Theater’s production of Dangerous Liaisons. She recently starred in the role of Lee for New Phoenix Theatre in The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Other recent credits includeJinx in The Naples Players’ production of The Savannah Sipping Society after making her TNP debut in 2021 in the role of Rule in Calendar Girls. Go here to see all of Gerrie’s stage and extensive other theatrical credits.



Gregg Birr delivers the goods for Studio Players in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Gregg Birr appears in the role of delivery man for The Studio Players in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Previous stage credits include The Same Time Next Year, An Evening of Ten Minute Plays, Emotional Baggage and High Noon in Boom and How They Talk in South Boston. He has been a frequent participant in The Marco Players Reader’s Theater, including Words, Words, Words, Silver Alert, What the Dickens, Buford and Leroy, Biff and Blanche, The Story of a Very Good Catch, and Matterhorn and the Wedding Story.

For more on Gregg, please read here.



Steven Coe plays the rakish Vicomte de Valmont in Lab’s ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Steven Coe next appears as the impudent, bitingly witty rake Vicomte de Valmont in Lab Theater’s production of Dangerous Liaisons. His evolving body of work includes Chris in Killer Joe, Jim Fingal in Lifespan of a Fact for Players Circle Theatre, Joe Gillis in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard, Sandro Botticelli in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Thomas Novachek in David Ives’ Venus in Fur for The Studio Players, Andri in Andorra, The Boy in Veronica’s Room, and Doug in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By. But there’s so much more. Go here to view Coe’s extensive theatrical credits.



Amanda Collins plays Emilie in ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Amanda Collins is an aspiring young actor. She plays Emilie in Dangerous Liaisons. Pervious credits include Bad Idea 1 in Avenue Q, Stephanie in The Tempest and Allie/Lizzie in Let Nothing You Dismay for Lab Theater as well as shows for Florida Repertory Theater, Lehigh Senior High and Fort Myers Theater. She is currently studying theater at Florida Gulf Coast University.



Rosie DeLeon plays Corie Bratter for Studio Players in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Rosie DeLeon plays Corie Bratter for The Studio Players in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. DeLeon has appeared often on the boards at various Lee County venues. Her credits include the role of P.B. in One Slight Hitch and Lauren in Circle Mirror Transformation for The Studio Players, Officer Pudney in Neil Simon’s Rumors for New Phoenix Theatre, Linda Johnson in Lab Theater’s production of Deborah Lake Fortson’s Body & Sold, Feste in Lab’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Elaine in Calendar Girls.



Karen Ezrine plays the mother of the bride in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Karen Ezrine appears in the role of Corie Bratter’s mother for The Studio Players in their production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Karen’s previous credits include Savannah Disputation at The Studio Players; Clean House, Readers Theater and Always a Bridesmaid at The Naples Players; and  Steel Magnolias, 2 Across, Come Blow Your Horn and Heaven Help Me at The Marco Players.



Giszelle Girton appears as Penny in ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’

Giszelle Kirton appears in the role of Penny in The Naples Players’ production of Sarah Treem’s When We Were Young and Unafraid. Her character is a defiant 16-year-old who, like many teenage girls, finds herself at odds with her socially-obtuse mother. As card-carrying member of the nerd clique bound for Yale, she has no purported interest in boys until a physically-abused woman by the name of Mary Anne takes refuge at the B&B Penny’s mom runs. Kirton plays the part with convincing edginess, and her transformation into a boy-crazed teen intent on snaring the high school football star is a wonder to behold.

Go here for the rest of Girton’s theatrical credits.



Shelley Gothard plays Hannah in ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid

Shelley Gothard lays Hannah in When We Were Young and Unafraid, on stage in the Tobye Studio Theater at The Naples Players March 30 through April 24th. Shelley Gothard has been involved in many productions at The Naples Players and other local theaters. She was last seen as Mrs. Marchmont in TNP’s production of An Ideal Husband and in the Ensemble of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.



Nikki Hagel stars as Pamela for New Phoenix in ‘Head Over Heels’

Nikki Hagel appears in the role of Pamela in Head over Heels, the jukebox musical which utilizes the Go-Gos’ songbook that plays at New Phoenix Theatre during the month of April. Previous roles include Frederick Frankenstein fiancee Elizabeth Benning in Young Frankenstein, Georgie Buckatinsky in The Full Monty and the memorable role of sax-playing Magenta in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, all for New Phoenix Theatre.



Amy Hughes plays Mary Anne in ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid

Amy Hughes appears in the role of Mary Anne in The Naples Players’ production of Sarah Treem’s When We Were Young and Unafraid, which comes to the Tobye Studio Theatre at The Naples Players March 30 through April 26. Previous credits at TNP include Chicago, Legally Blonde and Music Man. However, this is her first show back after becoming a mother.



FGCU soph Bella Marshall plays Princess Philoclea in ‘Head over Heels’

Isabella Marshall plays the part of Princess Philoclea in Head over Heels for New Phoenix Theatre. She has performed in various roles throughout her life, but her favorites date back to high school, where she appeared in Nunsense, Little Shop of Horrors, Curtains, Once on This Island, Into the Woods and In the Heights.

For more on Ms. Marshall go here.



Sonya McCarter plays Marquise de Merteuil for Lab in ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Sonya McCarter will appear in the role of master manipulator Marquise de Merteuil for Lab Theater in Dangerous Liaisons. McCarter’s acting credits include Confusions (which consisted of three one-act plays, The Still Alarm by George S. Kauffman and Alan Ayckbourn’s Between Mouthfuls and A Talk in the Park), Camae in Katori Hall’s Mountaintop, Louise Parker Neese in Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage, Corryn Fell in Gideon’s Knot, Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, and as a grieving mother in the virtual presentation of For Black Women Who Experienced Genocide When The Police Murders of Their Sons Was Too Much by Keith A. Wallace for The Best Seats in Your House. Please go here to see all of McCarter’s theatrical credits.



Aimee Naughton part of ‘Head Over Heels’ ensemble

Aimee Naughton appears for New Phoenix Theatre in the ensemble of Head over Heels the Musical. Her previous stage credits include the roles of Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Sister Mary Amnesia in both Nunsense and Nunsense II for Cultural Park Theater. Aimee holds a Bachelor of Music Education (BME) from Florida State University.



Paulette Oliva plays the part of Agnes in ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’

Paulette Oliva plays the part of Agnes for The Naples Players in Sarah Treem’s When We Were Young and Unafraid. Oliva has performed Off-Broadway and at numerous regional theaters. Some of her favorite shows and roles include Gypsy/Mama Rose, Sister Act/Mother Superior, Master Class/Maria Callas, Carrie/Mother, The King and I/Anna, Sweeney Todd/Mrs. Lovett, and the East Coast regional premiere of Next to Normal/Diana. The rest of her bio is here.



Samantha Pudlin in ‘Head Over Heels’ ensemble

Samantha Pudlin  is a resident Southwest Florida thespian. She is appearing in the ensemble of Head Over Heels for New Phoenix Theatre. Pudlin’s recent stage credits include the roles of the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors, Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, all for Cultural Park Theatre. Her other credits include playing a social worker and mom in Body and Sold at Laboratory Theater, Nurse Kelly in Harvey, Protean in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a dancer and member of the ensemble in Sweet Charity and Boylan Sister and a member of the ensemble in Annie, all for CPT. Samantha also appeared in the ensemble at Florida Repertory Theatre in 13: A New Musical.



Cameron Rogers plays Chevalier Raphael Danceny in ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Cameron Rogers plays the part of Chevalier Raphael Danceny in Laboratory Theater’s production of Dangerous Liaisons. Previous roles include the groom in The Wedding Story (one of three single-act plays comprising the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Auditions, Diners and Weddings),Brad in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show for New Phoenix Theatre and Gus P. Head in Lab Theater’s production of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play.



Daniel Sabiston is Azalon in ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Daniel Sabiston appears in the role of Azalon for Lab Theater in Dangerous Liaisons. His previous stage credits include Trinculo in The Tempest, Alan in Torch Song for The Studio Players, various roles in the summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard, Poggio di Chullu in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, an oh-so-mean bully (not bunny) rabbit by the name of Serling Hunter in Kayleigh O’Connell’s Projekt Grotesquerie, Ezekiel Cheever in The Crucible and the Journeyman in Andorra, all for the Laboratory Theater of Florida.



Cassie Sampson plays Queen Gynecia in ‘Head over Heels The Musical’

Cassie Sampson appears in the role of Queen Gynecia for New Phoenix Theatre in Heed over Heels the Musical. Sampson has been involved in over 20 productions at Cultural Park Theater, both on and off stage, since making her CPT debut in Godspell in 1996. Her credits include Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense 2: The Second Coming, Leann in A Piece of My Heart, Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors, Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest, Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown, Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense, Chelsea in On Golden Pond, Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Little Red in Into the Woods and Chiffon in CPT’s 2004 production of Little Shop of HorrorsGo here to view the rest of Cassie’s stage and other credits.



Bernardo Santana plays Paul in TNP’s ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’

Bernardo Santana appears in the role of Paul in Sarah Treem’s When We Were Young and Unafraid, which runs from March 30 through April 24 in the Tobye Studio. A Naples-based SAG-AFTRA actor, Bernardo’s local stage credits include Bernard in Boeing Boeing, Principal Harry Clark in Footloose, Eddie Brock in Born Yesterday, Peter Shaw in Silent Sky, George Wilson in The Great Gatsby, Eddie Kurnitz in Lost in Yonkers, Don Harper in Rapture Blister Burn and Phil in Dead Account, all for The Naples Players. Go here to see the rest of his stage and film credits.



Emarie Spiller is Lady’s Maid in Lab Theater’s ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Emarie Spiller is an emerging young talent. She plays a Lady’s Maid in Dangerous Liaisons for Lab Theater. Her  prior credits God in Bible HerStory for the Alliance Youth Theatre, The Crucible, the captain (#25) of the Wolves indoor soccer team in the summer intern production of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves, and Cheryl in Lab’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical last summer.



John Strealy plays Paul Bratter in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

John Strealy appears in the role of Paul Bratter in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. His other stage credits include the role of Ryan for The Studio Players in Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch, Wayne Wellcare in Inspecting Carol for New Phoenix Theatre, klepto-director Sir Frank Finger in It’s Only a Play, Jason Shelburne in Body & Sold and Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night for Lab Theater. Go here for more on John’s theatrical credits.



Cassy Terwilliger in ‘Head Over Heels’ ensemble

Cassy Terwilliger is in the Head Over Heels ensemble. The role marks her New Phoenix Theatre debut. Terwilliger has been active at Cultural Park Theater as both a performer and musical director for the last four years. Some of her most recent notable roles include Mary Sunshine in Chicago, Diana in Lend Me a Tenor, Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown, Sister Mary Regina in Nunsense and Nunsense 2: The Second Coming, and Rona Lisa Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.



Jay Terzis in cast of ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Jay Terzis appears in The Studio Players’ production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Nominated by Broadway World as Southwest Florida Performer of the Decade, Jay has performed with The Naples Players, The Studio Players, The Marco Players the Island Theater Group and the CFABS Community Players. He has studied drama with Diane Davis in Naples. In New York City, he has studied drama at the Sedgwick Russell Studio and appeared in a number of Off Broadway readings. Go here to see his most recent stage credits.



Madelaine Weymouth in the role of Jen in ‘The Cake’

Madelaine Weymouth plays the part of Jen in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of The Cake with an open, raw, heart-on-her-sleeve vulnerability that endears her to the audience from the start. “Jen takes a lot of hits emotionally in this show,” Weymouth concedes. “She is trying to serve as this mediator or diplomat of viewpoints, a go-between with Della and her and Maci, with her trying to play mediator from both sides. The reward that she gets for that for a significant amount of the play is rejection.” Weymouth has extensive stage and other theater credits, which you can view here.



David Whalley is the idiosyncratic attic dweller in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

David Whalley plays the idiosyncratic upstairs neighbor Velasco in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. And he plays the part with panache and savoir faire. His previous Studio Players’ credits include The Cocktail Hour and Bakersfield Mist. His most recent appearance was as Caversham in An Ideal Husband for The Naples Players, with whom he has also appeared in Shakespearean productions on the Baker Stage, and as Pickering in My Fair Lady. His career in theater follows 40 years practicing medicine.







Scott Carpenter directs ‘Head over Heels the Musical’ for New Phoenix

Scott Carpenter directs Head over Hees, the jukebox musical based on the Go-Gos’ songbook, that’s coming to New Phoenix Theatre April 7th through May 1. Scott has directed numerous productions, including the Florida premiere of the spoof Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody,  RumorsSame Time, Next Year, Jekyll & Hyde, the Musical, South Pacific, Mame, and Steel Magnolias. He is also a consummate actor. Go here to view all of Scott’s theatrical and other credits.



Stephanie Davis directs ‘The Cake’ for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance

Stephanie Davis made her directorial debut at Lab Theater in 2012 with Extremities, but local audiences are still talking about the 2019 production of The Vagina Monologues and the 2016 production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, in which Davis directed Stella Ruiz, Matt DeNoncour, Kate Dirrigl and Daniel Cancio. But Alliance patrons associate her with the Lillian Hellman classic, Toys in the Attic, where she directed Rachel Burttram, Karen Goldberg, Jason Drew and Ashley Kellam. Stephanie returns the the Alliance for the Arts to direct Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake.



Paul Graffy directs ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ for Lab Theater

Since 2001, Paul Graffy has appeared in more than 30 productions and directed over a dozen others at such theaters as The Naples Players, Artis Naples, TheatreZone, The Studio Players, The Naples Dinner Theater, the Laboratory Theater of Florida and The Players Circle. But he also has a passion for directing. Paul has directed 14 productions, including Hedwig and the Angry Inch for Lab Theater in 2018, Beth Henley’s Southern Gothic tragi-comedy Crimes of the Heart for Lab Theater in 2018, Les Liaisons Dangereuses for The Naples Players in 2014 and Steel Magnolias for The Naples Players in 2013. He is now directing Les Liaisons Dangereuses for Lab Theater.



Paula Keenan directs Neil Simon’s ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Studio Players’ Paula Keenan directs Barefoot in the Park. It is the fourth of Neil Simon’s plays that she’s had the pleasure of directing. This is also the seventh show Paula has directed for The Studio Players, having previously directed The Waverly Gallery, One Slight Hitch, The Cocktail Hour, Bakersfield Mist, Agnes of God and Over the River and Through the Woods.  She also directs for The Marco Players, where she just directed and acted in The Hallelujah Girls.






DAAS’ April show features the art of Whitney Hackett

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is showcasing the art of visual artist and local business owner Whitney Hackett during the month of April.

Hackett’s paintings are full of vibrancy, with a vintage feel. She explores memory and nostalgia through her body of dreamy and celebratory paintings. Her innocent appreciation for everyday life encourages a childlike playfulness in her work. Through the enshrinement of simple things, she elevates the ordinary to extraordinary. The juxtaposition of her imagery speaks to the interconnectedness of all life, the way we assign meaning to the material world, and the honoring of our existence.

Whitney grew up in Fort Myers, where she currently lives and works as an artist. She is currently the owner of Quartz and Clover, an eclectic store in the heart of downtown.

The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, April 1, 2022, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk. The artist will be in attendance and is eager to engage viewers about her art and their own memories.

The exhibition will be on display through Sunday, May 1, 2022.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is located at 1815 Fowler Street, in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. More information about the venue can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.





‘The Cake’ closes April 1st

Playwright Bekah Brunstetter’s poignant comedy The Cake completes its Southwest Florida run on April 1st.

Bekah Brunstetter drew her inspiration for the play from a 2012 court case that originated in Lakewood, Colorado when Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips refused to bake a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple because it “expressed messages that contradict his religious beliefs.” Brunstetter’s play neither recreates nor parodies the facts or people involved in that case. Rather, Brunstetter uses this premise to delineate the price that’s paid on both sides when love is sacrificed on the altar of religious principle.

Read the rest of this review here.

OR listen to the review of WGCU.

And go here for remaining play date, time and ticket information.



‘Escape to Margaritaville’ closes April 2

Broadway Palm’s Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville closes April 2.

Here’s the storyline: Rachel takes best friend Tammy on a bachelorette getaway to Marley’s less than stellar Margaritaville resort, their arrival unexpectedly upending the world of bar headliner Tully and best friend Brick who are used to wining and dining the revolving door of single women arriving on the island each week. It’s a classic case of boy meets girl, girl is unimpressed, and boy does everything he can to win her over, while their two best friends fall for each other. And it’s all told through the music of Jimmy Buffett including Cheeseburger in Paradise, Fins, Volcano, Margaritaville and more.

More than a musical, it’s a way of life.



‘Greater Tuna’ plays in the Off Broadway Palm through April 30

Greater Tuna began as a simple party skit based on a cartoon in Austin, Texas. By 1985, it became the most produced play in the United States, finding an instant audience coast to coast.  A successful New York run led to an HBO special produced by Norman Lear.  And through the end of April, the Off Broadway Palm brings the laugh-a-minute comedy to Southwest Florida.

Greater Tuna is a comic satire that the Washington Post calls “a [hilarious] tribute to the art of acting.” Just two actors portray 20 men and women (and a dog) in a tour de farce of quick-change artistry during which they treat audiences to all the glorious quirks, foibles, and downright insanities of the citizens of the fictional South Texas town Tuna.

Directing Greater Tuna is Off Broadway Palm’s artistic producer, Paul Bernier. Portraying the over 20 roles will be Michael Santora and Michael Weaver, who will have many quick costume changes, use inventive voice work, and pull off some very creative timing.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees.

Ticket prices range from $45 to $65, with discounts available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

So, if you’re looking for Texas-size laughs, join the Off Broadway Palm for Greater Tuna.



‘In the Heights’ opens at Broadway Palm on April 8

In the Heights opens at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre on April 8. With music and lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the groundbreaking Tony-Award-winning musical tells the story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music.

You will find the rest of this advance here.

And go here for play dates, times and other information.



‘Dangerous Liaisons’ opens at Lab Theater April 15

Dangerous Liaisons opens at Lab Theater on April 15. The play tells a tale of seduction in which sex is used as a weapon. Set among aristocrats before the French Revolution, the classic drama (adapted from the 18th-century novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos) explores decadent sexuality, morals, and manipulation as the ultimate game played – with tragic results. This play is sensual, with a biting wit and a healthy dose of lust, intrigue, and sexual gamesmanship that will keep you on your toes until the final scene.

Go here to read the rest of this advance.

Please read here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Using Go-Gos songbook, ‘Head over Heels’ musical preaches unconditional love

The jukebox musical Head over Heels opens at New Phoenix Theatre on April 7th. Featuring the songs of The Go-Go’s and a storyline adapted from Philip Sidney’s 16th century romance The Countess of Pembroke’s ArcadiaHead Over Heels preaches unconditional love and acceptance of yourself and everyone you know, no matter their gender or sexual identity. With a plot promising a usurped kingship, unlikely lovers, and gender-fluid disguises, Head Over Heels uses some of the greatest pop rock hits of the late 20th century to create a hilarious, exuberant celebration of love. Go here for the rest of this advance.

And you will find the show’s play dates, times and ticket information here.



‘Head over Heels’ cast and crew not just saying gay, they’re singing it out loud

Head over Heels opens at New Phoenix Theatre on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers on April 7th. The musical production is a resounding rejection of the divisiveness of the Don’t Say Gay Bill that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law on March 28. “When we picked this show the political climate was not quite this rancid regarding the LBGTQ community and transgender,” observes Director Scott Carpenter. “Right now, with the Governor signing the bill into law, the Don’t Say Gay Bill, I think it’s extremely important that we’re doing this show right now. Not only are we saying gay, we’re singing it out loud to everybody with the music of the Go-Gos.”

Listen to the full story on WGCU here.



Studio Players’ ‘Barefoot in the Park’ at Golden Gate Community Center March 18-April 10

The Studio Players’ production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park is on the Joan Jenks stage at Golden Gage Community Center now through April 10. The play follows newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter as they begin their life together in their new apartment in Manhattan. It may be small and a six-flight climb, the heating may be busted and snow may be falling through the skylight, but nothing can quash their newlywed bliss …. until free-spirited Corie decides to set up her conservative, widowed mother with their eccentric, bohemian attic-dwelling neighbor. As the foursome ventures to Staten Island for a night out, the young couple learns accepting and embracing their differences is no walk in the park. Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Heart of 60s-era ‘Barefoot in the Park,’ says Director Paula Keenan, is timeless

On stage in the Joan Jenks Auditorium at Golden Gate Community Center through April 10 is The Studio Players’ production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Neil Simon was the Grand Master of American Comedy, says Studio Players’ Paula Keenan in her Director’s Notes for Barefoot in the Park, which is the fourth of his plays that she’s had the pleasure of directing. You can read the full story here.



Mary Poppins takes flight at TNP in March – for real

The Naples Players is performing Mary Poppins March 2 through April 3. In this production, everyone’s favorite nanny really does fly!

To accomplish the feat safely, TNP is working closely with ZFX, a complete provider for all flying effects. But flying two volunteer actors 20 feet in the air is certainly a tall order, and there will be two to three trained staff manning the flight process to ensure that the actors are safe.

Still, TNP’s Director of Production, Trevor Long, says the responsibility is mentally taxing.  “You’re constantly thinking, ‘I know I checked it but …. I better do it again,’ and you’re more aware of everything than with a normal backstage responsibility. [Technical Director] Chase [Lilienthal] will be intimately involved with the installation and rehearsals.”

The balance of this advance is here.



Sarah Treem’s ‘Young and Unafraid’ examines life before Roe v. Wade

When We Were Young and Unafraid is in the Tobye Studio Theater from March 30 through April 24.

Sponsored by Terry Libby and Larry Siegel, the story, set in the 1970s, examines the harsh realities of life before Roe v. Wade, before the Violence Against Women Act, and before women had places to turn in times of distress. Smart and exciting, it will leave you on the edge of your seat with a renewed appreciation of a woman’s rights.

Sarah Treem (writer of the edge-of-your-seat Netflix series House of Cards) created this powerful play about an unassuming, cozy bed and breakfast that moonlights as a battered women’s shelter.

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and other info.



‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’ most consequential SWFL play this season

When We Were Young and Unafraid is on stage in The Naples Players’ Tobye Studio Theatre through April 24. It is perhaps the most significant play to be produced anywhere in Southwest Florida during the 2021-2022 season.

What makes Young and Unafraid so consequential is the light it shines on the tremendous strides we’ve made in the level and quality of care and support we now provide to survivors of domestic violence. House of Cards writer Sarah Treem does this by taking us 50 years back in time to a bed and breakfast in the Pacific Northwest that doubles as a safe house for women fleeing domestic violence. It is run by a woman named Agnes with the help of her 16-year-old daughter, Penny.

Go here for the rest of this review.

Or better still, listen to it on WGCU.




5     FILM


12th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival to open with ‘Calendar Girls’ documentary

The Fort Myers Film Festival will open its 12th annual festival on May 18 with Calendar Girls, a 2022 film about a group of Southwest Florida senior volunteer dancers who are determined to prove that age is just a number. The Calendar Girls give it all they’ve got, and they have a lot to give — impressive makeup, handmade costumes, elaborate dance routines, and, most notably, their unparalleled enthusiasm and sparkling personalities. Through revealing conversations and choreographed dance scenes, the film captures the challenges of being a woman over 60 and the delicate balance of family, home and dance. With laughter and tears, relationships and identities change as new dreams are discovered. The rest of this advance is here.


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