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This is what’s happening April 22-30, 2018

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Here’s what’s taking place in the arts, indie films and community theater between April 22 through 30, 2018:

 

Reflecting on the artistic legacy of Sanibel icon Hollis Jeffcoat (04-30-18)

Southwest Florida art lovers are mourning the passing of another Sanibel-Captiva icon. Artist Hollis Jeffcoat died April 28.

Jeffcoat was a highly accomplished, well-regarded and critically acclaimed abstractionist. She lived, worked and taught in France, Canada, New York City and Southwest Florida. Over the course of her illustrious career, her paintings were the subject of more than 20 solo and nearly four dozen group exhibitions in the U.S., Canada and France. Her paintings can be found today in numerous private and corporate collections, as well as the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Morgan Library, The Contemporary Museums of Art in Montreal and Quebec City, and the Pierre Matisse Collection.

During the final years of her life, Jeffcoat explored the relationship of color to sound. A chromesthetic, Hollis saw color every time she heard a sound. “It’s always been that way for me, and I thought that’s the way it was for everyone else too,” she once confided. “It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s [living in Paris] that I found out otherwise.”

Chromesthesia is a subset of synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (such as hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second cognitive pathway (such as sight). Some studies suggest that as few as 1 in 2,000 and as many as 1 in 23 people experience some degree of synesthesia. For chromesthetics like Hollis, everyday sounds like music, dogs barking and people talking trigger the perception of colors (called photisms).

Living on Sanibel since 2008, Jeffcoat immersed herself in the island’s unique panoply of sounds. She filled her creative soul with the gentle sound of water slapping mangrove knees, evening zephyrs stirring palm fronds and the chirps and calls of Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. For Jeffcoat, water lapping along the shoreline and the warble of native ospreys gave rise to her most intense synesthetic experiences.

“Because I’m so attuned to nature, I see different shades, hues and intensities of green,” Hollis once explained. They burst like fireworks across her mental movie screen before morphing like a kaleidoscope or fading as the sound changed, got louder or abruptly ended.

“In effect, my subject is color making space based on nature,” Jeffcoat maintained. “That space is created by the rhythm of colors instead of constructing a series of outward mounting planes.”

While one might expect that an abstract expressionist or colorist would regard chromesthesia as a creative gift, Jeffcoat did not consciously incorporate her synesthetic experiences into her art until 2014, when she debuted Sound of the Osprey, a high-spirited, energetic painting that many others could “hear” too. Until then, her education and training compelled her to ignore or sequester her chromesthesia when it came time to apply pigment to linen. As none of her teachers were synesthetics, they had no way of showing her how to express the ways in which the sounds she heard transformed into visual stimuli. [Jeffcoat studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and York Studio School; her instructors included Mercedes Matter, Philip Gaston, Andrew Forge, Meyer Shapiro, Jack Tworkov and George McNeil. She also apprenticed for three years with Joan Mitchell in France and took lessons from and taught for local legend Gail Bennett.]

But it is hard to suppress a creative impulse like chromesthesia, and art history is filled with examples of artists, composers, poets, novelists and digital artists who didn’t. Isaac [Newton proposed that musical tones and color hues shared frequencies, as did Goethe in Theory of Color. Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky combined four senses in his paintings, vis: color, hearing, touch and smell. Although Mondrian was not synesthetic, he too experimented with image-music consequences in his work. New art movements such as literary symbolism, non-figurative art and visual music have benefitted from experiments with synesthetic perception, and many contemporary artists now use their synesthesia to create their art.]

Soon after she decided to embrace her unique way of experiencing the world, she entered into a groundbreaking collaboration with Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Award-winning composer and flutist Kat Epple to create an exhibition titled the Sound of Color. But the two did not get together in an art or sound studio. That would be too regimented for Jeffcoat, who steadfastly refused to force a synesthetic response at the advent of a painting session.

Instead, Jeffcoat immersed herself in music from Elemental Circuitry, an album Epple recorded with Nathan Dyke. (It was one of the best Ambient-Chillout-Downtempo albums of 2015.) After internalizing the notes and melodies, Jeffcoat produced a handful of oils, including Gliding Over Treetops, Journey to Timbuktu I, Journey to Timbuktu II and Expedition, a diptych she had abandoned several months earlier because it was not unfolding as she’d envisioned.

“When I listened to Kat’s Expedition, the colors that came, the movement evoked, I knew that the diptych was … about … two people’s life journey,” Jeffcoat explained at The Sound of Color opening at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery in 2016. “They are separate, but traveling together. To me, an expedition does not mean that there are not trials, ups and downs, but when one looks back over, it is beautiful.”

In the final years of her life, Hollis gave herself over to expressing her own highly-personal reactions to nature-based sounds and the ripples of color they spawned. While Jeffcoat’s viewers can never experience the precise emotions that gave rise to her deeply evocative compositions, the body of work she leaves behind provides myriad portals of resonance and connectivity.

Through the centuries, artists have strived to develop new and important ways of seeing and experiencing our environment. In this regard, Jeffcoat’s oeuvre affords present and future generations a novel and heretofore-unexplored platform for examining their own relationships with nature, the ecology and the products of their senses, including those of taste and smell. This is Hollis Jeffcoat’s legacy. It’s why her work is sure to endure.

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Lab Theater receives Chrysalis award in category of education (04-30-18)

Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau and the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce presented Chrysalis awards to those organizations demonstrating outstanding collaboration between the tourism and hospitality industry and the broader business community. The Laboratory Theater of Florida was proud to receive a Chrysalis in the category of education.

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Square One Improv returns to The Lab on May 4 (04-30-18)

Square One Improv returns to Lab Theater with a night of hilarious antics, musical comedy, and on-the-spot jokes. Every facet of the improvised show is based on audience suggestions. With years of experience performing and competing nationally, Square One delivers a fast-paced, side-splitting, one-of-a-kind show that includes both short and long-form improve.

“We try and give our audiences a taste of everything,” says co-founder Shaun Johnson. “From hilarious characters to fully-improvised songs, there’s something for everybody!”

While no two shows are the same, they are always packed with hysterically funny songs, sketches, and jokes created instantaneously, based on your suggestions. For the more adventurous, there are occasional opportunities to join the cast on stage!

Individual Tickets for the 8:oo p.m. performance on Friday, May 4 are $15 per person for adults, $12 for senior/military/students (plus applicable online service fees) and are available at www.LaboratoryTheaterFlorida.com or by calling 239.218.0481.

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Open audition for Lab’s production of ‘It’s Only a Play’ is May 5 (04-30-18)

Lab Theater of Florida is holding an open audition at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 for the comedy It’s Only a Play by Terrence McNally, which will be directed by Scott Carpenter. No monologues are required. Script sides will be provided. Callbacks will be at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 7, as needed.

The play centers on wealthy first-time Broadway producer, Julia Budder, who is throwing an opening night party for The Golden Egg at her luxurious Manhattan home. The playwright, Peter Austin, is joined by the director, a lead actor, and assorted friends and hangers-on (including a critic) as they nervously wait for the late-night reviews printed in the newspapers. As they wait, they gossip and name-drop celebrities who are in attendance and chat about their respective theater experiences. Virginia Noyes, the star of the show, is taking drugs. James Wicker, an old friend of the playwright, is now a successful TV actor who turned down the lead in the play and is relieved and secretly thrilled about the bad reviews that arrive. And, although Ira Drew is a theater critic, he is very critical of the theater because he has no talent to actually participate, despite the fact that he is secretly writing plays. Not discouraged by the bad reviews for The Golden Egg, the assembled parties eagerly make plans for their next play, which they know will be a hit.

It should come as no surprise that the play contains adult language, and all ethnicities are invited.

This production will begin evening and weekend rehearsals at the end of June and continue through the month of July. The play opens on August 3 and closes on August 26.

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Lab’s summer camp features performance of ‘Evil Dead: The Musical’ (04-30-18)

The Laboratory Theater of Florida will hold open auditions at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, for its summer camp, featuring Evil Dead: The Musical (the high school version).

“We are looking for students 13-18 years old both on- and offstage who are seeking to learn more about all aspects of putting together a musical,” states The Lab. The camp will be filled with informative and entertaining activities ranging from acting, singing, theater makeup, special effects makeup, lighting, set design, staging, stage managing and more.

The Laboratory Theater Summer Camp opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 4:00 each day, with 15 minutes before and at the end of each day for drop off and pick up. Camp tuition is $500 for three full weeks, or $166 per week. Scholarships are available.

Camp dates are July 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20th. This equals three weeks of camp.

There will be five performances of Evil Dead: The Musical. Three will take place at 8:00 p.m. on July 19, 20 and 21, with two matinees at 2:00 p.m. on July 21 and 22. If you’re auditioning for a stage role, please prepare sixteen bars of a song of your choice from a pop/rock musical in your vocal range (bring a backup CD) and a 30-60 seconds long comedic monologue. Callbacks will be held at 3:00 p.m. the same day as the audition. You will be asked to sing a song from the show, read sides with another character, and take part in a mini dance audition.

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Season-ending Art After Dark comes to Crayton Cove May 12 (04-30-18)

Art After Dark returns to Crayton Cove from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 12. The public is welcome to come and enjoy the most recent artwork by professional area artists while listening to live music by Jeff Fessenden & Alchemy. Located in Crayton Cove where 8th St. S. & 12th Ave. S. meet at the flagpole by the Bay, this is the last Art After Dark for this season. Participating businesses include Phil Fisher Gallery, Naples Ships Store, Random Acts of Art, Pure Design and Guess-Fisher Gallery. For more information, please visit http://www.GalleriesOfCraytonCove.com.

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Aspiring actor Giselle Meyer is homeward bound (04-29-18)

Oasis High sophomore Giselle Meyer recently thrilled Foulds Theatre audiences as the Lady of the Lake in the Youth Alliance Theatre’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot the Musical. It was her first leading role, but it won’t be her last. With powerful rock-the-house vocals, the fluidity of a veteran dancer and a commanding presence every time she takes the stage, Southwest Florida won’t be able to hold on to this triple threat for long. In fact, Meyer cops to much larger aspirations. She’s homeward bound.

Home for Meyer is the Gershwin, Imperial, Lyric and the Majestic. They’re not just any old Broadway theaters. They are venues synonymous with big, flashy musical productions ranging from Oklahoma, South Pacific and Camelot to Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera.

“I grew up on Broadway, at Radio City and listening to Broadway musicals in the car,” Giselle confides. A theater devotee, her mom (Stephanie) was so adamant about exposing her daughters to the genre that she dragged them into Manhattan every chance she got. Fortunately, Penn Station was just a one-stop, 30-minute train ride from their home in Union County, New Jersey. So from the time she was two until the family relocated to Cape Coral when Giselle was seven she saw an astounding number of shows.

“I remember it so vividly,” says Giselle of that halcyon period during which she bonded not only with her mother and sister, but the myriad female characters who sang and danced their way across the Broadway stage.

“And I remember sitting there and saying, ‘That’s really cool. I want to do that too.’”

Read the rest of this interview-based profile here.

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Actors Anonymous and Judy Copeland snag ‘Bests’ at Fort Myers Beach Film Festival (04-29-18)

The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival wrapped on Sunday with a 2:00 p.m. awards ceremony at Fish Tale Waterfront Dining. Killer Island by Producer Barbie Castro and Director Alyn Damay was chosen Best Feature. Sometimes Lucky is More Important than Smart: Conversations with Mace Neufeld by documentarian Stanley Isaacs and commentary by Harrison Ford received honors as People’s Choice. But local cineastes were most thrilled to learn that Actor’s Anonymous received honors as Best Local Film, with Judy Copeland taking the Best Actor award. Congratulations to Director Mark Stolzenberg and co-writer with Karen Crystal and the film’s cast and crew.

Actors Anonymous is a comedy about actors who struggle to overcome their acting addiction, but try as they might, they just can’t stop acting! The short stars Marina Bekker, Gaurab Bhattachrjee, Karen Chrystal and Judy Copeland. The film recently won an Award of Merit in The Best Shorts Competition, an avant-garde worldwide competition established in 2011 to give talented directors, producers, actors, creative teams and new media creators positive exposure. Past award winners have gone on to win Oscars, Emmys, Tellys and other awards.

Leading Actress Karen Chrystal and Supporting Actress Judy Copeland also received Awards of Merit for their work in the film.

Scroll down for more on this film, director and co-writer Mark Stelzenberg and co-writer and lead actor Karen Crystal.

 

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Season-ending ‘Summer Salon ’18’ on view at Watson MacRae (04-27-18)

Summer Salon ’18 is Watson MacRae Gallery’s last exhibition of the season, and it’s comprised of work by all the artists the gallery displayed during the season, which gives viewers one last chance to see work they may have missed – and several new pieces, as well. Watson MacRae Gallery is located in the Village Shops at 2340 Periwinkle Way. For more information, please telephone 239-472-3386.

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Exhibition of new work by six artists on view through June 1 at Naples’ Thomas Riley Studio (04-27-18)

On view now through June 1 at Thomas Riley Studio in Naples is a group exhibition of new works by artists Matthew Shlian, Shizue Imae, Kim Keever, Josh Wojick, Jason Krugman and Jamie Harris. Thomas Riley Studio is located in the heart of the Naples Design District at 26 10th Street South, Naples, FL 34102. For more information, please telephone 239-529-2633.

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Lady from Haiti announces closing (04-27-18)

Naples Fifth Avenue South is losing a longstanding art gallery and boutique. The Lady from Haiti will close its doors on April 30 “due to an unsatisfactory knee replacement three years ago,” cites owner Melody Bales. Between now and then, all art and other merchandise is being liquidated at 50 percent off the listed price.

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Save the date for Camera USA® 2018: National Photography Exhibition (04-27-18)

The Naples Art Association started the Camera USA® photography program in 2011. As a nationwide program, it serves as a platform for local photographers to share the spotlight with their peers at the national level. For photographers from other states, Camera USA® provides an opportunity to demonstrate success, exhibit in Southwest Florida and compete for the $5,000 National Photography Award. Open to photographs taken in the United States after January 1, 2014 by photographers residing in the USA, you can see the top 50 images selected by this year’s jurors, Christopher Jones (Associate Curator of Photography at The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida), Mark Sloan (Director and Chief Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston in South Carolina) and Paula Tognarelli (Executive Director and Curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts on Friday, June 1 during the 5:30-7:30 p.m. opening reception. The exhibition will be on view in the Frederick O. Watson, Elizabeth & William Barrick, Millicent & Charles Marshall and the Minnesota Lobby Galleries June 4 – August 3, 2018.

For more information, please visit http://www.naplesart.org or telephone 239-262-6517.

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Paintings by Paul Arsenault at Ave Maria University in ‘Heritage & Harvest’ exhibit (04-27-18)

Heritage & Harvest is on exhibit now through June 24 in the Canizaro Gallery at Ave Maria University. The show includes paintings and stories of Southwest Florida rendered by Naples artist Paul Arsenault.

Over the 44 years Paul Arsenault has devoted to painting in Collier, Lee, and Hendry Counties, he has recorded places and events that visually tell a story of the region’s prehistory and history. The painted stories in this exhibition include the thousand-year-old era of the Calusa Indians, but mainly concentrate on Southwest Florida’s evolution over the last 150 years from a raw wilderness inhabited by Seminole Indians and extremely hardy pioneers into a manicured metropolis of international renown.

Heritage & Harvest depicts not only the bountiful natural resources that attracted and helped sustain early Native Americans and 19th-century settlers, but also the architectural expressions of that bounty, including early homes, stores, and schools, and particularly the waterfronts. The exhibit ranges geographically from the Everglades to Naples to Boca Grande and Pine Island Sound and inland to Immokalee, LaBelle, and the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.

For more information and directions, please call 239-263-1214.

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DAAS showcasing whimsical work by Paul Adamick during April (04-26-18)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is showcasing work by guest artist Paul Adamick during the month of April. The exhibition encompasses a collection of whimsical works in mixed media compositions in the artist’s well-known style.

“I am a very whimsical mixed media artist and I truly believe it is because I taught elementary art for 41 years,” states Adamick, who uses wire, glass, ceramics, wood and other elements to create his art pieces. “[I taught] 12 in Chicago and 29 here at Caloosa Elementary, before I retired almost 3 years ago and now teach painting to adults as well as kids at The Cape Coral Arts Studio.”

Adamick has experimented with multiple mediums throughout his career. “I started out as an airbrush artist, and taught this [at school],” Paul explains. “I then got into bending wire, which I combined with my airbrushed paintings. Now, I create fused glass and Raku clay works.”

For more information about the gallery, please visit daascoop.com or call 239-590-8645. DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is conveniently located in the Royal Palm Square at 1400 Colonial Blvd STE 84 in Fort Myers, FL. Business hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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Thorny four artist show opens at Center for Visual Arts Bonita tonight (04-26-18)

A Thorn Among the Roses opens tonight at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita. The exhibition showcases the newest work of artists Catherine Brown, Linda A. Fraine, Bill Kreutz, and Sandy Lawson and highlights their exceptional talent and creativity in a variety of mediums. The artwork on display ranges from pen and ink, aerosol, oil to mixed media ceramics. This eclectic and delightful mix also features the latest bodies of work by two of CFABS’ long-standing faculty members Bill Kreutz (painting/drawing) and Sandy Lawson (ceramics).

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Studio & Gallery Tour is May 2 in the Naples Art District (04-26-18)

The Naples Art District is hosting its monthly 1st Wednesday Naples Art District Studio and Gallery Tour from 5:00-8:00 p.m. The event is a unique opportunity to not only visit some of Southwest Florida’s most interesting galleries, but immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the studios of more than 50 emerging and mid-career artists working in a broad cross-section of genres and media. This one is sponsored by Stay in May and provides a taste of France with French patisseries provided by Grain de Café coupled with a scavenger hunt to win Stay in May concert tickets. Look for the magenta and white art flags. Call 239-289-5070 for more information or visit http://www.NaplesArtDistrict.com/.

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Sweet Art to present Erbe, Harris and Verrier for ‘Stay in May’ exhibition (04-26-18)

Join The Sweet Art Gallery for the “Stay In May” exhibition on May 2 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. It features work by Sharon Erbe, Jolie Harris and Armand Verrier.

Erbe is not bashful about breaking the rules in order to articulate her larger-than-life energy and emotions. Harris draws viewers into her lyrical compositions of organic and biomorphic shapes with chance patterns, color and the emotion engendered by tactile brush strokes etched into paint and canvas. It is always a joy to view and admire the ingenuity of Verrier’s wall sculptures and pop art creations which consist of highly glossed, richly colored fabrications of puzzle shapes and iconic figures.

The exhibition is on view until the week of May 25.

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‘Inventory’ is Thomas Riley Studio’s new creative space in Naples Art District (04-26-18)

Thomas Riley Studio is inaugurating a new creative space in the Naples Art District. The 2500-square-foot multi-use space is titled “Inventory,” and it houses works by internationally recognized artists, the studio of master painter Carmelo Blandino, and the workshop and design atelier of Thomas Riley Studio Director Chad Jensen. As collaborative as it is immersive, the space is meant to activate the senses while enveloping visitors in the creative process. The public is invited. The opening reception will take place during the Naples Art District’s monthly 1st Wednesday Gallery and Studio Tour which takes place from 5:30-8:00 p.m. on May 3. Inventory is located in Units 3 & 4 at 1719 Trade Center Way. For more information, please telephone 239-529-2633.

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Two new exhibitions opening at Naples Art Association today (04-26-18)

Two new exhibitions are opening today (April 26) at the Naples Art Association. The first is Val Wright: The Landscape Transfigured; the other is Monochromatic – One Color.

Artist Val Wright paints on-site in the open air. She views the landscape with an inward eye, reinterpreting what she sees and feels in watercolor on paper. Her exaggerated sense of scale, vivid color and brush patterns transform our sense of place by connecting memory with a present moment. “To be a storyteller you have to know where the story begins and ends,” says Wright of her work. “I open the door to the undisturbed beauty in nature to find reflections of the familiar and pull shape from confusion.”

The exhibition will be on view in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery.

The Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild is the only area organization dedicated solely to fine crafts. Over the past 40 years, the Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild has become a well-known dynamic and evolving organization of local artisans and craftspeople. Their members combine old world craftsmanship with contemporary techniques to produce unique works of art. The exhibition will be on view in the Elizabeth & William Barrick, Millicent & Charles Marshall and the Minnesota Lobby Galleries.

Both receptions take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission is free for members, with a $10 donation suggested for all others.

Both exhibitions run until May 19, 2018. The Naples Art Association is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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Marcus Jansen to speak at NAA’s ArtHUB function in May (04-26-18)

ArtHUB at the Naples Art Association is a newly-created forum that provides a platform for members to share ideas, promote the arts, learn about new trends, and network. The ArtHUB scheduled for May 3 will include a short discussion led by Marcus Jansen with wine and appetizers to follow.

A cartographer of conflict, Jansen has recently been named as “one of the most important American painters of his generation” by Documenta Kassel curator Dr. Manfred Schneckenburger in Munich Germany. Three decades in the arts, Jansen’s first Biennial invitation was in 2007 at the 12th International Print and Drawing Biennale at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, where he received honorable mentions from many jurors including David Kiehl of the Whitney Museum of Art. In 2010, Jansen was also featured on the cover of the art publication New American Paintings No 94.

Born in Manhattan in 1968 to a West Indian mother and German father, Jansen first artistic influence was the rebellious Graffiti art movement that tagged much of New York during the 1980s. A former soldier, Jansen was discovered and mentored by former museum director and art historian Jerome A. Donson, (who was not only MoMA’s Director of the American Vanguard Exhibitions Europe in 1961, but curated exhibitions of work during the ’60s by Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, among others). Referring to Jansen’s work as “reminiscent of the Ash-Can School,” Donson named him the “innovator” of modern expressionism in Jansen’s French-published catalog in 2005.

Jansen’s first museum solo exhibition was held at the La Triennale Di Milano Museum in Milan, Italy, and his work can be found today in the permanent collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), The New Britain Museum of American Art, The PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art, Ulyanovsk Museum of Fine Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. He was also selected for the Fleurieu Art Prize 2013 exhibition. Regarded as the highest landscape prize in the world, the Fleurieu Art Prize is juried by Saatchi Executive Director Nigel Hurst.

After his family relocated to Moenchengladbach ,Germany, Jansen studied at the Kunstgewerbe Schule the Berufsfachschule fuer Gestaltung. But, interestingly, he completed a three year apprenticeship not as a fine artist, but rather as a commercial house painter (Maler), where he was introduced to his current medium of choice, oil enamels.

He joined the U.S. Armed Forces in 1989 and was immediately sent to Desert Storm where, after his military discharge, Jansen was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Back in New York, he started selling paintings on the street between Prince and Broadway as part of the group called “Prince Street Kings.”

His first major book, titled Marcus Jansen – DECADE, was published by the leading art book publisher SKIRA Editore, and features a foreword by notorious London art dealer and Jansen’s agent Steve Lazarides and text by the New York curator and Harvard fellow Brooke Lynn Mcgowan. Jansen’s recent book, Marcus Jansen AFTERMATH, is similarly vetted by art critics and experts from Germany.

Two years ago, Jansen became the subject of an award-winning documentary film titled Marcus Jansen – Examine & Report by local Emmy-Award- inning filmmaker John Scoular. He also enjoyed his first mid-career retrospective at the Rowland Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco. Jansen’s first German and U.S. museum survey exhibition is currently being held at the Zitadelle Museum in Berlin and later at the Baker Museum of Art at Artis Naples in 2018.

ArtHUB is free for all NAA donors. Everyone else is asked to provide a $10 donation. Please R.S.V.P. by April 27 to Rosanna.Coscia@naplesart.org if you wish to attend.

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Alliance’s ‘Along the Coast’ exhibition to feature work by Waller and Hull (04-25-18)

The Alliance for the Arts’ May exhibit explores Florida’s immense and varied coastline. Appropriately titled Along the Coast, the show will feature award-winning Tampa painters Laura Waller and Sarah Hull.

Waller is known for large scale paintings that serve as metaphors and provide the narrative for her paintings. Hull’s use of perspective, angles and shadows conveys tension and mood.

The opening reception will be held on May 4 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and is open to the public. A conversational walk and talk with the exhibiting artists will be held on May 5 at 10:00 a.m. during the Alliance for the Arts’ Weekly GreenMarket. Admission to the gallery is free, but a $5 suggested donation helps keep arts programming accessible.

Along the Coast runs through May 26. The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information, visit ArtInlee.org/Coastal or call 239-939-2787.

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More on Tampa artist Laura Waller (04-25-18)

The Alliance for the Arts’ May exhibit explores Florida’s immense and varied coastline. Appropriately titled Along the Coast, the show will feature award-winning Tampa painters Laura Waller and Sarah Hull.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Laura Waller received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Newcomb College and Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Concurrent with studies in sociology, psychology and social work, she developed a passion for art and art history.

After an eleven-year career as a professional therapist, Laura became a certified financial planner and founder of the successful Waller & Wax Advisors firm in Tampa, FL. Throughout her thirty-year career in finance, she continued to paint and study independently with prestigious artists in Arizona, Florida, and Maine. Waller was selected in 2013, 2014, 2015, and again for 2018, for artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center.

As a full-time artist, Waller works out of her studios in Maine and Florida. Her Working Waterfront: Port Tampa Bay paintings were featured in a winter 2015 solo exhibition at the Clayton Galleries in Tampa. Her Working Waterfront: New Work paintings were featured in a summer 2016 solo exhibition at Elizabeth Moss Galleries in Falmouth, ME. New paintings from her Port Side series were featured in a solo exhibition open from January 27 to March 11, 2017 at Clayton Galleries in Tampa, FL.

Alliance members and area art lovers may remember Laura from the 27 Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition in 2013. At that show, Baker Museum of Art Director and Curator Frank Verpoorten chose Laura’s painting, Owl’s Head, as the exhibition’s Best of Show.

Waller was awarded the Arts Council of Hillsborough County Individual Artist Grant in 2016. Laura’s paintings are collected by individuals and corporations nationwide.

The opening reception will be held on May 4 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Laura will participate with Hull in a conversational walk and talk at 10:00 a.m. on May 5 during the Alliance for the Arts’ Weekly GreenMarket. Admission to the gallery is free, but a $5 suggested donation helps keep arts programming accessible.

Along the Coast runs through May 26. The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information, visit ArtInlee.org/Coastal or call 239-939-2787.

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More on Tampa artist Sarah Hull (04-25-18)

The Alliance for the Arts’ May exhibit explores Florida’s immense and varied coastline. Appropriately titled Along the Coast, the show will feature award-winning Tampa painters Laura Waller and Sarah Hull.

A few years ago, Sarah began to paint objects, figures and landscapes as they appear from an elevated point of view. In 2015, Sarah began to focus specifically on beaches in Florida and New England. She first began to photo document beach scenes from the top floor of hotels, later in an airplane. She has also learned to use drones to capture references for this high-elevation, bird’s eye perspective. Her intent is to evoke a sense of isolation one might experience in a crowd; the juxtaposition of isolation and loneliness co-existing within a relaxed, leisurely recreational space, voyeuristically looking into, but not being part of the world below.

The opening reception will be held on May 4 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Laura will participate with Hull in a conversational walk and talk at 10:00 a.m. on May 5 during the Alliance for the Arts’ Weekly GreenMarket. Admission to the gallery is free, but a $5 suggested donation helps keep arts programming accessible.

Along the Coast runs through May 26. The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information, visit ArtInlee.org/Coastal or call 239-939-2787.

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‘Student Showcase’ exhibition returns to CFABS May 4-11 (04-25-18)

Always an intriguing show, the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs’ “Student Showcase” features the artwork of area high school students. All students who participate receive a scholarship for Centers for the Arts programming, and with fresh, imaginative work filled with feeling and color, seniors compete for college scholarships provided by CFABS’ Springs’ Donor Scholarship Program. Since the beginning of the program, CFABS has awarded more than $100,000 to support students wishing to pursue careers in art, design, architecture, media and performance. Funding for the scholarships is raised through private donor-designated gifts.

The exhibition is on view May 4-11, with a closing reception and awards ceremony scheduled for 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 11.

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CFABS’ ‘Line and Shape’ exhibition closes tomorrow (04-25-18)

The Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs’ Line and Shape exhibition closes tomorrow, April 26.

Line and shape are two basic building blocks of any great artwork, as the artists who’ve been juried into this exhibition demonstrate. Their work creates a sense of depth that guides the eye through their compositions. This is a judged show, with work being evaluated based on the strength and effectiveness of these two compositional elements.

The Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs is located at 26100 Old 41 Rd. For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989.

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CFABS Ehren Fritz Gerhard solo show closes tomorrow (04-25-18)

The solo show of work by Ehren Fritz Gerhard in the Tranovich Gallery at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs closes tomorrow, April 26. Gerhard is an Adjunct Professor of Art at Florida Gulf Coast University as well as the Art Exhibitions Director for the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs and Director of the nationally ranked Bonita Springs National Art Festivals.

After earning his Bachelor of Arts, Gerhard worked a series of environmentally-related jobs before marrying and moving with his bride to a small town in Spain, where he taught English, got to be an extra in a movie, had a solo show of his paintings and made a lot of connections. Then he moved back to the United States and enrolled at Arizona State University, where he obtained his Master of Arts in 2013.

“During this time, I apprenticed, curated a couple of shows and made even more contacts,” he reports. He also continued to work on his own artwork.

Gerhard’s media include painting, graphite, printmaking and ceramic sculpture.

“Working in Arizona was totally different,” Ehren laughs. “Here and in Spain, my palette included lots of greens and blues. There, it was mostly browns and terra cottas.”

From the time he was a small child, Ehren moved around a lot.

“I grew up in small towns and my family moved across the country multiple times,” he confides. “I see new places as exciting opportunities to discover more about unique cultures, histories and natural ecosystems. When I stop, look and enjoy my surroundings, I feel privileged to see the world as a magical place.”

He translates the magical places he visits into whimsical landscapes that he describes as “wild, crazy, goofy, intense as possible, playful and psychedelic.” But he hastens to add that he doesn’t merely paint what he sees. Inspired by contemporary trends in art, his landscapes are a synthesis or amalgamation of a given spot or locale as viewed from differing perspectives. Working somewhere between scientific observation and romantic idealism, he creates a living image that breathes and moves.

Traditional landscape painting portrays the subject from a fixed point of view. Gerhard’s contribution to the motif is to depict his subject within the frame from multiple spots along the time/space continuum.

“This gives me the ability to move things around rather than paint from a single point,” Ehren explains. Of course, this shifting perspective presents myriad challenges and opportunities, like looking up at the sky and down at your feet at exactly the same moment.

Gerhard’s overarching goal is not to create just a panorama as captured by a point-and-shoot camera, but an entire visual experience that expresses his emotional reaction to a place that can be experienced on some level by his viewers. That experience will change, however, as the viewer moves toward the canvas or away from it because of the multiple layers of impasto and glazes that he employs.

“There is something of an impressionist cast to what I do,” he admits, and that includes his current practice of painting almost exclusively en plein air. “I used to take photographs and then go back into the studio, but there are too many things you don’t notice if you’re just passing through a place,” he adds, sharing the benefit of the wisdom he amassed moving and travelling from place to place throughout his life. “Those things only reveal themselves if you’re willing to stand on that site, look deep, and study what you see.”

As a result, his imagery depicts an intense encounter with time and place. “It’s the feeling I get while crunching through leaves and branches listening to the air whistle through my nostrils. I can step on a snake, stumble upon a wild boar or end up with a spider web all over my face.”

Because of his patience, tenacity and willingness to think outside the traditional paint box, Gerhard is able to channel energy, emotion and joy into works that bend, twist and model the representational structure to which we are all accustomed in ways that pull viewers in, make them want to stay and play around awhile so they can see, explore and appreciate the multiple levels of imagery and activity that he so meticulously presents.

The Center for Visual Arts is located at 26100 Old 41 Rd. For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989.

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‘Metal Muse: Juxtapositions in Disarray’ opens at Davis Art Center May 4 (04-24-18)

Opening during Art Walk on Friday, May 4, is In Search for the Metal Muse: Juxtapositions in Disarray. This partnered show features sculptures from Jay Lana and Patricia Esposito that deal with issues of urbanization, war, and the environment. Through metal works, experience the depth of these artists’ understanding of the modern world. For more information, please telephone 239-333-1933 or visit www.sbdac.com.

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More about abstract multi-media sculptor Patricia Esposito (04-24-18)

Opening during Art Walk on Friday, May 4, is In Search for the Metal Muse: Juxtapositions in Disarray. This partnered show features sculptures from Jay Lana and Patricia Esposito that deal with issues of urbanization, war, and the environment.

Esposito is an abstract artist whose multimedia sculpture explores the natural decay of objects, whether occurring in the wilderness or urban industrial areas. Toward this end, her sculptural expressions typically juxtapose wood, metal, photographs and electric light, which metaphorically represent the synergy of earth, wind, fire and water in nature, and all of life.

Patricia credits hiking in the woods in New Jersey and exploring the streets of New York City as a child with contributing to the themes she expresses in her work. In fact, there’s something more primordial at play.

“Working with the abstract and with scrap metal comes from my soul and subconscious,” Esposito notes. “I call it spirit or my ancestors coming through, giving my art a voice.”

Recycled materials that reflect their past is an ongoing component of Patricia’s work. “Rust fascinates me,” she amplifies. “Metal goes through a metamorphosis, not unlike the colors and textures of the seasons. Corrosion of multiple layers, colors and textures can take years to achieve, resulting in the beautiful patina of an object’s current life. The contrast of earth and rust, with the harshness and coldness of steel, can live harmoniously as in some of my two and three dimensional works.”

It frequently takes Esposito months, even years, to locate the proper scrap metal to complete a particular work of art. Patricia is currently engaging in expeditions through the Florida Everglades to uncover material for her ongoing exploration of natural decay.

Esposito’s embrace of the material she utilizes imbues her with a cognizance of the impact human acts have on our environment. “The ongoing crisis of urbanization, of what is left of our wilderness, is always on my mind,” Patricia says resolutely.

“Some of my art pieces reflect my concerns about the environment and how it affects our life – as in my Tree Zero series and in my Water, Oppenheimer’s Tears, and Hiroshima art. The pitchforks are becoming harder and harder to find, as in my Politics piece. So are organic farms and farmers vanishing from our planet to make room for GMO’s (Geneticically Modified Organisms) in our food, the main cause for many diseases.”

In this imperfect world, Esposito’s art can be seen as “perfectly imperfect.”

Patricia was one of 50 artists in 50 years of Photography at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, a show celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. She also exhibited at Westbeth Gallery in NYC and both Sona Gallery and Eros Gallery in Naples.

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More about ‘Metal Muse’ sculptor Jay Lana (04-24-18)

Opening during Art Walk on Friday, May 4, is In Search for the Metal Muse: Juxtapositions in Disarray. This partnered show features sculptures from Jay Lana and Patricia Esposito that deal with issues of urbanization, war, and the environment.

Lana is a self-taught Southwest Florida sculptor. His artistic process began as a child when he used to dismantle various devices and then adding the components to his toys. As Jay grew up, other interests captured his attention. He took on pencil drawing in his teenage years, but he always kept those drawings to himself. It wasn’t until three years ago that he felt the urge to become a sculptor full time and create functional and decorative sculptures using reclaimed objects.

His primary source of inspiration comes from post-apocalyptic stories and other retro-futuristic art movements. His process is intuitive and his art is characterized by a heavy patina and worn-out look, often symmetric shapes, and bold compositions.

He has exhibited his artwork in several art exhibitions and he is the recipient of several awards; once juror David Acevedo stated about Jay Lana’s work, “Wonderful, and outstanding. I love the punk culture process, putting disjointed things together…”

His work has also been featured in local, national and international magazines and blogs.

His artwork is in many private residences throughout the U.S. and overseas. Recently, he worked in a public installation in a renowned restaurant in Sanibel Island, Florida and in another restaurant in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

He is currently a member of the SWFFCG and the Alliance for the Arts; he is currently a full time exhibiting artist at The Tower Gallery on Sanibel Island, Florida.

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‘X’ marks the spot for Davis Art Center 10th anniversary June juried exhibition (04-24-18)

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center has issued a call to artists for its 2018 June juried exhibition. To honor its 10th anniversary season, SBDAC is inviting artists to interpret the symbol X as the theme for the show.

“Icons have power,” states the exhibition prospectus. “They evoke memories, experiences, and information stored in the collective unconscious. Of these icons, the symbol X has many evocative meanings: X marks the spot. X speaks of intersections. X is numeric. X is the most controversial rating. X indicates elimination. X is where we sign. X is how we sign. X signals a choice made. X is a variable. X expresses the power of magnification. X is marked of an unknown identity.”

One thousand dollars in cash prizes will be awarded, as follows:

  • Overall Best in Show – Cash Prize in the amount of $500
  • People’s Choice – Cash Prize in the amount of $250
  • SBDAC’s Pick – Cash Prize in the amount of $250

The deadline for online submissions is May 11, 2018. You can access a submission form here.

 

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Art Southwest Florida contains profiles of 131 FGCU public artworks (04-24-18)

Cross Currents Close UpArt Southwest Florida contains profiles of 131 artworks by more than three dozen artists. Each has been profiled in order to provide students, faculty and area residents, vacationers and visiting parents with detailed information about the works and the artists who rendered them. These profiles include:

There are still more to come, so visit the dropdown under Public Art/FGCU often.

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In ‘Ripcord,’ playwright David Lindsay-Abaire makes one-upwomanship a new art form (04-23-18)

The Naples Players 2017-18 season ends on a high-note with David Lindsay-Abaire’s award-winning comedy Ripcord, which opens with a red-carpet reception on April 25 and runs through May 20, 2018.

In this comedy, a seemingly harmless bet between two old women quickly escalates into a hilarious game of one-upmanship with the prize being the sunny upper floor room of the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. Janina Birtolo plays the incessantly chipper but sly Marilyn Dunne to the foil of Bonnie Knapp in the role of the cantankerous but likeable Abby Binder. When the two are required to share a room in the retirement home, their dramatically different personalities immediately rub each other the wrong way. Within moments of Marilyn’s arrival as Abby’s possible new roommate, Abby pleads with an orderly, “If I have to have someone in here, why can’t it be someone quiet? What about that woman without the voicebox? She seems nice.”

Instantaneously understanding that this odd couple roommate situation will not work, the two make a bet. Marilyn insists that nothing makes her angry, while Abby says that she is never, ever scared. If Abby can make Marilyn lose her temper, Marilyn will move out. That is, unless Marilyn frightens Abby first. In that case, Abby gets to have Marilyn’s bed, which is right next to the window and has a lovely view of a park.

For fans of the 1980’s sitcom The Golden Girls it’s easy to imagine the set-up for Ripcord. Picture Rose and Dorothy making a bet to push each other to break from their respectively brave and cheerful personalities. Now picture throwing the boundaries of 1980’s television out the window and you have Ripcord, David Lindsay-Abaire’s expertly engineered situation comedy. The plot quickly escalates from funny to hilarious as Marilyn and Abby’s attempts at one-upmanship accelerate to increasingly disastrous outcomes in ways that are funny and unexpectedly relatable and heartwarming.

Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire had made a name for himself with more dramatic works including Good People and his Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole. Before those more serious plays, Lindsay-Abaire was known for writing comedies including the hit Fuddy Meers about a day in the life of an amnesiac abducted by a mysterious stranger.

“Lindsay-Abaire is a master of the set-up and punch line,” said Bryce Alexander Executive Artistic Director of The Naples Players. “You might be able to imagine where the plot is heading, but when the worst case scenarios actually occur, you still find yourself laughing in disbelief.”

Performances of Ripcord are April 25-May 20, 2018. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for subscribers and $10 for students and educators. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. For tickets and more information, please visit www.naplesplayers.org or call (239) 263-7990.

Subscriptions for TNP’s exciting 65th Anniversary Season which include Chicago The Musical, White Christmas and Guys & Dolls are now on sale. For a limited time, those who subscribe to TNP’s 65th Anniversary Season receive $35 subscriber pricing for Ripcord. Free valet and adjacent covered tower parking is available to all patrons.

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Fort Myers Beach Film Festival opens April 25 (04-23-18)

Beach film fest 1The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival is back for its 12th year. The festival attracts a host of independent film fans, filmmakers, and distributors, who come from all over the world to exchange ideas, make new contacts, and enjoy some compelling and interesting films encompassing a wide range of tastes. This year’s festival runs from April 25 – 29 with events for all ages.

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Tribute to Naples’ Judy Lawrence, ‘Kids News’ doc to screen at Fort Myers Beach Film Fest (04-23-18)

The 12th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival opens April 25. One of the films that will be screened during the five-day fest is Kids News, a short documentary written, produced and directed by Tom Westgate of Creative Inlet Films.

Kids News was a small newspaper in Naples, Florida which ran from 1981 to 1986. It was the brainchild of Tom Westgate and his mother, Judy Lawrence. During the course of the paper’s six-year run, Judy didn’t just encourage the kids she mentored to write and produce the 4-8 page publication on a monthly basis. She inspired the kids who produced and wrote Kids News. In this loving docu-memorial created by Judy’s son, Tom, you’ll hear Judy’s inspiring story from the kids themselves, including writer Melissa Cheaney (who still lives in Naples) and Ken French who, as Kids News Advertising Manager, brought in enough ads to keep Kids News in circulation and even induced Fantasy TV show host Peter Marshall to cover the costs of publishing the paper for an entire year!

Released in 2017, this short documentary has a running time of 14 minutes. It premiered at the 3rd Annual Bonita Springs International Film Festival in January. It was also shown in March by the Fort Myers Film Festival.

It airs twice: first as part of the Local Film Package at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15 and again at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.

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Mario Maturo’s ‘Meaning of Life’ to be screened at Fort Myers Beach Film Festival (04-23-18)

The 12th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival opens April 25. One of the films that will be screened during the five-day fest is The Meaning of Life by local filmmaker Mario Maturo.

In this film, an amateur archaeologist pursues his belief that there are artifacts to be found on the small islands dotting the Estero Bay. His archaeological dig proves to be an adventure as he finds more than he ever anticipated.

Maturo’s first foray into the world of indie filmmaking, What’s the Point, just won the Audience Choice award at the 8th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival.

“My daughter was interested in acting, so I took her to a group in Fort Myers that includes film and television actors [United Film and TV Artists],” Maturo recounted at the champagne and dessert ceremony at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. “I joined for my daughter but then they started using me for projects. What’s the Point is my first attempt to do a project, and a lot of the people in the group were gracious enough to join in, which I really appreciated.”

Maturo has worked on several local films, including Curtis Collins’ Hanging Millstone and Three Wishes, for which Maturo was a drone and assistant drone operator. Since completing What’s the Point, Maturo has gone on to write and direct The Meaning of Life (2017) and Cereal (2018).

The Meaning of Life was written by and stars Joe Reyes (who is also a producer and film editor on the film). The short includes a number of other local favorites, including Cassidy Reyes as Sophia, Deborah Ford Smith as Blair, Ernesto Lasso de la Vega (who is also the Producer, film editor and cinematographer) as Rex, Kristin Mercedes Bence as Morgan and Beverly Rodriguez as the Warrior Queen. Music was provided by Elijah Green.

It airs twice: first as part of the Local Film Package at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15 and again at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.

See also:

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Fort Myers Beach Film Festival to screen Mark Stolzenberg short film ‘Actors Anonymous’ (04-23-18)

The 12th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival opens April 25. One of the films that will be screened during the five-day fest is Actors Anonymous, a short film directed by Mark Stolzenberg and starring Marina Bekker, Gaurab Bhattachrjee, Karen Chrystal and Judy Copeland. It’s a comedy about actors who struggle to overcome their acting addiction, but try as they might, they just can’t stop acting!

The film recently won an Award of Merit in The Best Shorts Competition, an avant-garde worldwide competition established in 2011 to give talented directors, producers, actors, creative teams and new media creators positive exposure. Past award winners have gone on to win Oscars, Emmys, Tellys and other awards.

Leading Actress Karen Chrystal and Supporting Actress Judy Copeland also received Awards of Merit for their work in the film.

Mark Stolzenberg is head of The New York Acting School for Film and Television, teaches many of the acting classes at the school himself, and is an Associate Professor at The School of Drama at The New School University in NYC. He is considered by Oscar Talent Search as one of the top ten acting teachers on the east coast.

He has written, directed, and produced over 30 short films, many of which have won awards at film festivals, including Actors Anonymous, Talk to Me, 10 Reasons, Educating Boris and My Father the Clown. He also currently has four feature-length films and a TV series in development.

An experienced actor, Stolzenberg played a principal role on the hit TV shows Bull and Boardwalk Empire. He also starred in the feature film comedy, Luggage of the Gods, which was directed by David Kendall – producer and writer for ABC’s hit show Growing Pains. Mark was a principal in Tom Selleck’s film Her Alibi, was a regular character on the Robert Klein Television Show, and was one of the lead roles in the feature film Breakfast In Bed, which appeared on HBO, SHOWTIME, and CINEMAX. Stolzenberg made several appearances on ABC’s All My Children, and has done principal work in over 30 national television commercials.

In addition, Mark played a supporting lead in the feature film A Dry Season, a principal role in The CBS drama Dellaventura, and has made featured appearances on The David Letterman Show. Mark was featured on the cover of New York Magazine, which called him “one of the hidden delights of New York’s little theatres…”

As a writer, Stolzenberg wrote the feature length screenplay for A Clown in New York, which was a finalist with The Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter’s Lab. He co-wrote and stars in the stage show Pierrot & Pirouette, which ran Off-Broadway and most recently at Lincoln Center in New York City. In addition, Mark has had three theatre books, including Be a Clown and Be a Mime, all published by Sterling Publishing Co. in New York.

Including Actors Anonymous, Karen Chrystal has appeared in eight of Stolzenberg’s short films. The others include 10 Reasons, The Big H, Cell Phone, Sisters, The Go Girls, The Audition, and Mommie! She has written theme songs for four of these films, some of which have won awards at film festivals across the country.

Chrystal began acting and singing professionally at the age of 10, and she earned her membership in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) at the age of 12 when she booked her very first national TV commercial for Chevrolet. A string of other television commercials followed (for Sprite, Coca-Cola, MCI), as well as roles in several ABC After-School TV Specials.

Karen landed the lead role of Rhoda in a Showtime Cable TV production of the Obie Award winning musical The Me Nobody Knows, which was filmed at the Ed Sullivan Theatre and introduced by James Earl Jones. Soon afterwards, Karen was cast as Selina, the lead role in Anthony Stimac’s original musical A Touch of Practical Magic. Karen’s film credits include Malcom X and Fort Apache, The Bronx, and she has done voice-over work for the film The Wiz, and with Ruby Dee in a public service announcement for radio.

In addition to teaching many of the classes at the New York Acting School for Film & Television, Karen is involved with Stolzenberg’s film production company, Circle of Life Films NYC, as a Creative Consultant, Screenwriter, Wardrobe/Makeup/Hair/Prop Coordinator, Script Supervisor, Casting Associate, Actress, Singer/Songwriter, and Music Coordinator.

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Senior Projects exhibit on view through May 4 in FGCU Wasmer Gallery (04-23-18)

At the end of their studies, art majors at Florida Gulf Coast University are required to develop and present a coherent body of self-generated work. This exhibition combines their knowledge of techniques and concepts while drawing on research of historical and contemporary artists. This semester’s exhibition highlights the work of the following graduating artists:

  • Rachel Andrus
  • Jadon A. Axe
  • Nicole Butcher
  • Helen Harvin
  • Karri Leamon
  • Bethany Morgan
  • Ariana J. Myers
  • Devyn Raulerson
  • Andrea Rygala
  • Samantha D. Schimpf
  • Charlotte Slabach

You can view the exhibition now through May 4 in the Wasmer Art Gallery. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours on Thursday until 7:00 p.m. For more information, please telephone 239-590-7199.

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‘Border(less)’ closes at SBDAC on April 24 (04-23-18)

The SBDAC’s Border(less) exhibition closes on April 24. The exhibition features work by Florida Southwestern State College art students taking part in a portfolio painting course and a conceptual art class and explores the broad notion of “Borders/Bordered/Borderless” in amplification of the suggestion of inclusion/exclusion, the contained and the contiguous, the native, the neighboring, and the nomadic would inspire a wide range of artistic responses to the theme. Amy Boomgaard, Joshann Burdick, Martha Delacruz, Peter Engdahl, Alejandro Gomez, Holly Hagan, Alyssa Hartford, Dalton Howard, Lewesa Major, Shannon O’Regan, Grant Syllaba, Jose Vanegas, and Barbara Ann Wikoff are the FSW student artists participating in the show, which was organized by Dana Roes at Florida Southwestern State College.

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SBDAC’s ‘Art by Physicians’ show closes April 24 (04-23-18)

SBDAC’s Art by Physicians exhibition closes on April 24. Currently on view in the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in the downtown Fort Myers River District, the exhibition features work by members of the Lee County Medical Society local physicians. The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District.

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Alliance Youth Theatre’s ‘Spamalot’ wraps up today with 2:00 p.m. matinee (04-22-18)

Alliance Youth Theatre wraps up its production of Spamalot School Edition today with a 2:00 p.m. matinee. This high-energy, highly entertaining Broadway spoof is set in England in 932 A.D. The kingdom has been divided. To the west are the Anglo-Saxons; to the east, the French. Above is nothing but Celts and some people from Scotland. In Gwynned, Powys, and Dyfed – plague. In the kingdoms of Wessex, Sussex, Essex and Kent – plague. In Mercia and the two Anglias – plague as well. With a 50% chance of pestilence and famine coming out of the Northeast at twelve miles per hour, legend tells us of an extraordinary leader who arose from the chaos to unite a troubled kingdom – a man with a vision who gathered Knights together in a Holy Quest. This man was Arthur, King of the Britons. For this was England!

Tickets are $10 presale, $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. The show takes place in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts, which is located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard (just south of where Colonial empties into McGregor) in Fort Myers. For more information or purchase tickets, please telephone 239-939-2787.

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Church Basement Ladies – and their men – at Off Broadway Palm through April 29 (04-22-18)

What happens when you let not one, but four roosters in a Norwegian Minnesota hen house? Well, you can find out at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Rise Up, O Men. The sixth helping from the Church Basement Ladies series, this brand new musical comedy features a handful of the men of East Cornucopia Lutheran Church. It’s in the Off-Broadway Palm through April 29.

You will find the rest of this announcement here.

Read here for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Ten new 10-minute plays to premiere at Bonita’s ‘Stage It! 2 10-Minute Play Festival’ (04-22-18)

The Center for Performing Arts of Bonita Springs has announced the line up for its Stage It! 2 Ten-Minute Play Festival which takes place at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center. Ten plays will premiere at the two-day event, which also includes a Book Release Party to celebrate the publication of all the winners.

A total of 206 plays were received from around the nation, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and England. Each play was critiqued by two of 21 judges from across the country and Canada. The judging panel included playwrights, directors, screenwriters, professional actors and editors from New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, Jacksonville and Naples.

Thirty plays were selected for publication in the STAGE IT! 2 Ten-Minute Plays book that will be released on the opening night of the Festival.  Ten of the plays will be performed over the two days by CFABS community theatre performers, and an “Audience Favorite” will be selected by the patrons attending.

These are the ten plays that will be performed during the festival:

You’ll find these plays and the rest of this announcement here.

 

 

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‘Improv Tonight’ returns to Moe Auditorium May 5 (04-22-18)

Join CFABS for some of Southwest Florida’s best improvisational comedy on May 5.

Bonita City Improv will perform musical improv, games and scenes that include suggestions provided by the audience. Every show is different with special guests always popping in from nationally-touring improv groups. Be as involved in the show as you’d like – whether you’re just setting a scene with your suggestions or you’re on stage as a player.

The fun starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Center for Performing Arts – Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Road.

Adult Tickets are $13.50 for members and $15 for non-members. 

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Your Florida Fantasy’ closes today at FGCU TheatreLab with 2:00 p.m. matinee (04-22-18)

Your Florida Fantasy by Zachary Michael Jack closes today at FGCU TheatreLab with a 2:00 p.m. matinee. The story revolves around genius college student Matthew Mullenberg, the “Mark Zuckerberg of Kalamazoo, Michigan,” and his red-hot Internet start-up YourFloridaFantasy.com. For weeks, the “Matt-man” and his not-so-crack staff—Jerry, Penny, and Ariel—have burned the midnight oil cooking up the perfect beta version of a real-life fantasy set on a Southwest Florida barrier island for the mysterious Client X. Once booked into Rusty’s Castaway Cabins, the employees of YourFloridaFantasy find themselves playing unexpected roles in the romantic drama their storyboard set in motion, and true love just won’t stay on script!

Ushered into island life by their inimitable senior citizen innkeeper Rusty Hinge, forced to walk the plank by Rusty’s red-hot flame, Ally Monet, and sent on a wild goose chase by the slippery and salty Lee High Acres, the whiz kids behind YourFloridaFantasy.com must find their love lights in a sea of outrageous comedy. Add a prodigiously endowed pirate, a punctual saltwater croc, a vertiginous rodeo queen from Punta Gorda via Punta Rassa, a life-sized Hug-a-hunk-a-love-bear, a peculiarly picky pickpocket, and a precipitous big blow bearing down on Rusty’s fantasy island beyond Pine Island Sound, and this homegrown romp of a rom-com blossoms into a farcical, tropical tour de force.

Barry Cavin directs. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $7 for students. All seats are general admission.

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PlayLab Festival winner ‘George Washington’s Teeth’ opens at Florida Rep April 27 (04-22-18)

Florida Repertory Theatre continues its 20th anniversary season with the world premiere production of Mark St. Germain’s George Washington’s Teeth, which was chosen from the company’s 4th Annual PlayLab Festival held last year.

George Washington’s Teeth is a hilarious comedy that follows the exploits of the women of the beleaguered New Bunion Historical Society as they battle the male-dominated city council to keep their doors open. With time running out to renew their lease, the ladies must find creative ways to snare new members and lure visitors to their sleepy New England town. When a set of George Washington’s dentures turns up in the hands of an unexpected rival, the ladies of the Society brace themselves for all-out war. Heartfelt and historic, this new farce proves that our differences don’t divide us, they make us strong.

Florida Rep audiences will recognize St. Germain from previous hits, Camping with Henry and Tom, which opened the then newly-renovated ArtStage Studio Theatre in 2012, and last fall’s Best of Enemies. An accomplished playwright and screenwriter, his work also includes the Off Broadway sensation Freud’s Last Session as well as last year’s Relativity in Hartford, Connecticut starring Richard Dreyfuss as Albert Einstein. Other works include Dancing Lessons, Becoming Dr. Ruth, and a number of musicals, television credits, and screenplays.

St. Germain joined Florida Rep earlier this year for a developmental workshop before the play began rehearsals in March.

“My first visit to [Florida Rep] was very impressive,” St. Germain said of his experience in the 2017 PlayLab. “The audience is smart and excited. The Staff couldn’t have been more helpful and the company was very talented. What’s not to like?”

George Washington’s Teeth features a cast of five women – something rare in the canon of American plays, and that was by design.

“Once you grow past the ingenue stage, it is progressively more difficult to get a good role as an actress,” St. Germain said. “It’s only because the opportunities aren’t always there – how many plays can you think of with an all-male cast, then count how many plays are made up of all women? I wanted to do a play where women from all ages powered the play.”

Florida Rep ensemble members Viki Boyle (The Miracle Worker) and Carrie Lund (How the Other Half Loves) return to the Florida Rep stage for the farce.

They are joined by familiar guest artist Liz Abbott (Veronica’s Room), as well as award-winning TV and theatre veteran Patricia R. Floyd (Florida Rep debut), and Carbonell Award nominee Jackie Rivera (Florida Rep debut).

New York-based award-winning filmmaker and international theatre veteran, Abigail Zealey Bess, directs the production and comes to Florida Rep after numerous projects at Ensemble Studio Theatre, SoHo Repertory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Edinburgh Festival, Young Vic, and Strand Theatre, London.

Bess is joined by ensemble set designer Jim Hunter (The Miracle Worker), costume designer Alice Neff (The Last Night of Ballyhoo), lighting designer Annmarie Duggan (Florida Rep debut) and sound designer John Kiselica (Cabaret).

The production stage manager is Amy L. Massari (Night and Day).

George Washington’s Teeth is the fourth world premiere to come out of Florida Rep’s PlayLab Festival. The others are Doublewide by Stephen Spotswood (2017; NNPN Rolling World Premiere), Split in Three by Daryl Lisa Fazio (2015), and the regional premiere of The Dingdong by Mark Shanahan (2016) – all of which have had subsequent productions since their runs at Florida Rep. The PlayLab has produced twenty new play readings, and is responsible for commissioning and premiering two works for young audiences by Christopher Parks, Journey to Oz and A Dream Within a Dream: The Spirit of Poe.

Florida Repertory Theatre is a proud Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN) in Washington, D.C., the country’s alliance of non-profit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Many of the plays submitted to the 2017 PlayLab Festival, were chosen from a call for submissions from NNPN member and alumni playwrights. Florida Rep is actively seeking partnerships with other NNPN affiliated theatres to produce this new play as part of the NNPN Rolling World Premiere program.

George Washington’s Teeth plays in the Historic Arcade Theatre April 27 to May 13, 2018, with four discounted previews April 24-26. Regular performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday &Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. matinees on Thursday, Sunday and select Saturdays. Priced at $55/$45 for regular performances and $35/$25 for previews, tickets are available at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488.

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Florida Rep Ed Conservancy bringing ‘Heathers’ musical to Historic Arcade Theatre stage in May (04-22-18)

The long-awaited Florida Rep Education Conservatory production of Heathers: The Musical officially opens May 23 at the Historic Arcade Theatre. Even after three decades running, Heathers continues to electrify audiences and critics alike with its smart and compelling story about navigating a high school dystopia paired with rocking musical numbers that have carved their way into the upper echelons of musical theatre hits.

This hilarious, heartfelt, and homicidal rock musical tells the story of Westerberg High and the rule of a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing trio: Heather, Heather, and Heather, the most popular but cruelest girls of the school. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and mysterious new kid, JD, who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under.  With its moving love story, laugh-out-loud comedy, and unflinching look at the joys and anguish of high school, Heathers puts perspective on the high-school experience and what’s really important in life.

Nominated for several accolades, including the 2014 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and the 2014 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical, the show features book, music, and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe based on the hit 1988 film written by Daniel Walters. Conservatory audiences will hear songs such as “Candy Store,” “Dead Girl Walking,” and “Beautiful” sung once again on stage by the familiar student faces of Westerberg High.

The production features an all-star line-up of Florida Rep Education Conservatory veterans and familiar faces. The cast is led by Nayda Baez (School of Rock, Florida Premiere) as the intelligent misfit Veronica Sawyer, Brice Kingsley (Conservatory debut) as the dark and brooding JD, Athena Kelley (Metamorphoses) as Heather Chandler, Chloe Tsai (Metamorphoses) as Heather Duke, and Cat Westley (Metamorphosis) as Heather McNamara.

Education Director Kody C. Jones directs the production. Rosalind Metcalf (Curious George: The Golden Meatball, Florida Rep Education TYA Tour) music directs with choreography by Megan Leonard (Conservatory debut). Rosalind Metcalf joins this production from New Jersey after many years of music directing for numerous colleges and theatre companies while Megan Leonard’s extensive background in dance includes working with the Radio City Rockettes and touring The Addams Family. Emma Woods (School of Rock, Florida Premiere) serves as assistant director and Christina DeCarlo (School of Rock, Florida Premiere) is the assistant choreographer.

Florida Rep Education’s Conservatory program is designed for young artists who want to pursue theatre. It offers young artists an introduction to the professional world with a real-life regional theatre experience providing a creative outlet that culminates with a short run of public performances.

Florida Repertory Theatre Education performs on tour and in the Historic Arcade Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson and Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep Education online at FloridaRepEducation.org, and by following the Education Department on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

The production runs May 23 through May 27 with matinee performances on May 26-27. Priced at $10 with a valid student ID and $20 for adults, general admission tickets are available at www.FloridaRepEducation.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488.

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Florida Rep Education’s 2018-19 season focuses on ‘the journey’ (04-22-18)

Florida Rep Education’s 2018-2019 season will be filled with classic stories brought to the stage, electrifying Broadway musicals, a world premiere, and brand new competitive programming adjudicated by the industry’s leading professionals.

“This year’s education season places a thematic focus on journey and the struggles and joys one faces when overcoming the challenges of that journey,” said Education Director Kody C. Jones. “Everyone’s journey leaves a mark on us as a human as well as a mark on the world around us. With this season we challenge our students and patrons to reflect on their own journey as we navigate the trials and tribulations every young person faces in life as they mature in to adulthood.”

New this season, Florida Rep Education will be participating in the 2019 Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, GA. The Junior Theatre Festival is the world’s largest celebration of young people performing musical theatre. Florida Rep Education will bring 30 students from the Southwest Florida area to Atlanta to gather with peers from across 40 states and 6 countries. The Festival is a mix of adjudications, workshops for students and teachers, and special events like the “New Works Showcase” and “Direct From Broadway,” where Broadway’s best share their talents.

“Our Education Associate, Christina DeCarlo, has initiated a groundbreaking idea that will lead to a career-changing opportunity for our young actors,” Jones said. Past attendees and performers of JTF included Tony, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Emmy nominee Darren Criss; 11-time Grammy Award-winning musical theatre and film score composer Alan Menken; and critically acclaimed, Tony Award-winning songwriting duo Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

Education programs have grown exponentially in the past few seasons, and reach upwards of 35,000 young people and families each year. Overseen by Education Director Kody C. Jones, the department continues to educate, excite, and enlighten Southwest Florida audiences as our popular programs thrive and new ones take shape.

Florida Rep Education performs in several venues on tour and in the Historic Arcade Theatre on Bay Street between Jackson and Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep Education online at FloridaRepEducation.org, and by following the Education Department on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

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Here are Florida Rep Education’s 2018-2019 shows (04-22-18)

Here are the shows that Florida Rep Education will produce during its 2018-2019 season:

The Cat in the Hat

Originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain, The Cat in the Hat was adapted from the book by Dr. Seuss and originally directed by Katie Mitchell. A beloved classic, watch the troublemaking Cat in the Hat perform incredible tricks and produce wondrous items to entertain Sally, her brother, and the frustrated little pet fish during one rainy day. The Cat in the Hat is available as either a touring show or field trip for area schools.

Refugee

A world premiere, Refugee follows three kids from different eras with a common mission: escape. Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. Isabel is a Cuban girl in riotous 1994. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end. Refugee is based on the New York Times Bestselling book written by Alan Gratz as adapted by Eric Coble. Like Cat in the Hat, Refugee is available as either a touring show or field trip for area schools.

Romeo and Juliet

Adapted by Bill Kincaid from the William Shakespeare classic, Romeo & Juliet retells the ancient tale of star-crossed lovers whose struggling passion for each other brings fatal consequences that ultimately reconcile their feuding families. Romeo & Juliet is available as a touring show .

Disney’s Newsies: The Musical

Inspired by real events, this high-energy Tony Award-Winning musical tells the plight of young newspaper sellers to make ends meet in 1899 New York City. When newspaper owners start to exploit their labor beyond reason, Jack Kelly and his band of newsies rise up and face the ruthless Joseph Pulitzer. Based on the 1992 eponymous film, music for Newsies is by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and book by Harvey Fierstein. This production will take to the Arcade Theatre stage in the spring.

Spring Awakening

The winner of eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical), Spring Awakening explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with a poignancy and passion that is illuminating and unforgettable. Told by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater through what Entertainment Weekly called “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade,” this landmark musical is an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock and roll that is exhilarating audiences across the nation like no other musical in years. With book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening comes to the Arcade Theatre stage during the summer of 2019.

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins JR.

Based on one of the most popular Disney movies of all time and the Broadway musical that played for over 2,500 performances and received multiple Olivier and Tony Awards nominations, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins JR. is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs and breathtaking dance numbers. For ages 8-15, this program focuses on touring performances and collaborative competition! The music and lyrics for Mary Poppins JR comes from Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, with book by Julian Fellowes and new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

The 2018-2019 season will also feature the 2019 Junior Theatre Festival entry Show on the Go.

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Ghostbird to perform ‘Catastrophe’ and ‘Ibb’ at Langford-Kinston Home on May 4 (04-22-18)

It was Robert Burns who penned the line “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley [often go awry].” And so it has come to pass that Ghosbird Theatre Company’s plan to stage Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe as a piece of guerrilla theater have hit a bit of a snag.

“It’s not going to be quite as ‘guerilla’ as we hoped, but we’re pleased with some of the developments,” reports Ghostbird’s Jim Brock (pictured below). “First, we are producing two plays: Catastrophe by Samuel Beckett, as advertised, and Ibb by Barry Cavin.”

Ibb is an acronym for “inspired by Beckett,” and is a short, 14-minute play that riffs off Beckett characters, lines, and motifs.

“Second, we are staging the plays at the Langford-Kingston Home on May 4, Art Walk night. It won’t be like Writing Shadows, where we used the whole the house, but just the main room, where our audience will be happily seated throughout the performances,” which together will run less than 30 minutes.

Ghostbird will present two rotations of the plays, the first at 8:00 p.m., and the second at 9:00 p.m. The performances are free and open to the public, but seating will be available on first-come, first-served basis. “So we recommend the audience arrive 15 minutes before show time.”

The cast for the plays consists of Katelyn Gravel, Dana Lynn Raulerson, Jim Brock and Barry Cavin, who will also direct.

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Lab’s cannily crafted ‘Visiting Mr. Green’ closes April 29 with 2:00 p.m. matinee  (04-22-18)

Visiting Mr. Green is on stage at the Laboratory Theater of Florida through April 29.

The story follows two men thrown together under the oddest of circumstances. Having almost hit 86-year-old widower Mr. Green with his car, Ross Gardiner is charged with reckless driving. He must now complete a form of community service and visit Mr. Green every week for the next six months. At first, both men resent these forced visits, but soon their conversations reveal family secrets and past hardships in need of being brought into the light of day. A story of acceptance and open-mindedness, replete with charm and poignancy quickly develops.

Local favorite Michael Hennessey (The Best Man) plays Mr. Green.

The rest of this announcement is here.

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A look at Lab Theater’s 2018-2019 season (04-22-18)

Lab Theater’s 2018-2019 season will include the following shows:

Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte – June 1-July 1

If you loved last season’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, you’ll love this campy parody of the movie Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte! We journey to a plantation in the Old South and meet Charlotte Hollis, a southern belle whose only companion is her maid. She has been shunned by her community since the long-ago mysterious murder of her lover. Now the family home is about to be torn down, so she calls upon her cousin, Miriam, for help. It’s sure to be a drag-tastic time with these divas! Laughter is the only way to make sense of it all.

Written by Matthew Martin and Steve Murray, this tour de force of great gay camp acting is directed by Lab Theater Artistic Director Annette Trossbach, with 8:00 p.m. performances on June 1,2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30 and 2:00 p.m. matinees on June 10, 17 and 24 as well as July 1.

Evil Dead, The Musical (High School Version) – July 19-22

What do you get when you combine cult classic zombie movies with stereotypical teen movies and put it all to music? You get this crazy, cheesy, hilarious, fun-filled show that appeals to horror and non-horror fans alike! Get ready for blood, chainsaws, limbs, and demons…along with laughter and singing! “If you think Sweeney Todd is for sissies, you need to see this show!” NYTheater.com. “Bloody Awesome!” The Globe and Mail.

Evil Dead, The Musical is written by George Reinblatt and is an Education Camp Teen Show. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on July 19, 20 and 21, with two 2:00 p.m. matinees on July 21 and 22, 2018.

It’s Only A Play – August 3-26

Set in the townhome of a Broadway producer, we meet the team behind The Golden Egg as they are waiting for their opening night reviews. There’s the producer herself, the terrified playwright, his best friend, the has-been female lead, the British director,, and a theater critic (wait, why is he there?). Filled with one-liners about the entertainment world that will make you laugh and cringe, this show will remind you that there truly is no business like show business!

Written by Terrence McNally and directed by Scott Carpenter, the Southwest Florida premiere of this razor-toothed parody (Hollywood Reporter) will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on August 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25, with three 2:00 p.m. matinees on August 12, 19 and 26.

Anna In The Tropics – September 14-30

Picture it: Ybor City, Tampa in 1929. Its hot and humid inside a small cigar factory. Workers are hand-rolling tobacco leaves, while a lector reads anything from newspapers to poetry to novels to entertain them. But when the new hire reads from the novel Anna Karenina , it sets in motion the major events of the story. Themes in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play range from love, lust and infidelity to violence and debt. And they turn the lives of these Cuban-American families into the very story to which they’ve been listening. “The passions of love and lust are delicately observed….The characters are sympathetic and true,” says TheaterMania.com.

Directed by Artistic Director Annette Trossbach and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, performances are 8:00 p.m. on September 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29, with 2:00 p.m. matinee performances on September 23, 29 and 3 and a special preview performance at 8:00 p.m. on September 13.

Hand To God October 19-November 4 Sponsored By Art Zupko

Admit it. You’ve had certain…impulses, right? Ones you’ve thought about, but would never actually say out loud or act upon? It’s human nature. And that darkest human nature is exposed when a Texas church youth-group assignment to create original hand puppets goes strangely awry. Chosen the Best New Play in 2014 by Off-Broadway Alliance, Hand to God is described as “darkly delightful … filthy hilarity” by The New York Times and “ribald and wickedly funny … Sesame Street meets The Exorcist” by the Wall Street Journal. Written by Robert Askins and directed by Nykkie Rizley, the Southwest Florida premiere of Hand to God will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on October 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 and November 1, 2 and 3, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on October 21 and 28 and November 3 and 4, with a preview performance at 8:00 p.m. on October 18.

24-Hour Playwriting Project – November 17 Sponsored By Stacy Lee-Williams

Playwrights will bring their sleeping bags and coffee mugs to Lab Theater, where they will be assigned a theme, a director, and actors. Within just twenty-four hours, you will see the fruits of their labor when we stage all of their 20-minute one-act plays! Judged by a panel of area theater and arts professionals, the 24-Hour Playwriting Project is a hugely popular event! The actors take the stage at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 17.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told – November 30 – December 22 Sponsored By The Patterson Family

It’s the holidays! Time for the classics – Rudolph, Frosty, Ebenezer Scrooge, the Nutcracker and many more! But maybe not the way we’re accustomed to hearing them. In what can best be called a holiday mash-up, actors take beloved stories and traditions from around the world and turn them upside-down and sideways! Says Orlando Weekly, “The play accomplishes the small miracle of making all Christmas myths seem both utterly ridiculous and absolutely essential. Yes, Virginia, you can have your fruitcake and eat it, too.” Written by James FitzGerald, John K. Alvarez, Michael Carleton & Will Knapp, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on December 9, 16 and 22. There will also be an 8:00 p.m. preview performance on November 29.

A Guy, A Girl, A Piano (Cabaret Act) January 4-6, 2019

Theresa Quinn and Randy Kramer will join The Lab with their 4-hands-1-piano cabaret. Enjoy an evening of virtuosic 4-hand piano arrangements, vocal solos and duets, featuring the music of Gershwin, Sondheim, the Beatles, Beethoven, Joplin, Bernstein, Fats Waller, and others. There are just three performances: two at 8:00 p.m. on January 4 and 5, and a 2:00 p.m. matinee on January 6.

Hedwig And The Angry Inch January 18-February 3, 2019 Sponsored By The Bireley Family Foundation

Meet Hedwig, one of the most unique characters to hit the stage in this wickedly funny, innovative, and heartbreaking rock musical sensation. Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, Entertainment Weekly calls the show groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time. “Foulmouthed, electrically tuneful, and furiously funny,” adds The New York Times. “Smart lyrics and beautiful melodies,” says the New York Daily News. Written by Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell and directed by Paul Graffy, Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on January 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 31 as well as on February 1 and 2, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on January 20 and 27 and February 2 and 3. There will also be an 8:00 p.m. preview performance on January 17.

And The Winner Is… February 22 – March 16, 2010 Sponsored By Arlene Foreman

Tyler Johnes just wants to make it to the Oscars to accept his award for Best Supporting Actor. There’s just one problem – he seems to be stuck in a bar where things are not quite…normal. Seamus the bartender isn’t helping matters, either. While Tyler continues to try to make it onto the red carpet, he is interrupted by unusual visitors. Filled with humor and emotion, this play will win your heart. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on February 22, 23 and 28 and March 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 and 2:00 p.m. on February 24 and March 3, 10 and 16, with a preview performance at 8:00 p.m. on February 21.

Andorra – March 29-April 14 Sponsored By Ella Nayor & Jeffrey Cull

One of the most oft-produced plays in Europe, this parable about racism and prejudice is a great example of epic-theater. Set in fictionalized Andorra, Andri is adopted by a teacher and raised as a Jew. Throughout the play, Andri is faced with outright prejudice and complicit silence from his fellow townspeople. Playwright Max Frisch’s message is loud and clear: prejudice happens in every country, both in the past and the present, and we must learn to accept everyone’s differences if we are to lead happy, productive lives. “The guilty are sitting in the stalls … They are to be frightened: they should, when they have seen the play, lie awake at night,” says Time Magazine. The Southwest Florida premiere of Andorra will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on March 29 and 30 and April 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20; at 2:00 p.m. on March 31 and April 7, 14 and 20; with a special 8:00 p.m. preview performance on March 28.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for students at the door. However, discounts are available for season ticket and snowbird ticket holders. You can purchase tickets here.

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Lab Theater’s new seating will provide better line of sight for viewers (04-22-18)

Lab Theater’s 2018-2019 season opens June 1 with the campy parody Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte, but a highlight of the new season will be the addition of risers in The Lab’s proscenium that will elevate seats in the fourth row and beyond in order to provide better viewing.

Starting with Anna In The Tropics in September, Rows A, B, And C will be on the floor, with Rows D through I on risers. Each row of risers will be six inches higher than the row in front of it.

In addition, a special seating arrangement is being employed in conjunction with The Lab’s production of Hedwig And The Angry Inch January 18 through February 3, 2019.

Lab Theater has been conducting extensive renovations and improvements of both the theater and its lighting and sound systems since it purchased the facility in which it stages its productions. If you haven’t been lately, The Lab is all new, all business, all fun.

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‘A Raisin in the Sun’ considered one of 20th Century’s greatest plays (04-22-18)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts will present A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry May 3-13. Considered by many to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century, A Raisin in the Sun follows the story of the Younger family as they discover the dangers of dreaming big and the heartbreak of reality.

A drama in three acts, A Raisin in the Sun was first published and produced in 1959. The play’s title is taken from “Harlem,” a poem by Langston Hughes, which examines the question “What happens to a dream deferred?/Does it dry up/like a raisin in the sun?” This penetrating study of a working-class black family on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s reflected Hansberry’s own experiences of racial harassment after her prosperous family moved into a white neighborhood.

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Rom-com ‘Kalamazoo’ on Sugden Theater stage through April 27 (04-22-18)

On stage through April 27 in the Sugden Community Theatre is The Naples Players’ production of Kalamazoo, a light and romantic comedy by Michelle Kholos Brooks and Kelly Younger. The story follows two quirky but endearing Baby Boomers, Peg (Debi Garnett) and Irv (Jerry Rannow), as they bravely venture into the world of modern dating. But when these opposites attract, they discover love isn’t any easier the second time around. Winner of the Riva Shiner Comedy Award, Kalamazoo is a romantic comedy about life’s second act and learning you’re never too old to be young.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. Tickets cost $40 for adults, $35 for subscribers and $10 for students/educators, and may be purchased at www.naplesplayers.org or by telephoning the box office at (239) 263-7990. [Box office hours are 10:00 am. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and two hours before showtimes.]

The Naples Players at the Sugden Community Theatre/Tobye Studio are located at 701 5th Ave. S, Naples FL 34102.

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The Naples Players bringing ‘Ripcord’ to the stage April 25 – May 20 (04-22-18)

Coming to Blackburn Hall at the Sugden Community Theatre April 25 is The Naples Players’ production of Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire.

The action in this hilarious comedy takes place in a sunny room on an upper floor in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. When a cantankerous resident by the name of Abby is forced to share her quarters with new arrival Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary. A seemingly harmless bet between the old women quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship that reveals not just the tenacity of these worthy opponents, but also deeper truths that each of them would rather remain hidden.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays between the opening on April 25 and May 20, 2018. Tickets cost $40 for adults, $35 for subscribers, and $10 for students/educators, and may be purchased at www.naplesplayers.org or by telephoning the box office at (239) 263-7990. [Box office hours are 10:00 am. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and two hours before showtimes.]

The Naples Players at the Sugden Community Theatre /Blackburn Hall are located at 701 5th Ave. S, Naples FL 34102.

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65th anniversary season showcases reason The Naples Players one of leading theatres of its kind in country (04-15-18)

The Naples Players (TNP) has announced the line-up for its 65th anniversary season, and it is packed with dazzling musicals (including Chicago, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and Guys & Dolls), heartfelt comedies, magical adventures and a world premiere show.

“Our 65th Anniversary season showcases the reasons that The Naples Players has become one of the leading theatres of its kind in the country,” says The Naples Players’ Artistic Director Bryce Alexander. “Presenting three classic American musicals – with full orchestras to accompany the casts – the season celebrates the styles of music and dance that have defined the best of Broadway. The season also features a world premiere play written by a local playwright, as well as classic works that articulate the funny, thought-provoking, and touching ideals that represent our community. We are thrilled that this diverse offering will provide Southwest Florida with the high-quality, fully realized artistic productions that our seasoned and novice theatre-lovers will be able to enjoy together. A season about dreams, and the way we achieve our dreams together – we could think of no better way to celebrate the last 65 years while looking forward to the next.”

Here are the shows that The Naples Players will produce during its 2018-2019 anniversary season:

CHICAGO THE MUSICAL (Musical Comedy)

Set in the roaring twenties, with its universal tale of fame, fortune and “All That Jazz,” Chicago is packed with show-stopping songs and spectacular Fosse-style choreography. Earning 6 Tony Awards, a Grammy® and the record for the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, Chicago sets the bar for entertainment. With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse, and script adaptation by David Thompson, Chicago is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. Dazzling and enduring, Chicago will be performed in Blackburn Hall June 28-July 29, 2018.

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (Family Friendly Comedy)

Tony-winning Peter and the Starcatcher upends the century old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (a.k.a. Peter Pan). From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, Peter and the Starcatcher playfully explores the depths of greed and despair… and the bonds of friendship, duty and love. Written by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and with music by Wayne Barker, this imaginative and magical story will be performed in Blackburn Hall October 3-28, 2018.

JUNE & JASON’S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO DIVORCE (TNP’s First World-Premiere Comedy)

Reminiscent of great sitcom humor, this quick-witted comedy introduces an unforgettable collection of zany neighbors and friends who try to save June and Jason from a looming divorce. Fun and fresh, June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce comes from the wild and creative mind of local playwright and actor Laura Lorusso. It will be performed in Tobye Studio Exclusive October 24-November 18, 2018.

IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS (Holiday Musical)

Veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former army commander. The dazzling score features 17 well-known Irving Berlin standards including “Blue Skies,” “I Love a Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.” Based on the beloved and timeless Paramount Pictures film of the same name, this heartwarming musical adaptation features a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. It will be performed in Blackburn Hall November 28-December 23, 2018.

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER (Comedy)

With a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert, Bernard’s plans for a romantic rendezvous with his mistress are complete. But when Bernard’s wife learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own… setting the stage for a collision course of assumed identities and outrageous infidelities. The cook is Suzette, the lover is Suzanne, the friend is bewildered, the wife is suspicious, the husband is losing his mind, and everyone is guaranteed a good time at this hilarious romp through the French countryside. Penned by Marc Camoletti and adapted by Robin Hawdon, this clever and rollicking comedy centers will be performed in Blackburn Hall January 16-February 10, 2019.

MARJORIE PRIME (Pulitzer Prize Finalist)

In the future, the inevitable pain of losing a loved one is mitigated through artificial intelligence. As 85-year-old Marjorie loses the ability to recall memories at will, her daughter and son-in-law provide her with a “prime,” an A.I. hologram of her late husband Walter. The vaporous and shifting nature of memory and the power it holds in relationships is illuminated as Walter Prime begins to assimilate the stories of Marjorie’s memories as his own. Written by Jordan Harrison, this insightful and visionary story will be performed in Tobye Studio Exclusive February 6-March 3, 2019.

GUYS & DOLLS (Musical Comedy)

Considered one of the greatest musicals of all time, Guys and Dolls is filled with some of the most wonderful show tunes ever written, including “Luck Be a Lady,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and the irrepressible anthem “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Guys and Dolls will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face and remind you how much fun it is to see a revival of a classic American musical! With book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and based on The Idyll of Sarah Brown and characters by Damon Runyon, this masterful and unforgettable musical will be performed in Blackburn Hall March 6-April 7, 2019.

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID (Comedy)

In this hilarious comedic romp, four friends have sworn to keep the promise they made on the night of their Senior Prom: to be in each other’s weddings…no matter what. More than thirty years later, these Southern friends-for-life are still making “the long walk” for each other, determined to honor that vow. Written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones & Nicholas Hope, look for this quirky and loveable play to be performed in Tobye Studio Exclusive March 27-April 20, 2019.

LOST IN YONKERS (Comedy)

During the 1940s, two young brothers find their lives turned upside down when their father moves south for work, leaving them with their no-nonsense grandmother, their loving but absent-minded spinster Aunt Bella, and her small-time hoodlum brother in a strange new world called Yonkers. This heartfelt and nostalgic Neil Simon comedy will be performed in Blackburn Hall May 1-26, 2019.

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