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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news August 1-7, 2019

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These are the actors, artists, filmmakers and events who are in the news in Southwest Florida this week:

 

Public Art Committee expanding free phone app that explains public artworks (08-06-19)

Art professionals and urban planners have identified nearly four dozen benefits that flow from the presence of public artworks in outdoor spaces. However, these advantages can only be maximized to the extent that the public fully appreciates the stories they tell. And it is exactly for this reason that the City of Fort Myers has installed a free phone app that informs local residents, vacationers and other visitors about the murals, sculpture and other art installations they encounter as they work, shop, dine and walk around downtown Fort Myers and parks located in other regions within our city limits.

Go here for the rest of this tutorial.

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SWFHS President Glenn Miller records Otocast audio on Wes Nott Statue (08-06-19)

In 2018, the City of Fort Myers launched a free mobile app that enables resident, vacationers and other cultural tourists to learn all about the public artworks that are interspersed throughout town. Called Otocast, the app contains text and historic photos for each covered artwork. But the app’s centerpiece is an audio recording made by the artist who created the piece or someone who is intimately familiar with the artwork and the stories it recounts. By virtue of this audio component, Otocast is like having your very own tour guide who knows the coolest facts and behind-the-scenes stories about the art pieces you see all around you.

One of those artworks is the Wes Nott Statue. It’s located in the northeast corner of the campus of Lee Memorial Hospital in (where else?) Wes Nott Park, which appropriately sits on the site of what was once the Wes Nott swimming pool. Today, Coach Nott presides over the space, standing against a railing that abuts the southbound lanes of Cleveland Avenue (U.S. 41). It was cast by North Fort Myers sculptor Don “D.J.” Wilkins for the Fort Myers Beautification Board in the year 2000.

Go here for the rest of this article.

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Activist Reginald Billups records USCT 2d Regiment Monument Otocast audio (08-06-19)

In 2018, the City of Fort Myers launched a free mobile app that enables resident, vacationers and other cultural tourists to learn all about the public artworks that are interspersed throughout town. Called Otocast, the app contains text and historic photos for each covered artwork. But the app’s centerpiece is an audio recording made by the artist who created the piece or someone who is intimately familiar with the artwork and the stories it recounts. By virtue of this audio component, Otocast is like having your very own tour guide who knows the coolest facts and behind-the-scenes stories about the art pieces you see all around you.

One of those artworks is the USCT 2nd Regiment Monument in Centennial Park. The memorial features a larger-than-life “bronze” of a fictional sergeant in the United States Colored Troops 2nd Regiment. He is standing before a gate within a wall. The wall represents slavery; the gate symbolizes the freedom provided by emancipation. The soldier memorializes the 179,000 African American men who served in the Union Army and the 19,000 who served in the Union Navy during the Civil War.

Closer to home, the fictional soldier also represents the 168 men of Companies D and I of the USCT 2nd Regiment who were stationed in Fort Myers in 1865 and defended the Union outpost from Confederate attack during the Battle of Fort Myers on February 20, 1865.

You will find the rest of this article here.

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Recalling other luminaries and artists who’ve provided Otocast audios (08-06-19)

The Public Art Committee recently added audios on the free mobile phone app Otocast for the USCT 2nd Regiment Monument and the Wes Nott Statue by civil rights activist and music instructor Reginald Billups and freelance writer, author and Southwest Florida Historical Society president Glenn Miller, respectively. They join an illustrious group of other luminaries and artists who’ve provided Otocast audios in the past.

River District Alliance Director Jared Beck provided the audio for Fort Myers’ first public artwork, the Tootie McGregor Fountain. Beck is a past chair of the City’s Public Art Committee, and in that capacity, he played an instrumental role in persuading the City to subscribe for Otocast in order to better provide information to the public about Fort Myers’ public artworks. Beck has long held the opinion that more needs to be done to acquaint people with the accomplishments of Tootie McGregor Terry, who was perhaps the town’s greatest benefactor during its early history. Jared is also the co-author of River & Road, a visual and narrative history of the architectural evolution and urban development of Southwest Florida as shown in Fort Myers, Florida. Written with Pamela Miner, River & Road won the 2017 Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Award for Visual Arts.

The audio for the phone app that informs the public about the Buckingham & Page Army Air Field Monument in Centennial Park was provided by the Executive Director of Fort Myers’ IMAG History & Science Center, Matt Johnson. Matt has a special connection to the two army air fields. He and journalist Chris Wadsworth co-authored a book on the Buckingham Army Air Field and knows more about the Buckingham & Page Army Air Fields than just about anyone living in Southwest Florida. In the audio, Matt shares interesting, little known facts about the air fields and describes the impact that they had on the growth and development of Fort Myers in the post-war years. Go here for more on Matt.

Gerri Reaves provides the audio for The Spirit of Fort Myers, which is popularly known as Rachel at the Well. She wrote a dispositive article on the artwork for The River Weekly in May of 2015, and contacted von Zengen’s family for information on the sculptor and his work incident to that story. To this day, she remains in touch with the von Zengen family. In her Otocast audio, Gerri shares historical information, fun facts and fascinating anecdotes about Rachel and the circumstances surrounding her creation, dedication and ongoing conservation. Many downtown residents, workers and visitors know Gerri Reaves from her weekly column appearing in The River Weekly News. But Gerri’s credentials are considerably more far-ranging. Her books include Legendary Locals of Fort Myers (Arcadia Press, 2013), Fort Myers: Then and Now (Arcadia Press, 2008) and Mapping the Private Geography: Autobiography, Identity and America (2000), all of which are available on Amazon and in select area bookstores.

One of Fort Myers’ most important artworks is the mural on the federal courthouse known as Fort Myers: An Alternative History, and artist Barbara Jo Revelle recorded the audio for her ceramic tile mural herself. The audio is filled with interesting facts and little known anecdotes culled by the artist from disparate source materials during the intensive research she conducted between 1997 and 1999. Revelle gained national notoriety in 1991 when she completed a photo-based, computer-generated tile mural on the Denver Convention Center that is two city blocks long. Titled A People’s History of Colorado, it is still one of the largest outdoor public art murals in the world. Between 1991 and 1997, Ms. Revelle went on to render murals on the new public library in Lafayette, Colorado, the clock tower that is part of the Safety and Justice Building in Longmont, Colorado, and a documentary photo-mural for the Hancock Center, IBM Building and Uptown Hull House Gallery in Chicago that was sponsored by the Chicago Council of Fine Arts.

Sitting in the entrance to the Riviera-St. Tropez Condominiums is a modernist sculpture known as Naiad, and its maker is renowned monumental metal sculptor Albert Paley from Rochester, New York. Like Revelle, Paley himself recorded the audio that describes Naiad. Paley is a phenom in the world of public art, so having an example of his work in downtown Fort Myers is quite a coup. Over the past four decades, he has created monumental site-specific metal assemblages that place him not only in the forefront of contemporary sculpture, but in the vanguard of artists working in the cutting-edge genre-defying field of “Archisculpture.” In fact, the American Institute of Architects took note of Paley’s work in the Archisculpture several years ago, naming him the first metal sculptor to ever receive its coveted Institute Honors Award, the highest award conferred by AIA on a non-architect.

More recordings are in the offing, so check back periodically for updates as the City’s Public Art Committee expands Otocast in the days, weeks and months ahead.

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ArtFest Fort Myers now accepting applications for 20th anniversary show (08-05-19)

ArtFest Fort Myers is now accepting applications from professional artists for participation in its 2020 juried show which, coincidentally, is its 20th anniversary show as well! Featuring the work of 200 artists, ArtFest Fort Myers will bring 90,000 art lovers and collectors to the largest outdoor gallery in Southwest Florida on the first weekend in February.

Why do so many artists vie for inclusion in the show? It’s simple. Because ArtFest’s year-round friendly and professional staff places the focus on the artist and the art-selling experience. Targeting art buyers throughout Southwest Florida and beyond – from Marco Island to Sarasota and east to West Palm Beach – ArtFest’s promotional campaign includes all forms of media. Judging from each year’s turn-out, they’re clearly doing something right. No other art festival in Florida comes close to pulling in the number of people or the concentration of collectors that ArtFest does.

The organizers also understand the importance of providing great artist amenities over festival weekend to ensure that its exhibitors are stress free and ready to share their work with the festival’s dedicated and enthusiastic attendees.

How are festival artists chosen?

Each October, ArtFest Fort Myers brings together a panel of professional artists who view submitted images and score each applying artist on a range of 1 – 7 points. The artists with the highest scores are then invited to participate in ArtFest.

“Our jury panel varies each year but always represents a broad base of expertise with regard to artistic mediums,” ArtFest points out in its press release announcing the opening of this year’s submission process. “Theirs is the difficult task of evaluating who is the ‘best-of–the-best’ from the hundreds of artists who wish to join ArtFest Fort Myers! Our jury process is open to artists and patrons – please contact us for more information.”

For Artist Application information, please contact ArtFest Fort Myers at 239-768-3602, email info@ArtFestFortMyers.com or visit http://www.ArtFestFortMyers.com.

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Boulderbrook accepting submissions for Southwest Florida art festivals (08-05-19)

Boulderbrook Productions hosts a number of boutique art festivals in Southwest Florida each season. It is currently accepting submissions for:

  • The Art Festival at Mercato (January 25 & 26, 2020);  application deadline now closed;
  • Bonita Springs Invitational Art Festival (November 23 & 24); application deadline now closed;
  • Sanibel Masters Art Festival (Novembe 29 & 30); application deadline now closed;
  • Art Festival at the Sanibel Shops (December 7 & 8); deadline: September 7;
  • The Sanibel SCA Art Festival (January 17 & 18, 2020); deadline: October 4;
  • Sarasota Masters Art Festival (February 1 & 2, 2020); deadline September 21;
  • Bonita Springs Invitational at The Promenade (February 15 & 16, 2020); October 1;
  • Boca Grande Art Festival (March 7 & 8, 2020); deadline: October 14;
  • Peace River National Art Festival (March 21 & 22, 2020); deadline October 1; and
  • Bonita Springs Masters Art Festival (March 28 & 29, 20209); deadline October 14.

You must apply online at  http://www.boulderbrook.net/.

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Hot Works accepting applications for Estero Fine Art Show (08-05-19)

Hot Works LLC is now accepting submissions for the 23rd Estero Fine Art Show. It will take place on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2020 at JetBlue Park. The show features original work in a wide array of disciplines, including painting, clay, glass, fiber, sculpture, wood, photography, jewelry and more.

Voted a top 100 art show four years running, the Estero Fine Art show is recognized as one of America’s highest quality and most respected art shows in the country. One of the show’s highlights is a Youth Art Competition for grades K-8 or ages 5-13.

Winter home of the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue Park affords both exhibitors and attendees with numerous benefits, including a location that draws from and is easily accessible from everywhere in Southwest Florida, as well as plenty of convenient, on-site parking.

The application deadline is September 17, 2019. Applications can be found online at https://www.zapplication.org/event-info.php?ID=7668. For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at patty@hotworks.org or 248-684-2613.

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Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020 (08-05-19)

East Entry 02The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts.

Start your new year off in sunny Florida. New opportunities await you at the 24th Annual Naples New Year’s Art Show. This fine art festival draws professional artists from around the country and was ranked #20 in the nation in 2018 by Sunshine Artist Magazine and is included by ArtFairSourceBoook.com in its “BLUE CHIP 100” Fine Art Events for 2019.

If you are interested in exhibiting at this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, January 4-5, 2020
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 11/22/19; 50% refund: 12/06/19 (refunds subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m. early morning set up only: On street set up in quads; No electrical
  • Application deadline: 09/08/19
  • Jury Process begins: 09/13/19
  • Status Notification: 09/23/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 10/24/19
  • Artist Info Emailed: 11/25/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 10/24/19
  • No Refund Deadline:  12/07/19
  • Application available online at ZAPP

 

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Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples National Art Show (08-05-19)

Crowd Shot BestThe Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts.

Naples National is consistently voted among the top 25 art festivals in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine and was ranked #24 last year. As one of the oldest festivals in Collier County, Naples National is counted by the local community as among its premiere, must–see events, thanks to the high quality of art, the engaging personalities of the artists and the festive atmosphere. The show is held in scenic Cambier Park and along 8th Street South, one block from downtown Naples’ premier shopping and dining district.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the 41st Naples National Art Festival, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday & Sunday, February 22-23, 2020
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Accept 194 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $625 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 01/10/20; 50% refund: 01/31/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: Friday set up on 2/21,
  • Park and street setting
  • Application deadline: 10/28/19
  • Jury Process begins: 11/01/19
  • Status Notification: 11/25/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 12/16/19
  • Artist Info Emailed: 01/20/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 12/16/19
  • Application available online at http://www.zapplication.org/ beginning June 1, 2019

To improve the quality of the show and to provide more sales opportunities for our artists, NAA has reduced the number of booths available from 270 to 194. “This will allow artists greater exposure and less competition,” states NAA in its prospectus for the show. “Additionally, the park layout, will consist of one loop making it easier for customers to view all artist’s booths. However, there is a corresponding increase in booth fees.”

This is the only Naples Art Association show that offers cash awards for Best of Show, Best 2D, Best 3D and Awards of Distinction in 2D and 3D. The amounts are:

  • Best of Show – $2,000
  • Best 2D – $500
  • Best 3D – $500
  • Awards of Distinction 2D – 5 awards at $200 each
  • Awards of Distinction 3D – 5 awards at $200 each

Awards will be presented at the band shell in Cambier Park at 3:00 pm on Saturday. NAA staff or volunteers will notify an artist if they need to be present at the awards ceremony on Saturday. Awards are given based on the same criteria used for the jury process. The winning artists are invited to participate in the following year’s show and receive jury exempt status but must still pay his/her booth fee.

The mission of the Naples Art Association is to expand cultural opportunities, broaden education and enrich SWF through the visual arts. Proceeds from the Naples National Art Show support educational programming at The Naples Art Association.

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Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples Downtown Art Show (08-05-18)

Crowd Shot 01 (4)The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show, Naples National Art Festival and The Naples Downtown Art Show.

The 31st Annual Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts is one of the last major art festivals of the winter season and a favorite festival for artists, art enthusiasts and collectors. This festival was rated #34 by Sunshine Artist’s Magazine 2018 ARTIST 200 Best Shows in America.

If you would like to exhibit in this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 21-224, 2020
  • Festival Hours: Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 02/07/20; 50% refund: 02/21/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m., early morning set up only;
  • On street set up in quads: No electrical
  • Application deadline: 12/08/19
  • Jury Process begins: 12/13/19
  • Status Notification: 12/27/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 01/18/20
  • Artist Info Emailed: 02/26/20
  • Wait List Acceptance: 01/18/20
  • Application available online at http://www.zapplication.org/ beginning June 1, 2018

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Naples Art accepting submissions for next season’s Art in the Park (08-05-19)

Art in the Park LogoAre you ready for the 2019-2020 season of Art in the Park? The Naples Art Association (NAA) proudly connects artists with art shoppers in another terrific season of Art in the Park.

Since 1957, Art in the Park has showcased paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed Art in the Park 01media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass art, jewelry and wood-working created by members in good standing of the Naples Art Association. For art lovers, it’s a casual, fun-filled venue for meeting local artists and becoming acquainted with their work. It is believed to be the first outdoor art show held in Naples. And the tradition continues for the 2019-2020 art fair and festival season.

Art in the Park 04Art in the Park is held between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month from November through April. Because of its long tradition, prestige and the interest and number of people who routinely turn out for the show, many NAA members seek admission to the show. Applicants go through a jury process.

“Art in the Park is a membership opportunity, providing artists a venue to sell and market their Art in the Park 05work while broadening their customer base,” notes the Naples Art Association in its call to artists for the 2019-2020 season. “It also provides a setting for artists to interact with other artists sharing ideas, industry changes and the camaraderie of creative people. It is an opportunity for both artists and the public to engage in enlightening conversations about art.”

Make and Take Art 01The one-day fair takes place on Park Street adjacent to The Naples Art Association in the northwest corner of Cambier Park. Located just a block and a half from historic Fifth Avenue South, Art in the Park is within walking distance of trendy European boutiques, sidewalk cafes and iconic art galleries such as Sheldon Fine Art, Call of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery of Fine Art Demo Booth 01Art. The show is also just three minutes by car from fabled Gallery Row and the Third Street South Gallery District. The January show is also held in conjunction with the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair, which will be held next season on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2020.

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Centers for Performing Arts to screen ‘Rocky Horror’ on October 12 (08-04-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting an interactive screening of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show – where people are encouraged to yell back lines at the screen, dress in costume and act out the film. Attendance includes a bag of ‘essential’ Rocky Horror viewing items! Come dressed in costume a la Rocky Horror and receive a raffle ticket to win terrific Rocky Horror memorabilia.

The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 in the Moe Auditorium at 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135.

For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

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FMff accepting submissions; T.G.I.M. returns to Davis Art Center in September (08-04-19)

Thank God for Indie Monday resumes in September. Join the Fort Myers Film Festival every first Monday from September through March, and help decide which of the short indie films submitted to the Fort Myers Film Festival will make it into next year’s film festival … and which do not. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the films starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students.

So mark your calendars. The relevant first Mondays are:

  • September 2, 2019
  • October 7, 2019
  • November 4, 2019
  • December 2, 2019
  • January 6, 2020
  • February 3, 2020

And if you’re a filmmaker, FMff is now accepting submissions for the 10th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival. Yes, you read that right. Next year will be FMff’s 10th anniversary!

Submissions are being accepted in six categories: full-length features, documentaries, shorts, short shorts, strictly local and student films.

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Latest on ‘Peggy’ and filmmaker Justin O’Neal Miller (08-04-19)

Southwest Florida film lovers were first introduced to Peggy during TGIM last summer. Then Peggy was screened during the 9th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival, winning Best Short Film honors. Since then, she’s snagged quite a number of awards, including Best Live Action Short at deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City, Best Georgia Film at the Georgia Shorts Film Festival Spring 2019, and Best Narrative Short Film at the Etowah Film Festival in Canton, Georgia (a film festival that takes advantage of the city’s beautiful historic theater, Georgia’s thriving film industry, and the fact that Cherokee County is now a Camera Ready Community which has hosted over 100 production crews for movies, television shows and videos).

Please go here for the balance of this update.

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Latest on ‘The Things We Don’t Say’ and filmmaker Soleidy Mendez (08-04-19)

The Things We Don’t Say was one of the short films juried into this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. It was written, directed and produced by Soleidy Mendez, whose filmmaking credits also include Joe Nose Best (2017) and Cheesecake and Tango (2012).

The New York-based USA 2018 Nespresso Talents winner has enjoyed a busy 2019. Her current projects include roles in the short film Miles & Associates (Karmen Martinez), a modern-day urban fairy tale loosely based on Cinderella called Finding Home (Maria), a slasher short appropriately titled Buzz Kill (Jessica) and the independent Garfield Boston feature film Linea De Sangre (Ana Castilla).

You’ll find the rest of this update here.

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Latest on ‘Surviving Lunch’ and filmmaker KT Curran (08-04-19)

On April 13, the 9th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival will screened the feature film Surviving Lunch produced by Source Productions. Based on true stories about real American teenagers ripped from today’s harrowing headlines, this timely and important film shines a light on bullying and school violence. So well done, it didn’t just garner the award for Best Feature Film, it staggered the audience who viewed it.

Surviving Lunch was produced by Source Productions, a national film company created by Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida and features an exciting and talented cast of young professional actors – all of whom are committed to using their talents to address bullying and gun violence in American schools.

Go here for the rest of this report.

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Latest on ‘Fly Like a Girl’ and filmmaker Katie Wiatt (08-04-19)

The documentary Fly Like a Girl screened during this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival at the IMAG History and Science Center and received the Edison Award of Innovation. More than just a film, Fly Like a Girl is a movement of young girls and women relentlessly pursuing their passion for aviation – a field currently dominated by men. The film also represents filmmaker Katie Wiatt’s feature-length directorial debut.

In addition to the FMff, the documentary has also been an official selection of the Yes Film Festival in Columbus, Indiana, Sunscreen Film Festival 2019, Sarasota Film Festival 2019, Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival 2019 ….

Go here for the remainder of this update.

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Latest on ‘Skindiving’ and filmmaker Victoria DeMartin (08-04-19)

Among the dozens of short films that were screened this year by the Fort Myers Film Festival was Skindiving by writer/director Victoria DeMartin.

The summary that DeMartin provides for the film is enigmatic. She calls it simply as an “observation of a woman caught between her old life and her new one as she goes about her daily routine leading up to her last night on the island.” The film stars Laura Piccoli, Montgomery Sutton, Lori Tischfield, Chinaza Uche and Maria Wolf.

Skindiving screened in February at HBO in the Filmmaker Spotlight Showcase hosted by Ghetto Film School’s Roster.

Go here for the rest of this update.

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Latest on ‘#SLUT’ and filmmaker Sophia Watson (08-04-19)

#SLUT took Audience Favorite honors at this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. Exploring the central themes of cyberbullying, slut shaming and sexual predation, the film resonated with the Millennial/Gen X cineastes who saw the film. That’s not surprising when you discover that the film’s writer is just 19 and was forced to put up with bullying first hand as a high school junior and senior.

#SLUT is the 2019 NYLA International Film Festival (LA) Best Student Film winner, 2019 Papaya Films Bursary winner, and the D Lacy Jr. Social Justice Award winner at the 2018 Studio City Int’l Film Festival. In addition, #SLUT was a Best Drama nominee at the 19th Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Los Angeles and semi-finalist in the Content Creators of Atlanta Awards. Sophia individually received nominations for Breakout Performance and Best Young Actor at FirstGlance, with Director Jenna Kanell garnering a Best Director Award at the 15 Minutes of Fame Film Festival in Cocoa Beach earlier this year.

Go here for more news and links to related articles.

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Latest on ‘AKA’ and filmmaker Julia Mann (08-04-19)

AKA was one of the short films juried into this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. It’s a homegrown affair, having been adapted for the screen by Sanibel filmmaker Julia Mann from a 1981 novel by Tristan Jones and filmed by a local production crew that included videographer Rusty Farst of Sanibel, visual and sound editor Dave Beaty of Dreamtime Entertainment, and Captains Bill Cromie and Billy Kirkland.

To find out where AKA has screened and the awards it has won, go here.

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Latest on ‘Bird’s Eye’ and filmmaker Erin Beute (08-04-19)

Bird’s Eye was among a host of exceptional short films that screened at this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. Written by and starring Erin Beute, this Skyra Studios’ indie short has won a considerable number of awards both pre and post FMff, including Best Florida Film at Tally Shorts, Best Short Narrative at Bonita Springs International Film Festival, Best Florida Made Film at Fort Myers Beach International Film Festival, and the Enzian Femmeslam 2019. Bird’s Eye will also screen this fall at the Central Florida Film Festival (Cenflo 2019).

Given the popular and critical acclaim the film has received, screenwriter Erin Beute has converted the script from a short into a feature, although the plotline and characterizations lend themselves to a television series as well.

Go here for more news.

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Latest on ‘On the Way to Lovetown’ and filmmaker Mariya Pyter (08-04-19)

Among the short films juried into this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival is On the Way to Lovetown, a 15-minute love story/action film from Magic Hour Productions, an independent production company dedicated to producing character-driven narrative films and documentaries. In addition to FMff, the short has screened at WMMIntl (We Make Movies International) Film Festival on July 13 and the 2019 Artemis Women in Action Film Festival and ArtLaemmle Monica Film Festival in April. On the Way to Lovetown was a finalist at the Independent Film Awards London 2019. The film will be digitally available on all online platforms in September.

Go here for the rest of the Lovetown news.

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Latest on ‘Patrik’ and filmmaker Evgeniya Radilova (08-04-19)

Evigeniya Radilova’s short film Patrik screened at this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. The film has gone on to receive six awards in ten screenings, including Best Narrative Short at the Olympus Film Festival, Best Comedy at the 2109 Florence Film Awards, Best Original Story and a Best Actor for Patrik Baldauff at the 2019 Cannes Global Short Film Awards (which recognizes excellence in short films under 15 minutes in length written and produced by both amateur and professional filmmakers from around the world) along with an Honorable Mention for Radilova by the Top Shorts Film Festival on March 29. The film was also screened at The People’s Film Festival in Harlem in May and the Lighthouse International Film Festival in New Jersey in June.

Go here for more updates.

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Latest on ‘Roaring Tide’ and filmmaker Aly Mang (08-04-19)

Roaring Tides was one of the short films juried into this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. It stars and was written and directed by Aly Mang, who was named Best New Director 2018 by NYC Chain Film Festival. In addition to FMff and NYC Chain, Roaring Tides was an official selection of the Chelsea Film Festival, Hoboken International Film Festival, Long Beach International Film Festival, NY Latin Film Festival and New Filmmakers NY Festival. Roaring Tides is Mang’s directorial debut.

For more, go here.

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Spotlight on filmmaker John Scoular (08-04-19)

John Scoular is an Emmy-winning filmmaker known for documentaries such as Paradise Reef and Marcus Jansen: Examine & Report.

Three years in the making, Paradise Reef follows a visionary’s quest to secure BP disaster funds, rally community support, and deploy 18,000 tons of concrete to create 36 artificial reefs along Florida’s Paradise Coast. Through captivating aerial footage and in-depth interviews, the film also highlights the symbiotic relationship between the Florida Everglades, the Ten Thousand Islands, the Gulf of Mexico and Collier County, Florida.

Go here for the rest of John’s profile.

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With EHTVF win, filmmaker John Scoular comes full circle (08-04-19)

Marcus Jansen: Examine & Report made its New York premiere on July at the inaugural East Hampton TV Festival. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with Marcus Jansen, Richard Beavers and Brooke Lynn McGowan. The evening concluded with an Award Ceremony during which Examine & Report won the Best Art TV Pilot Documentary award.

The documentary was shot by Emmy-winning filmmaker John Scoular and the win in East Hampton brings some symmetry to his illustrious career. You see, Scoular’s first film ever screened back in the ‘90s in the Hamptons – at The Hamptons International Film Festival.

At the time, John was an actor/writer living and working in Los Angeles.

“Struggling to make something happen, I wrote a short film which I starred in with my cousin Neal Matarazzo,” John recounts. Hugh Ross directed. 

They submitted the film to The Hamptons International Film Festival, which made it an official selction.

And for the rest of this story, go here.

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‘The Eyes Have It’ during Alliance’s August members show (08-03-19)

The Alliance for the Arts’ August show is its annual members’ exhibition. Harkening back to Henry David Thoreau, The Eyes Have It reminds us that “it’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” The artists participating in this show have utilized brush, ink, paper, sculpture and photography to voice to this unique perspective.

They Eyes Have It: Members Exhibition will be on display August 9 – 31, 2019, with the opening reception taking place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on August 9. For more information, please call 239-939-278 or visit www.ArtInLee.org/Join.

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‘Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit’ returning to Alliance in October (08-03-19)

Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit is returning by popular demand to the Alliance for the Arts in October. It’s a show that will feature traditional Mexican sugar skulls in a variety of media ranging from painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage to photography, prints, drawing and sculpture. Artists interesting in participating in the show may submit up to 3 artworks for consideration online no later than September 20. To download the prospectus or submit artwork, please visit ArtInLee.org/SugarSkulls.

What exactly is Day of the Dead? In many parts of Mexico, South America and the United States, Dia de los Muertos is a time to remember and celebrate the lives of family and friends. More about reveling in life than remembering death, this unique day encourages us to connect with loved ones while reflecting on the ties that bind the past to present.

“Community participation is a powerful part of this holiday,” says exhibitions coordinator Krista Johnson. “That’s why we’re calling on local artists to contribute to this lively and fun exhibit.”

The show’s opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on October 4, with awards being announced at 6:00. There will be a $250 prize for Best in Show, $125 for 2nd place and $75 for 3rd place.

For more information about this exhibit, visit ArtInLee.org/SugarSkulls or call 239-939-2787.

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Alliance announces dates for ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit (08-03-19)

Each year, the Alliance for the Arts invites 100 members to submit two original 2D or 3D artworks for exhibition in the gallery beginning with the onset of the holiday shopping season. Called Off the Wall, this non-traditional art show features works in all mediums priced at $200 or less. All sales are “cash and carry,” meaning purchasers will get to take the piece with them when they buy it, rather than waiting until the end of the exhibit.

Make supporting local arts tops on your list this year by giving a gift that gives back. Make plans to do your Christmas shopping at the Alliance for the Arts this year. Betcha there’s 100 member-artists who would be delighted to have their art under your tree.

This year’s show runs from December 6 through December 28. The opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6. For more information, please visit www.artinlee.org or telephone 239-939-2787.

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‘Your Choice’ returns to Naples Art Association on August 19 (08-03-19)

Your Choice is the Naples Art Association’s annual non-juried exhibition. It provides an opportunity for local artists to present their artwork to a large audience with no jury process requirement. The exhibition is called “Your Choice” because the artists and spectators make the choices. Artists decide which artwork they will exhibit while gallery viewers attending the reception decide who will receive the awards. It opens August 19 and runs through September 25.

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Touchable art exhibit returning to Naples Art Association in October (08-03-19)

Art is generally considered to be a visual experience, but our appreciation of art does not need to come purely from sight. Touching is a basic instinct and a way to experience objects, gather information and build awareness. The Touch Me exhibition will feature artwork by sighted, visually impaired and blind artists. Shaking off the traditional gallery-goer behavior, visitors are encouraged to use their sense of touch to explore the exhibition. The show opens October 4 and runs through October 17 at the Naples Art Association, which is located at 585 Park Street in Naples.

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Naples Art issues call to artists for 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition (08-02-19)

The Naples Art Association has issued a call to artists for its holiday show, the 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. The show is open to 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artwork by artists residing in the United States.

Founders exhibitions are a long-held tradition honoring the artists who came together in 1954 to create the Naples Art Association, the first non-profit visual arts organization in Collier County, Florida. Founders exhibitions also serve as a platform for local artists to share the spotlight with their peers at the national level. For artists from outside Florida, Founders exhibitions provide the opportunity to demonstrate success, compete for cash prizes totaling $3,500 and exhibit their art in Naples, Florida.

The show opens December 6 and runs through January 9, 2020. The entry deadline is October 7, 2019. For a prospectus or to apply, go here. Wasmer Art Gallery Director John Loscuito, American University Art Professor R.W. Lovejoy and Associate Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Lourdes University Erin Palmer Szavuly will serve as jurors for the show.

The Naples Art Association is located at 585 Park Street in Naples.

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Wasmer Director John Loscuito to judge 53rd Founders Exhibition

The Naples Art Association has issued a call to artists for its holiday show, the 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. Wasmer Gallery Director John Loscuito will be one of three jurors who will select the artworks accepted into the show and the award winners.

John Loscuito is the Director of the Wasmer Art Gallery at Florida Gulf Coast University. In this capacity, he oversees both the Wasmer Art Gallery in the Arts Complex and the ArtLab in the Library. He also teaches Professional Practices, preparing students for a career after graduation. During his six years at FGCU he has curated over eighteen exhibitions featuring nationally recognized artists that explore a broad range of themes and materials.

Prior to coming to FGCU he taught a variety of studio courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He was the Registrar at the Haggerty Museum of Art for seven years as well as an independent curator and producer of art events.

He currently serves as an Executive Committee Member on the United Arts Council of Collier County’s Board of Directors.

John earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Master of Business Administration from Marquette University in Milwaukee.

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Next Fort Myers Art Walk is tonight, tomorrow (08-02-19)

The River District will come alive tonight when Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers. Now a two-day event, Art Walk will continue Saturday (August 3) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With exciting new exhibits and live art demonstrations, rain or shine, this is a “must attend event.”

New exhibits include exceptional art in a variety of mediums done by a bevy of local artists and some national and international artists as well.  You can meet the artists and talk art at the self-guided Friday night event, which brings together art enthusiasts, collectors and community friends who celebrate the arts each month. The Friday night Art Walk sees First Street closed to traffic. Local artists set up in the street selling their art, and face painting is offered at several locations along First Street. And at the Broadway and First Street intersection, the Fort Myers Art League will be hosting a “Make It/Take It” table for children of all ages.

Saturday Art Walk is a quieter affair with most of the galleries open for examining the art at more leisurely pace. This new and improved version of Art Walk includes 14 galleries and art stops, including:

  • American Legion Veterans Gallery showing Art done by Veterans
  • Art League of Fort Myers – new exhibits each month
  • Arts for ACT Gallery – features three or more art exhibits every month plus co-op members art
  • Bootlegger Alley Gallery – outdoor gallery open only during Art Walk in The Patio de Leon
  • Grand Illusion Gallery – art, tee shirts and more
  • Marc Harris Wildlife Photography – on Jackson Street
  • Miville Art Gallery – art and photography in the Franklin Shops
  • Ollie Mack Gentry Photography – photography  at 2180 West First Street
  • Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center – Main Gallery Exhibit and Capitol Exhibit on the 3rd Floor
  • The Barrel Room – Jazz art – on Bay Street
  • Timeless Gallery – gallery and gift shop featuring steampunk art and more
  • Two Newts Gallery – co-op gallery located off West First Street at 2064 Bayside Parkway
  • Unit A – urban contemporary gallery of internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen located in Gardener’s Park

As this survey of participating galleries reveals, Fort Myers Art Walk spans the core of downtown Fort Myers and includes the Gardener’s Park area and West First Street. Most of the action is located on First Street, but you can obtain a Fort Myers Art Walk map at any of the galleries that will lead you to all the art venues and Art Walk partners.  “Enjoy cultural venues, restaurants, bars and businesses, plus live music,” touts the River District Alliance. “Watch live art demos on First Street, eat amazing food, shop the unique local boutiques or just enjoy the atmosphere.”

So whether you prefer the energy of night or the calm of day, there’s something for everyone during this new-and-improved weekend of art that Fort Myers still calls Art Walk. There is free street parking and $5.00 at any of the parking garages.  In season ride the free River District Trolley. Fort Myers Art Walk is a Pet and Family Friendly free event! Fort Myers Art Walk is hosted by The River District Alliance, a non-profit organization. For more information, please visit www.fortmyersriverdistrictalliance.com.

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Fantasy experiences resurgence at Davis Art Center with ‘Reimagined’ (08-02-19)

On view in the Grand Atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center now through August 29 is Reimagined. It is a homage to fantasy created by local surrealistic and fantasy artists Dharma Lefevre, Danielle Branchaud, Ananda Warrick, Ndola Pensy, Katie Vance, Michelle Caraway, Amanda Howell and Jeannie Coons.

Fantasy art has always been rooted in lore, culture and religious art. In fact, it can be traced all the way back to Greek and Roman times. From fantastical creatures, heroes, and epic legends, this way of storytelling was not only dynamic but opened a world of fantastical daydreams.

In the late ‘70s, fantasy art once again came to the forefront as a result of a surge in interest prompted by movies, games and album covers from artists such as Vallejo, Frazetta and Roger Dean. Over the years fantastical and surrealism has felt a reawakening and is becoming a huge inspiration for modern artists that breathe new life into these ages-old chimeras and mythos.

And to celebrate this renaissance in the fantastical, Reimagined presents creations of visual art from wearable art and surrealism to high fantasy.

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Open-theme exhibit in Arts for ACT White Gallery through September 2 (08-02-19)

On view in the White Gallery at Arts for ACT Gallery through September 2 is ACT’s open theme show, Altars, Shrines and Cabinets of Curiosities. In this group show, you will be treated to an array of eclectic, surreal, and whimsical altars, shrines and cabinets of curiosities created by more than 15 artists.

Creating an altar or shrine or cabinet of curiosity is a sacred act of power and grace. These pieces create and show devotion, love, and loss. They connect us with life energy. Artists make altars, shrines and cabinets of curiosities for myriad reasons – to pay homage to loved ones and muses, and as points of power or religious focus. Some are mystical; most are fashioned from and created with found objects. The objects used in the shrine are dear to the creator or connected to the deity or person in the altar. Cabinets of Curiosities can be a collection of notable objects encased in an altered cabinet. Collections can be historical, religious or antiques.

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Patrick Conolly solo show opens tonight in Arts for ACT main gallery (08-02-19)

Join Arts for ACT Gallery in the downtown Fort Myers River District for the opening tonight of Conolly’s Folly and Other Works in the main gallery.

“All my life I have dabbled with the arts, and now the Arts seem to be dabbling with me,” states Patrick Conolly whose art springs spontaneously from his imagination.

Most of Conolly’s recent works celebrate and reflect the unique beauty of Southwest Florida. This line of work is minimal. His colors are bright. His large works are simple, while the smaller works are filled with detail. In both large and small-scale format, he plays with the surface of his canvases, making them smooth and shiny.

In this connection, some of Conolly’s paintings include “redefining” earlier works, some of which are one-of-a-kind prints, while others are something quite new. He has created a numbered series called Conolly’s Folly.

The exhibition will remain on view through September 2.

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DAAS CO-OP seeing ‘Red’ in August (08-02-19)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is featuring the work of member artists during the month of August. The theme for this exhibition is the color red – as in red-hot sensuality or passion – but open to each artist’s interpretation.

One of the member artists participating in the show is Martha Dodd, who has been a co-op member for the past two years. Her approach to painting is realistic with a taste of fantasy. For the RED exhibition, she used her talents to produce a stunning portrait entitled Natasha.

“This is a painting of a longtime friend of mine,” Martha shares. “It personifies her as someone who is deeply passionate about life, and makes the most of every moment. She is a world traveler, an artist, a business woman and rides horses.”

At the same time, the painting reveals a sense of vulnerability in the subject’s countenance.

“I wanted to emphasize the intensity of the reds against the other cooler colors in order to make the painting really sizzle,” Dodd adds.

Sydney Roper is one of the gallery’s three-dimensional artists. Her medium of preference is clay, but she is also an avid painter. Her primary piece for the RED exhibition is entitled To Have and To Hold.”

Roper, who resides in Labelle, enjoys making functional pieces as well as sculptural works that can be interpreted in more than one way, depending on the viewer’s perspective.

With the piece Two Minutes After, founding member and gallery President David Acevedo, proposes a more sensual and risky approach to the exhibition’s theme. The title may suggest a situation after a sexual encounter, or perhaps a completely different moment for the nude male portrayed in the painting. Regardless, the artist is known to include suggestions and symbols in his work in order to provoke thought and conversation amongst the viewers.

The exhibition will be on display through August 31.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, Unit 3, in Fort Myers, FL 33901. Business hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month. More information can be found at daascoop.com or by calling 239-590-8645.

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Center for Visual Arts ‘Being Human’ tonight (08-02-19) 

Being Human opens at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs tonight. For this show, artists have been asked to look into the nature of portraiture and the human experience to reveal truths about what it means to “be human” – both the amazing capacity of people for compassion, humility and empathy as well as our foibles and limitations. The opening reception is from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Center for Visual Arts at 26100 Old 41 Road. The exhibition will be on display through August 15.

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Youth Alliance Theatre holding auditions for ‘Pippin’ and ‘Children of Eden’ (08-01-19)

The Alliance for the Arts Youth Theatre is holding auditions for Pippin and Children of Eden Jr. from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on August 17, 2019. Pre-registration is required.

Pippen is a hip, tongue-in-check fairy tale that captivates diverse audiences. With an infectiously unforgettable score from four-time Grammy winner, three-time Oscar winner and musical theatre giant Stephen Schwartz, Pippin is the story of one young man’s journey to be extraordinary. There’s magic to do in this iconic musical masterpiece when a prince learns the true meaning of glory, love and war.

Pippin is open to performers in 10th through 12th grade. Callbacks for Pippin are August 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Rehearsals will be most Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Pippin tech week is November 11th, and shows are November 16-24, 2019.

Children of Eden JR. is based on the story of Genesis. Adam, Eve, Noah and the “Father” who created them deal with the headstrong, cataclysmic actions of their respective children. As generations pass, faith and loyalty are tested, but the bonds of family and love remain strong. A new adaptation of Stephen Schwartz’s epic and heartfelt musical, Children of Eden JR. retells the age-old conflict of parents and children.

Children of Eden, JR. is open to performers 4th through 9th grade. Callbacks for Children of Eden, JR. will take place from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on August 24. Rehearsals will be most Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Children of Eden, JR. tech week begins December 1st, and shows are December 6-8, 2019.

 

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Theatre Conspiracy at Alliance opening season with American classic ‘Harvey’ (08-01-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is kicking off its 2019-2020 season with the Pulitzer-Prize winning American classic Harvey by Mary Chase.

You know the story. It is a spring afternoon at the Dowd family home, and a tea for the high-society ladies of the Wednesday Forum is in full swing. The hostess, Veta Louise Simmons, is hoping that the event will allow her daughter, Myrtle Mae, now in her twenties and still unmarried, to mingle with the mothers and grandmothers of some of the town’s most eligible bachelors. However, to Veta’s horror, her brother, Elwood, arrives home unexpectedly and in the company of his closest friend, Harvey, a six foot one-and-a-half inch tall white rabbit—a friend nobody else can see. Veta and Myrtle Mae are mortified as Elwood who, ever pleasant and polite, begins introducing his companion to the ladies of the Wednesday Forum. The embarrassing family secret is now exposed, and all that Veta and Myrtle Mae can do is watch helplessly as their guests flee the house.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Brendan Powers (08-01-19)

Brendan Powers is a professional Equity Actor who resides in Fort Myers. He performs frequently at Florida Repertory and other area community theater companies. He’ll play Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey.

For the past eight seasons, Powers has been a mainstay at Florida Rep. Select Florida Rep credits over this timeframe include Outside Mullingar, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The House of Blue Leaves, The Mousetrap, The Cocktail Hour, A Christmas Story, The Unexpected Guest, Dividing the Estate, Around the World in 80 Days, The Fantasticks, Doubt, Opus, Boeing-Boeing, and The Glass Menagerie.

Go here for the rest of Brendan’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Lauren Drexler (08-01-19)

Lauren Drexler is a gifted Fort Myers actor known for stellar performances as melancholy teacher Heather Clark in Johnna Adams’ Gidion’s Knot, terminally-ill Dr. Katherine Brandt in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations and Annie Iversen in Jordan Hall’s Kayak. Lauren has long created memorable roles in Theatre Conspiracy’s new plays and world premieres, including Repossessed, Becoming Eleanor, The Dunes, Here Lie the Demons, and Virgin Tears on Wyoming Avenue. She’ll play Elwood P. Dowd’s long-suffering sister, Veta Louise, in Harvey.

Go here to view the rest of Lauren’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Dena Galyean (08-01-19)

Dena Galyean is one of the hardest working thespians in all of Southwest Florida. And she always seems to land fascinating roles. Among her most recent – and memorable – are Susan B. Anthony in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of The Agitators, Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House (also for Theatre Conspiracy) and Stella Kowalski in The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the Golden Gate Community Center. She plays Nurse Kelly in Harvey.

Bet you’d like to know more about Dena. If so, go here.

And go here to read how acting feeds Dena’s soul.

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Spotlight on Stella Ruiz, who plays socialclimbing Myrtle Mae (08-01-19)

Stella Ruiz will be playing the part of Myrtle Mae in Theatre Conspiracy’s upcoming production of Mary Chase’s American classic Harvey. Ruiz has a reputation for playing smart, surly and somewhat mercurial female characters and is a perfect choice to play the part of Myrtle Mae.

One of her most memorable was that of the acerbic Daphna in Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews (for Lab Theater). Another was the brutally judgmental Eva in Robert Caisley’s Happy (also for Lab). Zuri’s other acting credits include Cassie Cooper in Neil Simon’s Rumors, Lucy in Mr. Marmalade, Amelia, Helen, Waitress 3 and Kim in Bob: A Life in Five Acts, Patsy in The Rimers of Eldrich, Desdemona in Othello, Candy Starr in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ophelia in Hamlet, Belinda Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol, Nina and Hildy in Relatively Speaking, Katherine in Taming of the Shrew and Hecate in Macbeth. Stella also portrayed serial killer Monique Avril in the 2012 indie film Redemption.

Go here for the rest of Stella’s credits and profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Rob Green (08-01-19)

Rob Green plays the part of Dr. Sanderson in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Harvey. Since returning to the boards following a three-year hiatus, Rob Green has appeared in numerous roles, including Nick Dahner in Rancho Mirage, The Teacher, Cam, in Max Frisch’s Andorra, Gerald Halverson in Jeffrey Hatcher’s Murderers, the Archangel Gabriel in David Javerbaum’s An Act of God, the wheelchair-confined Queen of the Hollywood Melodrama Blanche Hudson in the outrageous Lab Theater summer spoof Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror and Burton in in Burn This, as well as a supporting role in The Elephant Man.

Go here for the rest of Rob’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ taxi driver Patrick Day (08-01-19)

Forget Uber. Patrick Day is playing the taxi driver (no, not that one) in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Mary Chase’s American classic Harvey. Patrick Day is an engineer by day and terrific character actor by night (and matinee). He has performed at the Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance, Laboratory Theater of Florida, The Center for the Performing Arts for the CFABS Players, Herb Strauss Theater in Sanibel and Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral.

To see what he’s been in, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ judge Stephen Hooper (08-01-19)

Barrister Stephen Hooper has been elevated to the bench in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Harvey. The real life lawyer will play Judge Gaffney, who must decide just who’s off his rocker and who’s sane in Mary Chase’s ageless American classic.

Although acting law was his calling, Hooper’s theatrical career (as an actor, director and playwright) spans more than three decades. A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. He got into acting at the urging of his law partners. Go here to read the rest of this story.

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Broadway Palm’s production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ closes August 10 (08-01-19)

Step into the enchanted world of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. The classic “tale as old as time” tells of Belle, a young woman in a small town, and a Beast, who is really a young prince under a spell. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out and if the Beast doesn’t learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed forever. The spirited, headstrong Belle enters the Beast’s castle after he imprisons her father and with the help of his enchanted servants, Belle begins to draw the cold-hearted Beast out of his isolation.

Starring James Arthur Douglas as the Beast, Beauty and the Beast runs through August 10, 2019. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $45 to $70 with group rates available and can be reserved by calling 239-278-4422, visiting http://www.BroadwayPalm.com or coming to the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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James Arthur Douglas is the Beast in Broadway Palm’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (08-01-19)

James Arthur Douglas is the Beast in Broadway Palm’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, on stage now through August 10. The NYC-based tenor most recently performed as Count Almaviva with The Atlanta Opera in a bilingual version of Rossini’s delightful and energetic The Barber of Seville. Created by stage director Kristine McIntyre, the 45-minute adaptation was performed in Spanish and English and is being presented to over 19,000 elementary-aged children.

James also performed with The Atlanta Opera in Verdi’s La Traviata as a member of the chorus, and earlier this year, he was awarded 2nd Prize at the 2019 Pro Mozart Society of Atlanta Scholarship Competition.

Joined by accompanist Julie Bearden Carver, James was kind enough to perform a tune from Beauty and the Beast at a benefit at Lab Theater on June 10th for theater student and performer Danica Murray, who is recovering from transplant surgery necessitated by her lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

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‘Once’ kicking off national tour at Broadway Palm in August (08-01-19)

Once, the musical that broke new ground on Broadway, will begin rehearsals in Fort Myers on August 6, 2019. Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, Once is a truly original Broadway experience.

The musical is based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning film of the same name which was written and directed by John Carney, and starred Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, with original music and lyrics by Mr. Hansard and Ms. Irglová. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights – but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, Once draws you in from the very first note. It is an unforgettable story about going for your dreams… not living in fear… and the power of music to connect all of us.

This tour will include the pre-show onstage bar atmosphere where the performers play random selections each night, and the audience can be on stage with their drinks and interact with the musicians.

Michael Zygo, who performed in the Broadway production as the Emcee, will be recreating the original staging and movement by John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett, respectively. As an original Broadway and Off-Broadway cast member, he feels a special attachment to the incredible work realized by the original cast and creative team. Mr. Zygo’s recent credits include Director of Once at Pittsburgh CLO, Music Director / Associate Choreographer of Once at The Fulton Theatre / Virginia Repertory Theatre. He was also featured on the Grammy Award winning cast album of Once. Other acting credits include Broadway: School Of Rock; Off-Broadway: Once (NYTW); Tours: Rock Of Ages – first National, The Wedding Singer, Bridges of Madison County – first National, Annie – 30th Anniversary tour, and Oklahoma! – first National.

The cast is led by Jack Gerhard as Guy and Mariah Lotz as Girl. Jack is a recent graduate of Rider University with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Previous regional credits include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan.

Mariah is also a graduate of Rider University and has premiered numerous new shows in New York and was part of the Rising Star program at Fifth Avenue Theatre.

The ensemble includes Todd Aulwurm (Bank Manager/Cello/Guitar), Carrie Lyn Brandon (Swing), Carlos Castillo (Andrej/Guitar/Bass Guitar/Ukulele), Trevor Craft (Svec/Mandolin/Guitar/Drums/Banjo), Richard Daniel (Da/Mandolin), Elleon Dobias (Ex Girlfriend/ Violin), Emily Gregonis (Reza/Violin), Caleb Hartsfield (Emcee/Guitar), Jody Alan Lee (Swing), Sam Saint Ours (Swing), Jon Patrick Penick (Billy/Guitar), Marta Rymer (Swing), Matthew Staley (Eamon/Guitar/Piano/Cajon) and Tracy Thomas (Baruska/Accordian).

The production features scenic and costume design by Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (Aida, An American in Paris, Carousel, Mary Poppins) with additional designs by Southwest Florida BroadwayWorld winner Evan Adamson (Mamma Mia), lighting design by Russell A. Thompson (international tour of The Wizard of Oz, US tours Million Dollar Quartet, Fiddler on the Roof) and sound design by David Temby (Clearwing Productions/national tour of Memphis).

The tour will open at the Broadway Palm in Fort Myers, FL playing August 22- Sept 28, 2019 and then begins the traveling portion of the tour at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers.

Once is produced by APEX Touring.

For more tour and cast information, please visit www.OncetheMusicalTour.com.

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Charles Jackson teaching two workshops at Center for Performing Arts (08-01-19)

What makes a great character for the stage? That’s precisely what Charles Jackson will address on August 8 in Character Analysis for Theatre, a one night workshop that runs from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita in the Moe Auditorium. Discover how to make characters authentic and real. Dive into creating a character, how to research, making physical and vocal choices, and creating psychological profiles. Known for his unique solo plays and socially-conscious storytelling, Jackson will build your confidence levels and help guide you into creating believable and dynamic representations for your next role.

The workshop is open to all skill levels and costs $40. Please bring a preferred character, monologue or play. Wear comfortable clothing and be ready to have a great time while advancing yourself as a performance artist.

And in Self-Producing: Be Your Own Independent Theatre on August 10, Charles Jackson will delve into the ins and outs of self-producing those roles you’ve always dreamed of landing. Given the ever-changing market of theatre, avenues for self-production have grown and Charles Jackson can help you learn to open the doors for yourself. Whether you have an idea for a play to produce or are simply curious as to what goes on before the show can even start rehearsing, this class should be of interest to you. It, too, takes place in the Moe Auditorium on the Bonita Beach Road campus of the Center for Performing Arts from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on August 10. Tuition is $30.

Charles Jackson is an actor, director, playwright and producer residing in Fort Worth, Texas. Charles received two Bachelors of Arts (Theatre and Broadcasting) from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Film-Television Producing at Regent University. Charles has been a part of the performing arts community for over a decade ranging from playwriting, producing, acting and directing. Charles’s one-man show In Due Time, PANTOMIME premiered in Fort Worth, Texas in 2017 and was accepted into the 2018 Fort Worth Fringe Festival. Mr. Jackson is best known for his ability to independently produce socially conscious plays. Charles will be premiering his second one-man show The Floating Black Man at Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs in August.

Call 239-495-8989 for more information and to sign up!

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Center for Performing Arts to hold staged reading on August 9 (08-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts is holding a staged reading in the Moe Auditorium of local playwright Marc Simon’s play Departures on Friday, August 9. Special guest artist Charles Jackson will also be performing the world premiere of The Floating Black Man, which tells the story of an African American male attempting to discover himself while navigating through race relations in an oppressive society.

Charles Jackson is an actor, director, playwright and producer residing in Fort Worth, Texas. He has been a part of the performing arts community for over a decade, with his contributions ranging from playwriting and producing to acting and directing. He is best known for his ability to independently produce socially-conscious plays. His one-man show, In Due Time, PANTOMIME, premiered in Fort Worth, Texas in 2017 and was accepted into the 2018 Fort Wort Fringe Festival.

Charles holds two Bachelors of Arts degrees from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, one in Theatre and the other in Communication. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Film-Television Producing at Regent University.

The staged reading of Departures and The Floating Black Man will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 9 in the Moe Auditorium and Film Center at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, Florida. Tickets are $20 and made be reserved by visiting www.artcenterbonita.org or telephoning 239-495-8989.

Tickets are $20 (with 10% off for current CFABS members).

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‘Madagascar Jr.’ coming to Center for Performing Arts Bonita (08-01-19)

Madagascar, A Musical Adventure Jr. is coming to the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs for a limited engagement of just four performances on August 16-18.

“This show is a hilarious journey the whole family can enjoy,” says Director, Brian Seagraves.

Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and, of course, those hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound onto the stage in the musical adventure of a lifetime. Based on the smash DreamWorks animated motion picture, Madagascar – A Musical Adventure JR. follows all of your favorite crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.

This production is directed by CFABS Youth Theater Director, Brian Seagraves, but is a work of heart by various professionals from Southwest Florida. Rounding out the Creative Team are Music Director Lindsay Warren; Choreographer Lauren Barnhart Perry; and Assistant Director/Stage Manager Ashley Loubier, along with Technical Direction from CFABS’s own Dominic Vigliotti.

CFABS Youth Theater productions are always comprised of an assortment of amazingly talented and motivated local youth of all ages, and this show is no exception – with 39 performers from ages 9 to 16 from both Lee and Collier Counties (plus a special appearance by Mrs. Perry’s 4-year-old daughter as Mort the Lemur). Parents are also involved with all Youth Players productions in the area of sets, costumes, props, and backstage crew—making every show an experience for the whole family.

Each Youth Theater production at CFABS leads the cast on a journey that begins with open auditions and spans several weeks (or months) of rehearsing diligently two to three times a week after school, concluding in a fully realized performance for friends, family, and the entire community.

This program provides youth with a structured, theatrical outlet with compassionate guidance, while getting them to practice responsibility, teamwork, and commitment, as well as giving them opportunities to explore their talents and build their confidence.

“I am a big fan of approaching a production as ‘education through process’ which includes not only teaching youth how to better their performance and put on a show, but also how to think on your feet, work together, be responsible, exude confidence, and celebrate diversity,” says Seagraves.

Performances are Friday & Saturday, August 16 & 17, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday, August 17 & 18 at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $15 General Admission | $20 Reserved Seating (with 10% off for current CFABS Members).

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Funny Shorts LIVE! returning to Center for Performing Arts in September (08-01-19)

In September, the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs is bringing back Funny Shorts LIVE! – the wildly successful extension of the Stage It! 10-Minute Play Festival.

Now in its second year, the program is denoted by five high-quality comedic short plays from around the world. Each will be funny. Each will be short, with a run time of approximately 10-minutes. And at least one will be written by a local playwright. From witches to driving instructors, from shoe closets to speed dating for robots, there is a variety of stories from gifted storytellers.

Funny Shorts LIVE! takes place at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13 and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center at 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Tickets are $20 General Admission (with 10% off for current CFABS members). For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989.

Best of all, wearing your own funny shorts is completely optional. Encouraged, but optional.

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‘Cause and Affection’ to incorporate video component into live action on stage (08-01-19)

The Center for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be performing the world premiere of Cause and Affection, an original multi-media comedic play.

Cause and Affection follows an aging soap star by the name of Preston whose evening plans ruined when his elderly neighbor gets locked out of her apartment and his best friend, Barry, shows up needing marital advice. While trying to help them solve their problems, a bombshell drops, leaving Preston with a problem of his own to solve.

One of the distinguishing aspects of this production is the incorporation of three videos into the action taking place on stage. As you may suspect, the videos are episodes or outtakes from the soap opera, in which Preston stars as a handsome politician. Although CFABS cast actors especially for the soap opera videos, only the actor playing the part of Preston appears both on stage and in the soap opera videos!

Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, October 24 – 26, 2019 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday, October 26 & 27 in the Center for Performing Arts – Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135. For more information or tickets, please call 239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

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Florida Rep Ed bringing Broadway hit ‘Spring Awakening’ to Arcade Theatre (08-01-19)

Florida Rep Education will present the Broadway smash hit Spring Awakening live in the Historic Arcade Theatre August 9-11 and 15-17. The eight-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical is the next offering in the theatre’s popular Conservatory Program.

Spring Awakening explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with a poignancy and passion that is illuminating and unforgettable. The landmark musical is an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality, and rock and roll that has been exhilarating audiences across the nation since it took Broadway by storm in 2006. The coming-of-age story for a group of teens is told through music that Entertainment Weekly called “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade!”

Spring Awakening is based on the play of the same name and is well over 100 years old,” observes Education Director Kody C Jones. “The reason that this piece has stayed so universally reverent, topical, and imperative is that it deals with the same taboo subjects that we are still challenged within 2019. Using this show as a vehicle for artistic interpretation and self-enlightenment, the cast is able to channel these deep themes and struggles in every adolescent life and bring that poignancy to the stage in a way that resonates with both teens and adults.”

Set in Germany, 1891, Spring Awakening follows a group of teens as they begin to navigate the murky waters of adolescence, puberty, and self-discovery. The teens fall in and out of love, rebel against the adults in their lives, and discover the joy and the pain adulthood brings. The musical deals very frankly with issues that face teens today, and does so with a one-of-a-kind score, fresh choreography, fully-developed characters, and a timeless story.

“It’s a vivid, intense piece of dramatic literature that addresses head-on many of the challenges that young people faced then and now,” says Florida Rep Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “While the main characters that inhabit the world of the play are teenagers, the themes are quite adult in nature. In an effort to prepare audiences, we’ve included a Parental Advisory for Explicit Content label on the production. I am proud that Kody and our Education Department continue to raise the bar by exploring timely topics that concern our children’s safety, well-being, and happiness. As a father, I can’t think of anything more precious or important than our children.”

Spring Awakening is generously sponsored by Mary Denison and Ben Simmons.

Spring Awakening plays in the Historic Arcade Theatre over two weekends August 9 through 11 and 15 through 17. Tickets are $10 for students with a valid ID and $25//$20 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online. More information is available online at www.FloridaRepEducation.org or by calling the box office at 239.332.4488 or toll-free at 877-787-8053.

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Florida Rep’s ‘Always Patsy Cline’ already extended – through November 24 (08-01-19)

Florida Repertory Theatre’s 2019-2020 Season opens to previews on September 24 with the country musical sensation, Always…Patsy Cline in the ArtStage Studio Theatre. Due to overwhelming demand, the run has already been extended to November 24. Created and originally directed by Ted Swindley, Always …Patsy Cline is a heartfelt and powerful celebration of the most popular female country singer in recording history, and includes all of Patsy’s biggest hits, including “Crazy,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces” and more!

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Cultural Affairs grant enables playwright to bring in artists/performers for ‘3’ (08-01-19)

James Brock has received a 2019-20 Individual Artist Grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs to have his new play, 3, produced by Ghostbird Theatre Company. 3 will run August 2-10 at Koreshan State Park in Estero.

The matching $25,000 grant will be used to pay other contributing artists and performers and to offset some of the production costs. Ghostbird is hiring co-founder Brittney Brady (photo 2) to serve as guest resident director for the play. Brady has just completed her second year in the prestigious MFA in Directing Program at CalArts in Los Angeles. She was Ghostbird’s Producing Artistic Director for five years before leaving for the West Coast to pursue her MFA.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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Spotlight on ‘3’ playwright Jim Brock (08-01-19)

Jim Brock is a founding member and Producing Director of Ghostbird Theatre Company. He is an actor, playwright, poet and Professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University. His new play, 3, will be performed by Ghostbird in Art Hall at Koreshan State Park August 2-10, 2019.

His acting credits include The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre (2019), Everyone on this Train (2019), Windowstories (2018), Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe (2018), Barry Cavin’s Beckett-inspired Ibb (2018), Dr. Cyrus Teed in ORBS! (2018) and The Perfect Island of Dr. Teed (2017), Father and Old Man in No. 27 (2017), Tereisias in Antigonick (2016), Meigs in The Guardsman (which he also translated (2015)), Father in Because Beauty Must Be Broken Daily (which he also wrote (2014)), Old Man in Fool for Love (2013), the Doctor in Woyzeck (2013), Henry in Mud (2012), Lucifer in Faustus Burns Brightly (2012), Venus in The Pumpkin Grower (which he also wrote (2012)), Old Man of Argos in Agamemnon (2011),  Mr. Scratch in Wooden Mouth (2010),  Nagg in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame and Kerch in Apocalypse: The Living Blog (2008).

Go here for the rest of Jim’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘3’ director and Ghostbird co-founder Brittney Brady (08-01-19)

Brittney Brady is returning from Southern California to direct 3, a new play by James Brock that dramatizes three women prisoners struggling to maintain their grace, humor, and autonomy while incarcerated.

When Brittney was last seen in Southwest Florida, she was directing The Chicken Play for Ghostbird at the Happehatchee Center in Estero. A co-founder of the avant garde theater company, Brittney also served as Producing Artistic Director for the first five years of Ghostbird’s existence.

For more on Brittney, read here.

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Spotlight on ‘3’ actor Katelyn Gravel (08-01-19)

Katelyn Gravel is an actor, singer, songwriter, poet, make-up artist, costume designer and stage manager. She’ll be starring in 3, a new play by Jim Brock that Ghostbird Theatre Company will perform on August 2, 3, 9 & 10 in Art Hall at Koreshan State Park.

Katelyn credits her mom for inculcating her love of theater. Not only did Katelyn’s mother encourage her daughter’s involvement in theater from an early age, she took her frequently to Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. One instance was seminal in Katelyn’s decision to make theater part of her adult life.

Go here for the rest of Katelyn’s profile.

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Ghostbird releases 2019-2020 production schedule (08-01-19)

Ghostbird Theatre Partners has released its schedule of productions for its 2019-2020 season. They include:

  • 3 by James Brock to be performed August  2, 3, 9 and 10 in Art Hall at Koreshan State Park;
  • October House to be performed October 31 and November 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at the historic Langford-Kingston Home;
  • Thistletoe Cabaret, a one-night performance scheduled for December 17 in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center;
  • the 24-Hour Festival on March 1 in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center; and
  • Ori by Barry Cavin in April of 2020 to be performed at the Calusa Nature Center Planetarium in Fort Myers.

For the rest of this advance, go here.

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DMV’s world premiere opens August 9 at Lab Theater (08-01-19)

The world premiere of D.M.V. opens August 9 at The Laboratory Theater of Florida.

After 30 years of working at the Fort Myers Department of Motor Vehicles, Bernice has one last day of work before retiring with a full pension. She’s already sold her home, packed her belongings, and celebrated, rather heavily, with her co-workers the night before. Unfortunately, things go slightly awry. What follows is a laugh riot of what happens every day at virtually every D.M.V.

Go here for the remainder of this advance.

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Spotlight on ‘DMV’ star Gerrie Benzing (08-01-19)

Gerrie Benzing is a local stage and film actor, director, musical theatre instructor and the owner and creative director of Monologues4kids.com.

She has appeared in more than 14 productions at Cultural Park Theater and three shows at Lab Theater. Among her CPT acting credits are Harvey (for which she won a Cultural Park Theatre Best Actress Marquee Award for her portrayal of Veta), The Glass Menagerie (in which she was cast as Amanda), Dixie Swim Club (Sharee), Bella Manningham in Angel Street (Gaslight) (where Charles Runnells applauded the hysterical froth she worked up in the role of a “borderline bonkers housewife … driven to the brink by a husband with sinister ulterior motives”) and Jack Neary’s The Porch. For The Lab, she appeared in Rick Abbot’s Play On! (where she depicted a maddeningly meddlesome playwright), The Best Man (in which she played Mabel Cantwell) and Miss Witherspoon (where she played the part of Maryamma). She last appeared as Lucy and Tommy of No Consequence in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Adam Szymkowics’ Marian, or the True Story of Robin Hood).

Go here for the rest of Gerrie’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Sam Bostic (08-01-19)

Sam Bostic is a local actor. Acting credits include Lenny in Neil Simon’s Rumors (New Phoenix Theatre), Pippin in Pippin, Lucas in The Addams Family, Elegba in In the Red and Brown Water, Naychem in In Flight: The Story of Sabine Van Dam (for Gulfshore Playhouse), Adam in Miss Nelson is Missing, Fakir in The Secret Garden and a policeman in The House of Blue Leaves (for Florida Rep). Sam attended Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, where he received his BFA in Acting.

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Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Todd Lyman (08-01-19)

Todd Lyman is an actor whose credits include the agent in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is, theater critic Ira Drew in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (which marked Todd’s Lab Theater debut), Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Enoch Snow in Carousel, Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ivan in Anton Chekhov’s The Marriage Proposal.

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Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Stacey Stauffer (08-01-19)

Stacy Stauffer is a talented character actor who lives and performs in Fort Myers. Her credits include The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s, Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, Laura Lorusso’s Scrooge TV: A Modern Christmas Carol, Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays (Stacy was Hannah in “This Flight Tonight” and Cate in “A Traditional Wedding”), Rumors and the Vagina Monologues. Stacy also hones her skills doing staged readings (such as The 48th Parallel) and participating in Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge (she was in the cast of Candice Sanzari’s 2018 Critics’ Choice winner, “Thanksgiving is for Nutters”).

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Improv returns to The Lab August 3 with Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab (08-01-19)

They are back and funnier than ever! Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab returns to the Laboratory Theater of Florida on August 3 at 7:00 p.m. for a night of hilarious antics, musical comedy, and spot-on on-the-spot jokes, and they are bring Bradenton improv master Charles Patrick Gooch with them for this one performance. Every facet of the uproariously improvised show is based on audience suggestions. With years of experience performing, Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab delivers a side-splitting, one-of-a-kind show every time.

Formerly Bonita City Improv, this troupe of talented performers offers a unique mixture of both short and long form improv, creating an entertaining evening of family-friendly laughter that is fast-paced, musical, and completely improvised. 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!

Scared Scriptless is composed of Leigh Shein, Nick Hernandez, Kea McElfresh, Bill Owens, Andrew Florance and Steve Cobb.

Individual Tickets are $15 per person and are available at www.LaboratoryTheaterFlorida.com or by calling (239)218-0481. The theater is located in the River District of Fort Myers at 1634 Woodford Ave., Fort Myers, FL 33901.

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Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Leigh Shein (08-01-19)

Chicagoan, Leigh Shein took his first improv class with Second City in 1979 and has since studied and worked all over the world. He was a founding member of Bay Area Improv Theater and currently directs and hosts Harry’s Senior Moment. In addition to Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab, Leigh is also a member of Gene Pool Party, an improv group of dads and their daughters. He teaches improv to all ages including kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Nick Hernandez (08-01-19)

Nick Hernandez has been doing improv for 4 years. He has been in many productions in various theaters. He is currently in college studying to be a sound engineer for theater and artist performances. He is glad to now be a part of this improv group.

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Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Kea ‘Mac’ McElfresh (08-01-19)

Kea “Mac” McElfresh has been with Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab for nearly two years. As a Miami Improv Member of “Impromedy”, she was glad to finally find an improv family in Fort Myers. Mac is currently teaching theatre at Estero High School and serves the community as District VI Jr. Thespian Chair. She brings a wealth of knowledge and crazy characters to the stage.

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Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Bill Owens (08-01-19)

Bill Owens has the privilege of performing with fellow cast members, Steve Cobb, Leigh Shein and Kea McElfresh in the local improv troupes Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab and Gene Pool Party. He was also a member of Harry’s Senior Moment and Dueling Swords. Bill’s passion for improvisation began only three years ago when his determined kids persuaded him to get out of his comfort zone and take an improv class. When not making a fool of himself on the improv stage, Bill practices law as a business and real estate attorney.

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Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Andrew Florance (08-01-19)

Andrew Florance was born in Tucson, AZ in the back of the O.K. Corral. After escaping from his crib for the 6th time he started traveling with a comedy troupe of babies. They traveled through Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, before ending up in Florida. When he grew too old for the Crying Laughing baby troupe he traveled the U.S. and Europe to perfect his comedic skills in the corporate world, making jokes at the office level until he found Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab. He’s been performing with Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab happily ever after.

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Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Steve Cobb (08-01-19)

Steve Cobb has been professionally doing improv for over 6 years. Steve currently is the creative director, show runner and cast member for the following improv groups: Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab, Gene Pool Party Improv (dads and their daughters), and Musical Swords Improv. Gene Pool Party Improv has performed locally in Southwest Florida, at the 2017 Palm Beach Improv Festival, the 2018 Palm Beach Improv Festival, and at the 2018 Miami Improv Festival, among several recognized national and international troupes. Musical Swords Improv debuted in the 2018 Palm Beach Improv Festival.

Steve coaches and trains the youth improv troupe Foot Milk Experience Improv. He is the former coach and director of Mission Improvable Youth Improv, and New and Improv’d Youth Improv.

Steve has hosted improv shows throughout the state of Florida, including at the Naples Players Sugden Theatre and the Bonita Springs Center for the Arts. Steve has taught workshops throughout the state, including at the 2018 Palm Beach Improv Festival and for the FGCU Improv Club. He has worked extensively with the FGCU Improv Club. Steve was a judge in Sarasota for the Regional College Improv Tournament in 2017. Steve has performed with many local and national improvisors all around the state, including with “Stacked- All Female Musical Revue” in Sarasota, Florida, as part of an instructor show at the Palm Beach Improv Festival, and with other troupes throughout the state as a guest featured player.

Steve is also a stage actor. His credits include Moon Over Buffalo for the CFABS Players.

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TNP producing four performances of ‘Mamma Mia Teen’ August 2-4 (08-01-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) will present the KidzAct Summer production of Mamma Mia! Teen in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre August 2 – 4. Sponsored by Alterations by Charles and Neapolitan Family Magazine, Mamma Mia! Teen shares the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs “Mamma Mia,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Voulez-Vous” among others.

The KidzAct production of Mamma Mia! Teen is directed/choreographed by Dawn Lebrecht Fornara with Musical Direction by Charles Fornara (the same artistic team who led the Mamma Mia! cast to artistic sold-out performances in the Naples Players’ 66th season opener.

In alphabetical order, the cast includes Brian Boland as Father Alexandrios, Luke Danni as Bill, Christian Dinsmore as Sky, Frankie Federico as Pepper, Riley Hart as Eddie, Naphtailda Jean-Charles as Rosie, Katelyn Leslie as Lisa, Katie Pierce as Tanya, Alex Portaro as Sophie, Lila Prince as Donna, Thomas Richardson as Harry, Dominic Young as Sam, and Elyse Yun as Ali.

The musical and dance ensemble includes Nikki Attanasio, Kaitlyn Baker, Jenny Belandres, Sarah Bussard, Alexis Camina, Lisa Castro, Emily Corniola, Jillian Cossetta, Maxine Danni, Breanna Hart, Lila Mastro, Kristen Noble, Rylee Price, Frankie Prince, Lila Prince, Ciaran Welch, Christina Young with Carrie Drigotas and Danaia Ivanov as the ABBA Booth Chorus Singers.

Over the past couple of months, the cast and ensemble have been drilled by Dawn and Charles Fornara in rigorous daily music and dance rehearsals. To learn their parts and understudy roles, they’ve also attended The Naples Players Mamma Mia! rehearsals and performances. Now they’re ready and primed to turn in spectacular performances of their own. Performances are Friday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, August 3 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m. in Blackburn Hall at The Sugden Community Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and are available for purchase online at www.NaplesPlayers.org or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.

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TNP audition notice for ‘Great Gatsby’ and ‘Escanaba in Da Moonlight (08-01-19)

The Naples Players will be holding auditions for The Great Gatsby and Escanaba in Da Moonlight on Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at The Sugden Community Theatre located at 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102. Both shows are auditioning on the same day and you may audition for one show or both. Auditions are free and walk-ins are always welcome.

Final Casting Calls will be made starting Wednesday, August 14.

The Great Gatsby is casting 4 Women (20’s-60’s), 5 Men (20’s-60’s), with additional ensemble roles available. It will be directed by TNP Executive Artistic Director Bryce Alexander and sponsored by Lake Michigan Credit Union. The Great Gatsby is a contemporary stage adaptation of the classic Jazz-Era American novel penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Adapted for the stage by Simon Levy, the play was first presented at the Guthrie Theatre in 2006. It features much of Fitzgerald’s language with the decadence of the 1920s. Rehearsal begins August 19 @ 7:00 p.m. Performances will be Wednesdays-Sundays, October 3–27 in Blackburn Hall.

Escanaba In Da Moonlight is casting 1 Woman (1 30’s) and 5 Men (2 30’s, 1 40’s, 1 60’s, 1 ageless). Associate Artistic Director Jessica Walck directs. It is a hunting story to beat all hunting stories. Written by Tony-nominated actor Jeff Daniels, this zany comedy follows the Soady family tale of the opening day of deer season at the family’s Upper Peninsula camp. Rehearsal begins September 9 @ 7:00 p.m. Performances will take place Wednesdays-Sundays, October 23–November 17 (possible extension from November 20th–24th).

To register to audition and for audition sides, a full list of rehearsals, techs, and performances, please visit NaplesPlayers.org. For further questions or inquiries, please contact Cole Butcher, TNP Production Stage Manager, at (239) 434-7340 ext. 125 or cbutcher@naplesplayers.org.

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TNP KidzAct performing ‘Once on This Island Jr.’ in August (08-01-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) present the KidzAct Summer production of Once On This Island Jr. in the Tobye Studio Theatre at The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre August 9 – 11, 2019.

With its poignant story and catchy Caribbean-flavored musical score, Once on This Island Jr. is a highly original theatrical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s popular fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, and the Tony-nominated Broadway musical by the legendary writing team, Ahrens and Flaherty. Through almost non-stop song and dance, this full-hearted musical tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of her island. When Daniel is returned to his people, the fantastical gods who rule the island, guide Ti Moune on a quest that will test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred, and even death.

The KidzAct production of Once on This Island Jr. is directed/choreographed by Erica Sample with Musical Direction by Lisa Federico.

KC Allen plays Agwe, Benjamin Beightol is Daniel Beauxhomme, Isabella Camina is Andrea Deveraux, Emma Eastman is Mama Euralie, Daniella Flom is papa Ge, Jordan Gersbach is Asaka, Savannah Ouverson is Ti Moune, Max Pearson is Tonton Julian, and Lorelai Vega is Erzulie.

The storytellers are played by Marianna Greenwood, Jordan Crawford, and Tucker Claremont and the ensemble members are Leonard Allen, Isabella Antunes, Aleena Arico, Karina Baldwin, Valentina Camina, Sophia Campbell, Zoe Ciabaton, Lily Coppell, Sophia Hajjar, Ashley Hyland, Eliza Leslie, and Cassidy Levens.

Once on This Island Jr. performs August 9 at 6:30 p.m., August 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and August 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Tobye Studio Theatre at The Naples Players at The Sugden Community Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and are available for purchase online at www.NaplesPlayers.org or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.

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TNP KidzAct holding auditions for ‘Frozen Jr.’ (07-22-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) KidzAct is holding open auditions for the Disney musical sensation Frozen Jr. on Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at The Naples Players at The Sugden Community Theatre located at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples.

Frozen Jr. is a story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

The Naples Players KidzAct production is seeking to cast 16 principal roles (8 male, 8 female) and a large singing/dancing ensemble with multiple featured roles. Rehearsals for Frozen Jr. begin on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and performances run Saturday, December 7th (two performances at 12 noon and 4:00 p.m.), Sunday, December 8th at 6:30 p.m., and Monday, December 9th at 6:30 p.m. Cast members must be available for all four performances.

Auditions for Frozen Jr. are open to students of all abilities ages 9 – 18 years old who are currently enrolled in 3rd – 12th grades. Auditions are by appointment only and students can register online. If all slots fill up, the time of auditions will be extended later. Auditions are free and walk-ins are always welcome.

Students need to prepare 32 bars (about a minute in length) of a song with sheet music or a non-vocal CD/track. Singing will be followed by learning a dance combination. For a full rehearsal and performance schedule, and to register to audition for the Frozen Jr. auditions: https://naplesplayers.org/kidzact-auditions-2/. For further questions about auditions, please contact Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, 239-434-7340 ext. 125 or cbutcher@naplesplayers.org.

There is an Audition Prep Class offered on Saturday, August 10, 2019, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. TNP KidzAct Director/Choreographer, Erica Sample will be teaching the Audition Prep Class to introduce auditionees to the style of dance in the show prior to the audition. Students are encouraged to take this class to best prepare for the audition process. To register for the Frozen Jr. Audition Prep Class call (239) 434-7340 ext. 103 or NaplesPlayers.org

Frozen Jr. performs December 7th at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., December 8th and 9th at 6:30 p.m. in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players at The Sugden Community Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and are available for purchase online at www.NaplesPlayers.org or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.

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‘Venus in Fur’ pairs Steven Coe, Maddy Hayes in cerebrally carnal erotic drama (08-01-19)

Coming to The Studio Players in Golden Gate on August 23 is Venus in Fur directed by Anna Segreto.

The play stars Maddy Hayes and Steven Coe.

Desperate to find an actress to play the female lead in his adaptation of the classic tale of sadomasochism, Venus in Fur, a beleaguered playwright/director auditions a vulgar and equally desperate actress. Though utterly wrong for the sophisticated part, Vanda piques the playwright’s interest with her seductive talents and secretive manner. As the two work through the script, they blur the line between play and reality, entering into an increasingly serious game of submission and domination that only one of them can win.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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Spotlight on ‘Venus in Fur’ actor Steven Coe (08-01-19)

Coming to The Studio Players in Golden Gate on August 23 is Venus in Fur directed by Anna Segreto. The play stars Maddy Hayes and Steven Coe.

Coe is one of Southwest Florida’s hardest working actors. He has a reputation for placing himself in challenging roles and situations that build confidence. For example, while he was playing The Boy in Veronica’s Room for Lab Theater, he was also on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train over at the Seminole Gulf Railway.

Go here for the rest of Steven’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Venus in Fur’ actor Maddy Hayes (08-01-19)

Coming to The Studio Players in Golden Gate on August 23 is Venus in Fur directed by Anna Segreto. The play stars Steven Coe and Maddy Hayes.

Madelaine “Maddy” Hayes is a local actor and director. Her acting credits include Forgive Me; I Put You in a Play, Boberg’s Timer and Dash in the Middle in Lab Theater’s inaugural Festival of Tens, Serenity in And the Winner Is, The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s and Stage Kiss, as well as a number of staged readings at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Maddy has headed the Lab’s winter camp and co-directed the Lab’s summer camp shows, The Wolves and Evil Dead: The Musical. She also had the distinction of directing the Audience Choice winner in Lab Theater’s 2018 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge, Sunny with a Chance of Social Anxiety by Dave Matthew Chesebro.

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‘Church & State’ fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and ‘The Twitter’ (08-01-19)

It is three days before Charles Whitmore’s Senate re-election and he’s decided to finally tell the public exactly what’s on his mind, no filter. What could possibly go wrong? Church & State is a fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and “The Twitter.” Directed by Brett Marston, it will be performed by The Studio Players October 4-20.

Keith Gahagan plays Senator Charles Whitmore, with Suzanne Sole portraying his wife, Sara Whitmore. Sharon Isern is Alex Klein and Danny Cancio tackles multiple roles, playing Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor.

Church & State playwright Jason Odell Williams is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer (Brain Games). He has also received an Ovation Award nomination.

Church & State is his latest play and was originally produced as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at The Skylight Theatre in L.A. and JCC CenterStage in Rochester, NY.

Please go here for the remainder of this advance.

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Spotlight on actor Keith Gahagan (08-01-19)

Keith Gahagan will play the role of Senator Charles Whitmore in The Studio Players’ upcoming production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Keith has performed in community theater productions in Marco Island, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers since 2007. Among his stage credits are Curt in Don’t Talk to the Actors (The Studio Players) Eddie the bar owner in The Legend of Georgia McBride (Lab Theater, June 2019), Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire (The Studio Players, January 2018), August Osage County, Things Being What They Are and A Clockwork Orange a decade ago. Most recently, Keith took part in Stage It Playwrights Festival in Bonita Springs, which followed his performance in  the Waverly Gallery at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita.

Go here for the rest of Keith’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ actor Sharon Isern (08-01-19)

Sharon Isern will be playing the part of Alex Klein in The Studio Players’ October production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Sharon Isern is an actor, artist (steampunkphage.com) and recovering academic (@profpathogen) who spends her days teaching and doing virus research with undergraduate students as a Professor of Biology at FGCU. Although new to acting, Sharon has made a mark already in the Southwest Florida theater community. She made her debut in January 0f 2019 in Ghostbird Theatre’s production of Everyone on this Train, excelling in the role of a mother fleeing the Chechen war with her daughter. And she recently turned in a tearfully painful portrayal of a doting daughter caring for her terminally ill mother who is also afflicted with dementia in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Shadow Box. For more on Sharon’s acting accomplishments and chops, read here.

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Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ cast member Daniel Cancio (08-01-19)

Daniel Cancio plays multiple roles (Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor) in The Studio Players’ upcoming production of Church & State. An FGCU theatre grad, Daniel is an emerging talent in the local theater scene. While at FGCU, he appeared in productions of The Tempest, Mr. Perfect, 12 Angry Men and The Zoo. His credits also include Jerry in The Studio Players’ production of Don’t Talk to the Actors, Bear in Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of Orbs! and Laboratory Theater’ss 2016 production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews. He additionally took part in a staged reading of Robert Caisley’s The Open Hand. 

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