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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news August 15-21, 2019


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 (08-20-19)

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.



SWFHS President Glenn Miller records Otocast audio on Wes Nott Statue (08-20-19)

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.



Activist Reginald Billups records USCT 2d Regiment Monument Otocast audio (08-20-19)

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.



Recalling other luminaries and artists who’ve provided Otocast audios (08-20-19)

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.



Many FGCU public artworks and their artists profiled on Art Southwest Florida (08-20-19)

Cross Currents Showing Original Color Saturation (2)The FGCU public art collections contains over 100 monumental works and collections. In an ongoing effort, Art Southwest Florida has profiled many of them in order to provide students, faculty and surrounding residents, vacationers and visiting parents with detailed information about these works and the artists who rendered them. These profiles include:

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



‘The Eyes Have It’ at Alliance through August 31 (08-19-19)

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 118 artists participating in this show have utilized brush, ink, paper, sculpture and photography to voice to this unique perspective.

The Eyes Have It: Members Exhibition will be on display through August 31. For more information, please call 239-939-278 or visit



Kyra Belan part of ‘Eyes Have It’ with ‘Puerto Rico Es America’ (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Dr. Kyra Belan. Her painting is  titled Puerto Rico Es America. Belan creates portraiture that commemorates outstanding women in contemporary history. Her preoccupation with the subject stems from her realization that the percentage of portraiture that is dedicated to women of achievement is currently unacceptably small. Her goal, therefore, is to help correct this inequity by drawing attention to iconic women through her art.

For a full explication of her work, writing and numerous accomplishments, go here.



Katherine Boren part of ‘Eyes Have It’ with ‘Green Eyed Monster’ (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Katherine Boren. Her piece is titled The Green Eyed Monster.

Alliance regulars may recall that Boren received first place honors in the Alliance’s recent Uncontained juried exhibition. Her work always evolving, Katherine is now embracing the use of found objects more and more in her abstract work.  For example, in her Uncontained piece, Switched On, she employed a series of discarded electrical switch guards in her familiar geometric pattern, but scattered a number of switches along the side and bottom of the composition to underscore that because they no longer work, they’ve been “tossed to the wayside” in much the same way that retired and disabled people often are. The Green Eyed Monster harkens back to her more familiar Alchemy Series, which contain round to elliptical shapes on a background that is roughly the same color although not the identical texture.

Go here to read up on Katherine’s entire body of work.



Sanibel’s Steve Bufter part of ‘Eyes Have It’ with ‘Sadness of Joy’ (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Tower Gallery President Steve Bufter. His piece is entitled The Sadness of Joy.

Bufter creates post-stress eclectic style paintings on wood and wood carvings. His work is well known to area art enthusiasts, especially those who flock to the Alliance. He has had several paintings juried into the Alliance’s annual All Florida Juried  Exhibition. His painting The Very Thought of It (about a woman contemplating her future after learning that her breast cancer has returned) made quite an impression at the 27th Annual All Florida show, and Lolita garnered Bufter a Juror’s Choice award at the 31st Annual All Florida Show.

The Sadness of Joy is yet another example of Bufter’s mesmerizing portraits, which often feature women whose eyes hauntingly betray personal sadness or sorrow.

Bufter was born in Baltimore in 1953. He studied music and the arts at Western Maryland College, where he earned his degree. He now resides in Southwest Florida, where he exhibits regularly, not only at the Alliance and Tower Gallery, but Art Modern Gallery in Naples as well.



Steve Conley part of ‘Eyes Have It’ show with ‘Post Performance Reward photo (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Steve Conley. His work is Post Performance Reward, an image that was juried into last year’s Camera USA National Photography Exhibition in Naples.

As is true of all of Steve’s photographs, Post Performance Reward has quite an interesting story associated with it. It was not a planned picture by any stretch. To the contrary, Steve and his wife, Ingela, happened upon a hunter/jumper horse show driving on State Road 27 in Ocala. They stopped, watched for a while and then wandered around the grounds.

“I spied this guy washing down his horse. I took four or five shots and [this is one of them].”

At first glance, the subject of the image appears to be the horse. But upon closer inspection, it’s a classic street photography image, focusing on a trainer spraying down his steed following a rigorous work-out or hunter/jumper class. Totally candid, neither trainer nor equine athlete are cognizant of Conley’s presence or that he is capturing their interlude for posterity.

Conley’s images have been displayed in juried group shows at numerous area art galleries and centers, including the Florida Gulf Coast University Bower School of Music and Art, the Lee County Alliance for the Arts and Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, not to mention Spider Awards International.

Go here, for more on Steve’s overall body of work.



Michael Delaney part of ‘Eyes Have It’ exhibition with ‘Hull’ (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Michael Delaney. His piece is titled Hull. Alliance regulars may recall that Delaney received third place in Uncontained for his Fobot (Found Object Robot) named Type A.



Tracy Owen-Cullimore nude part of ‘Eyes Have It’ exhibition (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Tracy Owen-Cullimore. Her work is titled I Only Have Eyes for You.

An Impressionist, Tracy specializes in alla prima portraits of both people and pets rendered in oil, watercolor and charcoal, but her subject matter also includes figures, nudes, dancers in the tradition of Degas (her painting Before the Dance just took second place in a recent show), equestrian riders and delectable café scenes. “What I admire about Tracy is the versatility she displays in terms of motifs and subject matter,” states the Executive Director for the Alliance for the Arts Lydia Black.

For more on Tracy’s body of work, read here.



Roy Rodriguez part of ‘Eyes Have It’ show with ‘Moments of Seeing (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Roy Rodriguez. His work is a collage titled Moments of Seeing. It’s an interesting title given that Rodriguez believes that “seeing” is synonymous with “presence” – the act of being present in the moment of taking a photograph, of being open to the subject as he lets it reveal what else there is beyond his usual awareness.

For more on Roy’s process, go here.



Ava Roeder part of ‘Eyes Have It’ show with ‘When Eyes Meet I’s’ (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Ava Roeder. Her piece is an abstract painting titled  When Eyes Meet I’s.

Roeder is not only known as an accomplished artist, but as an arts educator and advocate. At Cypress Lake High School, she was a founding faculty member of the Center for the Arts. She has served as a member of the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee since its inception in 2004. And today, she is not only a member of the Alliance, but sits on the Alliance board. Ava exhibits regularly at the Alliance and other area art galleries and venues.



Africa Valdez part of ‘Eyes Have It’ exhibition with ‘Elements’ (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Africa Valdez. Her piece is titled Elements.

Alliance regulars may recall that Juror Dale Weber awarded Africa Valdez second place in the Alliance’s recent Uncontained juried exhibition for her kinetic sculpture, Music Muse. That piece consisted of a turntable that her husband was going to throw out, parts from an accordion she found at a garage sale, strings and tuning nuts from a guitar, part of a trumpet her nephew no longer needed when he got a new one to take its place, and a hunk of wood from the branch of a tree in her yard that blew over.

Elements is a vibrantly-colored mixed media triptych with 3D elements that make the abstract really pop. Africa relishes the chance to work in mixed media because of its ability to combine so many different mediums, from acrylic and epoxy to wood, metal and stainless steel.

For more Africa’s growing body of work, read here.



Dale Weber part of ‘Eyes Have It’ show with ‘Conversation Piece’ (08-19-19)

On view now through August 31 in the Alliance for the Arts main gallery is its The Eyes Have It members show. One of the 118 artists with work in the show is Dale Weber. His work is titled Conversation Piece. Dale Weber characterizes himself as an assemblage artist. He creates three-dimensional works made from objects he finds at Goodwill, on the side of the road or even in his own backyard.

Go here for the rest of Dale’s profile.



Alliance partners with Progressive Women of SWFL to toast tenacity (08-19-19)

Sponsored by Vision 2020, the Fort Myers Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Progressive Women of Southwest Florida, the Alliance for the Arts will host A Toast to Tenacity on Sunday, August 25. The event pay homage to the courageous women (and some men) behind the passage 99 years ago of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote.

On August 26, 1920, suffragists across the nation raised a glass of grape juice (Prohibition was in effect, so they skipped the more potent stuff) to honor the amendment. The Alliance will repeat the feat with a grape juice toast of its own – and a program honoring both the famous and not-so-well known suffragists of nearly a century ago.

A Toast to Tenacity provides an opportunity to learn about the tenacious women from diverse backgrounds who persisted for more than 70 years – even went to prison and endured other terrible hardships – until their basic right to vote was enacted into law. This year’s celebration features a special performance from The Agitators and refreshments in the gallery after the program.

A Toast to Tenacity takes place in the main gallery from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 25. The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers (just south of the intersection of McGregor and Colonial Blvd.).

An RSVP is required.


Florida was not one of the states that ratified the 19th amendment in 1920. However, conceding that the Amendment invalidated state laws against woman suffrage, Florida officials permitted women to vote in the general election in 1920. The following year, the Florida Legislature passed a measure recognizing as qualified electors all citizens over the age of 21. But Florida would not act to formally ratify the 19th Amendment until 1969. Taylor, “The Woman Suffrage Movement in Florida,” The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 1, July 1957.

On a local note, the Koreshan Unity in Estero took a pro-suffrage stance on the voting rights issue around the time that Francis Kennard was designing the new Lee County Courthouse. The Koreshan Unity advanced their position in the form of a play entitled Women, Women, Women, Suffragettes, Yes. “The Florida Photographic Collection includes images of both men and women dressing up as the opposite sex, at times to support the idea of equal voting rights and at other times to ridicule it. While humorous, the images are a reminder that for many, the suffrage question was often at odds with the longstanding belief that men and women occupied distinct and separate places in society.” (Photo 6, right.) Women’s Equality Day, The Florida Memory Blog, Aug. 24, 2015.

In fact, when the Florida House of Representatives failed to muster the needed three-fifths majority for passage of a resolution enfranchising women through an amendment to the Florida Constitution, one Representative (George G. Brooks of Monroe County) stated on the House floor that he did not “care to lower women from the pinnacle” upon which tradition had placed them, arguing that “politics is a dirty game . . . and women cannot mix with filth without some of it sticking.”

Murray Sims of Volusia was even more condescending. He stated that it was “impossible for women to be equals of men in determining questions involving suffrage as it was for them to be their equals physically.” Florida Times-Union, Apr. 23, 1919.



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

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

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 or call 239-939-2787.



Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Alliance on October 12 (08-19-19)

Guaranteed to thrill you, chill you and fulfill you, the Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to the Alliance on October 12th! Hike up your fishnets and unleash your inner Sweet Transvestite as the mother of all cult classics hits the big screen replete with audience participation and local shadow cast The Forbidden Triffids pantomiming the film (see next post).

A beloved, rowdy, nocturnal tradition, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been tantalizing audiences for over 40 years. Rocky Horror is meant to be experienced: be part of a decades-long tradition of crowd participation as guests are encouraged to dance along to the Time Warp, yell obscenities, and throw props in time with the action on screen.

Compete against fellow creatures of the night in a costume contest; give yourself over to absolute pleasure with food trucks and drinks; enter a Rocky raffle; pick up your official prop bags; and enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite Transylvanians.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show film is Rated R – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian, contains some adult material. This screening involves audience participation and many lines or jokes shouted by audience members or the shadow cast may be offensive beyond the film’s R rating. Viewer discretion is advised.



Forbidden Triffids to pantomime ‘Rocky Horror’ at Alliance’s Oct. 12 screening (08-19-19)

The Forbidden Triffids will be pantomiming the Rocky Horror Picture Show when it returns October 12 to the Alliance for the Arts. The Forbidden Triffids is a Lee County shadow cast who help audiences relive the cult classic movie.

The troupe formed in 2013, starting as street performers after the previous Fort Myers cast split. They are notable for combining other kinds of performers with the show such as fursuiters and fire performers. At the moment they perform in the Halloween season on stage and perform at art shows off season.

In addition to the Alliance of the Arts, The Forbidden Triffids has appeared at the AMC movie theater, Red Headed Witches, Peace Day in the Park, Mystery Walk, CGA show and Zombicon.

2019 Show Cast, which may change depending on availability and understudies, consists of:

  • Dr. Frank-N-Furter (A Scientist): TBA
  • Janet Weiss (A Heroine):               Chandler Burwell
  • Brad Majors (A Hero):                    Caitlin Karcher
  • Riff Raff (A Handyman):                Takua Lockwood
  • Magenta (A Domestic):                   Kimberly Reichenbecher
  • Columbia (A Groupie):                    Kathi Reichenbecher
  • Dr. Everett V. Scott:                         Bjorn Ugland
  • Rocky Horror (A Creation):            Mike Heidenreich
  • Eddie (Ex Delivery Boy):                 Bjorn Ugland
  • The Criminologist (An Expert):     David Condoluci
  • Trixie (The Lips):                              Takua Lockwood



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

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



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

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 or telephone 239-939-2787.



TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on September 2 (08-18-19)

The Fort Myers Film Festival returns for its 10th season on September 2 when TGIM returns to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s grand atrium.

New to the term? Well, the acronym stands for “Thank God for Indie Monday,” and symbolizes the anticipation and excitement that area indie film lovers feel as the first Monday of the month draws near each season.

Go here for the rest of this advance.



Meet TGIM September judge John Davis (08-18-19)

On September 2, T.G.I.M. returns to the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and among the esteemed panel of celebrity judges that will be on hand to help get the post-screening discussions going is WGCU radio host John Davis.

John has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition and producer and host of WGCU’s radio talk program Gulf Coast Live!

Go here for the rest of John’s profile.



Meet TGIM September judge and accomplished filmmaker John Biffar (08-18-19)

On September 2, T.G.I.M. returns to the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and among the esteemed panel of celebrity judges that will be on hand to help get the post-screening discussions going is filmmaker John Biffar. Over the past two decades, John Biffar has served as a director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer and on-air talent. He has directed such notable talent as Don Shula (former coach of the Miami Dolphins), Helio Castroneves (Indy Car Champion and Dancing with the Stars Mirror Ball winner), Ernest Borgine (McHales Navy), Arte Johnson (Laugh In), Norma Miller (The Queen of Swing), Bill Cobbs (Night At The Museum, Northern Exposure) Ali MacGraw (Love Story), news legend Walter Cronkite, Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill and Jacques Cousteau. And this is just a fraction of why he’ll make an excellent celebrity judge at September’s TGIM.

For more, go here.



Latest on ‘Surviving Lunch’ and filmmaker KT Curran (08-18-19)

On April 13, the 9th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival will screened the feature film Surviving Lunch produced by Source Productions and directed by KT Curran. 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.


ArtFest Fort Myers now accepting applications for 20th anniversary show (08-17-19)

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 or visit



Boulderbrook accepting submissions for Southwest Florida art festivals (08-17-19)

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



Hot Works accepting applications for Estero Fine Art Show (08-17-19)

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 For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at or 248-684-2613.



Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020 (08-17-19)

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 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




Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples National Art Show (08-17-19)

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 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.



Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples Downtown Art Show (08-17-18)

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 beginning June 1, 2018



Naples Art accepting submissions for next season’s Art in the Park (08-17-19)

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.



Fort Myers Collects in Davis Art Center’s grand atrium through August 29 (08-16-19)

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is featuring in its Grand Atrium this month a special exhibition titled Fort Myers Collects. It showcases the most engaging and eclectic art that is privately owned by several of SBDAC’s favorite collectors, and offers visitors a look inside the hearts and minds of regional collectors in Southwest Florida. The artwork was made available to SBDAC by members of our community for art lovers to enjoy and will include several pieces that have been donated to the Center in recent years.



Fantasy experiencing resurgence at Davis Art Center with ‘Reimagined’ (08-16-19)

On view in the Capitol Gallery 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.



Open-theme exhibit in Arts for ACT White Gallery through September 2 (08-16-19)

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.

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.

In this group show, viewers are treated to an array of eclectic, surreal, and whimsical altars, shrines and cabinets of curiosities created by more than 15 artists.



Patrick Conolly solo show on view in Arts for ACT main gallery (08-16-19)

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.



Solo show of Jansen work opening in Paris on September 7 (08-16-19)

Fort Myers artist Marcus Jansen is opening a solo show of his work at the Danysz gallery in Paris on September 7. Titled Stop, Look and Listen, the exhibition will run through October 12.

The Press Release announcing the show draws a parallel between Jansen’s formative experiences and those of Jackson Pollock. In Pollock’s case, he learned to throw sand to make pictures from the Hopi Indians. Back from Desert Storm, Jansen was influenced by the graffiti he saw on the sides of subway trains when he traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan to sell his work on Prince Street in Soho in order to survive.

Described alternately as urban expressionism and post-urban cataclysmic surrealism, his unique blend of abstract and the figurative belies the influences of the Iraqi war and the intensity of his post-conflict urban environment. He got his big break when his work drew the attention of Jerome A. Donson, who organized exhibitions of such prestigious artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline as Director of MOMA’s American Vanguard Exhibitions in Europe.

Danysz gallery is located at 78 rue Amelot. For more information, you may email the gallery at or Unit A Space at



DAAS CO-OP seeing ‘Red’ in August (08-16-19)

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 or by calling 239-590-8645.



DAAS to feature work of visual/tattoo artist Mully in September (08-16-19)

In the month of September, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery will feature the work of visual and tattoo artist Mully. Originally from Braintree, Massachusetts, the artist moved to Florida in 2003 to pursue his artistic career.

Mully has been producing fine art painting since 2007. He has a refined yet loose approach. His genres range from tattoo-inspired to classical portraiture and figurative work. His recognizable style features drips, a bit of chaos, or what he considers “happy little accidents” (quoting the iconic painter Bob Ross). His medium is acrylic paint, combined with a plethora of mixed media materials which give each piece its own unique contrasts and textures.

Before embracing his artistic talents, Mully studied Business Management and worked in the financial field as an accountant. He immediately recognized that the corporate world was not for him and sought the opportunity to become a tattoo artist. This led to a career that has allowed him to produce fine art and experiment with multiple mediums.

“First came wood burning and then painting with acrylics and oils,” says Mully, who finds the use of various mediums as the outlet for his creativity. “I think it is important to stay in a creative mindset and be inspired by bringing what I learn from each medium to my paintings.”

During the month of September, Mully will present a series of artworks which he considers his most prominent. The artist will be present to answer questions and meet the gallery’s guests. More information about Mully can be found at

The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, September 6, 2019 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk event. The exhibition will be on display through September 28, 2019.



DAAS participating in Shop Hop in September (08-16-19)

It started last year in the Gardner’s Park Area. The Shop Hop returns, now with more shops, giveaways, surprises and more. The 2019 Shop Hop is scheduled for Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Joy Schwartz, owner of Shoppe Around the Corner, created the event in 2018 and hopes to make it a yearly partnership between the businesses of the area. “We had a tremendous success during the first event and we want to make it even better this year.” – says Schwartz.

To add to the excitement, three lucky guests will win a fantastic basket full of exquisite products from participating venues. All you have to do to enter the drawing is pick up your District Passport at any venue and then visit as many shops as possible in order to enter the contest.

“Last year so many shoppers stated they had no idea such cute shops were available in the area,” points out Sophisticated Seconds owner Jennifer Jahn. “The Shop Hop definitely spreads the word about the unique stores in the Gardner’s Park district.”

Jahn features an exquisite artist up-cycled and consignment shopping experience at her store, located on Fowler Street.

“Our newest arrival is the Jolie Line of paints and supplies and we also carry Sweet Pea Naturals soaps, candles & lotions, clothing, shoes, jewelry, furniture and home décor,” Jahn proudly adds.

Popular Remedies Parlor will also be headlining the event this year. This boutique and wine bar is one of the neighborhood’s favorites. For this event, owner Tyna Swingler is offering a free gift with purchase.

Also, the famous Buddha Blends food truck will be offering their scrumptious selections in their garden.

One of the newest shops in the block is DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts. As the only art gallery in the district, their inventory is filled with amazing creations by working emerging and established artists living in southwest Florida. For the Shop Hop event, the gallery will offer refreshments, special discounts and gifts with every purchase.

“We heard about the event last year and knew that once we relocated to Gardner’s Park, we wanted to be part of it,” says co-founder and vice-president Xavier Brignoni. “Since moving our gallery to this area, we’ve had nothing but great experiences and we look forward to this and many more collaborative events.”

The 2019 Shop Hop venues are Thrifty Garden, Remedies Parlor, Shoppe Around the Corner, Sirena del Sol, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts, Bullig Coffee and Bites, Rust Never Sleeps, Florida Native Butterfly Society, Sophisticated Seconds, Belle Fille, Wisteria Tea Room and Millennial Brewing Company. Each venue is located in the Gardners Park District of Fort Myers.

The District Passports can be obtained at any of the participating venues, on the day of the event. No purchase is necessary to participate in the contest, but a visit to all the shops is encouraged.

The Gardner’s Park District is bordered by the Caloosahatchee River to the North, Fowler Street to the West, Park and Evans Avenue to the East and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the south, all within a minute from Downtown Fort Myers. For more information about the area, visit



Youth Alliance Theatre holding auditions for ‘Pippin’ and ‘Children of Eden’ (08-15-19)

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.



Theatre Conspiracy at Alliance opening season with American classic ‘Harvey’ (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Brendan Powers (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Lauren Drexler (08-15-19)

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 a long history of creating 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.



Spotlight on Stella Zuri, who plays socialclimbing Myrtle Mae (08-15-19)

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

One of her most memorable roles 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). Ruiz’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.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Dena Galyean (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Rob Green (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Scott Thomson (08-15-19)

Scott Thomson plays the part of Dr. Chumley in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Mary Chase’s Harvey. Thomson is excited to be back on stage with Bill Taylor and company. Thomson and Taylor have been collaborating for 30 or so years – from Vampire Lesbians of Sodom to Harvey, Little Shop of Horrors to School for Wives, and Relatively Speaking as well. Thomson says it’s been fun – at least from what he can remember.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Jordan Wilson (08-15-19)

Jordan Wilson plays an orderly at Chumley Rest Sanitarium by the name of Wilson. He plays the role with incredible energy, and has his sights set on Myrtle Mae. A native of Southwest Florida, Jordan has performed in many productions at the Alliance and is excited to be part of another great production.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Stephen Hooper (08-15-19)

Barrister Stephen Hooper plays Judge Gaffney in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of the Mary Chase classic “Harvey.” He plays the doddering old fool really, really well. If you’re not familiar with his resume, Stephen Hooper is an actor, director and playwright whose career in theater spans more than three decades. But Stephen did not study theater in college. In fact, he did not get into theater until he’d been practicing law for a number of years. Instead, he went into acting pretty much on a whim.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Stephanie Davis (08-15-19)

Stephanie Davis plays the part of Mrs. Chumley in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Mary Chase’s Harvey. A consummate actor, Stephanie Davis has appeared on a variety of Southwest Florida stages over the past 30 years. She has worked with Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance, Laboratory Theater of Florida and Florida Repertory Theatre, where she also served as Associate Director when the company was first founded.

Go here for the balance of Stephanie’s lengthy and impressive profile.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ actor Patricia Clopton (08-15-19)

Patricia Clopton plays the part of Mrs. Chauvenet in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Mary Chase’s Harvey. Patricia has entertained theatergoers for the past 20 years on a variety of Southwest Florida stages including Florida Repertory Theatre, Theatre Conspiracy, Laboratory Theater, Herb Strauss Theater and Cultural Park. Her acting credits include Marvin’s Room for New Phoenix Theatre (she was Dr. Charlotte Samit), The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s, Calendar Girls, and the chain-smoking, beer-guzzling town drunk Juanita in Lab’s production of the Del Shore cult classic Sordid Lives.

Go here for the rest of Patricia’s profile.



Spotlight on ‘Harvey’ taxi driver Patrick Day (08-15-19)

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.



‘Once’ kicking off national tour at Broadway Palm in August (08-15-19)

Once, the musical that broke new ground on Broadway, began 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



‘Madagascar Jr.’ coming to Center for Performing Arts Bonita (08-15-19)

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).



Funny Shorts LIVE! returning to Center for Performing Arts in September (08-15-19)

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.



‘Cause and Affection’ to incorporate video component into live action on stage (08-15-19)

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 are 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



Florida Rep Ed’s highly evocative ‘Spring Awakening’ closes this weekend (08-158-19)

Florida Rep Education’s production of the Broadway smash hit Spring Awakening closes this weekend with shows August 15-17.

The coming-of-age story about a group of teens is told through music that Entertainment Weekly called “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade!” 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.

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 relevant, 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 1891 Germany, 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.”

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 or by calling the box office at 239.332.4488 or toll-free at 877-787-8053.



Looking at rest of Ghostbird’s 2019-2020 schedule (08-15-19)

With 3 in the books, here’s what’s on tap for the rest of Ghostbird Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 season:

  • 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.



Crussard and Benzing make ‘D.M.V.’ more than mere lighthearted summer fare (08-15-19)

On stage for the next two weekends at Lab Theater is a fascinating little play titled D.M.V. As a result of truly insightful direction from Carmen Crussard and first-rate acting by Gerri Benzing, D.M.V. transcends the status of mere lighthearted comedic summer fare to provide a rare glimpse into the plight of the 9-to-5 bureaucrat.

Ah, you rightly ask, why would anyone write never lone care about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a bureaucrat?

“They are the supposedly human face of the state—cold, distant, unconcerned,” writes Bernardo Zacka, author of When the State Meets the Street: Public Service and Moral Agency. “Of all the ills of bureaucracy, they might be the worst. They look without seeing, they listen without hearing, and they proclaim decisions that can change people’s lives with the indifference of a butcher slicing a piece of steak.”

Go here for the rest of this review.



Spotlight on ‘DMV’ star Gerrie Benzing (08-15-19)

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

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.



Gerrie Benzing loves everything theater (08-15-19)

Her face lights up Seed & Bean as she spies Terry Tincher crossing the café to say hello. After sharing a warm embrace with the white-bearded GM of Florida’s first CBD marketplace, Gerrie Benzing settles into her window seat overlooking a stretch of Broadway that takes in the Franklin Shops on First. She’s there to chat about her leading role in Zalman Velvel’s farcical comedy D.M.V. and theater in general.

Right now, she’s luxuriating in the role of Bernice Hodes (rhymes with POTUS), the manager of a local branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles who is retiring after logging 30 years as a frontline bureaucrat. She’s sold her house, packed all her belongings and is moving cross-country to be closer to her daughter. She just has to negotiate one final day of the crazies.

“I just love the feeling of being on stage,” Gerrie effuses, a wide smile flashing across her youthful features.

In truth, Benzing loves everything theater.

In addition to acting, she directs, spearheads Cultural Park Theatre’s summer camp, and writes monologues for children with film and theatrical aspirations.

Read the rest of this interview here.



Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Sam Bostic (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Todd Lyman (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Mike Dinko (08-15-19)

Mike Dinko plays several roles in Lab Theater’s production of D.M.V. Among his acting credits are Boberg’s Timer and Junk in the Trunk in Lab’s inaugural Festival of Tens, The Odd Couple, Female Version (one of the Castilian brothers), 55 and Over (landlord), Play On! (where he played a villainous actor in a very bad murder mystery), The Country Wife (Dorilant), The Best Man (where he played the role of an Army veteran who is brought to a political convention by one candidate to ruin the reputation of his adversary), An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf (the surly French waiter, Claude, who longed for his young male trainee even though married (unhappily) to the restaurant’s beautiful Jackie-O wannabe), The Eight: Reindeer Monologues (Dasher), Steve Martin’s The Underpants (Theo Maske) and The Diary of Anne Frank (Mr. Kraler).

For more on Mike, go here.



Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Stacy Stauffer (08-15-19)

Stacy Stauffer plays multiple roles in Lab Theater’s production of D.M.V., but she shines as Her Honor, the mayor, who meets her match in Bernice Hodes.

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”).

D.M.V. runs through August 25.



Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor Margaret Cooley (08-15-19)

Margaret Cooley plays Customer Number 2 and the Sheriff in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V. Margaret attended Florida State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre as well as numerous technical and creative roles on her resume.



Spotlight on ‘DMV’ actor David Cooley (08-15-19)

David Cooley plays several roles in D.M.V., including the Tax Collector and customers 4 and 7. David is a graduate of Florida State University’s School of Theatre. He is making his Lab Theater debut and is looking forward to more collaborations in the future.



Improv returns to The Lab Sept. 7 with Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab (08-15-19)

They are back and funnier than ever! Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab returns to the Laboratory Theater of Florida on September 7 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 or by calling (239)218-0481. The past two performances have sold out, so get your tickets early.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Leigh Shein (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Nick Hernandez (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Kea ‘Mac’ McElfresh (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Bill Owens (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Andrew Florance (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Steve Cobb (08-15-19)

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.



Richard O’Brien’s ‘Rocky Horror Show’ coming to New Phoenix in October (08-15-19)

New Phoenix Theatre will perform Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show live in October. If you have never experienced Rocky horror, this is yours chance. If you have, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to do the time warp again. Audience participation is encouraged, but not necessary, so feel free to dress up as your favorite character. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

Performances are October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 31 at 8:00 p.m. and October 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 3:00 p.m.



TNP KidzAct holding auditions for ‘Frozen Jr.’ (08-15-19)

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: For further questions about auditions, please contact Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, 239-434-7340 ext. 125 or

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

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 or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



TNP holding open auditions for ‘She Loves Me’ holiday show (08-15-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) announce open auditions for She Loves Me from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14 at The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South.

She Loves Me is the perfect holiday musical. Based on the same storyline as the blockbuster hit film You’ve Got Mail, this story follows two feuding clerks in a European parfumerie during the 1930s who secretly find solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, little knowing that their respective correspondents are each other.

The Naples Players is casting 2 women (ages 20s-30s), 2 men (ages 25-30), 1 male (age 45-55), 1 male (age 55-65), and 1 boy (age 14-17) as well as the ensemble with additional dancing and non-speaking featured roles available.

Audition sides are made available two weeks before the auditions. The Naples Players auditions are open to all interested persons and walk-ins are welcome. All that is required is the desire to be involved in a production and the willingness to commit your time and effort to the project.

She Loves Me rehearsals begin Monday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. Rehearsals are typically five nights a week for five weeks before production.

Performances run Wednesdays through Sundays, November 26 through December 22 in Blackburn Hall.

There is no performance on Thanksgiving with a make-up performance on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. There is a special Sensory-Friendly Performance on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

For audition information, please call Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, (239) 434-7340 ext. 125 or email All audition details and script sides for auditions are accessible on the website:



‘Venus in Fur’ pairs Steven Coe, Maddy Hayes in cerebrally carnal erotic drama (08-15-19)

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

The play stars Madelaine Weymouth 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.



Spotlight on ‘Venus in Fur’ actor Steven Coe (08-15-19)

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





Spotlight on ‘Venus in Fur’ actor Madelaine Weymouth (08-15-19)

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 Madelaine Weymouth.

Madelaine Weymouth 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. She has also headed the Lab’s winter camp and co-directed the Lab’s summer camp shows, The Wolves (2019) and Evil Dead: The Musical (2018). 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.



‘Church & State’ fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and ‘The Twitter’ (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on actor Keith Gahagan (08-15-19)

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.



Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ actor Sharon Isern (08-15-19)

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 ( 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.



Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ cast member Daniel Cancio (08-15-19)

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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