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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news December 15-21, 2018


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


DAAS hosting exhibition of work by National League of American Pen Women (12-21-18)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is hosting Pages, Brushes and Pens, an exhibition of visual art, fine crafts and literature by members of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW).

The National League of American Pen Women was founded in 1897 and now has around 1,800 members around the nation who support various community arts organizations, offer seminars and classes, and advance the careers of budding young artists, writers and composers. Established in 1977, the Southwest Florida chapter of the NLAPW actively offers membership to other qualified professionals.

A meet-and-greet opening reception will be held from 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 12. The exhibition will be on display through February 2, 2019. All art lovers and collectors are invited to join DAAS CO-OP for the opening reception. For more information about the exhibit or the gallery, please visit or call 239-590-8645.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is conveniently located in the Royal Palm Square in the heart of the SoCo Cultural District (, at 1400 Colonial Blvd STE 84 in Fort Myers, FL. Hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.



Muffy Clark Gill part of ’20th Century Seminole Experience’ (12-21-18)

Naples batik artist Muffy Clark Gill will be showing selections of artwork from her American Native Series in the 20th Century Seminole Experience, which will be on display at the Naples Depot Museum from January 4 through April 27. Many of the works that Gill is including in the exhibit were previously shown in the 22nd Floor Gallery at the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee.

The opening reception for the show will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 3. Gill will be give a lecture about this body of work and associated demonstration from 11:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, February 15.

The Naples Depot Museum is located at 1051 Fifth Avenue South in Naples.



Francis, Hardcastle, Garnett and Kimball to star in TNP’s ‘Marjorie Prime’ (12-21-18)

Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime opens at The Naples Players on February 6. Clever and captivating, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits – if any – of what technology can replace.

TNP Executive Artistic Director Bryce Anderson directs a cast that features Kay Francis as Marjorie, Kenneth Hardcastle as her husband, Walter, Debi Garnett (Kalamazoo) plays her daughter, Tess, with Kevin Kimball in the role of Tess’ husband, Jon.

Among the questions the play poses is the connection between memory and family dynamics. For example, if technology offered you the chance to speak with your lost loved ones, would you take it? And if given the chance, what would you choose to remember and what would you choose to forget?

Sponsored by Naples Audiology, the creative team for this production includes Scenic Design by Alyssa LeBlanc, Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten, Lighting Design by Chris Riley, Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten, Costume Design by Dot Auchmoody and Stage Management by Kenzie Currie.

Marjorie Prime runs February 6 through March 3 in the Tobye Studio Theatre at The Naples Players at Sugden Theatre, 701 5th Avenue South in Naples. Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



Hot Works announces winners of inaugural Naples Fine Art Show (12-20-18)

The inaugural Naples Fine Art Show was held past weekend at Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. Attendees were delighted to find many quality artists who do not exhibit in other area shows.

Naples’ own Marco Bronzini judged the show and awarded Best of Show to clay artists Jack and A.J. Ferrell (of Anacortes, Washington) and mixed-media artists Ruben Medina and Federica Marina (of Cape Coral).

Awards of Excellence were conferred on five artists:

  • Stacy Givon, Jewelry, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Kevin Kichar, Fiber, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Gwendolyn Redfern, Watercolor, Raleigh, NC
  • Maria Reyes-Jones, Painting, Orlando, FL
  • Don Tran, Fiber, St. Louis, MO

Another ten artists received Awards of Distinction:

  • Herb Brown, Jewelry, Tampa, FL
  • John Coburn, Clay, Pegram, TN
  • Lisa Davin, Jewelry, Delray Beach, FL
  • Alex Keto, Digital, Delray Beach, FL
  • Jimmy Langford, Metal, Cumming, GA
  • Edward Loedding, Digital, Brandon, VT
  • Marvin ‘Murf’ Murphy, Painting, Weston, FL
  • Vladimir Prodanovich, Painting, Delray Beach, FL
  • Evan Schwarze, Painting, Vero Beach, FL
  • Diana Vest, Sculpture, Birmingham, AL

The judging was based on originality, technique/execution and booth appearance. All winning artists are juried into the art show for next year.

The Naples Fine Art Show will return to the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt for an encore presentation on March 30 & 31, 2019.

Hot Works will also present the Estero Fine Art Show in its new locate outdoors at JetBlue Park on January 5 & 6.



Spotlight on Best of Show winners Ruben Dario Medina (12-20-18)

The inaugural Naples Fine Art Show was held past weekend at Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. Naples’ own Marco Bronzini judged the show and awarded Best of Show to clay artists Jack and A.J. Ferrell (of Anacortes, Washington) and mixed-media artists Ruben Medina and Federica Marina (of Cape Coral).

Medina is accomplished in a wide range of decorative and fine arts, including portraiture, trompe l’oeil, painting and sculpture. In the latter regard, he works both in marble (based on 19th century classical techniques) and bronze. For more than 15 years, he has concentrated on public, corporate and private commissions. His most prestigious installations are found primarily in Italy, where he moved in 1998 to complete his artistic studies.

Ruben was born in La Havana, Cuba, in 1969. He studied painting and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro” of La Havana, earning his degree in 1989.

If you missed Medina’s work at the Naples Fine Art Show, you can see it at either (or both) the Coconut Point New Year’s Weekend Art Fest at Coconut Point Town Center on December 29 & 30 or the Estero Fine Art Show at JetBlue Park on January 5 & 6.



Spotlight on Naples Fine Art Award of Excellence winner Gwendolyn Redfern (12-20-18)

The inaugural Naples Fine Art Show was held past weekend at Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. Naples’ own Marco Bronzini judged the show and awarded five Awards of Excellence. One of those was conferred on watercolor and mixed media artist Gwendolyn Redfern, whose original painting, “Color Girls,” served as the poster art for 20th Bi-Annual Estero Fine Art Show in November of 2017.

Painting has always been part of Redfern’s life, but she also discovered pottery while completing her B.F.A. in painting at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She inititally chose ceramic classes to fill in her schedule, but pottery quickly became Redfern 04another vehicle for her creative expression. Today, her pottery has become synonymous with sleek design, spectacular glazes and intricate carving.

However, it is through her oil and watercolor work that she challenges viewers to embark upon vivid journeys to other dimensions. Redfern has no interest in rendering representational portraits, preferring instead to craft psychological studies that focus on the emotions reflected in the faces of everyday people she encounters as she goes about her daily routine. “My art represents my life experiences –hidden secrets, experiences forgotten or wished forgotten – experiences that move the soul so hard that they entice Redfern 01a warm smile or bring on laughter,” Redfern confesses.

The disjointed forms, daubs and smears of pigment and excited coloring give her paintings a dynamically expressive quality. These and other artistic devices force her audiences to consider self and spirit, and to question the influences of powers greater than their own.

“My paintings are also packed with surprises and hidden content,” she reveals. “One of my early influences was John Biggers [an artist renowned for his meticulous humanistic depictions of African and African-American life]. Every time I looked at one of his murals, I saw something different. That’s what I strive for in my own oil and watercolor paintings as well.”

Redfern 02Redfern’s work defies categorization. However, her work expands upon the legacy created by van Gogh, Picasso and Chaim Soutine, including their impulsive, often turbulent brushstrokes and knack for creating highly-charged movement through form, color and shape. Her visual storytelling is also influenced by the Native American side of her lineage.

The Naples Fine Art Show will return to the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt for an encore presentation on March 30 & 31, 2019. Hot Works will also present the Estero Fine Art Show in its new locate outdoors at JetBlue Park on January 5 & 6.



Spotlight on Naples Fine Art Award of Excellence winner Kevin Kichar (12-20-18)

The inaugural Naples Fine Art Show was held past weekend at Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. Naples’ own Marco Bronzini judged the show and awarded five Awards of Excellence. One of those was conferred on Kevin Kichar, who works in the ancient discipline of papermaking, an art form that was nearly lost in the miasma of modernization.

Although it was still pursued by Chinese and other oriental artists, papermaking all but faded from the realm of Western art. And then along came Bob Rauschenberg, who revived the Western interest in handmade paper during his 1982 visit to Jing Xian to work at the secretive Chinese Huan Paper Mill.

Kichar does not trace his interest in paper to Rauschenberg, and his involvement is more direct. Rauschenberg merely wished to incorporate thousand-year-old Xuan paper in the collages he was constructing at the time. Kichar actually makes the paper he utilizes in his cotton-fiber tapestries.

“My media begins with the hydration of cotton and natural fibers,” Kevin divulges. “The pulp is heated to set color pigments creating vivid, permanent colors. Depending on the desired results the method then varies. The traditional method of screening the pulps produces flat, thin sheets. The more modern method of using a vacuum table, however, allows for greater control of sheet thickness and color pattern. Together these methods create the tapestries that form my works.”

In some of his more recent iterations, Kichar employs additional techniques to apply and seal layers of color and design into the dry cast cotton.

Whether consisting of sheets made by traditional or more modern methods of screening wood pulps, papermaking enables Kichar to create tapestries that combine delicate beauty and unlimited versatility.

There is also a public art component to Kichar’s artistic lexicon. For this work, handmade tile mosaics are his medium of choice. Among his commissions are four 9-by-12 foot murals in the City of Fort Lauderdale consisting of 2,500 tiles each, and six seven-foot-diameter mosaic mural medallions commissioned by the City of Plantation for a children’s water park.



Digital artist Loedding takes Award of Distinction at Naples Fine Art Show (12-20-18)

loedding-07Edward Loedding is one of ten artists who earned an Award of Distinction at last weekend’s Naples Fine Art Show. On first view, most people encountering a Loedding composition ask themselves, if not the artist himself, “Is this a painting or a photograph?”

Loedding would probably bristle at being Loedding 05pigeonholed as a digital artist. You see, that’s just medium as far as he is concerned. His art, by contrast, seeks to bridge the gap between realism and abstraction. He merely uses a smattering of digital tools to edit his photographs in order to accomplish this overarching goal. “Elements of both [painting and photography] are merged together using digital tools to form a totally new way of creating art,” the artist explains on his website. “The tools I use are a digital SLR camera, computer, Adobe PhotoShop, digitizing tablet and Loedding 02stylus, and a modified Roland Symphony12 color printer.”

Loedding’s subjects include flowers and scenes of the Vermont countryside. “I choose my subjects based on geometries that provide potential for rhythm and harmony,” says Loedding. “Each piece of my art is a composite of multiple photos and additional elements that I create directly in the computer. The second step is orchestrating all of the gathered elements; deciding which elements to include and where they should be placed on the Loedding 01digital canvas. Once all of the pieces are in place, it’s time to make them work together. I transform all of the pieces individually, changing their size, orientation, color, shadows, highlights – everything – until they form a cohesive and lyrical composition.”

Loedding 04Once he is satisfied with the structure of his composition, Loedding is ready to begin the painting. First, he breaks down the photographic qualities of the image and reduces it to very smooth areas of color. Then, using a combination of different digital paintbrushes, he begins to reshape those areas back into focus, changing every line, every curve, every detail, making them say exactly what he wants them to say, creating a Loedding 08perfect balance and harmony among all of the elements in the artwork. Finally, the art is printed on canvas using archival pigmented ink, varnished, and stretched. All of the images are presented as signed and numbered limited editions.

Although Loedding comes from a painting tradition, he finds that digital tools Loedding 09uniquely enable him to bridge the abstract/realism divide. “Abstract art is a re-creation of the process of conceptualization,” Loedding points out. “It has often failed because it is spoken in a strange and personal language that offers no common point of reference to the uninitiated observer. Abstract art has been esoteric at its best, intimidating and alienating at its worst. [At the same time], in our society, where an overabundance of imagery and information is easily accessible, realism is demoted to the status of data. Without a corresponding Loedding 12value judgment, its primary merit is merely its degree of accuracy …. My approach is not to blur the edges of realism or sharpen the focus of abstraction, but to create a common ground where the two can meet; not as opponents coerced into an uneasy balance, but as equal partners singing a new song with one voice.”

The resulting images are as layered and complex as the artist himself. “People generally don’t buy my work the first time they see it—they really need to see it a couple of times before they make that Loedding 11decision,” Loedding concedes. “And, I’ve been doing it long enough to understand that today’s enthusiasts are tomorrow’s customers.”

Toward that end, Loedding returns to Southwest Florida periodically throughout its annual art fair and festival season.



Marvin ‘Murf’ Murphy earns Award of Distinction at Naples Fine Art Show (12-20-18)

The inaugural Naples Fine Art Show was held past weekend at Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. Naples’ own Marco Bronzini judged the show and awarded ten Awards of Distinction. One of those was conferred on Marvin (Murf) Murphy.

Murf equates his dynamic, multi-dimensional geometrical abstract compositions with cartography. But he’s not interested in mapping out shorelines, islands, continents or seas. He’s busy charting the universe and the unifying threads that run through all of nature. Toward that end, he has developed a language of colors, lines and geometric forms.

There’s an architectural quality to his abstract works. Some of that inheres in his use of thick layers and impasto applied with brushes, palette and even putty knives. But he confers three-dimensionality on many of his works by combining colored acrylic films with glass that he sets about half an inch from the painted surface of his underlying canvas.

Three decades or more ago, when he was just starting out, Murf had a day job tinting car windows. It didn’t take long before he figured out that he could piece together scenes on windows, sliding glass doors and storefronts from the shapes of palm trees, sailboats and the like he cut from these colored films in much the same way that Henri Matisse used scissors and colored paper to fashion his renowned posters and other cutouts during the final chapter of his storied career.

“At some point, I began framing them and taking them to art fairs and festivals,” he recounts. “The process evolved from there.”

Today, Murf affixes his colored film cutouts to the underside of a plate of clear glass in patterns that augment or contrast with the geometric patterns in the composition beneath the glass. As the beam of a gallery spotlight passes through the glass and film cutouts, it is focused, splintered and refracted to create mesmerizing highlights and shadows on the textured surface of the canvas. Natural, organic light will produce the same effect, although in a more diffuse, subtle manner.

The resulting three-dimensional, tactile quality is a new wrinkle in the 100 year history of the abstract art movement. But there’s more to Murphy’s abstractionism than texture and dimensionality. He also evokes a preoccupation with the building blocks of the natural world and cosmology: light, color and geometrical shapes, particularly rectangles and squares. Silver Square, Yellow Light, Green Light, Across the Sky, New Horizons, Golden Moon and Color Source are the names of just a few of his contemporary constructs. These cues aside, Murf leaves it to his viewers to intuit whether the interplay of light, color, shape and shadow reflect cosmic truths or some cogent commentary on the human condition in modern society denoted, as it is, by the repudiation of fact and science, environmental damage, and impending climatological cataclysm.

Over the years, Murf has taken some of his more popular compositions and converted them into lithographs – like Earth Island, which he presented in 2010 to the newly-installed Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon. This was a follow-up to Murf’s invitation to attend a special farewell celebration at the United Nations in 2006 in honor of U.N. Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kofi Annan. The latter event featured Murf’s original painting, In a Perfect World.

Other Murf lithographs have been popularized as art festival posters and album and magazine covers. In fact, a number of Murf”s designs have been added to the collections of famous jazz musicians and other public figures, including Dave Sanborn, Richard Elliot, Kenny Rankin, Dave Koz and President Bill Clinton. In addition, Murf”s Earth Island piece is featured on the PBS “Jim Brickman Beautiful World” special.

Over the years, Murf has been deeply involved in many environmental projects. His designs have raised substantial amounts of money for environmental, educational and social causes. At these fundraisers, Murf has shared the limelight with such noted celebrities as Pamela Anderson, Bob Barker and Ivana Trump, and former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore has expressed his appreciation to Murf”s commitment for the preservation and protection of our environment.



National Art Encounter 2018-19 on exhibit at NAA through January 12 (12-19-18)

The National Art Encounter 2018-2018 Exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association.

The Naples Art Association initiated the Art Encounter exhibition program in 1983. It is a contemporary art exhibition featuring 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artwork by artists residing in the United States. The exhibition enables Florida artists to share the spotlight with their peers at the national level. For artists from outside of Florida, the exhibition provides an opportunity to demonstrate success, compete for cash prizes and exhibit in Naples, Florida. In the latter regard, Maria Holstein was selected by jurors Brad Cushman, Jill Deupi and Kirk Ke Wang as Best of Show, an honor that earned her a $1,000 cash prize.

For more information, please telephone 239-262-6517 or visit



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Professor Kirk De Wang (12-19-18)

The National Art Encounter 2018-19 exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association. The show was juried and judged by Jill Deupi, Brad Cushman and Kirk Ke Wang.

Kirk Ke Wang is Professor of Visual Arts at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He is a painter, sculptor, photographer, mixed-media artist and an educational software developer.

He was born in Shanghai, China and received Master of Fine Art degrees from both the Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, China and the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Mr. Wang travels frequently between China and the United States to promote art, education and culture. He maintains studios in Tampa, New York and Shanghai. In addition to teaching and making art, he led a team of experts and developed a computer learning system for children, which has now been used by over one-thousand schools nationally.

Mr. Wang’s art has been exhibited by museums internationally, nationally and in the Tampa Bay area at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, PS1 in New York and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. His work has been collected by museums, galleries and private collectors in the United States and Asia. He was awarded the bronze medal by the Cultural Ministry of China, and he is also the recipient of numerous grants and foundation awards from institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Freeman Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Brad Cushman (12-19-18)

The National Art Encounter 2018-19 exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association. The show was juried and judged by Jill Deupi, Kirk Ke Wang and Brad Cushman.

Brad Cushman has been gallery director and curator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 2000. Cushman has curated numerous exhibitions for his own institution as well as others. In 2013, he curated Face to Face: Artist’s Self Portraits from the Collection of Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr. for the Arkansas Art Center. The exhibition traveled to Auburn University in Alabama and the Baker Museum of Art at Artis—Naples.

An award-winning artist himself, Cushman taught art for twelve years at Oklahoma State University before moving to Arkansas. In 1989, Cushman received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study Postmodernism Theory at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Cushman received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from Illinois College in Jacksonville. He is the voice of Picture This, featuring audio essays on art and architecture on Little Rock NPR stations and is the host of Inside Art produced by University of Arkansas at Little Rock television.



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Dr. Jill Deupi (12-20-18)

The National Art Encounter 2018-19 exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association. The show was juried and judged by Brad Cushman, Kirk Ke Wang and Dr. Jill Deupi, the Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum.

Prior to assuming the position in August 2014, Dr. Deupi was Director and Chief Curator of University Museums at Fairfield University, where she was also an Assistant Professor of Art History.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College and her Juris Doctor degree from American University’s Washington College of Law, graduating summa cum laude.

Dr. Deupi holds both a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in art history from the University of London’s Birkbeck College and the University of Virginia, respectively.

A Rome Prize recipient, Dr. Deupi wrote her doctoral dissertation on art and cultural politics in 18th-century Naples. Her prior museum experience includes work at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Snite Museum of Art, the National Gallery (Washington, D.C.), and the Wallace Collection.

Dr. Deupi is a Fellow of both the American Academy in Rome and the Leading Change Institute.

She is also a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (on whose board she sits), Art Table, the International Women’s Forum and the College Art Association (on whose Museum Committee she serves).



‘Morris Herstein: A Fusion of Fotos’ at North Collier Regional through January 21 (12-19-18)

Morris Herstein: A Fusion of Fotos is on view through January 21 in the Exhibition Hall at North Collier Regional Park, located at 15000 Livingston Road in Naples. Presented in this solo exhibition are vivid examples of flowers from his Abstract and Fleur Collections, a never before seen sixteen-foot panorama of Miami’s Brickell Ave and Brickell Bay, Havana street scenes as well as delicately executed photographs of Ellis Island and the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest. Herstein transferred his knowledge of color technology into the art of photography after a successful career as a scientist and product developer with cosmetic giants Revlon and Estee Lauder.

From scientist and cosmetic product developer to photographer, see how Morris transforms one art form into another. 



NAA’s Open Studio Program show opens January 12 (12-19-18)

Person to Person: The Naples Art Association’s Open Studio Program Exhibition opens January 12. The exhibition showcases work produced by the artists who participate in the NAA Open Studio program.

Olena Skiba facilitates the program, which affords artists an opportunity to work independently in Studio #200. During Wednesday afternoon sessions, a figure model is provided, with artists paying an additional fee for the undraped or clothed model. In addition to scheduling adult models of all ages, Skiba provides props and sets a length of time for each model’s pose.

The show will run through February 25, 2019.



January NAA exhibition focuses on human trafficking (12-20-18)

ArtReach’s Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships Exhibition opens at the Naples Art Association on January 19. It features paintings and mixed media artworks produced by Collier County youth as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships’ ArtReach program.

“We want to educate [children] about human trafficking so they can protect themselves, their peers and their family members by understanding how traffickers work and understanding the signs so that they can be alert to it,” explains Nola Theiss, who uses art to educate children about human trafficking.

The will be on view in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery through February 2, 2019.



Anna Rac exhibiting at Naples Art Association January 19-March 2 (12-19-18)

Polish-born Chicago artist Anna Rac is exhibiting work at the Naples Art Association from January 19 through March 2, 2019.

Rac paints primarily with acrylics and oil pastels in her Naples Art District studio/gallery. She is a member of Florida Artists Group, Naples Art District, and the Naples Art Association. Rac’s paintings can be found in galleries in Florida and many private collections in the states and abroad.

RAC obtained her bachelor’s degree in music and classical piano and a master’s degree in business after moving to Chicago in her late teens. In 2007, she retired from a 27-year banking and finance career, and moved to Florida to pursue her passion for fine arts full time.



Kathy Kuser exhibiting digital surrealism in ACT’s White Gallery in January (12-18-18)

Artist, graphic designer, gallery owner and magazine publisher Kathy Kuser will be exhibiting in the White Gallery at Arts for ACT in January.

“With my art, I want to bring a fresh and contemporary twist to a long established medium …. surrealism,” Kathy advises. “Using my skills as a graphic designer, I create 2D/3D digital surrealism. Through a mystical and fantasy-driven vision, a story emerges from my canvas.”

Kuser uses stark details with transitional blending to enable her art to take flight. “The range of my artwork can vary from something with as little as 70 digital layers to creating a more complex piece with greater than 700 layers or images.”

Kathy’s digital surrealism has been exhibited in nearly every local venue from the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery (2012) to the Naples Art Association (2013), Lee County Alliance for the Arts (2013, 2016), BIG ARTS on Sanibel (2016), Reverie & Rock Art Gallery (2012-2017), Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center (2012, 2015) and Spring Art Affair at Bell Tower Shops (2014, 2016). Her work has also been displayed at the Old Courthouse Art Center in Rockford, Illinois in 2017.

She has also participated in the annual Arts for ACT fine art auction (2012, 2016), Art Poems (2016) and the Pen Women of Florida annual conference in 2016.

Since becoming an artist in early 2012, Kathy has been featured in the News-Press, Sun Seeker Magazine, Gulf Coast Times, COASTE Magazine, Cape Coral Daily Breeze, Florida Weekly and Additionally, her art was featured on the October 2013 & 2018 cover of Happenings A&E Magazine. In 2017, she took 2nd place in an International Contemporary Art Competition through Open Art Miami and was featured in their gallery during Art Basel that same year.

Kathy earned her bachelor’s degree in management and organizational development from Spring Arbor University (Michigan). She and her husband own KMK Publishing Inc. which publishes two monthly event magazines in Southwest Florida, Happenings A&E Magazine and Lee County Family News. Additionally, she co-owned Reverie & Rock Art Gallery in downtown Fort Myers, which was forced to close due to damage suffered by the building as a consequence of Hurricane Irma last September.

The exhibition of Kuser’s work will remain on view through January 28, 2019.



Jill Lindsay to exhibit pixelated acrylic and alcohol inks at Arts for ACT (12-18-18)

Jill Lindsay will be exhibiting work in Arts for ACT’s main gallery in January. She works in acrylic and alcohol ink. She has won multiple awards for her work at Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, Englewood Art Center, Sarasota Art Center and the International Society of Experimental Artists.

“I like to create artwork that catches your eye from a distance, usually using color to attract,” Jill discloses. “As you approach my work, the smaller details become clear. The longer you linger the more you may see.”

On a trip to the Dali Museum a few years ago, Lindsay was so inspired by Dali’s use of pixelation in the Lincoln piece Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea that she began experimenting with altered National Geographic pages to achieve as similar result. Toward that end, she soaked the pages with a solvent that moves the ink, creating new colorations and patterns.

“I thought cutting these papers into squares would mimic pixels and add a graphic component to the pieces,” Lindsay elaborates. “I use a variety of techniques to add or subtract features. I have created many of these ‘square’ paintings now. They continue to mesmerize me. Using alcohol inks and resin add another depth and coloration that intensify the work.”

Jill “grew up” in Massachusetts and moved around a bit before landing up the road in Port Charlotte in 2001. She claims to have always been artsy (though others might say quirky), but her creative juices really started flowing after taking a furniture painting class in 2002. After she ran out of furniture to paint, Jill started working with other substrates and mediums. She joined an abstract art class in 2015 and was introduced soon after to alcohol inks and loved the colors and depths they created. The acrylic and ink have been flowing ever since!

The exhibit will be on view through January 28.

For more on Jill Lindsay and her art, please visit



Alliance accepting submissions for 33rd Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit (12-17-18)

The Alliance’s annual All Florida Juried Exhibition features pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media from all over the 65,000 square miles that make up Florida. The juried entries come together for an award-winning and exciting exhibition representing today’s contemporary Florida artists. The Alliance is accepting submissions online now through Monday, January 28, 2019. The show will exhibit March 8-29, with an opening reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 8. A conversational walk and talk through the gallery with the artists and juror will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 9.

Please visit for a prospectus or telephone 239-939-2787 for more information.



Naples Art looking for artists for its immigration-themed 2019 show (12-17-18)

Immigration affects many areas such as work-force demographics, entitlement programs and finances. Artists have a lot to share on this important topic. And so the Naples Art Association is bringing Immigration: Does it Matter? to the Collier community January 12 – February 24, 2019. Artists who are interested in participating in this social-themed show should bring one exhibition ready artwork to Gallery 104 on January 3, 2019 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.



Portrait artist Dirce Kennedy exhibiting at Center for Visual Arts Bonita (12-17-18)

Portrait artist Dirce Kennedy is exhibiting a number of her detailed contemporary portraits in oil and acrylic. The show, Dirce Kennedy: Faces of Us, is on view in the Tranovich Gallery at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs through December 27.

“Something magical happens as a subject’s inner spirit emerges onto a canvas,” says Kennedy, who essays to honor human nature with her renderings. “Our faces reveal our soul.”

Kennedy transcends the physical limitations of paint and canvas, venturing into the emotional realm of the subject’s spirit. And if a viewer is ready and willing, viewing a portrait can be an opportunity to slow down, open social and emotional walls, feel the essence of humanity and experience a genuine connection.

“I found portraiture through years of travel, drawing, painting, and study, plus influences such as Renoir, Warhol, Alex Katz and my artist father, who, when I was only two, gave me drawing materials and an ongoing passion for knowledge, for art, for life,” Kennedy shares.

“As a portrait painter, my goal is sensitivity to [my subject’s] needs while imparting [their] individuality to create a portrait that will be cherished now and for generations to come.”

Kennedy has exhibited nationally and internationally since 2012. She has enjoyed nine solo exhibitions just since 2015 and participated in numerous juried exhibitions, receiving countless awards for the quality of her work, including Best of Show in Mirror Mirror and first place in It Comes Naturally at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita. Her conceptual and commissioned portrait paintings can be found in private collections in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Denmark and Dubai. For more on Dirce Kennedy’s shows and accomplishments, read here.



‘Fire and Ice’ also on exhibit at Center for Visual Arts through December 27 (12-17-18)

Also on exhibit at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs through December 27 is Fire and Ice. The exhibition celebrates the opposing forces of the changing seasons. Participating artists were encouraged to create work that explores the themes of warm/cold, seasons, climate, emotion and color. A number have also included opposing elements in the creation or design of their constructs.



Gary Alan Hall exhibiting in Arts for ACT’s main gallery in December (12-17-18)

Gary Alan Hall is one of two artists exhibiting work at Arts for ACT Gallery in December.

Gary has worked with various mediums over the years and currently favors acrylic painting. Drawing inspiration from illustrators, Gary’s work contrasts bold human and animal figures against simple or abstract backgrounds, often producing a unique “poster-like” quality.

Hall learned to draw as a child by watching his father. He continued his artistic interests by working in the graphic arts industry, where he learned graphic design and illustration.

Gary has shown his work in galleries and has also participated in several juried exhibits such as Dark Arts 2018, 2D/3D and Art in Public Places at RSW airport.

From 2006 until 2012, Gary worked for Art of the Olympians as artist liaison and acting curator.



Yvonne Krystman exhibiting in Arts for ACT White Gallery in December (12-17-18)

Yvonne Krystman is one of two artists exhibiting work in the White Gallery at Arts for ACT Gallery in December.

Krystman is a Cape Coral-based mixed media artist, potter and photographer. “One of the most impressive aspects of Krystman’s work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of inquiring into the liminal area where the abstract and the figurative find an unexpected yet consistent point of convergence,” state Peripheral ARTeries Contemporary Art Review critics Josh Ryders and Melissa C. Hilborn. “Her works convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. What has at once captured our attention of her artistic inquiry is the way she provided the visual results of her analysis with autonomous aesthetics.”

The works Krystman is bringing to Arts for ACT for this exhibit include an array of multi-disciplinary pieces (including mixed media, raku and traditional pottery) inspired by Florida’s unique natural elements – sunshine, wind, ocean waves and hurricanes. Also available, for the first time, will be samples of wearable art from, wearable art by Yvonne.

In addition to a previous solo show at Arts for ACT Gallery, Krystman’s work has been included in group shows at prestigious venues including Aqua Miami (a satellite show to Miami Basel) and the Orlando Museum of Art.

A closing reception will also be held during Music Walk on December 21, with the artist present from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. However, the exhibit will remain on display until Monday, December 31.



Today is final day of inaugural Naples Fine Art Show at Galleria Shoppes (12-16-18)

Hot Works LLC is hosting the final day of the Naples Fine Art Show at the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt today. This juried show replaces the nationally-ranked Estero Fine Art Show typically held each November up the road in Estero, Florida. Hot Works emphasizes quality not quantity at its fine art shows, with Festival Director Patty Narozny focusing on originality, artist accessibility, cultural diversity and community enrichment. There is also a youth art competition and show to foster art education among aspiring young artists.



Hot Works’ Naples Fine Art Shows promise to be intimate, boutique affairs (12-16-18)

Hot Works LLC has announced that it will be holding two weekend art shows in Naples during the upcoming season. Both will be held at the Galleria Shoppes on Vanderbilt. The 1st Bi-Annual Naples Fine Art Show will takes place this weekend (December 15 and 16), with the second returning to the Galleria Shoppes on Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31, 2019.

The shows will be organized and conducted as intimate, boutique affairs that feature original work by no more than 150 nationally and internationally acclaimed artists in painting (oil, acrylic and watercolor), drawing (pastels, colored pencil and pen-and-ink), photography, digital imagery, sculpture (metal and stone), clay, ceramics, wood working and carving, glass, fiber art (including batik and tapestry), art jewelry and more.

The size and arrangement of these shows encourages art lovers and collectors to engage the artists about their inspiration, process and what makes them unique within the highly-competitive realm of fine arts and fine crafts. But Executive Director Patty Narozny employs a number of other time-honored techniques to make Hot Works’ shows a positive experience both for participating artists and patrons.


First and foremost, she enlists a team of art professionals with more than 120 years of combined experience to judge the work of the hundreds of applicants who wish to participate in Hot Works’ shows. Narozny is choosey, and her interest goes well beyond digital images and paper applications. She visits many of her artists in their homes and studios to make sure that their work makes a contribution to the quality of her shows and a statement in the collections of the people who patronize them.

But Narozny also understands that most of the folks who come to her shows are far from experienced collectors. In fact, many are newbies – or have yet to take the plunge and buy their first artwork. They are still in the process of defining their tastes and have yet to figure out what they like and why is speaks to them. With that in mind, she builds variety into every Hot Works show.

Further, she and her team strive to ensure that the work presented covers a wide range of price points. There is art for every budget.

Last but not least, purchasers can buy with confidence. Because Narozny does her homework so meticulously, they know they’re not only getting an original work of art from a credentialed artist, they are getting value as well.

While the business side of the equation is serious work, attending a Hot Works show is a relaxing, casual experience. It’s like taking a leisurely stroll through a park filled with artwork. There’s no pressure to do anything more than look and envision what that great painting, photograph or sculpture might look like in your home or office. And if you need a little help in the latter category, all of the exhibiting artists are only too happy to bring one or more artworks to your house after hours so that you can see exactly what it looks like on your bookcase, floor or wall.

If you haven’t been to a Hot Works fine art show before, it’s a treat you deserve. For more information, please visit or email And don’t forget Hot Works’ other Southwest Florida fine art show at Jet Blue Park. The Estero Fine Art Show will take place on January 5 & 6, 2019.



No 3rd Saturday studio and gallery tour in December (12-16-18)

Each month in season, the Naples Art District conducts a studio and gallery tour. It’s a rambling, open house affair during which the district’s artists invite the public into their working studios and galleries to sample the sights, sounds and smells of the newest and freshest art on display. But December 22 is just three days before Santa’s one-night-only, so there’ll be no 3rd Saturday Naples Art District Studio & Gallery Tour in December.



8th Annual Coconut New Years Weekend Art Festival December 29 & 30 (12-16-18)

The 8th Annual Coconut Point New Years Weekend Art Festival takes place December 29 and 30 at Coconut Point Mall in Estero. This is a Howard Alan event, where variety and diversity are overarching themes. At this 2-day outdoor art fair, there is something for everyone ranging from $15 handmade silver jewelry to life size sculptures costing in excess of $50,000. Some 200 artists and artisans from 30 different states are expected to participate in this festival, with every medium and genre being represented. artists have been juried by an independent panel of expert judges and hand-selected from hundreds of applicants based on quality and diversity ensuring a variety of original and handmade art with wide appeal.



Alliance Youth Theatre performing two shows of ‘Princess Camp’ today (12-15-18)

The Alliance Youth Theatre will perform Princess Camp the Musical at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. today. Tickets are $10 presale, $20 adults or $15 students/seniors. Purchase online or call 239-939-2787.

Princess Mary Merryweather would rather be riding a horse than dancing at a ball. Too bad Princess Camp doesn’t have any horses. Tired of failing at all the things a princess is supposed to be, Mary runs away. Between saving a prince, being chased by minions of the Evil Stepmothers Alliance, and some sword fighting, being in the forest is just the adventure Mary had hoped for. But getting out of trouble takes more than guts, and proving a princess can be anything she wants to be will take a little help from Mary’s friends … assuming Sleeping Beauty can stay awake that long.



Alliance Youth Theatre issues casting call for two shows (12-15-18)

Auditions for Once on this Island Jr. and Into the Woods will take place between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 18 at the Alliance for the Arts. If you are interested in auditioning, you should prepare to sing 32 bars or 1 minute of a musical theater song (no pop songs please) and bring an instrumental track of your audition song. A CD player with aux cord and Bluetooth capabilities will be available for this purpose. Dress comfortably and be prepared to dance. Choreography will be taught and performed during your audition time. Also bring an updated performance resume and a headshot.

Callbacks will be held Saturday, December 22 from:

  • 10:oo a.m. to noon for Once on this Island Jr.; and
  • Noon to 2:00 p.m. for Into the Woods.

Rehearsals will be most Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and Mondays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Additional days may be added at the discretion of the director and according to the availability of the cast.

The suggested age for Once on this Island Jr. is 4th through 8th grade. The suggested age for Into the Woods is 9th through 12th grade.

If cast, there is a $250 fee for the program, although there are a limited number of scholarships available for those who qualify.

Visit here for more information, email or telephone 239-849-2297.



Elf the Musical at Broadway Palm through Christmas Day (12-15-18)

Elf the Musical is on stage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre through Christmas Day. Based on the holiday film of the same name, this charming and whimsical musical comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Buddy, a young orphan, crawls into Santa’s bag and winds up in the North Pole where he is raised, unaware that he is human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to discover his true identity. This modern day holiday classic is sure to bring out the true spirit of Christmas….after all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!

ELF the Musical is directed by Paul Bernier and choreographed by Amy Marie McCleary. It stars Chris Duir, who was seen as the Scarecrow in Prather Productions’ National Tour of The Wizard of Oz and has performed at Broadway Palm as Bert in Mary Poppins and as Andy Lee in 42nd Street. In addition, he’s performed with Celebrity Cruises and overseas in Macau and Dubai.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $45 to $70 with group and children’s prices available. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

Elf the Musical plays now through Christmas Day.



Whitworth and Banning headline cast of Off Broadway’s ‘Winter Wonderettes’ (12-15-18)

Melissa Whitworth and Sarah Mae Banning headline a cast that includes newcomers Sarah Hinrichsen and Lexie Wolf in Off Broadway Palm’s holiday production, Winter Wonderettes, which is playing now through Christmas Day. Whitworth was last seen at Broadway Palm as Grace in Annie and Mary Poppins in the eponymous musical. Banning starred as Roxie Hart in last season’s production of Chicago.

Winter Wonderettes is an energetic and glittering holiday revue that’s the perfect treat to help you groove into the spirit of the season. Set in 1968, the Marvelous Wonderettes are the entertainers at Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. The girls have their holiday harmonies ready and have transformed the hardware store into a winter wonderland. Like every year, Mr. Harper is scheduled to appear as Santa Claus and pass out the employee bonuses, but trouble ensues when “Santa” turns up missing. The girls keep the party going with lots of laughs and fun at every turn and a few lucky audience members get to be part of the excitement! The holiday songs include many favorites such as Santa Baby, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jingle Bell Rock, Winter Wonderland and more.

Amy McCleary directs and choreographs the show. McCleary’s recent work with Broadway Palm includes Annie, Mamma Mia and Chicago. Her choreography can also be seen throughout the country in the current national tour of The Wizard of Oz.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $39 to $59 with group discounts available for parties of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Spotlight on ‘Winter Wonderettes’ co-star Sarah Mae Banning (12-15-18)

Sarah Mae Banning is a singer, actor and dancer who occasionally performs at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and associated Off-Broadway Palm.

She is best known locally for her portrayal of Roxie Hart in Broadway Palm’s production of Chicago. Some of Sarah Mae’s other acting credits include Cindy Lou in Winter Wonderettes, Marty in Grease, Millie in Thoroughly Modern Mille, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Amber von Tussle in Hairspray, Pauline in Saturday Night Fever, Minnie in West Side Story and Mrs. Pinkerton in the national tour of Pinkalicious as well as Mrs. Clancy in the national tour of Fancy Nancy: Spendiferious Christmas.

Here’s the rest of Ms. Banning’s profile.



Spotlight on ‘Winter Wonderettes’ co-star Melissa Whitworth (12-15-18)

Melissa Whitworth is a Florida-based actor, singer and director.

In the former capacity, Whitworth most often performs with Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, Broadway Palm Theatre in Fort Myers, and at the Universal Studios Orlando Resort. Her stage credits include [in reverse chronological order] Winter Wonderettes (for Off Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre), Grace Farrell in Annie (for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 2018), Henrietta Leavitt in Silent Sky (for Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, 2018), Vera in Odd Couple: Female Version (Off-Broadway Palm, 2017), Mary Poppins in the Disney musical of the same name (for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 2017), Olga in Chekhov’s Three Sisters (for Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando, 2017), Karol in Another Night Before Christmas (for Off Broadway Palm, 2016), Thomas Jefferson in 1776 (presented with an all-female cast by Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, 2016), Cindy in SUDS: The Musical (for Show Palace Dinner Theatre, Hudson, FL, 2015), Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein (for Entracte Theatrix , Delray, FL, 2015) and Princess Fiona in Shrek (for Theatre Winter Haven). Regional credits include How I Learned to Drive (as L’il Bit) and The Next Fairy Tale (as Glinda). Melissa also appeared in The Music Man, South Pacific and Anything Goes.

The rest of Melissa Whitworth’s profile is here.



Staged Readings return to Moe Auditorium on January 11 (12-15-18)

The Center for Performing Arts’ will host another evening of staged readings in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center on Friday, January 11 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Featuring poignant selections of written works carefully selected to enthrall and amuse, staged readings come from short stories, essays, plays, speeches, the inside of fortune cookies or anywhere else CFABS feels the written word might be made more impactful as read by local thespians. Each staged reading is a unique, powerful, funny and thought-provoking evening of entertainment as actors take on different roles.

Watch the transformative power of acting as directors and actors introduce all of us to works that may illuminate our mainstage work or introduce us to future programming possibilities. After readings, you’re invited to meet the cast and discuss the play with the director and actors. This lively and informative discussion brings new insight to the art of theater.



Submissions for ‘Stage It!’ 3 open through January 20 (12-15-18)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs is now accepting submissions for its next STAGE IT! 10-MINUTE PLAYS challenge. The deadline for submissions is January 20, 2019. Interested playwrights may submit up to three 10-minute plays. The submission fee for the first entry is $15 and $10 for each additional entry up to three. Plays should be in generally-accepted script format and must be emailed to or mailed to the Center for Performing Arts, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135, c/o: STAGE IT.

Submissions will be reviewed by at least two theatre professionals on a blind jury basis (so do not place your name on the script itself). The judges’ critique forms will be available to the playwrights after the competition, by request.

Ten plays will be selected for live performances at the Moe Auditorium and Film Center on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts, and will be published by the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs in their third collection of STAGE IT! Ten-Minute Plays. The Center will most likely invite more plays for publication in the book as well as future performances in its Funny Shorts LIVE! shows that are featured three times a year. Set, lighting and sound requirements should be minimal as the Center for Performing Arts does not have a limitless production budget and will cut for cost.

An “Audience Favorite” will be named following the performances, with the winner receiving a $100 cash prize.

For additional information, please email or call 239-495-8989.

For information on last year’s Stage It! Ten-Minute Play Festival and Book Release, read here.



‘The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’ on stage through December 19  (12-15-18)

The world premiere of A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge runs at Florida Repertory Theatre through December 19.

Written and directed by Mark Shanahan, A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is a thrilling and fast-paced retelling of the Dickens classic. Audiences will join Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim on a ghostly epic journey through Christmases past, present, and future. With time running out, will Scrooge see the error of his ways before it’s too late to save his soul? Funny, heartwarming, and suspenseful, Florida Rep’s brand-new production is perfect for families and theatergoers of all ages.


The production features a 24-person cast consisting of Florida Rep ensemble actors, guest artists from across the country and original music played live onstage. The production stars Florida Rep ensemble members Viki Boyle (Outside Mullingar), Greg Longenhagen (Around the world in 80 Days) and Brendan Powers (How the Other Half Loves) in multiple roles and Peter Thomasson (The Miracle Worker) as Ebenezer Scrooge. They are joined by frequent Florida Rep guest artists Joe Delafield (The Dingdong), Faith Sandberg (How the Other Half Loves) and Bruce Warren (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), as well as, Jake Berne, Patrick Mounce, Mikey Reichert, Eric Shorey, Sydney Torres, Genevieve Takosich, and Tova Volcheck.

The production also showcases ten young performers from across Southwest Florida, many of whom have been seen recently in Florida Rep’s Education Department camp and conservatory productions, including Lane Free (Evangelical Christian School), Annabelle Grasmeier (St. Francis Xavier), Keehnon Jackson (Veterans Park Academy for the Arts), Liza Jayne Longenhagen (Cypress Lake Middle), Carson R. Maschmeier (Fort Myers High), Christian Miller (Canterbury School), Sebastian Moore (Riverhall Elementary), Matteo Occhino (Cypress Lake High), Grace Layne Ryan (The Alva School), and Cadence Bambrey-Zedd (homeschool). Mr. Jackson, Miss Longenhagen, Miss Ryan, and Miss Bambrey-Zedd return to the Arcade stage after appearing in Florida Rep’s The Miracle Worker last February.

Mark Shanahan returns to Florida Rep as both adapter and director after directing last season’s How the Other Half Loves and adapting The Dingdong from Feydeau’s original Le Dindon in 2016, among others.

“When we set out to produce this play, we set out to give Southwest Florida audiences something thrilling and new, and a chance to experience this classic story as it can only be seen onstage,” says Associate Artistic Director Jason Parrish. “This version is an incredibly fresh, funny, and thrilling ghost story, and will leave you wanting more.”

Performances are Tuesday – Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. New this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open 2 hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

Tickets are at $55 and $49 for regular performances, and $35 and $29 for previews. Single tickets can be purchased online at or through the box office at 239-332-4488. To buy a $99 Family Package for two adults and two children, plus concessions, please contact the box office.


The theatre is pleased to offer a $99 Family Package that includes admissions for two adults, two children, and four concession items. In addition to the family packages, Florida Rep is also offering a $5 discount to any audience member who donates a canned good or non-perishable food item in partnership with Community Cooperative.



Critics are raving about Florida Rep’s new and improved ‘Christmas Carol’ (12-15-18)

Florida Repertory Theatre’s world premiere production of A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is now on stage in the Historic Arcade Theatre, and both audiences and critics are raving about the all-new retelling of the Dickens Classic playing to December 19. Written and directed by Broadway veteran, Mark Shanahan, the production features a 24-person cast of Florida Rep’s ensemble of actors, guest artists from New York and across the country, ten young actors from across Southwest Florida, and original music played live onstage.

BroadwayWorld’s Emily Yorgey called the production “a beautiful adaptation,” and “quite possibly the best version of the story I’ve ever seen!” Nancy Stetson of Florida Weekly said that this retelling “is one of the best,” calling it “as enjoyable as Christmas itself!”

Tickets are priced at $49 and $55 for regular performances and available online at and through the box office at 239-332-4665.

The theatre is also offering a number of ways to see the production at a discount:

The popular $99 Family Package includes admissions for two adults, two children, and four concession items. Family Packages can be purchased by calling the box office at 239-332-4665.

Florida Rep is offering tickets to students for just $10.

Florida Rep also offers a limited number of $25 Two-Day Deal seats in the Arcade Theatre available 48-hours before any performance.

Finally, any audience member who donates a canned good or non-perishable food item in partnership with Community Cooperative will receive a $5 discount.

The Theatre is also pleased to partner with the Holiday House at the Burroughs and Langford-Kingston Homes downtown to offer patrons a $5 discount with a valid ticket stub from the Holiday House. (Holiday House and Community Cooperative discounts must be presented at the time of purchase by calling the box office.)

Performances are Tuesday – Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Matinees are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. New this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open 2 hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre and the ArtStage Studio Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep online at, and by following the company on Facebook, Twitter.



Playwright/director Mark Shanahan dishes about Dickens adaptation (12-15-18)

Mark Shanahan is an actor, director and playwright. And he’s written an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s being produced by Florida Rep, and Shanahan’s directing the show himself.

“Although A Christmas Carol is a Dickens of a tale which has been told many times and many ways, I was thrilled to be asked to write a brand new version to make its world premiere at Florida Rep.,” Shanahan notes. “The adaptation was crafted specifically for the Rep, taking the literary masterpiece and transforming it into a magical celebration of live theatre.”

Magical indeed.

“[W]e are mounting something you’ve never seen before on the Rep stage,” chips in Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “24 actors, musicians and singers will bring you to your feet with the latest, most dynamic, original, all new Christmas ghost story ….”

“Like Scrooge, we are all changed by our experience with this story,” Shanahan expounds. “Whether you know the story by heart or find yourself coming to it for the first time, it’s my great hope that this brand new, lovingly-crafted production will be the perfect Christmas present to you and your family from all of us at Florida Rep.”



Florida Rep’s ‘Tenderly’ a loving salute to Rosemary Clooney (12-15-18)

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical opens at Florida Repertory Theatre on December 21, with four nearly-sold-out preview performances December 18-20. The show reunites regional theater and New York veteran Susan Haefner and frequent Florida Rep guest artist Michael Marotta. The duo originated their roles in the 2014 world-premiere production at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Tenderly looks back at Clooney’s modest childhood in Maysville, Kentucky and follows her rise to Hollywood and recording stardom before the advent of rock ‘n’ roll and a battle with depression and addiction threatened her career. Clooney’s signature songs are woven in and out of the story, as audiences learn about her professional successes as well as her struggles – and cheer for her triumphant comeback. With over 20 of her most beloved hits, the score is itself a salute to the golden age of music, and features all the songs that made Rosemary famous, like Hey There, Sisters, Botch-a-Me, Mambo Italiano, and of course, Tenderly.

“This musical is a wonderful tribute to one of the most recognizable voices of the 20th Century, and we are so pleased to have the original cast with us here in Southwest Florida,” states Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “Many people don’t know Rosemary’s life story, which touched so many lives, and this musical shows us what a strong woman she was. She sang some of the most beloved music that defined the 1940s and 1950s, and hers is a story of courage and resilience that audiences will love.”

Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman teamed up to write the musical, which is a personal and poignant portrait of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend!

Tenderly marks Haefner’s Florida Rep debut. Marotta takes on multiple roles in the production, including Bing Crosby, José Ferrer, Frank Sinatra, Clooney’s psychiatrist, and even her mother and sister, Betty. New York-based, Marotta appears in the role for the 6th time with this production and was seen most recently in Florida Rep’s Cabaret last March.

Also making her Florida Rep debut is Director Eleanor Holdridge, who’s worked at major regional companies across the country and holds an MFA in directing from Yale. In addition to her extensive work as a director, Holdridge is Head of Directing at Catholic University of America’s Department of Drama.

Musical Director Victoria Casella (Florida Rep’s Night and Day and Spelling Bee) and Choreographer MK Lawson (Florida Rep debut) join Holdridge to lead an expert creative team, including Resident Set Designer Jordan Moore (Florida Rep’s Damascus), Costume Designer Charlene Gross (Florida Rep’s Night and Day), Ensemble Lighting Designer Todd O. Wren (Florida Rep’s How the Other Half Loves), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Florida Rep’s Damascus), and Ensemble Stage Manager Amy Massari (Florida Rep’s Becoming Dr. Ruth).

The show runs through February 24. Tickets, which are available online at and through the box office at 239-332-4488, are priced at $55 for regular performances and $35 for discounted previews. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. There are no performances on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

New this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open 2 hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.



‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’ now a Lab Theater BHC (12-15-18)

When it comes to Christmas, there are three kinds of people: haters, traditionalists and folks so gaga about the holiday that they laud every Yuletide tale known to man. All three are on stage at Lab Theater in Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some).

Director Lauren Redecker Miller likens Every Christmas Story Ever Told to a giant jigsaw puzzle because of the intricacy of all the entrances, exits, props, sound and light cues required by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, John K. Alvarez & Will Knapp’s spritely script. But from the audience’s perspective, Every Christmas Story is more of a tapestry, with Heather McLemore Johnson, Dave Matthew Chesebro and Kayleigh O’Connell quilting together a veritable blizzard of references to BHCs – short for “beloved holiday classics.” And aside from the sheer joy of watching this all-in, high-energy Tinseltown Trio act up and act out with each other on the Lab Theater stage, much of the fun associated with this frenetic three-actor tour de force is trying to identify the movies, television specials, books and magazines tumbling out like the irregular pieces an interlocking, tessellating Spilsbury dissected map.

If you’re looking for an apt analogy, Every Christmas Story Ever Told is to the holiday season what An Act of God or The Bible Unabridged is to Judeo-Christian religion – an affectionately irreverent lampoon of time-honored traditions that Western culture has installed over the centuries to celebrate (depending on your view) the winter solstice, the birth of Christ or unabashed and wonton commercialization. If you loved either of those shows, you’re in for a figgy-pudding-caliber treat. Really, who among us hasn’t poked fun at one or all of the bombastic BHCs that assault the airwaves earlier and earlier each year?

Read the rest of this review here.

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



Spotlight on ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’ actor Dave Matthew Chesebro (12-15-18)

Dave Matthew Chesebro is an actor and aspiring playwright.

Dave’s acting credits include It’s Only a Play, in which he synchronously played the part of playwright Peter Austin, The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s and a lovesick chef by the name of Gaston in Michael Hollinger’s one-act farcical tragicomedy An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf. Dave has also played Mr. Mushnik in Little House of Horrors and has worked on a number of other productions in set construction and props management.

The rest of Dave’s profile is here.



Spotlight on ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’ actor Kayleigh O’Connell (12-15-18)

Kayleigh O’Connell is an aspiring actor who is currently majoring in theatre studies at Florida SouthWestern State College.

Among her acting credits are the Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s, condescending cousin Chick Boyle in Crimes of the Heart, and Elvira in the campy cult classic, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane – a Parody of the Horror.

In Baby Jane, Kayleigh enjoyed many memorable show-stopping scenes. There was an early sequence, for example, in which Elvira arrives for work and proceeds to square off around the living room divan with Baby Jane Paso-Doble-style to the strains of the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Even better, though, was the one in which she reacts rather strongly to some suggestive language Baby Jane writes on a manila envelope. It was not quite as suggestive as Meg Ryan’s When Harry Met Sally fake orgasm scene ….

Want more? Read here.



Spotlight on ‘Every Christmas Story’ actor Heather McLemore Johnson (12-15-18)

Heather McLemore Johnson is a recent theatrical transplant from Starkville, Mississippi. After arriving in Southwest Florida, Heather made her Lab Theater debut as the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, followed by multiple sidesplitting roles in Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some). She also recently participated in Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project, directing Candice Sanzari’s Critics’ Choice winner Thanksgiving is for Nutters.

In addition to her work at The Lab, Heather portrayed Mrs. Idabelle Firestone in a production for the Uncommon Friends Foundation Gala.



Naples Players holding auditions today for ‘Guys & Dolls’ (12-15-18)

The Naples Players is holding auditions for Guys & Dolls between noon and 4:00 p.m. today. Auditions are free and walk-ins are always welcome. Audition sides will be available at two weeks before the audition. Final Casting Calls will be made starting Wednesday, December 19th. For questions please contact Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, 239-434-7340 ext. 125 or at

TNP is casting: 2 Women (20’s-30’s), 8 Men (30’s-60’s) with additional singing & dancing ensemble with multiple featured roles. Rehearsals begin Monday, January 14 @ 7:00p.m. Performances will be Wednesdays through Sundays between March 6 and April 7.

For more details and to register online, please visit



Erica Sample is Judy Haynes in TNP’s production of ‘White Christmas’ (12-15-18)

Erica Sample is Judy Haynes in The Naples Players’ production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Tina Maroni portrays Judy’s devoted sister Betty Haynes, with fan favorite James Little as Bob Wallace and newcomer Jimmy Flannery as Phil Davis.

The musical is based on the beloved and timeless film of the same name, and features the Irving Berlin classics White Christmas and Blue Skies. The story revolves around two WWII buddies with a successful song-and-dance act who follow two beautiful singing sisters en route to a Christmas gig in a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by their former army commander.

Stage veteran Paul Graffy plays General Waverly, Alyssia Pellegrini is his daughter, Susan, and Naples favorite Debi Guthery plays Martha Watson. Amanda Telebrco and Lisa Kuchinski play the Oxydol girls, Rita and Rhonda.

Scott Davis plays Ralph Sheldrake and last season’s favorite Jerry Rannow is Ezekiel/Mr. Snoring. The ensemble includes KidzAct graduates Gaby Biagi, Abby Ciabaton, Frankie Federico, Elizabeth Fincher, Jeremy Giovinazzo, Weifta Jean, Jack Norkeliunas, Lila Prince, Hunter Reum, Eileen Reynolds, Thomas Richardson, Brooke Rosenbluth, Megan Ruhl and Eifta Jean.

Sample received rave reviews for her portrayal of Roxie Hart in The Naples Players production of Chicago this summer.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

And read here for play dates and ticket information.



Stage vet Paul Graffy plays General Thomas Waverly in TNP’s ‘White Christmas’ (12-15-18)

Stage veteran Paul Graffy plays Major General Thomas Waverly in The Naples Players’ production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Dean Jagger played the general in the eponymous movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. If you’re not familiar with Graffy’s stage work here in Southwest Florida, then read here to see the impressive resume of this Naples thespian.



Lisa Kuchinski plays Oxidol girl Rhonda in TNP’s ‘White Christmas” (12-15-18)

Cultural Park Theater Marquee Outstanding Featured Actress Lisa Kuchinski plays Oxidol girl Rhonda in The Naples Players’ production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. The perky Cape Coral actor couldn’t be more perfect for the part. But don’t expect Lisa to have an answer when Doris asks Ms. Rhonda, “Well how do you like that? Not so much as a ‘kiss my foot’ or ‘have an apple.’” She’s still finding her place in Southwest Florida’s active community theater. For more on Lisa, read here.



Vanagas, Coccari and Campbell headlining TNP’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (12-16-18)

Mark Vanagas, Alisa Marie Coccari and Titania Kylie Campbell headline the cast of The Naples Players’ upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by John McKerrow, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed free on the Baker Stage as part of TNP’s continuing effort to provide accessible Shakespeare to the community. Audience members are invited to bring lawn chairs and picnic s to enjoy Shakespeare under the trees and stars in the Sugden Plaza. The show will run Saturdays and Sundays, February 16 – March 10, 2019.

Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1595-1596. It is the mischievous and light comedy consisting of four plots, interconnected by the wedding celebration of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta. The classic story is about order and chaos, reality and appearance, and love and marriage.

In modern tradition, the cast of ten actors will play multiple roles:

  • Mark Vanagas as Thesus and Oberon
  • Alisa Marie Coccari as Hipployta and Titania
  • Kylie Campbell as Puck, Egeus, Snout and Moon
  • Kacey Canas plays Hermia
  • Jennifer Valiente is Helena and Mustardseed
  • Zachary Pachol is Lysander
  • Ty Bolen plays Demetrius, Snug and Lion
  • David Whalley is Bottom and Pyramus
  • Robert Ball is Peter Quince, Prologue, Wall and Cobweb
  • Shelley Gothard plays Flute, Thisbe and Peaseblossom.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream is sponsored by Neapolitan Family Magazine. The production’s Scenic Designer is Mike Santos with assistance by Megan Macker. Costume Design is by Mark Vanagas, Lighting Design by Chris Riley, and Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten and Grey Conderman. Lisa Nuccio will serve as Stage Manager.

As the show is free to the public, no ticket reservations are required to attend. But audience members are encouraged to arrive early with lawn chairs and picnic blankets.

Now celebrating its 65th season, The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre is Naples’ oldest theater and is a vital part of the exciting experience of Downtown Naples. The Naples Players continually seeks to enrich, educate, and entertain the community through a superior theater experience. TNP is inspiring passion for the performing arts through life-long opportunities to participate in vibrant theatrical experiences.






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