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

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

 

Celebrating Amy Marie McCleary’s ‘Sounds of Christmas’ (12-21-19)

Sounds of Christmas comes to a close on Christmas Day. It may be a little late to review this holiday musical revue but, frankly, I waited for my granddaughter to get out of school for Christmas break so that I could take her to a matinee. Regardless of whether this piece encourages anyone to catch a remaining performance, what writer/director/choreographer Amy Marie McCleary has accomplished here deserves to be recognized and celebrated.

The premise that McCleary concocted for the show is both novel and endearing. It’s Christmas Eve and a pajama-clad couple settle on a comfortable couch with their children to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” While the boy is excited out of his mind, the daughter, Olivia, is miffed because she’d rather be on her device posting and chatting with friends. Then mom (perfectly portrayed by Katherine Walker Hill (Betty Haynes in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas) interjects a story from her childhood about an industrious elf by the name of Poindexter. Among his many duties, Poindexter has been charged with the task of assembling a playlist of music for Santa to listen to as he makes his deliveries around the world.

Go here for the balance of this review.

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‘Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody (12-21-19)

The first licensed production of Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody opens January 17 at The Laboratory Theater of Florida.

A mysterious invitation finds Blanche Dubois on a train to New Orleans. She shares the train with hard-drinking couple George and Martha who seem intent on depleting the entire bar car while delivering scathing advice on life and marriage before the train arrives at its destination. Upon arriving in New Orleans, Blanche runs into the smoldering Stanley Kowalski and the hapless Willie Loman.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.

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Spotlight on ‘Death of a Streetcar’ actor Sue Schaffel (12-21-19)

Included in the cast of Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody is Sue Schaffel.

Schaffel is an accomplished EMC actor who is based in Southwest Florida each year. Her stage credits include Hush Up Sweet Charlotte (Velma) for Lab Theater. She has also worked in film and television. Her movie credits include I Like Me (for which she was awarded Best Actress/Feature by the 2018 Sunnyside Up Film Festival), The Waiting Room, The Summer Before, Ricardo and Hopping Through Hoops.

Go here for the rest of Sue’s profile.

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DAAS featuring artist Cheryl Fausel in January (12-21-19)

In the month of January, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts features the work of international artist Cheryl Fausel. The exhibition is a collection of meticulously designed watercolors and other mediums created within the past year.

Cheryl Fausel combines realism with abstraction. There is a pursuit of control with a heavy emphasis on design and composition. Color is important to this artist, and is based on the values needed to develop the painting. At the same time, a painting should tell a story which is not immediately evident. Toward that end, Cheryl seeks an emotional reaction, as well as an interpretation of an idea is presented through design.

Fausel’s work is collected nationally as well as internationally. She has signature status in the National Watercolor Society, the American Watercolor Society, the Southern Watercolor Society and the Florida Watercolor Society and the Tri- State Watercolor Society. She is also a member of the Florida Artists Group and the National League of American Pen Woman and the National Association of Women Artists. She is published in Watermedia of America Vol. II, A Walk into the Abstract Vol. II and Splash 17, published July 2016, and The Art of Watercolour Dec. 2017.

The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, January 3, 2020 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk event. The pieces will be on display through January 25, 2020.

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. The gallery also opens to the public on the first Sunday of every month from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

More information about gallery and how to become a member can be found at daascoop.com or by calling 239-590-8645. Cheryl Fausel’s website is cherylafausel.com.

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‘WaterWorks’ on view at Naples Art Association through January 5 (12-20-19)

WaterWorks: Artistic Celebration of Our Most Vital Resource is on view now through January 5, 2020 at the Naples Art Association. This exhibition has anything and everything to do with water: boating, fishing, shells, beaches and more. See the exceptional ways artists represent water in various types of media from paintings to pottery, glass, fiber art and more!

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53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition on exhibit through January 9 (12-20-19)

The 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition is on display in the Naples Art Association’s ground floor galleries through January 9, 2020. The show was judged by FGCU Gallery Director John Loscuito, American University Professor R.W. Lovejoy and Associate Professor and Lourdes University Art Department Chair Erin Palmer Szavuly. (See below.)

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Spotlight on 53rd Founders Exhibition juror John Loscuito (12-20-19)

John Loscuito was one of three jurors to judge the Naples Art Association’s 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. Loscuito is the Florida Gulf Coast University Art Gallery Director, overseeing both the Wasmer Art Gallery in the Arts Complex and the ArtLab in the Library. He also teaches Professional Practices, preparing students for a career after graduation.

Loscuito earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Master of Business Administration from Marquette University in Milwaukee. During his six years at FGCU he has curated over eighteen exhibitions featuring nationally recognized artists that explore a broad range of themes and materials.

Prior to coming to FGCU he taught a variety of studio courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He was the Registrar at the Haggerty Museum of Art for seven years as well as an independent curator and producer of art events. He currently serves as an Executive Committee Member on the United Arts Council of Collier County’s Board of Directors.

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Spotlight on NAA 53rd Founders Exhibition juror R.W. Lovejoy (12-20-19)

American University Professor R.W. Lovejoy was one of three jurors to judge the Naples Art Association’s 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. At American University, Professor Lovejoy teaches courses on graphic design history. He has a Master of Arts degree in art history from the University of South Florida and a PhD in History from the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. He is a founding member of the History of Illustration project and a contributing author to the first textbook on the History of Illustration (2018), for which he wrote chapters on European eighteenth- and nineteenth-century print culture, the prints of José Guadalupe Posada, pulp magazine illustration, the art of alternative periodicals and newspapers, rock posters and underground comix. Dr. Lovejoy has also taught the history of illustration, sequential art, and the history of political art and persuasive imagery for Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

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Spotlight on NAA 53rd Founders Exhibition juror Erin Palmer Szavuly (12-20-19)

Erin Palmer Szavuly waw one of three jurors to judge the Naples Art Association’s 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. Szavuly is Associate Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. She studied at Bowling Green State University and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing. She has been on the faculty at Lourdes University since 1990.

In addition to teaching painting and drawing, she coordinates the annual Sr. Jane Mary Sorosiak Lecture Series, involving presentations on topics in the arts. “The Sights and Sounds of Judaism” with composer Dr. Samuel Adler and art historian Ruthy Behare Light was the 2019 series topic. Past presentations have included “Censorship in the Arts” with Dr. Brian Kennedy, “Cover Stories” with Thomas Allen, “Digital Photography in the Commercial Market” with Eric Eggly, “Painter and Muralist: Hubert Massey” and “Portrait of an Artist” with Leslie Adams, and “Celebration of Food, Ceramic Objects and Thoughtful Dialog” with Jeni Hansen Gard.

Erin Palmer Szavuly is on the community boards of the Toledo Area Cultural Leaders and The Toledo Federation of Art Societies (past President). She is a past President of the Medici Circle Advisory Council at Bowling Green State University and is a member of the Athena Art Society, the Toledo areas oldest women’s invitational art organization. She curates exhibitions at the Canticle Center Gallery at Lourdes University and has more than 15 year’s gallery experience working with the former Spectrum Gallery at Toledo Botanical Gardens and the Lourdes Gallery Loft.

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Naples Art has issued a call to artists for ‘Let Freedom Ring’ (12-20-19)

From ancient times to the present, women throughout the world have participated in the visual arts in diverse and stimulating ways as creators and innovators, patrons and collectors or significant contributors. Let FREEDOM Ring! will shine a bright light on the contributions of women in the visual arts. The exhibition will show April 3-23, 2020 in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery, and the deadline for applying is 5:00 p.m. on February 6.

You will find the full prospectus here.

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Naples Art looking for participants in ‘Little Things’ exhibition (12-20-19)

Each year, Naples Art holds a small works show. Called Little Things: An Exhibition Celebrating Small Works, the show celebrates works of art 60 inches and below.

Miniature art has been made for thousands of years. In many of the world’s civilizations there was a fascination with creating in small scale. Ancient Greeks adorned their walls with small murals while coins and rings often bore engraved portraits. In Persia, the shahs maintained the best artists of the day to paint the court and illustrate copies of the Koran and other great books, both religious and secular.

Monks in the Middle Ages embellished manuscripts with delicate illuminations and bordered them with a red lead pigment called ‘minium’ from which the word ‘miniature’ later evolved.

The Elizabethan era was noted for its exquisite miniature portraits on vellum and later, ivory and evokes memories of masters such as Holbein, Hilliard, Oliver and others. Many Dutch and Flemish artists painted small-scale works in order to do focused studies on specific painting techniques and subjects. Frans Hals’ striking 6 ½” by 5” Portrait of Samuel Ampzing, for example, was used as a study for a noted reproductive print. Often, Dutch and Flemish painters created small self-portraits that they could use as “calling cards” with potential patrons.

Among some of the most famous and valuable small scale paintings from this period are two by Rembrandt (Self-Portrait at 26 and Portrait of Old Man with Beard), two by Vermeer (Girl in Red Hat and Young Woman Seated at a Virginal) and Anthony van Dyck (Portrait of Nicholas Rockox).

Miniature art fell out of vogue with the advent of photography more than a hundred years ago. But it has experienced a resurgence in the past twenty years among artists, collectors, curators and art museums around the globe.

The White House, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Astolat Dollhouse Castle and museums around the world have collections of miniature paintings, drawings, original prints and etchings, and sculpture. Perhaps the most intriguing miniature exhibition of renowned American artists sits today on the lunar surface. Fifty years ago this past November 19, astronauts Alan L. Bean and Richard F. Gordon left behind a ceramic wafer

Southwest Florida has seen numerous exhibitions of miniature artworks, including ELEVEN: The John Erickson Museum of Art Retrospective at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in 2014 (featuring galleries only slightly larger than a shoebox conceived in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp’s Boite en Valise) and the upcoming small scale art show at DAAS CO-OP Gallery in Fort Myers’ Gardner Park.

To participate in Naples Art’s Little Things exhibition, deliver one exhibit-ready artwork on January 6, 2020 between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The exhibition will be on display January 14 – February 16, 2020 in Gallery 104.

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Naples Art will be ‘Daydream’ing in April and May (12-20-19)

Daydreams: Fantastical Wanderings of the Brain will be exhibited by Naples Art in Gallery 104 between April 7 and May 26, 2020. The possibilities are endless when artists use daydreams as their inspiration. Mind wandering, fantasy and spontaneous thoughts all lend themselves to some very creative artwork. If you’d like to participate in this show, then please deliver one exhibit-ready artwork on March 30, 2020 between 12 noon and 4:00 p.m.

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Alliance’s ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit runs through December 28 (12-19-19)

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.

This year’s show runs through December 28.

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Ripple-Gill’s ‘Reveries of a Tropical Heart’ opens at Alliance on January 10 (12-19-19)

The Alliance for the Arts invites the public to its opening reception for Reveries of A Tropical Heart on January 10. This two-artist exhibition features the luminous beauty of Jeff Ripple’s dramatically lit landscape paintings and the enchantment of Muffy Clark Gill’s colorful batik dreamscapes. Together, they combine to capture the warmth of the tropics as they transport viewers into a world they won’t want to leave.

The opening reception is 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 10, and includes light refreshments. And you can meet and engage with the exhibiting artists during a free conversational tour through the gallery on January 11 at 10:00 a.m. during the Alliance for the Arts weekly GreenMarket.

Work by local artist Robert Allen will be on display in the Theatre Lobby Gallery. Displaying their latest works form the classroom, students and instructors at the Alliance for the Arts will be filling the Members Gallery with a variety of pieces from recent classes.

Receptions and gallery tours are open to the public and do not require tickets or reservations. While gallery admission is free, a $5 suggested donation keeps Alliance programming affordable and accessible.

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

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More on ‘Tropical Heart’ artist Jeff Ripple (12-19-19)

Jeff Ripple is an award winning landscape artist. His oil paintings en plein air and in studio are denoted by intriguing compositions, mood and atmosphere. The treatment of light and atmosphere in his paintings are reminiscent of 19th century artists in the Luminist and Hudson River School traditions.

His work is in the permanent collections of the College of Central Florida and the University of Central Florida College of Arts & Humanities and past art exhibitions include the Thomas Center Galleries in Gainesville and the Dennos Museum in Michigan.

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More on ‘Tropical Heart’ batik artist Muffy Clark Gill (12-19-19)

Muffy Clark Gill uses the ancient wax and dye process known as batik and its sister Japanese process rozome along with mixed media, painting and photography to create her art. She creates images that convey feelings of dichotomy and combine her love of color with her life experiences.

Among the work she will exhibit at the Alliance for the Arts in Reveries of a Tropical Heart will be selections from her Wash Day series, which has been inspired by several visits to Cuba, including the town of Gibara, where it is believed that Christopher Columbus landed the first time he arrived in Cuba.

Gill described her process in a recent e-newsletter for Wash Day! Gibara Day. “The Mayor … was leading us on a walking tour of this pretty little city when I saw … laundry drying on several clotheslines. The breezes off the bay made drying laundry a quick and easy task.” And it also inspired the batik.

She started the work by drawing the scene on stretched habitae silk with a fine pencil. “All of the white areas—including the clotheslines – were waxed by drawing with an Indonesian style tool known as a tjanting ( or canting). Individual garments were then outlined.”

Then came the building, followed by the sky (with two separate layers of blue dye), the land in the background, the grass in the foreground and finally the bay.

“By the time I added all of my colors the whole painting was coated with wax.”

Gill then removed the wax from the painting with an iron and repeated changes of absorbing newsprint. “It was then wrapped in more newsprint into a jellyroll shape for steaming. A final wash was done to remove excess dye from the silk before mounting the painting to a canvas support for hanging. Another labor of love!”

The entire Wash Day! series is on display at the United Arts Council Gallery, 953 4 Ave. N., Naples, FL 34102 now through December 18. Gill also has a mixed media wall piece titled Shibuya on exhibit in Naples Art Association’s 53rd Founders Exhibit. Of the more than 900 works submitted to jurors John Loscuito, R.W. Lovejoy and Erin Palmer Szavuly, Gill’s was the only Naples artist to have work juried into the show.

Muffy Clark Gill’s award-winning work has been included in more than 80 regional, state and national juried and invitational exhibitions and festivals. Her art is in the permanent collection of numerous Florida museums and corporations including FGCU, the Florida Department of State, South Florida State College Museum of Art & Culture, Seminole Historical Society and Museum, Collier County Museum, Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, Marco Island Historical Museum , the Naples Art Association, Northern Trust, Physicians Regional Medical Center, Artis-Naples.

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Alliance accepting submissions for 34th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit (12-19-19)

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 27, 2020. The show will exhibit March 6-28, with an opening reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 6. A conversational walk and talk through the gallery with the artists and juror will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 7. Please visit ArtinLee.org for a prospectus or telephone 239-939-2787 for more information.

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Hillsborough Public Art Administrator 2020 All Florida Show judge (12-19-19)

The Alliance for the Arts 34th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition runs March 6 through 27, 2020. Amanda Poss has been tapped to serve as juror for the show. Poss currently holds the position of Gallery Director at Gallery221@Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry campus, where she also manages the Public Art Program, Grounds4Art@HCC, and oversees a growing Permanent Art Collection. She is the former Gallery Director at Blake High School, where she organized and curated exhibits from 2015–2017. Poss also has also held positions at the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery at the University of Tampa as a Gallery Assistant, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampa, and Adjunct Professor at Hillsborough Community College.

Amanda received her MA in Art History from the University of South Florida in 2015 specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art, and a BA from the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2011.

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‘Dining Room’ comic, touching homage to slice of vanishing Americana (12-18-19)

Players Circle Theatre at the Shell Factory will present A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room January 7 through February 2.

The play is set in the dining room of a well-to-do household – the place where the family assembles for breakfast, for dinner and for sundry special occasions. But this dining room is anything but typical. That’s because Gurney’s living room “exists in a void” compliments of a minimalist set; a cast called upon to portray multiple characters in the tradition of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery and Let Nothing You Dismay; and a non-linear timeline where nothing matters that occurred before each of the play’s 18 distinct vignettes, or which follows. In other words, The Dining Room is vintage Gurney.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Broadway Palm accepting children’s audition videos for ‘Kinky Boots’ (12-18-19)

Broadway Palm is accepting children’s audition videos for their upcoming production of Kinky Boots.

The following are the roles available:

  • Young Charlie: Charlie is a 7 to 10-year-old boy who is lost, quiet and reflective. Must be under 5 feet tall. Ethnicity: White / European Descent
  • Young Lola: Lola is a 7 to 12-year-old boy who already knows he is destined to wear high heels. Must be under 5 feet tall. Ethnicity: Black / African Descent

These roles will be double cast and children will alternate performances.

Anyone interested must be available for the rehearsal period and all alternated, assigned performances. Kinky Boots’ rehearsals will be February 10 – February 12, 2020. The show runs February 13 – April 4, 2020. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Performance schedules are available at BroadwayPalm.com. Compensation will be provided in four dinner and show tickets to Kinky Boots.

Anyone interested in auditioning should record a vocal/reading audition for the role they are submitting for and include a current headshot/picture and resume. The audition materials are on our website (broadwaypalm.com/backstage/auditions/) and available at the box office.

All submissions need to be emailed to Brian Enzman (brian@broadwaypalm.com) by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Audition materials are available at the box office or at broadwaypalm.com/backstage/auditions/.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayPalm.com or call (239) 278-4422.

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TGIM kicks off new year on January 6 (12-17-19)

The Fort Myers Film Festival returns on January 6 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. That’s when hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven screen a number of the indie short and short short films that have been submitted for inclusion in the Fort Myers Film Festival.

While there will be celebrity judges on hand to start the discussion after each screening, Eric and Melissa want to hear from you. What was your take on the film? What worked or didn’t, what did you like or hate, and should the film be included in the film festival?

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Spotlight on January TGIM celebrity judge Ilene Safron Whitesman (12-17-19)

Hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven have assembled one of the most talented celebrity judging panels in the history of T.G.I.M. for the Fort Myers Film Festival’s January screenings. Joining actor Amanda Hootman and performance artist Leila Mesdaghi is Ilene Safron Whitesman. Although normally hiding safely behind the viewfinder of her camera, Ilene has been out front a lot lately. She is the creative force behind Fort Myers, City of Palms – A Contemporary Portraita beautifully lensed coffee table book that features her images and lyrical commentary by Amy Bennett Williams and filmed the documentary A Tale of Two Halgrims, which was shown on the lawn of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates during last year’s edition of the Fort Myers Film Festival. [Go here for a synopsis of this documentary.]

Go here for more on Ilene.

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Spotlight on January TGIM celebrity judge Leila Mesdaghi (12-17-19)

Hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven have assembled one of the most talented celebrity judging panels in the history of T.G.I.M. for the Fort Myers Film Festival’s January screenings. Joining actor Amanda Hootman and Main Sail Productions’ Ilene Safron Whitesman is performance artist Leila Mesdaghi.

Leila Mesdaghi is an NYC-born Iranian-Colombian performance artist living in Fort Myers and working as an assistant at the Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island. Through her performance pieces, she comments on social and political issues like war in the Middle East, the negative reflections of Social Media in society, the housing crisis in the U.S, and the price and promise of progress.

Go here for the rest of Leila’s profile.

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Spotlight on January TGIM celebrity judge Amanda K. Hootman (12-17-19)

Hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven have assembled one of the most talented celebrity judging panels in the history of T.G.I.M. for the Fort Myers Film Festival’s January screenings. Joining actor Main Sail Productions’ Ilene Safron Whitesman and performance artist, filmmaker and Ghostbird actor Leila Mesdaghi is Amanda K. Hootman, a Fort Myers born and bred SAG-AFTRA and UK equity film and stage actor, casting director and a classical singer.

Amanda’s film acting credits include Laurie in the 2019 short film Jimmy, the wife in Sandcastles for Coralab Productions, the wife in Undertow for Coralab Productions, Marlena Gates in the 2007 video Pose Down and Gabriele Torrez in One Evening. Among her New Media projects are the roles in several musical parodies from For The Love Of Parody Productions, including  Willow Rosenberg in the 2018 short Buffy Kills Edward, Charlotte York in Yes, I Do (Satirical Parody), Charlotte York in the 2019 video short Get Me a Cosmo (another satirical parody) and Sarisa Stark in Got Parody Project (2019).

Go here for the rest of Amanda’s profile.

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Fringe Fort Myers announces 2020 line-up of performances (12-16-19)

The Alliance for the Arts, in partnership with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, will present the first ever Fringe Fort Myers Festival April 22 – 26, 2020 featuring 48 genre-defying performances on four different stages. Festival tickets go on sale January 2020.

Fringe Fort Myers is the newest Fringe theater festival in the United States and maintains long-standing Fringe traditions of being 100 percent uncensored, 100 percent unjuried and 100 percent inclusive. Even better, 100 percent of ticket sales go directly to the artists.

Out of 32 entries, 16 artists were selected at random, with 6 local performers, 6 state performers and 4 national and international performers winning berths.

Fringe Fort Myers kicks off on April 22, 2020 with the fun and frenetic Teaser Show. The teaser show is a great opportunity for audiences to learn what the shows in the festival are about. Each performance group gets 3 minutes to sell their show to the audience, and how they do it is up to them.

Go here for the rest of this announcement.

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‘Mountaintop’ drama set in Lorraine Hotel night before Dr. King’s assassination (12-15-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is bringing The Mountaintop to the Foulds Theatre boards January 16-26. Written by Katori Hall and directed by Rick Sebastian, The Mountaintop is a two-person drama about the last day of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The entire play is set in the Lorraine Hotel room, the evening before his assassination. King is alone, trying to create yet another powerful speech. When he orders a cup of coffee from room service, a mysterious woman arrives, bringing much more than a late-night beverage. What follows is a reflective, often funny, often touching conversation in which Dr. King examines his achievements, his failures and his unfinished dreams.

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‘Mountaintop’ will feature two post-show talk-backs (12-15-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts presents The Mountaintop  by Katori Hall January 16 through 26. Directed by Rick Sebastian, the production stars local powerhouses Derek Lively and Sonya McCarter and is presented in conjunction with the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Weekend hosted by the Dunbar Festival Committee.

To widen the post-show conversation and discuss what the art onstage means to us as individuals and as a society, the Alliance will facilitate a community conversation through talk-backs after the January 19 and January 26 matinees. Talk-backs allow the audience to ask questions and express their thoughts, ideas on issues revealed in the play through the form of meaningful discussion.

Go here for all the details.

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‘The Mountaintop’ fictionalizes Dr. Martin Luther King’s last night (12-15-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts presents The Mountaintop  by Katori Hall January 16 through 26. Directed by Rick Sebastian, the production stars local powerhouses Derek Lively and Sonya McCarter and is presented in conjunction with the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Weekend hosted by the Dunbar Festival Committee.

What thoughts and emotions might have pulsed through the mind and heart of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 3, 1968, his last night alive?

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.

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Derek Lively will portray Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in ‘Mountaintop’ (12-15-19)

Since relocating to Fort Myers from New York City in 2015, Lively has starred as Walter Lee Younger in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Lorraine Hanberry’s A Raisin in the Sun following a strong performance as Canewell in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. But perhaps his most memorable role was that of Frederick Douglass in The Agitators. Now he will portray Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in The Mountaintop, a loving, touching humorous portrayal of the man behind the legend.

For more on Derek’s staged credits, go here. And to learn more about Derek’s process and intentionality, read Derek’s May, 2018 interview.

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Sonya McCarter to play Camae opposite Derek Lively in ‘Mountaintop’ (12-15-19)

Sonya McCarter is an actor, director, an instructor in the Alliance for the Arts’ CHANGE (Communities Harnessing the Arts to Nurture and Grow Equity) program, and the Alliance’s Community Engagement Coordinator. Her acting credits include the part of Corryn Fell in Gideon’s Knot, Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, appearances in two episodes of the television show Burn Notice and the film The Florida Project. And in her next role, she’ll play Camae opposite Derek Lively in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop.

For more on Sonya’s theatrical credits, read here.

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Broadway Palm presenting McCleary-written and directed ‘Sounds of Music’ (12-15-19)

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is presenting Sounds of Christmas now through December 25, 2019. This special show was written, directed and choreographed by Broadway Palm’s own Amy Marie McCleary.

Sounds of Christmas is a joyous musical revue that is centered around Poindexter the elf and his last-minute shuffle to create a musical playlist for Santa’s Christmas Eve flight. The production embraces holiday music and memories in a holly jolly celebration that highlights what makes the holidays truly meaningful. You’ll hear classics along with more contemporary songs you know and love including Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Little Drummer Boy, All I Want For Christmas Is You, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Run Run Rudolph and more.

And this holiday extravaganza wouldn’t be complete without a visit from the big guy himself…Santa Claus! This fun-filled celebration is perfect for all ages and will remind you why this is the most wonderful time of the year!

“I was inspired by my own Christmas traditions with my family and friends,” says McCleary. “So many of our Christmas memories are colored by the music of the season and I wanted to highlight all those special tunes in unique ways.”

The cast is comprised of many making their Broadway Palm debut along with audience favorites including newlyweds Troy Bruchwalski and Katherine Walker Hill, whose love story began right on the Broadway Palm stage during Irving Berlin’s White Christmas in December 2016.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73 with children and group prices available. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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Broadway Palm’s ‘Sounds of Christmas’ stars Katherine Walker Hill (12-15-19)

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is presenting Sounds of Christmas now through December 25, 2019. This special show was written, directed and choreographed by Broadway Palm’s own Amy Marie McCleary and stars Troy Bruchwalski and Katherine Walker Hill.

Most Southwest Florida theater lovers know McCleary through her work as Prather Entertainment Group’s resident director/choreographer. In that capacity, she has staged more than 50 productions. Among Amy’s favorite director/choreographer credits are Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. It’s a show that not only worked its magic on the audiences who saw it, but on Troy Bruchwalski and Katherine Walker Hill, who played Bob Wallace and Betty Haynes. Wallace and Haynes fall in love at the end of the story and, presumably, go on to entertain together and live happily ever after.

Bruchwalski and Hill fell in love in real life during White Christmas and went on to marry. Now they are entertaining together. They were in Clue the Musical together and are now playing on-stage husband and wife in Sounds of Christmas.

In addition to White Christmas, Katherine’ extensive stage credits include Janet Van De Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone (Maples Repertory Theatre, Macon, MO), Glinda in The Wizard of Oz (where her performance was called “refreshing … definitely the performance of the night”), Show Boat (ensemble/understudy at Prather’s Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre), Lettie in Something’s Afoot (Dutch Apple), Evita (ensemble/Broadway Palm), Miss Scarlet in Clue the Musical (at both Broadway Palm and Dutch Apple), Mary Hatch in A Wonderful Life (at both Broadway Palm and Dutch Apple), Estelle Genovese and Molly MacGregor in The Full Monty, and Peggy Jones in The Andrews Brothers in the Off-Broadway Palm.

Kat is a proud Tennessean, a Webster Conservatory graduate and over-the-moon aunt. Besides Mary Bailey in A Wonderful Life, her favorite roles include Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain, Shiela in A Chorus Line, and Elaine in Arsenic & Old Lace.

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Broadway Palm’s ‘Sounds of Christmas’ stars Troy Bruchwalski (12-15-19)

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is presenting Sounds of Christmas now through December 25, 2019. This special show was written, directed and choreographed by Broadway Palm’s own Amy Marie McCleary and stars Troy Bruchwalski and Katherine Walker Hill.

Bruchwalski’s credits include Monty Python’s Spamalot National Tour 2018-2019 (Sir Dennis Galahad, The Black Knight, Prince Herbert’s Father), Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone (Maples Repertory Theatre in Macon MO), Gaylor Ravenal in Show Boat (Prather Dutch Apple Theatre), Nigel Rancour in Something’s Afoot (Prather Dutch Apple Theatre), Bob Wallace in Iriving Berlin’s White Christmas (Dutch Apple & Broadway Palm), the Phantom in Yeston & Kopit’s Phantom (Dutch Apple & Broadway Palm).

Other roles include Father in Ragtime’s national tour, King Arthur/Sir Lionel in the national tour of Camelot, Freddy-Eynsford Hill in My Fair Lady, Javert in Les Miserables, Vice Principal Douglas Panch in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Shrek in Shrek: The Musical. He has also appeared in The World Goes Round (for Interplayers Theatre Company), The Last Romance (for The Old Creamery Theatre Company), A Chorus Line (for Thingimajig Theatre Company), Anyone Can Whistle (Lakeland Civic Theatre), Tecumseh! (for Scioto Society) and Magic Flute (for Talespinners Children’s Theatre).

Troy holds a Bachelor of Music in Opera from the Cleveland Institute of Music and is currently pursuing his NASM Personal Training certification. He plays piano, guitar, tuba and trumpet, and is versed in tango, waltz and beginner tap.

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Spotlight on ‘Sounds of Christmas’ writer, director and choreographer Amy Marie McCleary (12-15-19)

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is presenting Sounds of Christmas now through December 25, 2019. This special show was written, directed and choreographed by Broadway Palm’s own Amy Marie McCleary.

“I was inspired by my own Christmas traditions with my family and friends,” says McCleary about the show. “So many of our Christmas memories are colored by the music of the season and I wanted to highlight all those special tunes in unique ways.”

Amy Marie McCleary is a multi-faceted musical theater artist who works as an actor, director and choreographer in local and regional theater. Most Southwest Florida theater lovers know McCleary more through her work as Prather Entertainment Group’s resident director/choreographer. In that capacity, she has staged more than 50 productions. Among Amy’s favorite director/choreographer credits are Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. So it’s not surprising that she’d be inspired to write and produce a Christmas show of her own.

Amy’s overall body of work is as prestigious as it prodigious. Go here to see Amy full theatrical profile.

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‘Christmas Carol Live Radio Play’ in Off Broadway Palm through Christmas Day (12-15-19)

The Off Broadway Palm Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play playing now through December 25, 2019. The Charles Dickens classic comes alive on stage, but with a twist! The story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his discovery of the true meaning of Christmas is reimagined and told as a 1940s radio broadcast complete with vintage commercials, live sound effects and musical underscoring. The small cast brings dozens of characters to life as three ghosts take Scrooge on a thrilling journey through Christmas past, present and future.

The Off Broadway Palm is an intimate 100-seat theatre, located in the main lobby of Broadway Palm. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $42 to $62 with discounts available for children and groups of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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Spotlight on ‘Christmas Carol Live Radio Play’ actor Rachael Endrizzi (12-15-19)

Rachael Endrizzi is part of the cast of Off Broadway Palm Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play. She’s an actor, director and teaching artist whose resume includes both theater and film. As an educator, Endrizzi is the former Director of Education for the Florida Repertory Theatre, where she founded the Florida Rep Conservatory and ACT UP: Theatre for Students on the Autism Spectrum in addition to running Southwest Florida’s leading performing arts training program and a professional touring theater.

Go here to access Rachael’s long and impressive resume.

 

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Spotlight on ‘Christmas Carol Live Radio Play’ actor Dena Galyean (12-15-19)

Dena Galyean is in the cast of Off Broadway Palm Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play. Since relocating to Southwest Florida from Chicagoland, Dena Galyean seems to have a penchant for landing 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. Go here for her full resume.

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CFABS Youth Players perform ‘Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr.’ December 19-21 (12-15-19)

Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. will be performed by the CFABS Youth Players in the Hinman Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, December 19 – 21, with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 21.

Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. is an adaptation of book #44 of Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning fantasy adventure books from the Magic Tree House book series. The magic tree house whisks Jack and Annie back in time to the foggy streets of Victorian London, where they meet the famous well-off author, Charles Dickens, who has a severe case of writer’s block. Jack and Annie also witness the hardships faced by the poor, and their efforts to help only land them in prison. Mr. Dickens rescues Jack and Annie, and they, in turn, help him escape the sad memories that haunt him. In the process, they inspire Mr. Dickens to write one of the greatest holiday stories of all time.

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Youth Director Brian Seagraves dishes on CFABS’ ‘Magic Tree House’ (12-15-19)

Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. will be performed by the CFABS Youth Players in the Hinman Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, December 19 – 21, with a 2:00 p.m. matinuee on Saturday, December 21. In it, Jack and Annie travel back in time to Victorian London, where they learn the importance of charity and kindness through their friendship with legendary author Charles Dickens.

“This show is the perfect holiday fun for the whole family,” says CFABS Youth Theatre Director Brian Seagraves.

Each CFABS Youth Theater production takes the cast on a journey that begins with open auditions and spans several weeks of rehearsing three to five times a week after school, concluding in a fully realized performance for friends, family, and the entire community. This program provides aspiring young actors with a structured, theatrical outlet with compassionate guidance, while getting them to practice responsibility, teamwork, and commitment as they 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 their feet, work together, be responsible, exude confidence, and celebrate diversity,” says Seagraves.

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 26 performers from ages 5 to 12 from both Lee and Collier Counties.

Although Seagraves is the director, the production is a group effort by various professionals from Southwest Florida. Rounding out the Creative Team are Music Director Stacy McDonald and Choreographer Jill Demchak. 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.

Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens JR. is an adaptation of book #44 of Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning fantasy adventure books from the Magic Tree House book series, which has sold more than 100 million copies and is available in more than 100 countries around the world.

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Upcoming staged readings auditions at Center for Performing Arts Bonita (12-15-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting staged readings at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 10, 2020. It will conduct auditions for them at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17 and 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at theaterfilm@artsbonita.org.

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Cultural Park’s ‘Spectacular Christmas Revue’ closes today (12-15-19)

Cultural Park Theatre’s 2019 holiday show is one of its most anticipated productions. Once again this year, the theatre is taking the season’s favorite holiday songs, adding some pop music and sprinkling in a cast of children, adults and Santa Claus. It’s the tried and true recipe for a most “spectacular” Christmas show! It runs December 11 through the 15.

Cultural Park Theatre is located at 528 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral, FL 33990. for more information, please visit http://www.culturalparktheater.com or telephone 239-772-5862.

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‘An Inspector Calls’ in Florida Rep’s Arcade Theatre through December 22 (12-15-19)

Florida Repertory Theatre’s production of J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls is on stage in the historic Arcade Theatre now through December 22. The play takes the audience down a dazzling, dark road filled with twists and turns that will awake the senses.

First performed in 1945, this British thriller will resonate with fans of Agatha Christie, television’s The Crown and Downton Abbey, and serves as a reminder to everyone that poor behavior may be met with unfortunate consequences and that being responsible to each other is a genuine display of our gratitude and thankfulness.

The play takes us back in time to the start of the 20th century when England’s newly formed economic elite flexed their muscles to gain even more riches and political power. Written in the aftermath of World War II, this chilling morality play is both a plea for a more just society and a warning of what’s to come if we fail to attain it. More relevant now than ever, this is a must-see for a whole new generation of theatergoers.

“Superbly tense and breathtaking!” said The Daily Telegraph.

It’s 1912, and a festive dinner party is taking place at the home of a wealthy British family. Suddenly, the gaieties are interrupted by a mysterious inspector investigating the death of a young woman. As questions multiply and guilt mounts, the family’s entanglement in the affair shatters the foundations of their comfortable lives.

And challenges us to examine our actions.

“Florida Rep has never done anything quite like this play,” says Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “It’s a classic thriller, and it’s a morality play. Not only will audiences be on the edge of their seats with the twists and turns, but they will see how the characters’ actions have incredible repercussions they never intended. This play is a turn-of-the-century cautionary tale and calls on all of us to make the world a better place. It shows us what can happen when we forget to be kind to one another, but at the same time, it will keep you guessing.”

An Inspector Calls features an all-star cast led by Florida Rep Ensemble Members Kate Hampton, William McNulty, V Craig Heidenreich and Brendan Powers, alongside New York actors Cole Francum and Ellyn Heald, with Florida Rep intern Bailey Tyler, making their Florida Rep debuts.

Hampton and McNulty appeared most recently appeared in the season-opening farce, Ken Ludwig’s A Fox on the Fairway.

Heidenreich returns to the stage after appearances in Twelve Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird, and Powers returns after appearing in last season’s Hay Fever and Million Dollar Quartet.

Newcomers Francum and Heald make appearances at Florida Rep after extensive work in regional theatres, and Bailey Tyler makes her mainstage season debut after her work in Florida Rep’s Theatre for Young Audiences Series as one of the company’s 2019-2020 interns.

Frequent Florida Rep guest artist, Michael Marotta, directs the production after recent appearances in last season’s Tenderly: the Rosemary Clooney Musical and Cabaret in 2018. Marotta’s work as a director at Florida Rep includes recent critical and box office successes Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End and I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. Marotta leads an expert creative team including set designer Dennis C. Maulden (Hay Fever), Ensemble costume designer Stefanie Genda (Million Dollar Quartet), lighting designer Tyler M. Perry (Cabaret), sound designer Katie Lowe (Always…Patsy Cline), and stage manager Phill Madore (Florida Rep debut).

Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets start at $55/$49 for regular performances and $35/$29 for previews. Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488. Box office hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Again this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open two hours before each performance and offers guests FREE PARKING across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

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‘Alabaster’ opens in Florida Rep ArtStage Studio with half-price preview December 16 (12-15-19)

Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly (photo 2) opens December 20 in Florida Rep’s ArtStage Studio Theatre. The opening part of a 10-theatre National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Chosen from Florida Rep’s 2018 PlayLab Festival of New Works, this darkly comic Southern drama about love, art and the power of women won the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize.

“Florida Rep’s is committed to developing new works and nurturing playwrights,” said Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen, “and Audrey Cefaly’s new play is one of the most exciting new works to cross my desk in a while. This play is both hopeful and heartbreaking and features some of your favorite Florida Rep ensemble members. We are honored to give this play its first of ten Rolling World Premiere productions and to welcome the playwright into the creative process. Alabaster is not a play to miss this season.”

Only June and her pet goat Weezy live to tell the tale when a tornado sweeps through town leaving a wake of death and destruction. In the aftermath of the storm, a prominent photographer visits to take pictures of the reclusive folk artist’s scars. Both are forced to reconcile the pain of loss and recovery. This all-female drama explores the meaning and purpose of art and the struggle of the lost and tortured souls that seek to create it.

“National New Play Network is delighted to be supporting this play through a record-breaking ten Rolling World Premiere productions in the 12 months following the opening in Fort Myers,” said Nan Barnett, who is the National New Play Network Executive Director. “Florida Rep led the creation of this partnership, and their advocacy for the play and playwright will be celebrated not only in Fort Myers and the other nine cities but also during the many other productions that we are sure will follow.”

Alabaster features ensemble members Rachel Burttram and Sara Morsey alongside Dana Brooke and Carolyn Messina, both making their Florida Rep debuts.

Burttram returns to the ArtStage after her recent work filming The Right Stuff for National Geographic which airs in early 2020. Her recent Florida Rep credits include Steel Magnolias, Hay Fever, and Disgraced, as well as the PlayLab reading of Alabaster in 2018.

Sara Morsey returns after recent appearances in Steel Magnolias and Shear Madness. A folk artist herself, Morsey will create over sixty pieces of original outsider art for the production. They’ll be on display at the Arts for ACT Gallery across the hall from the ArtStage Studio during January.

Alabama native Carolyn Messina makes her Florida Rep debut on the production but has a long history working with the playwright in many capacities. She’s appeared in Cefaly’s works before Alabaster, and as a dramaturg she has collaborated with Cefaly on multiple projects, including Alabaster.

Dana Brooke is a New York actress making her Florida Rep debut in the production, and is a Company Member at B Street Theatre in Sacramento, where she appeared in the National New Play Network Showcase reading of the play in 2018.

Florida Rep ensemble member and Associate Artistic Director Jason Parrish directs.

Alabaster features an expert creative team, including ensemble set designer Richard Crowell (Fences), costume designer Charlene Gross (Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical), lighting and projections designer Rob Siler (Damascus), sound designer Katie Lowe (Damascus), and stage manager Ruth Kramer (Florida Rep debut).

Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly is generously sponsored by Emily Eason and media sponsor, Florida Weekly.

Alabaster plays in the ArtStage Studio Theatre to January 26, 2020 with discounted previews Dec. 17-19. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets start at $55/$49 for regular performances and $35/$29 for previews. Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488. Box office hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Again this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open 2 hours before each performance and offers guests FREE PARKING across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

N.B.: Alabaster contains strong language and brief nudity.

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Florida premiere of ‘Let Nothing You Dismay’ at Lab through December 22 (12-15-19)

The Florida premiere of Let Nothing You Dismay is on stage at The Laboratory Theater of Florida through December 22.

This fast-paced comedy focuses on a couple sitting in the waiting room outside the maternity ward for a surrogate to give birth to their first child. Although they’ve implored their respective families to wait until the birth and adoption have been completed, bedlam ensues when they show up anyway.

Eight talented comedic actors portray 22 different roles. The play features Amanda Collins, David Cooley, Danielle Channell, Scott Davis, Kristen Wilson, Todd Lyman, Holly Zammerilla and Ken Johnson.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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

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Like Corden’s Crosswalk, ‘Nothing You Dismay’ delivers choreographed zaniness (12-15-19)

Topher Payne’s Let Nothing You Dismay runs for two more weekends at Lab Theater. It’s a quick-paced, frenetic farce that will appeal to anyone who’s ever participated in a Chinese fire drill – or better still, has been lucky enough to catch an episode of Crosswalk the Musical on The Late Late Show.

Most today know Late Late Show host James Corden for his highly popular Carpool Karaoke segments, which have featured such notable singers as Sir Paul McCartney, Adele, Katy Perry, Shawn Mendes, The Jonas Brothers, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Bruno Mars, to name a few. But it is his Crosswalk the Musical segments that especially resonate with theater aficionados, who know full well that Corden actually made his mark first on Broadway and the West End, where he played Timms in The History Boys.

You will find the rest of this review here.

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Danielle Channell (12-15-19)

Talented comedic actor Danielle Channell is part of the Let Nothing You Dismay cast. Past credits include Sheri Steinberg-Johnes in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …., producer Julia Budder in It’s Only a Play, Broadway producer Elsa Von Grossenkneuten in The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s and the beautiful, charming and talented Meg McGrath in Beth Henley’s Southern Gothic tragi-comedy, Crimes of the Heart.

Go here for Danielle’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Todd Lyman (12-15-19)

Todd Lyman is part of the cast of Let Nothing You Dismay. Todd’s credits credits include Thomas Putnam in The Crucible, multiple roles (Customers 3, 6 and 9) in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V., Teddy in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …, theater critic Ira Drew in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (which marked Todd’s Lab Theater debut), Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Enoch Snow in Carousel, Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ivan in Anton Chekhov’s The Marriage Proposal.

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Kenneth Bradley Johnson (12-15-19)

Ken Johnson is part of the Let Nothing You Dismay cast. Born in Puerto Rico one month before the Cuban missile crisis, Ken Johnson got his start in community theater performing with his dad at the tender age of 8. He attended the John Houseman’s Conservatory of Acting program at the University of Southern California and went on to a wild career in acting that was denoted by four national tours, two European tours, and more than 3,000 hours performing in the lead in Me and My Girl, 14 productions of West Side Story and 9 productions of The Will Rogers Follies.

Go here for Ken’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Kristen Wilson (12-15-19)

In addition to serving as Laboratory Theater’s Production Coordinator and Costume Designer, Kristen Wilson is also a talented local actor. She plays three intriguing roles in Let Nothing You Dismay. The first is adoptive dad Kevin’s frozen-faced, platinum-braided Vodka swilling grandmother Tawny. She next appears as his mother’s upstairs neighbor, Deb, a Chapstick lesbian childbirth companion. And then she’s Linda Saperstein, Lizzie’s prim and proper mother. Go here to access the rest of Kristen’s extensive stage credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Scott Davis (12-15-19)

Scott Davis is active with various theater groups in Florida and Michigan. Recent performances with The Naples Players include Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Ralph Sheldrake), The Music Man (Ewart Dunlop)and Miracle on 34th Street (Tammany O’Holleran). He is making his Lab Theater debut in the roles of Dennis Gordon, Jerry and Rich in Topher Payne’s comedic farce Let Nothing You Dismay. Go here for the rest of Scott’s resume.

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‘Inspecting Carol’ at New Phoenix through December 22 (12-15-19)

Inspecting Carol is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through December 22. What’s it about? Well, think A Christmas Carol meets The Government Inspector meets Noises Off.

To be more precise, Inspecting Carol is a behind-the-scenes farce about a financially-strapped third-rate theater company struggling to put on its annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The costumes reek and don’t fit. And the self-absorbed actor playing Scrooge is trying to rewrite the play. (The audacity!) But worst of all, the company is on the verge of collapse. The company only managed to secure half their expected subscribers and is dangerously close to losing its NEA funding.

You’ll find the rest of this advance here.

And go here for ‘Inspecting Carol’s play dates, times and ticket info.

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Spotlight on ‘Inspecting Carol’ director Joey Bostic (12-15-19)

Inspecting Carol plays at New Phoenix Theatre through December 22. Making his directorial debut is Joey Bostic.

“I did student directing a Creative Theatre Workshop [a community based non-profit organization that encourages and promotes an interest in the theatrical arts by providing workshops and producing full-length musical productions in order to educate, entertain, and enrich the community], but there I was working alongside Michelle Hamstra.”

He’s more than equipped to take the reins on this show.

Go here to view all of his stage credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Inspecting Carol’ actor Sam Bostic (12-15-19)

Sam Bostic is playing the role of Walter E. Parsons in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Daniel Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol. Some of Sam’s acting credits include Riff Raff in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Joe Hargity in the world premiere of Zalman Velvel’s D.M.V. (Lab Theater), 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) and Adam in Miss Nelson is Missing. Go here for Sam’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Inspecting Carol’ actor Carolyn England (12-15-19)

Carolyn England appears in the role of Dorothy Tree Hapgood in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Daniel Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol. Carolyn’s previous stage credits include Rose in Engagement Rules and Lucy Stickler ( the long-suffering wife of a septuagenarian with a roving eye) in Murderers (both for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts) and Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club and Jack Neary’s The Porch (both for Cape Coral Cultural Park).

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Spotlight on ‘Inspecting Carol’ actor Cindi Heimberg (12-15-19)

Cindi Heimberg plays the part of Artistic Director Zorah Bloch in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Daniel Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol. Previous credits include Marvin’s Room (nursing home administrator), La Cage Aux Folles, Lavonda Dupree in Del Shores black comedy Sordid Lives, the neighbor in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror, Play On!, Deathtrap (where she played zany psychic Helga ten Dorp), Rumors, Barefoot in the Park, Men are Dogs, Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s, and Last of the Red-Hot Lovers.

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Spotlight on ‘Inspecting Carol’ actor John D. Strealy (12-15-19)

John D. Strealy will be playing the part of Wayne Wellacre in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Daniel Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol. He was last seen on the New Phoenix stage in the part of Ernie Cusack in Neil Simon’s Rumors. An aspiring young actor, John’s credits include klepto-director Sir Frank Finger in It’s Only a Play, Jason Shelburne in Body & Sold and Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in which he had a break-out performance as the pompous, pedantic and overbearingly pretentious steward, who becomes the butt of a cruel practical joke

You can access his entire profile here.

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Spotlight on ‘Inspecting Carol’ actor Lexi Falance (12-15-19)

Lexi Falance plays Lexi Beatty in Inspecting Carol. Some of her favorite prior roles include Rapunzel in Rapunzel Uncut, the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz and Florinda in Into the Woods. Catch her in Inspecting Carol, on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through December 22.

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Spotlight on ‘Inspecting Carol’ actor Robin Murray (12-15-19)

Robin Murray plays Mary Jane “M.J.” McMann in Inspecting Carol. A Chicago native, Robin Murray caught the acting bug in fourth grade. Now living in Southwest Florida, Robin’s stage credits include Mary Jane McMann in Inspecting Carol as well as Marvin’s Room, I Remember Mama, Anton in Show Business, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, On Golden Pond, Five Kinds of Silence and Calendar Girls.

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TNP’s ‘She Loves Me’ perfect Christmas love story (12-15-19)

She Loves Me is playing in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players through December 22. Winner of multiple Tony Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Laurence Olivier Awards and Critics Circle Awards, this is the perfect performance to usher in the Holiday Season.

Regarded by many as “The Perfect Christmas Love Story,” this heartfelt tale follows Amalia and Georg, 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 actually each other!

With a melodic and witty score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and a wonderful book by Joe Masteroff (Cabaret), She Loves Me is based on a play by Miklos Laszlo that also became the basis of the classic film The Shop Around the Corner and more recently You’ve Got Mail.

The show reunites Naples Players’ resident Sound Designer Bradley Van Houten and Broadway Sound Designer Joshua D. Reid, who’ve previously worked together in theaters across New York and even at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Nominated for three Tony awards for his work as an Associate Sound Designer, Reid is a great addition to The Naples Players family.

This dynamic duo have completely re-tuned and re-defined the theater’s sound system. “Vocals have gotten lost in the space in the past and we’ve restructured the way the show is being mixed, even how the vocals are being managed through the sound system,” adds Van Houten. “Audiences should be excited by this new change.”

Showtimes are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. There will be a Sennsory-Friendly Performance at 7:30 p.m. on December 17.

Tickets are $35 to subscribers, $45 individual. Call 239.263.7990 or visit NaplesPlayers.org to reserve your seats.

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TNP holding open auditions for ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ on December 21 (12-15-19)

The Naples Players is holding open auditions for its Spring musical, Bye Bye Birdie, from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 21. Final Casting Calls will be made starting Thursday, December 26. For questions please contact Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, by calling 239.434.7340 Ext. 125 or email at cbutcher@naplesplayers.org.

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TNP holding open auditions for ‘Becky’s New Car’ and ‘Calendar Girls’ on January 25 (12-15-19)

The Naples Players is holding open auditions for Becky’s New Car and Calendar Girls from noon to 4:00 p.m. on January 25. You may audition for one or both shows. Final casting calls will be made starting Wednesday, January 29. For questions please contact Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, by calling 239.434.7340 Ext. 125 or email at cbutcher@naplesplayers.org.

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Comedy Night returns to Blackburn Hall on December 28 (12-15-19)

Comedy Nights returns to Blackburn Hall at 8:00 p.m. on December 28. Join The Naples Players for some of Southwest Florida’s best family-friendly comedy. Featuring Stage 2 Improv, each show will consist of improvisational comedy games and songs from topics suggested by the audience. Frequently including special guest appearances by local celebrities, each month is an exciting new theme. Be as involved in the show as you would like, and come back each month for more and more laughs.

Then return for more Comedy Nights at 8:00 p.m. on January 4 in Tobye Studio when Stage 2 Improv rings in the new year with Sketch Comedy.

Tickets for each night are $20. Call 239.263.7990 or visit NaplesPlayers.org for tickets. Comedy Nights/Comedy Bonanza is sponsored by RipTide Brewing Company.

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The Naples Players will be ‘Making God Laugh’ January 15 through February 9 (12-15-19)

Making God Laugh comes to Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players  January 15 through February 9.

Making God Laugh follows one typical American family over the course of thirty years’ worth of holidays. Starting in 1980, Ruthie and Bill’s grown children — a priest, an aspiring actress, and a former football star — all return home, where we learn of their plans and dreams as they embark on their adult lives. The empty-nester parents contend with their own changes, too, as old family rituals are trotted out and ancient tensions flare-up. As time passes, the family discovers that, despite what we may have in mind, we often arrive at unexpected destinations.

Written by Sean Grennan, this nostalgic family play is meaningful, poignant, funny and heartwarming and underscores one simple fact: if you want to make God laugh, just tell her your plans. Showtimes are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00. Tickets are $30 for subscribers, $40 for individual tickets. To reserve your seats, telephone  239.263.7990 or visit NaplesPlayers.org.

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