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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news February 1-7, 2022


Grouped under headings that include art openings, film, outdoor art fairs and festivals and theater are advances, announcements and articles about the actors, artists, filmmakers and events making news in Southwest Florida this week:


1      ACTORS (alphabetically)


Robert Barner appears in role of Gary Coleman in Lab’s ‘Avenue Q’

Robert Barner appears in the role of Gary Coleman in Avenue Q. He last appeared as Adrian/Boatswain for Lab Theater in Shakespeare’s magical play, The Tempest, after making his theatrical debut as Mister in the Southwest Florida premiere of Marsha Norman’s The Color Purple.



Gerrie Benzing plays Jinx in TNP’s ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

Gerrie Benzing is Jinx in The Naples Players’ January/February production of The Savannah Sipping Society. The manager of a beauty supply company, Jinx volunteers to play life coach for newfound friends Dot Haigler, Marlafaye Mosley and Randa Covington. She soon hatches a series of challenges that have the girls participating in a Medieval Fair, finding dates for Valentine’s Day and doing other activities that are way out of their comfort zone … and sampling a mixture of adult beverages from good old fashioned Kentucky bourbon to fine wines. Gerrie was last seen on the TNP stage as Ruth in Calendar Girls. She has extensive stage and film credits, which you can access here.



Emilie Baartman in CFABS’ ‘Funny Shorts LOVE!’

Emilie Baartman will appear in The Last Box by J. Michael Harper (in which two strangers in a drug store debate over who gets the last box of condoms) and as the new wife in Wendy-Marie Foerster’s The New Wife in the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs’ presentation of Funny Shorts LOVE!, both directed by CFABS Artistic Director Frank Blocker. Emilie was last seen in the role of Gloria in Boeing Boeing for The Naples Players. View her theatrical credits here.



Cantrella Canady in ‘Curious Incident’

Cantrella Canady is part of an all-star cast that will perform in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre. Cantrella’s credits include, most recently, LaLa Lamazing in The Colored Museum, and roles in West Side Story and Bulletproof Backpack for Florida Repertory Theatre, Sofia in The Color Purple and Susan in David Mamet’s Race for Lab Theater, Trix the Aviatrix in The Drowsy Chaperone (for Creative Theater Workshop) and Tonya in August Wilson’s King Hedley II for the Alliance for the Arts. If you’d like to survey the rest of Cantrella’s extensive stage credits, you’ll find them here.



Victor Caroli in CFABS’ ‘Funny Shorts LOVE!’ on February 11

On February 11, 2022, Victor Caroli will portray Fred in playwright Bill Johnson’s The Baggage Handler (in which two souls trying to get into the next life must deal with the baggage they’ve been carrying), one of six short plays included in the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs’ presentation of Funny Shorts LOVE! You can read Victor’s full profile here.



Kristin Cassidy is Randa Covington in ‘Savannah Sipping Society’ at TNP

In The Naples Players’ production of The Savannah Sipping Society,  Kristin Cassidy portrays Randa Covington, an accomplished architect who loses her position at her firm after she loses it when her boss gives the promotion she covets to a man half her age and a fraction as talented. But Kristin’s involvement with The Naples Players dates back many years, in fact all the way to 1975, when she was in TNP’s production of The King and I at Gulfview Middle School. Go here for the rest of Kristin’s stage credits.



Chase Cintron plays Nick in ‘Over the River’ in Off Broadway Palm

Chance Cintron is a Fort Myers television and stage actor. He appears in the role of Nick in Over the River and Through the Woods at Off Broadway Palm through March 5, 2022. His stage credits include Bo in Grumpy Old Men for Broadway Palm, Konstantin Treplyov in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Mr. Wormwood in Florida Repertory Theatre Education’s conservancy production of Matilda and Georg in Florida Rep Education’s conservancy production of Spring Awakening. But there’s much more. Please go here to access Chance’s full profile.



Steven Coe plays drug dealer named Chris in ‘Killer Joe’ at Lab Theater

Steven Coe returns to the Lab Theater boards in January to play the role of a drug dealer named Chris in Killer Joe. Coe’s evolving body of work includes starring roles as Jim Fingal in Lifespan of a Fact for Players Circle Theatre, Joe Gillis in Lab’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard, Sandro Botticelli in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Thomas Novachek in David Ives’ Venus in Fur for The Studio Players and Andri in AndorraGo here for Steven’s full profile.



Amanda Collins is Bad Idea 1 in Lab’s ‘Avenue Q’

Amanda Collins is an aspiring young actor. She plays Bad Idea 1 for Lab Theater in Avenue Q. Her stage credits include Stephanie in The Tempest and Allie/Lizzie in Let Nothing You Dismay for Lab Theater as well as shows for Florida Repertory Theater, Lehigh Senior High and Fort Myers Theater. She is currently studying theater at Florida Gulf Coast University.



Shannon Conboy tackles Kathy Seldon role in Broadway Palm’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Triple threat Equity membership candidate Shannon Conboy plays the part of no-nonsense aspiring actress for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Singin in the Rain. Shannon’s other Prather Entertainment stage credits include Ruby in Dames at Sea, a member of the ensemble in the regional premiere of A Bronx Tale, Hot Box Girl (and Sarah Brown understudy) in Guys and Dolls and the featured vocalist in Sounds of Christmas for Prather Entertainment. Born and raised in Southern California, Shannon has spent recent years based in New York City and performing throughout the country. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and Music Education from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Go here for more.



Rosie DeLeon plays Corie Bratter for Studio Players in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

She will next appear as Corie Bratter for The Studio Players in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. DeLeon has appeared often on the boards at various Lee County venues. Her credits include the role of P.B. for The Studio Players in One Slight Hitch, Lauren in Circle Mirror Transformation for The Studio Players, Officer Pudney in Neil Simon’s Rumors for New Phoenix Theatre, Linda Johnson in Lab Theater’s production of Deborah Lake Fortson’s Body & Sold, Feste in Lab’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Elaine in Calendar Girls.



As Lady in Green, ‘Singin’s Sami Doherty can stop a man just by holding up her leg

Sami Doherty plays the Lady in Green for Broadway Palm in Singin’ in the Rain. It’s the role that Cyd Charisse rocked in the movie. And like Charisse, Doherty can stop a man just by raising her leg. The local actor, singer and dance instructor is a Prather Entertainment mainstay. Some of her previous Broadway Palm roles are Lila Dixon in Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, Marty in GreaseCharlie’s materialistic girlfriend, Nicola, in Kinky Boots, Sounds of Christmas (where she rocked “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”), Joan in Dames at Sea (in Off Broadway Palm), Babette in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, Guys & Dolls (Ensemble), Connie in Saturday Night Fever, Matthews in Elf, the Musical and the detective in Clue the Musical, where she performed a dramatic Spanish two-step that would have the ten paddles coming out on Dancing with the Stars. Go here to see what else Sami’s been in.



Harvey Evans to reprise role of Christopher Boone in ‘Curious Incident’ in February

After completing weeks of rehearsal and weathering the rigors of tech week, Harvey Evans was deprived of playing the part of Christopher Boone for Players Circle in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by the shut-down that accompanied the COVID19 pandemic in March of 2020. He’ll finally get the opportunity to portray Christopher when Players Circle brings Curious Incident to the stage in February of 2022. To see what else Harvey has been in, please go here.



Ruthgena Faraco plays Kate Monster in ‘Avenue Q’

Ruthgena Faraco plays Kate Monster for Lab Theater in Avenue Q. She just portrayed Topsy Washington in The Colored Museum at the Alliance for the Arts and Celie in The Color Purple. Some of Ruthgena’s other stage credits include Mary Warren in Lab Theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and Molly Cunningham in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance). Go here to see everything Ms. Faraco has done.



Alex Fullerton is silent screen actor Don Lockwood in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Alex Fullerton portrays Don Lockwood for Broadway Palm in Singin’ in the Rain – a man who finds himself at a professional and personal crossroads as Hollywood segues from silent to talking films. He’s a natural in the role made famous by the immortal Gene Kelly. A regional actor based in New York City, Fullerton also played Lockwood for Alhambra Theater and Dining in Jacksonville. His other stage credits include Crazy for You, Peter Pan (also directed by Amy McCleary) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.



Karen Goldberg to play Rosemary Muldoon in ‘Outside Mullingar’

Karen Goldberg will play Rosemary Muldoon when Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts brings Outside Mullingar to the Foulds Theatre stage. Among Karen’s Among her favorite roles are Kristine Linde in A Doll’s House, Anna Berniers in Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic, Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane (for which she won Florida Weekly‘s Best Actress Award) and Jean in Good People. She has also enjoyed roles in 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Women in Jeopardy, Little Shop of Horrors, Marat/Sade, The Bad Seed, Invasion of Privacy and See How They RunGo here for more on Karen.



Joann Haley in cast of Players Circle Theatre’s ‘Curious Incident’

Joann Haley is part of a star-studded cast assembled by Players Circle Artistic Director Bob Cacioppo for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Joann Haley is an actor known for interesting character roles over the course of her 20-plus year career in local community theater. Her credits include the role of Martha in Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: a Parody for Lab Theater, Beverly in The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre, seductive Lady Shirley in Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood, and Mrs. Kendal in The Elephant Man. You can see what else Joann’s been in here.



Joanna Harmon will reprise the role of Teacher in ‘Curious Incident’

Joanna Harmon will reprise the role of the Teacher for Players Circle Theatre in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The word reprise refers to the fact that Joanna was part of the production in 2020 which closed after a single preview performance as a consequence of the shut-down necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. She was phenomenal in 2020 and promises to be even better when the show returns to the Players Circle stage in February of 2022. But there’s more! Go here to see what else Joanna’s been in.



Cindy Hile in the role of Janet in Funny Short LOVE’s ‘Dance Class’

Next up for Cindy Hile is the role of Janet in Teri Foltz’s Dance Class (in which she decides to take a dance class after years of driving by a local dance studio and finds that not only does she have the feet for it, but may have just captured the heart of her new instructor), one of six short plays in the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs’ presentation on February 11 of Funny Shorts LOVE!



Heather Johnson plays Sharla in Southwest Florida premiere of ‘Killer Joe’

Heather McLemore Johnson plays the part of Sharla in the Southwest Florida premiere of Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe. A recent theatrical transplant from Starkville, Mississippi, Heather’s stage credits include Jane in the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, Rebecca Nurse in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, an aggrieved soccer mom (and the only adult cast member) in The Wolves, Andre’s mother in Max Frisch’s Andorra, multiple roles in Every Christmas Story Ever Told and the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. Go here for Heather’s full theatrical credits.



Ken Johnson plays Rod for Lab Theater in ‘Avenue Q’

Ken Johnson plays Rod for Lab Theater in Avenue Q. His local acting credits include the happy hunchback Igor (pronounced Eye-gore) in Young Frankenstein for New Phoenix Theatre, Jerry Lukowski in The Full Monty for New Phoenix Theatre, editor Richard Ehrlich in Time Stands Still, Milford, Ivan and Oscar Saperstein in Topher Payne’s Let Nothing You Dismay, a high-spirited Cagelle in La Cage aux Folles for New Phoenix Theatre, Pastor Greg in Hand to God, Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram in Sordid Lives for Lab Theater and Noli Timeri (Don’t Be Afraid) for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance. Ken has also appeared at Florida Repertory Theatre, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and The Cape Playhouse. For more, go here.



Ruth Johnson plays Marlafaye in ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

Ruth Johnson plays the part of Marlafaye Mosely in TNP’s production of The Savannah Sipping Society. Marlafaye is a hard case whose husband has kicked her to the curb for a 23-year-old dental hygienist. She rails against and ridicules him mercilessly, but it’s a defense mechanism to disguise how much she really loved him and how deeply she was hurt by his desertion. Spoiler alert! Her prayers that he gets his come-uppance will be answered, but you’ll never believe how! As Marlafaye, Johnson has some of the best zingers and one-liners in the show. Ruth made her TNP debut this past summer as Rosie in The Wedding SingerPlease go here for Ruth’s full profile.



Steven Michael Kennedy is Princeton in ‘Avenue Q’

Steven Michael Kennedy is a Cape Coral actor whose acting credits include Leonardo da Vinci in Botticelli in the FireGrumpy Old Men for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, the role of Dan Anderson in the first U.S. licensed production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man and Elvis-impersonator-turned-drag-queen, Casey, in The Legend of Georgia McBride. He appears next in the role of Princeton in Avenue Q for Lab Theater. Go here to view the rest of Kennedy’s theatrical credits.



Gabrielle Lansden plays Lucy for Lab Theater in ‘Avenue Q’

Gabrielle Lansden plays the part of Lucy in Avenue Q for Lab Theater. Her acting credits include Janet Weiss in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Tina from Trilla in Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of Barry Cavin’s Boxes Are for What We Keep, and three shows under Stuart Brown’s direction at Florida SouthWestern State College, Paragon Springs, Sonnets for an Old Century and She Kills Monsters (in which she played Agnes Evans, the lead). Please go here for more on this rising star.



Justin Larsche plays detective who moonshines as killer for hire in ‘Killer Joe’

Justin Larsche goes from Caliban the monster in Shakespeare’s The Tempest to a detective who moonshines as an assassin for hire in Killer Joe, where he gives “bad” new meaning. Some of Justin’s other credits include Mark in The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre, Sheriff of Nottingham in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood and lovestruck lawyer Burnette Lloyd in another Southern Gothic, Beth Henley’s tragi-comedy Crimes of the Heart. Go here for all of Justin’s stage and film credits.



Anna Joy Lehman plays Myrtle Wilson in ‘The Great Gatsby’

Anna Joy Lehman plays Myrtle Wilson for Fort Myers Theatre in The Great Gatsby. Her theater credits include the roles of Shelbie in Steel Magnolias, Emily/Martha Cratchit/ensemble in A Christmas Carol, Greta Bell in Fame and Miep Gies in The Diary of Anne Frank for Fort Myers Theatre; Miranda in The Tempest for Dr. Phillips Center School of Performing Arts; Emily in The Drama Club for Orlando Repertory Theater; Martha in Ramona Quimby for Shine in the Limelight Theatre; and Emmy in A Doll’s House Part 2 for The Interlachen Women’s Club.

Go here to see Anna’s full theatrical profile.



Thomas Marsh joins cast of ‘Curious Incident’ for Players Circle Theatre

Thomas Marsh has joined the cast of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre. A local thespian who is building an impressive resume, he is best remembered for his portrayal of Joseph Carey Merrick in Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man. If you are curious to see what else he’s been in, please go here.



John McKerrow plays Christopher Boone’s dad, Ed, in ‘Curious Incident’

John McKerrow plays the part of Christopher Boone’s father, Ed, for Players Circle Theatre in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The Naples-based stage, film and television actor was seen most recently in the role of Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest for Lab Theater. Other stage credits include Bill in Mamma Mia!, Barrymore in I Hate Hamlet, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth in Macbeth and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

Go here to see all of John’s theatrical credits.



Peggy Monson plays Dot Haigler in Savannah Sipping Society

Peggy Monson plays the part of Dot Haigler for The Naples Players in The Savannah Sipping Society. Recently widowed, Haigler suddenly finds herself confronting the prospect of a future alone. Sweet and somewhat frail, she is facing a challenge even bigger than negotiating life without her beloved husband, Ross. She’s losing her vision and correlative ability to live on her own. And that is another reason Dot’s grateful for new old friends. Monson was last seen as Chris in Calendar Girls at TNP. Go here for the rest of Monson’s stage credits.



Danica Murray makes Broadway Palm debut in ‘Over the Woods’

Danica Murray makes her Broadway Palm debut in the role of Caitlin O’Hare in Over the River and Through the Woods, on stage in the Off Broadway Palm through March 5. Murray has already amassed an impressive resume, thanks in large measure to her participation in Florida Repertory Theatre’s Conservancy program. Her acting credits include The Woman in Woman in Black, Cloe in Bulletproof Backpack, Judy Turner in A Chorus Line and Paulina in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. You can view her full profile here.



Theo Rosso plays Jay Gatsby in ‘The Great Gatsby’

Theo Rosso stars in the role of Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. Rosso’s previous roles include Javert in Les Miserables, Ren in Footloose, Lonny Barnett in Rock of Ages and George in The Drowsy Chaperone. Rosso also served on the opposite side of the footlights, working as Assistant Director in Fort Myers Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank.



Loren Stone sizzles as Cosmo Brown in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Loren Stone plays silent screen star Don Lockwood’s gleeful, fun-loving sidekick Cosmo Brown in Singin’ in the Rain, and he brings down the house with his Donald O’Connor-inspired antics in “Make ‘Em Laugh.” A genuine scene stealer, Stone also sizzles in such tap-heavy numbers as “Fit as a Fiddle” and “Good Mornin’.” Besides Singin’ in the Rain, Loren’s stage credits include Tommy Djilas in The Music ManDennis in Smoke on the Mountain, Ren in Footloose, Doody in Grease and work in the ensemble in Cinderella for Alhambra Theatre; Jesus in Godspell for Henegar Center; and the featured tapper in Crazy for YouGo here for more on Loren.



John Strealy plays Paul Bratter in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

John Strealy will appear next in the role of Paul Bratter in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. His other stage credits include the role of Ryan for The Studio Players in Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch, Wayne Wellcare in Inspecting Carol for New Phoenix Theatre, klepto-director Sir Frank Finger in It’s Only a Play, Jason Shelburne in Body & Sold and Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night for Lab Theater. Go here for more on John’s theatrical credits.



Jay Terzis in cast of ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Jay Terzis appears next in The Studio Players’ production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Nominated by Broadway World as Southwest Florida Performer of the Decade, Jay has performed with The Naples Players, The Studio Players, The Marco Players the Island Theater Group and the CFABS Community Players. He has studied drama with Diane Davis in Naples. In New York City, he has studied drama at the Sedgwick Russell Studio and appeared in a number of Off Broadway readings. Go here to see his most recent stage credits.



Angela Watson joins cast of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Last on stage at Players Circle Theatre playing multiple roles in The Dining Room, actor Angela Watson will take on the role of Christopher Boone’s mother in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this February. Most know Watson through her work over seven seasons as Karen Foster, Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy’s very vain and seemingly shallow, though good-hearted, teenage daughter in the sitcom Step by Step. But Angela is also a talented singer, as she’s proved in the delightful country Christmas video We Love Santa ClausFor more on Angela, please read here.



Betty Whitmore in cast of ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Betty Whitmore appears in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre, on stage at the Shell Factory February 16-March 6, 2022.The Southwest Florida based actor studied acting in Chicago, has a musical/dance background and has performed professionally both in Chicago and Florida, including some commercial and independent film projects. Her stage credits include Claire in Proof with Jessica Walck, Sylvia in Sylvia, Maria Callas in Master Class, Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Eva Peron in Evita and Betty Rizzo in Grease.



Greg Wojciechowski appearing in ‘Dance Class’ for ‘Funny Shorts LOVE!’

Greg Wojciechowsli appears in the role of Charles in the short play Dance Class by Teri Foltz, which is one of six short plays included in the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs’ presentation of Funny Shorts LOVE! on February 11. In this one, directed by Marilee Warner, Greg plays a dance instructor who becomes quite taken by a retiree by the name of Janet, who decides to finally take a class after years of driving by her local dance studio. For more on Greg, go here.



Jim Yarnes to play Tony Reilly for Alliance in ‘Outside Mullingar’

Actor Jim Yarnes will play Tony Reilly for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in Outside Mullingar. Yarnes has built a reputation for playing off-kilter and larger-than-life characters. Yarnes is enjoying his 42nd year on stage. He started with Gulf Coast Opera Company before going on to perform at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, Cultural Park Theater, Lab Theater and Theatre Conspiracy. For the latter, he has appeared in the roles of Etienne in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Phil in Rich Orloff’s Engagement Rules (Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance), August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ludwig van Beethoven in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations and two characters in The Book of Liz. You can access Jim’s full profile here.





Dream come true, McCleary directs and choreographs ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Amy Marie McCleary grew up watching Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse on Turner Classic Movies, so it’s a dream come true for her to direct and choreograph Singin’ in the Rain for Prather Entertainment. McCleary has helmed more than 50 productions for Prather, including Holly Jolly Christmas (which she created (see below)), The Sound of MusicHappy Days, Holiday Inn, Kinky Boots, Beauty and the BeastMomma Mia, Jesus Christ Superstar, Saturday Night Fever, Memphis, Hairspray, Grease, CATS, Sister Act and Peter Pan, among others. As choreographer, Amy has staged dances for Evita, Cabaret, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, All Shook Up, The King and I, Les Miserables, Annie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and the 2009/2010 national tour of The Wedding Singer. Among Amy’s favorite director/choreographer credits are Grease (Broadway Palm 2021), Beehive: The 60s Musical (Broadway Palm 2021), Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Broadway Palm), Yeston & Kopit’s Phantom (Broadway Palm), and the 2015 national tour of Memphis the Musical. Go here for the rest of McCleary acting, directing and other credits.



Betty Nordstrom directing ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

Betty Nordstrom is directing The Savannah Sipping Society for The Naples Players. She previously directed Agnes of God, Over the River and Through the Woods and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Nordstrom is a Southwest Florida based actor/director. She has been performing for forty years and has been a member of The Naples Players since 1980. Betty studied acting in Chicago, has a musical/dance background and has performed professionally both in Chicago and Florida, including some commercial and independent film projects.



Nykkie Rizley directs ‘Killer Joe’ for Lab Theater

Nykkie Rizley directs the Southwest Florida premiere of Killer Joe. Rizley is a founding member and Vice President of the Laboratory Theater of Florida. She has previously directed Hand to God, Veronica’s Room, Lab’s cumfuddled Shakespearean classic Twelfth Night, The House of Yes, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and BUG.





DAAS’ February show to feature figuratives of Russian artist Ilya Stolyar

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is showcasing the artwork of Russian artist Ilya Stolyar during the month of February. Stolyar is an expressionist artist who is known for culturally-influenced figurative subjects contrasted against abstract backdrops that really make them pop.

Where his earlier work was characterized by dark colors and self-conscious subjects affected by depression, his current oeuvre focus more on figures that express cultures, beliefs and traditions that have attracted Stolyar’s attention and study.

“My work progressed into bright and vibrant colors, with open-minded concepts, filled with love.”

Stolyar was born in a small Baltic town of Kaliningrad (formerly Koenigsberg prior to World War II when it was part of Germany). He moved to the United States in 2001. He lived in New Jersey for fifteen years before relocated to Southwest Florida seven years ago.

“I’ve changed a lot of addresses in 21 years of living in United States,” Stolyar concedes.

“I have met a lot of different people … [and] have done different types of work, while studying a variety of different subjects. All of those experiences shaped me into the person [and artist] I am right now.”

Some view art as the expression or application of creative imagination and skill in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, or music, literature and dance. Stolyar’s definition of Art is a bit different. “I create for the sake of living, for the sake of self-exploitation and an internal conversation with God.”

The opening reception is scheduled for 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Friday, February 4, 2022 in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk. The exhibition will be on display through February 27, 2022.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is located at the Butterfly Estates complex at 1815 Fowler Street, Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.



Ilya Stolyar retrospective featured on WGCU

It’s often said that to really know someone, you first have to walk a mile in their shoes. But to get to know artist Ilya Stolyar, all you have to do is view his retrospective this month at DAAS Co-Op Gallery in the Fort Myers River District. The paintings in the exhibition reflect Stolyar’s journey from teenage Russian immigrant to moody, broody Jersey boy, to a visual artist who enjoys Southwest Florida for more than just the sun and our bright cerulean blue skies. Go here to listen to the radio segment and read the accompanying review.



Three shows by women about women on view at Davis Art Center

Three thought-provoking, educational, and celebratory exhibits by women and about women using quilts, mixed media, and paint will be featured at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center beginning February 4.

The Women Take Issue exhibit features the work of Patricia Anderson Turner, Fran Gardner, and Beau Wild. In the conservatory, HerStory and the OurStory collections will be featured showcasing two nationally traveling quilt collections that illustrate strong women throughout history, curated by Susanne Miller Jones.  Featured in the Capital Gallery on the 2nd floor will be highlighted from the Female Spirit exhibit featuring Linda Hoffmeister & Katty Smith.

The shows will be on display through Friday, February 23, 2022.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street, in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District.



‘Luminous Pastels’ on view at Alliance through February 26

On view now through February 26 in the main gallery at the Alliance for the Arts is Luminous Pastels, the Southwest Florida Pastel Society member exhibition. On display are over sixty paintings representing the work of more than thirty local artists.

The Southwest Florida Pastel Society works to (a) promote, stimulate and foster creative painting with pastels, (b) encourage and promote pastel artists in their artistic growth and success, (c) provide instructive programs and activities with exhibition opportunities for the benefit of pastel artists in their pursuit of education and understanding of the medium and (d) nurture fellowship with other pastel artists and public awareness of pastel painting as an art form.

Gallery hours are 9:00  a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. during the Alliance’s weekly farmer’s market. Admission is free all day, every day. But you can help keep it that way by becoming a member, renewing your membership in the Alliance for the Arts or making a donation.



Shaw Gallery opens exhibition of elegant work by Anna Razumovskaya

Naples’ Shaw Gallery of Fine Art opens an exhibition of work by Anna Razumovskaya. Best known for classic, romantic figures that carry a sense of elegance and grace, the work in this show carry an aura associated with the Renaissance and yet are refreshingly modern given her powerful and dynamic technique.

Romanticism probably best describes Anna’s works, which is characterized by the interlacing of quiet tones with bright color. Abstract elements are also a significant aspect of every artwork and, in combination with the sensual dynamics, creates an unforgettable experience for the viewer.

Anna’s eclectic mix of experiences has enabled her to create a truly unique signature style that resonates with those who share her passion for life. She is a great believer in art’s power to heal, transform and inspire others in their journey.

Razumovskaya is a graduate of the Russian State University For Arts, where she received the distinction award of high-class artist in 1991.

After graduation, Anna subsequently studied art in Germany, Belgium, and Holland. With solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, Toronto, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Berlin and numerous works in private collections across the globe, Razumovskaya has become one of the most exciting and collectible artists on the contemporary art scene.

Born at the height of the cold war, Anna has seen two very different worlds – that of the austere communist regime alongside the sophistication and femininity of her fashion-conscious mother. She excelled at art school, and enjoyed the freedom of learning and perfecting her technique in a variety of different media. Of particular interest to her were the portrait masters of the late 19th Century, John Singer Sargent, the Russian painter Valentin Serov, and earlier masters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt. She traveled around Europe absorbing the influences of artists, and finally settled in Canada, which she now feels to be her real home.

The opening reception is from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 10. The artist will be in attendance.

Shaw Gallery of Fine Art is located at 761 Fifth Avenue South in Naples. You may RSVP or obtain more information by telephoning 239-261-7828 or visit





Selection Committee chooses Cecilia Lueza for MLK-VSSB gateway artwork

On Monday, January 24, a selection committee composed of members of Fort Myers’ Public Art Committee and representatives of the Community Redevelopment Agency, Lee County Black History Society and Dunbar community chose St. Petersburg, Florida sculptor Cecilia Lueza to design, fabricate and install a gateway art piece at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevards that expresses the themes of hope, dreams and civil rights. Tentatively titled Journey of Hope, the proposed artwork consists of a profile of an African American woman looking up with yearning and determination contrasted against a golden sunburst that symbolizes the arrival of a new day where justice, equality and freedom prevail.

“Our goal for this very special project is to capture not only the brightness of hope and the power of dreams, but also the achievement of justice, equality and freedom pursued by extraordinary individuals like Veronica Shoemaker,” said Lueza during her presentation to the selection committee.

The rest of this announcement is here.



WGCU journalist Tara Calligan reports on ‘Journey of Hope’

Tara Calligan is an award-winning journalist and a public media producer, writer and online content creator at WGCU. She has been following the MLK-VSSB gateway art project since the Public Art Committee and Community Redevelopment Agency issued a joint Call to Artists for the project. She went live on the radio and posted an article on the award of the commission for the site to St. Petersburg artist Cecilia Lueza, who is tentatively calling her planned site-specific, aesthetic landmark Journey of Hope. Go here to find out why the artist is naming the piece Journey of Hope and what influenced her design.



Finalists chosen for Fire Station 17 artwork

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee has announced that Robert Barnum, Haijing Wu and James Lynxwiler are the finalists for the artwork that is to be installed at Fire Station 17, which is being constructed in Ward 6 on Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Each artist will receive a $500 honorarium to design a representational three-dimensional artwork of sufficient size, scale and composition to be visible to passing motorists and pedestrians. The winning design will ultimately be installed adjacent to the flagpole that will be erected in the parking area along Six Mile Cypress, where it will accommodate small groups that periodically gather for memorial event such as 9/11 commemorations and observances for fallen firefighters and police officers.

You can read about the finalists here.






‘Burnt Part Boys’ a resonating, reverberating musical theater treasure

Opening February 11, the Alliance Youth Theatre will perform The Burnt Part Boys, a riveting, coming-of-age musical that has mesmerized listeners, readers and watchers for years. Featuring a masterfully orchestrated and arranged bluegrass-and-pop-inspired score that will engross every generation of theatregoers, The Burnt Part Boys is a musical theater treasure that reverberates as resonantly in audiences’ souls as the acoustic instruments that provide the accompaniment. Go here for the rest of this advance.

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



Broadway Palm brings ‘Greatest Movie Musical of All Time’ to main stage

In time for the 70th anniversary of the iconic film, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre brings the “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” to the main stage. Hilarious situations, snappy dialogue, extraordinary dancing, a hit-parade of Hollywood standards and a well-spun tale about the golden age of movie musicals make Singin’ in the Rain the perfect entertainment for kicking off a brand spanking new year. Set in Hollywood in the late 1920’s, the story focuses on Don Lockwood, his sidekick Cosmo Brown, aspiring actress Kathy Selden, and Lockwood’s silent film leading lady Lina Lamont, who’s less-than-pleasant vocal tones make her an improbable contender for stardom in the new talking pictures.



‘Singin’ in the Rain’ showcased in WGCU’s ‘Spotlight on the Arts’

The forecast at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater is rain sprinkled with a little song and dance as Prather Entertainment brings Singin’ in the Rain to the stage in time for the 7oth anniversary of the iconic 1952 film. Listen here to the 3:47 spotlight that will not only tell you about the show, but describe how Broadway Palm’s technical wizards have rigged a sprinkler and rain deck to recreate the early morning rainstorm made famous by Gene Kelly live on stage.



‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ in Off Broadway Palm through March 5

On stage in the Off Broadway Palm Theatre through March 5 is Joe DiPietro’s hysterical, family comedy Over The River And Through The Woods. The story follows a single, Italian-American guy from New Jersey by the name of Nick who is offered his dream job in another state. His news doesn’t sit well with his beloved, but pesky, grandparents, with whom he has dinner every Sunday. In desperation, they hatch a series of schemes to keep Nick from leaving, including bringing the lovely—and single—Caitlin O’Hare to dinner as bait.

Off Broadway Palm’s artistic producer, Paul Bernier, directs.

Making her Broadway Palm debut is Danica Murray. The rest of the cast features all Broadway Palm alumni including Nancy Antonio, Chance Cintron, Kay Francis, Rob Summers and Michael Weaver.

The Off Broadway Palm is an intimate theater located off the main lobby of Broadway Palm. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $45 to $65 with discounts available for groups 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.



CFABS’ ‘Funny Shorts LOVE’ perfect pre-Valentine date night

If you are looking for the perfect Friday-before-Valentine date night, the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs has just the thing. CFABS is presenting Funny Shorts: LOVE!—a live theatre event consisting of six short plays centered around the holiday subject. You will find the rest of this advance here.



Michael Moran returns to Cultural Park to direct ‘Play On!’

Playwright Rick Abbot’s side-splitting comedy Play On! opens at Cultural Park Theater on February 3. Michael Moran returns to direct this play within a play.

The comedy follows a game community theater group that is desperately trying to put on a murder-mystery titled “Murder Most Foul.” Standing in their way is playwright Phyllis Montague, who keeps revising the script even though the opening is just four days away!

Read the rest of this advance here.



FGCU TheatreLab performing Yeats’ Celtic myth ‘On Baile’s Strand’

FGCU’s TheatreLab will perform W.B. Yeats’ Celtic myth On Baile’s Strand from February 18 through 27. Barry Cavin directs. There will be a discussion with cast and crew following the 2:00 p.m. matinee on February 26. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $7 for students.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘The Great Gatsby’ comes to Fort Myers Theatre

Fort Myers Theatre performs The Great Gatsby February 11-20. Considered by many to be the Great American  Novel, The Great Gatsby is at once titillating, fascinating and shocking in its portrayal of the Jazz Age, which disappeared from the American landscape soon after. In this first authorized adaptation since 1926, Simon Levy brings the humor, irony, pathos and loveliness of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic to the stage. The rest of this review is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



SWFL premiere of ‘Killer Joe’ on stage at Lab Theater through February 5

The Southwest Florida premiere of Killer Joe by Tracy Letts is on stage at The Laboratory Theater of Florida through February 5. There’s no denying that every family has its secrets. But some family secrets are darker than others. With a plot that’s pure Pulp Fiction, this dark comedy follows a dysfunctional family that hires a hitman to kill a relative with a sizable life insurance policy.

Read the rest of this advance here.

‘Killer Joe’ play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Killer Joe’ at Lab Theater tests the boundaries of community theater

The dictionary defines unsettling as distressing, disturbing and upsetting. The Laboratory Theater of Florida invokes these very emotions with the Southwest Florida premiere of Killer Joe, on stage now through February 5th. Written by Tracy Letts, who is best known for August, Osage CountyKiller Joe is replete with beautifully written passages and incredible playwriting. For good or bad, that gets overshadowed by the play’s unseemly characters and pure pulp fiction plot. Characterized by profanity and expletives, full frontal nudity, simulated sex, sexual assault and gritty physical violence, the production tests the boundaries of community theater. Go here to either read or listen to the rest of this review on WGCU.



Laugh-out-loud musical ‘Avenue Q’ makes SWFL premiere at Lab Theater

The Southwest Florida premiere of Avenue Q by Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez, and Jeff Marx opens at The Laboratory Theater of Florida on February 25. Winner of the 2004 “Triple Crown” of Tonys for Best Book, Best Score, and Best Musical and featuring puppets and human actors, this is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the story of recent college graduate Princeton as he struggles to find his purpose. Though inspired by Sesame Street, these are R-Rated puppets with warnings for adult language and situations. The rest of this advance can be found here.



Players Circle’s ‘Curious Incident’s long-awaited opening slated for February 16, 2022

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was set to open on March 20, 2020 (with discounted previews on March 17-19). But after months of rehearsals and untold hours spent logging the hundreds of complex lighting cues required for the production, Players Circle was forced to shutter its doors and illuminate its ghost light on an empty stage by the COVID-19 pandemic after a single preview performance. As Players Circle founder and Artistic Director Bob Cacioppo has proven on numerous occasions and under myriad circumstances, he’s resilient and determined when targeted by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. And so it is that Players Circle will finally bring The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to the stage February 16-27, 2022.

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Curious Incident’ makes professional Southwest Florida premiere on February 16

After a two-year, COVID imposed delay, Players Circle Theatre will bring The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to the Shell Factory stage beginning February 16. The production marks the play’s professional Southwest Florida premiere.

The play is based on the popular novel by Mark Haddon. Adapted by Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the story of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old math savant on the autism spectrum. You will find the remainder of this advance here.



Female friendships focus of TNP’s ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

The Savannah Sipping Society is on stage at The Naples Players through February 6. It’s a delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy featuring four unique Southern women in need of escaping their boring daily routines. At an unplanned happy hour, they resolve to turn their newfound sipping society into a weekly platform from which to break out of their ruts and renew the enthusiasm for life they’ve lost through the years. Their raucous humor and collective strength see them through a string of unexpected challenges. But over the ensuing six months, they discover lasting friendships and a renewed determination to live in the moment. In the best tradition of female friendship films like The Women (Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell), A League of Their Own (Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna), Steel Magnolias (Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton) and Sex and the City (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon), they also realize it’s never too late to make new old friends.

Go here for the full advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Savannah Sipping Society’ featured by WGCU on ‘Spotlight on the Arts’

The Savannah Sipping Society has been featured in a recent WGCU Spotlight on the Arts. You can listen to the segment here. On stage in the Sugden Theatre through February 6, the Southern Gothic comedy comes from the same writers who brought you The Hallelujah Girls, The Red Velvet Cake War, Always a Bridesmaid and Farce of Nature, namely Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. The play stars Gerrie Benzing as Jinx Jenkins, Kristin Cassidy as Randa Covington, Ruth Johnson as Marlafaye Moseley and Peggy Monson as Dot Haigler.



Mary Poppins takes flight at TNP in March – for real

The Naples Players is performing Mary Poppins March 2 through April 3. In this production, everyone’s favorite nanny really does fly!

To accomplish the feat safely, TNP is working closely with ZFX, a complete provider for all flying effects. But flying two volunteer actors 20 feet in the air is certainly a tall order, and there will be two to three trained staff manning the flight process to ensure that the actors are safe.

Still, TNP’s Director of Production, Trevor Long, says the responsibility is mentally taxing.  “You’re constantly thinking, ‘I know I checked it but …. I better do it again,’ and you’re more aware of everything than with a normal backstage responsibility. [Technical Director] Chase [Lilienthal] will be intimately involved with the installation and rehearsals.”

The balance of this advance is here.

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