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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news February 22-28, 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)


Dana Alvarez plays Olive Ostrovski in ‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’

Dana Alvarez is the Artistic Director of Melody Lane Performing Arts Center. A storied theater veteran, Alvarez is intimately familiar with both sides of the footlights. In January, she directed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for Melody Lane Performing Arts Center. Now she is appearing in the role of Olive Ostrovski for Cultural Park Theater in the show. As a performer, Dana has also appeared in the roles of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Gertrude in Seussical, Marian in Music Man, Emma in Jekyll and Hyde and Nellie in South Pacific, all at Cultural Park Theater. Go here for the rest of Dana’s profile.



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 Lee in ‘Tale of the Allergist’s Wife’

Gerrie Benzing is a local stage and film actor, director, musical theatre instructor and the owner and creative director of She has graced numerous stages throughout Southwest Florida. She will play the part of Lee for New Phoenix Theatre in Charles Busch’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. She recently starred as Jinx in The Naples Players’ production of The Savannah Sipping Society after making her TNP debut in 2021 in the role of Rule in Calendar Girls.



Cantrella Canady in ‘Curious Incident’

Cantrella Canady is part of an all-star cast that is performing 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, and Trix the Aviatrix in The Drowsy Chaperone (for Creative Theater Workshop). You will find the rest of Cantrella’s credits here.



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.



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.



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

Rosie DeLeon appears next 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.



Carolyn England plays foul-mouthed, anal-retentive Frieda in ‘Tale of the Allergist’s Wife’

Carolyn England will appear in the role of foul-mouthed, anal-retentive Frieda in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Charles Busch’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Carolyn’s previous stage credits include Dorothy Tree Hapgood in Daniel Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol (also for New Phoenix Theatre), 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 Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral).



Harvey Evans reprises role of Christopher Boone in ‘Curious Incident’

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.



Karen Goldberg playing Rosemary Muldoon in ‘Outside Mullingar’

Karen Goldberg is playing Rosemary Muldoon for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in Outside Mullingar. 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’s  stage 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.



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.



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.



Thomas Marsh in multiple roles in ‘Curious Incident’ for Players Circle Theatre

Thomas Marsh plays multiple roles for Players Circle Theatre in the cast of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 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.



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.



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

Betty Whitmore appears in various roles in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre, on stage at the Shell Factory through March 4.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.



Cassie Sampson plays Leaf Coneybear in ‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’

A local stage actor, Cassie Sampson has been involved in over 20 productions at Cultural Park Theater, both on and off stage, since making her CPT debut in Godspell in 1996. She next appears in the role of Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Her most recent credits include Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense 2: The Second Coming, Leann in A Piece of My Heart and Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors.



Stacy Stauffer plays Marjorie Taub in ‘Tale of the Allergist’s Wife’

Stacy Stauffer is a talented character actor who lives and performs in Fort Myers. Stacy will next appear for New Phoenix Theater in the role of Marjorie Taub in Charles Busch’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Her credits include Hall in Men on Boats for the Alliance for the Arts, Sarah Goodwin in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Time Stands Still, Sheila in Joe Simonelli’s The Ghost in the Meadow (Cultural Park Theatre) and various roles including the mayor in Lab Theater’s world premiere production of Zalman Velvel’s DMV. Go here for more on Stacy’s theatrical accomplishments. 



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.



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.





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.



DAAS’ March show simultaneously features two guest exhibitions

In the month of March, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is showcasing two guest exhibitions simultaneously. The first is the art of visually-impaired artist Arnold Plasencia, who brings awareness through his art to Stargardts, the rare degenerative condition with which he struggles. The second is a group show of work in a variety of mediums produced by members of the Lee Art Education Association (LAEA) is composed of art teachers from private and public institutions in Lee County.

The dual opening reception is scheduled for 6:00-10:00 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2022 in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk.

Arnold Plasencia’s condition began in childhood, but it went misdiagnosed for several years.

“The [Stargardts] disease is a form of macular degeneration which causes cells in the macula to die off causing loss of central vision and in some cases, like in mine, color blindness,” Plasencia explains. “Due to the lack of good medical insurance, I was never properly diagnosed until three years ago, at the age of 35. By that point, my vision loss acuity was 20/500 and I had lost full central vision and most color.”

Plasencia was declared permanently disabled. He struggled with the diagnosis. But with the help and support of loved ones, Plasencia started using art as a way to cope with his depressive state of mind. The first piece painted after his diagnosis was a portrait of his recently passed grandmother.

“A dear friend told me to not focus on what I could no longer do, but rather focus on what I could still do, and to simply change the way I did things. Those words resonated with me.”

For this exhibition, Plasencia is focused on his life while living with Stargardts disease. His intention is to portray an artistic view of how he sees the world. He hopes to inspire everyone with this collection, especially those with any form of disability.

“I want [people] to realize that our disabilities are not death sentences. The human body is amazing and the way it adapts is nothing less than incredible. We can do amazing things despite our disabilities.”

LAEA celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021. Its talented member artists and educators are excited to share some of their personal and professional artworks with the community. A wide variety of mediums and subject matters will be represented in this show, but the common theme will be the love and passion of educating and inspiring our local youth to take pride in the arts.

Two of the members participating in the show are art educators Scott Guelcher and Angel Elza. Guelcher has been teacher for 15 years and spent his last 12 years as the 2D art teacher and Art Department Head at Island Coast High School. Elza has also been teaching elementary art at River Hall Elementary in Alva since 2019 and is very passionate about spreading her love of art to her over one thousand students there. Since moving to Southwest Florida in 2014, her artwork has been on display in several shows at Howl Gallery and the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

The exhibition will be on display through March 27.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is located at 1815 Fowler Street, in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL.



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 are being featured at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in February.

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 carries 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.

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





‘Outside Mullingar’ on Foulds Theatre stage for two weekends in February

Outside Mullingar is on the Foulds Theatre stage this weekend and next. Alternately dark and wistfully humorous, Outside Mullingar combines richly relatable characters with an uplifting storyline that satisfies audiences on multiple levels. Go here for more on the play, and you will find the show’s play dates, times and ticket information here.



Spotlight on ‘Outside Mullingar’ playwright John Patrick Shanley

Outside Mullingar is on stage in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts this weekend and next. Reviewers agree that Mullingar is John Patrick Shanley’s best play since Doubt: A Parable (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play). Shanley’s other plays include Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Four Dogs and a Bone, Dirty Story, Defiance and Storefront Church, among many others. He wrote the teleplay for Live from Baghdad (Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special), and the screenplays for Doubt (Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay), Five Corners (Special Jury Prize, Barcelona Film Festival), Alive, Joe Versus the Volcano, and Moonstruck (Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay).



‘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.



‘Escape to Margaritaville’ plays on Broadway Palm main stage through April 2

Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville opens on the Broadway Palm main stage on February 18.

Here’s the storyline: Rachel takes best friend Tammy on a bachelorette getaway to Marley’s less than stellar Margaritaville resort, their arrival unexpectedly upending the world of bar headliner Tully and best friend Brick who are used to wining and dining the revolving door of single women arriving on the island each week. It’s a classic case of boy meets girl, girl is unimpressed, and boy does everything he can to win her over, while their two best friends fall for each other. And it’s all told through the music of Jimmy Buffett including Cheeseburger in Paradise, Fins, Volcano, Margaritaville and more.

Escape to Margaritaville plays through April 2. More than a musical, it’s a way of life.



‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’ a riotous musical comedy

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is known for its edgy humor, effortless wit, originality, and heartfelt story. And it comes to Cultural Park Theater for eight shows beginning February 24.

The story revolves around a group of misfit sixth graders who are engaged in a winner-take-all competition.

  • Olive Ostrovsky: Sweet and shy, Olive brings her only friend (the dictionary) to the bee.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

The play dates, times and ticket information are provided here.



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 is performing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time now through March 4, 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 is performing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time now through March 4. 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.



‘Curious Incident’ makes two appearances on WGCU

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time opened at Players Circle Theatre on February 16.  It’s the smart, sophisticated, coming-of-age saga of 15-year-old Christopher Boone, who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome. The play has garnered two exposes on WGCU.

The first is a 4:27 minute segment by Tom Hall that aired on February 11th, which you can listen to here.

The second is a 25:59 minute interview conducted on Gulf Coast Life Arts Edition, during which John Davis delved into the show with Players Circle director and co-founder Bob Cacioppo and lead actor Harvey Evans, who plays Christopher Boone. Together, they also explore neurodiversity and highlight resources available for families here in Southwest Florida with co-founder and Vice President of the nonprofit Family InitiativeAnjali Van DrieYou will find that discussion here.



‘Tale of Allergist’s Wife’ a sassy, sophisticated metropolitan comedy

Up next at New Phoenix Theatre is The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, which had a 777-performance run on Broadway following its opening on November 2, 2000. Since then, the show has played around the country and now it plays locally, opening at New Phoenix Theatre on March 10 for twelve performances.

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



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.




Maddalena Kingsley and cru making Random Magic in Naples

Do you believe in magic? Well, there’s a tightknit group of smart young creatives in Naples, Florida that believes in Random Magic. That’s the name of an independent film company that specializes in telling stories based on classic literature, fairy tales, legends and Greek mythology.

“[They’re] the stories that have been retold over and over and over again,” observes Arabella Bas, who serves as Random Magic’s Head of Production Design and Costumes. ““We focus on that because … they resonate with people of all ages …. They’re stories that people learn from and grow from no matter how old they are or what time period we’re telling them in. You could tell them in the ‘50s, you could tell them in the ‘30s, you can tell them 200 years from now and I think people will like them the same. We make them with a modern bent, a modern spin and we focus on making them beautiful.”

You will find the rest of this story here.

And you can listen to a shorter version on WGCU here.

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