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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news February 8-14, 2019


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


Alliance’s ‘Nonagenarians’ February exhibit features work of photog Herb Sklar (02-14-19)

The Alliance for the Arts’ February exhibit features renowned photographer Herb Sklar. Titled Nonagenarians of Shell Point, the show explores the vibrant lives of nonagenarians, or those aged 90-99.

Time may leave its mark on the bodies of the aging, but it will never mark their spirit. Explore the wrinkles, laugh lines, scars, spots, and smiles of The Swimmer, The Tennis Player, The Writer, and many others aged 90-99 in Sklar’s series. The 20 black and white photographic portraits each tell a story of a long life well lived, highlighting the active aging population’s hobbies, spirits and souls.

This exhibit also features eleven other Shell Point photographers: David Tompkins, Don Adams, Dotty Morrison, George Waters, John Ippensen, Kirk Gulledge, Les Davison, Lester Lincke, Liz Noffsinger, Peter Martin and Sallie Rich.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Alliance has partnered with Lee Health to present Art of a Healthy Lifestyle: The Fundamental Nature of Rest, Movement, and Nutrition. Jose Colon, M.D. will educate attendees on healthy habits, essential skills and important tips to master the fine art of good health. The lecture takes place on February 16 at 10:45 a.m. and is free to attend, although an RSVP is recommended at

Nonagearians of Shell Point runs through March 2 at the Alliance for the Arts, which is located at in the SoCo Arts & Cultural District at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33919 (just south of the intersection with Colonial Boulevard). For more information, please call 239-939-2787 or visit



‘Them: An Anthology of Migration’ on view at Davis Art Center (02-14-19)

We live in extraordinary times, subject to extraordinary social and environmental demands that potentially impinge on the future survival of humanity and all of life on Earth. To raise our awareness of these weighty issues and somber implications, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center has brought Them: An Anthology of Migration to the River District. The show features work by Mila Bridger, Mariapia Malerba, Danielle Branchaud, Reynier Llanes, Juan Diaz, Cesar Aguilera, Aimee Perez, Ndola Penzy and Brian Weaver.

Instead of acknowledging the dangers of a collapsing environment and an eroding democracy, many Americans are choosing instead to elevate petty, childish and largely unfounded arguments to the level of a national crisis in an effort to divert our attention from their underlying causes. The rhetoric being promoted by the current administration is designed to create division, and it has focused on immigrants as the scapegoats of choice and that is truly dangerous. By characterizing them as ignorant, low-level skill people and qualified for jobs that Americans would not do, a false difference is created. But that cannot be farther from the truth.

America is a country founded by immigrants, and many of the most successful companies in the United States were created and founded by immigrants, such as Tesla, Google, Ebay, Yahoo, Dupont, Kraft Foods, and Intel, among others. In fact, 43 percent of companies in the 2017 Fortune 500 were founded or co-founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, and among the Top 35, that share is 57 percent.

Immigrants not only contribute to the creation of major corporations, the arts are filled with iconic names such as Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, John James Audubon, Christo and many others. These are people that by any measure or standard have made America great through their talent and loyalty to the American ideal.

Here in Southwest Florida, we have great examples of this too. We have immigrant artists whose work is well known and whose cultural contribution are proof positive to the contrary of the divisive rhetoric. This exhibit highlights the work of some of those amazing artists and celebrates the spirit that has created one of the greatest nations in the history of the world.

The show will remain on view through February 21.

[ED. NOTE: Immigration: Does It Matter? is on view through February 24 at the Naples Art Association. It too draws attention to the pressing issue of immigration.]



Florida Artist Group exhibit at Arts for ACT Gallery (02-14-19)

An exhibition by members of Florida Artist Group is on display through February 25 at Arts for ACT in the River District. Notable FLAG artists in the Fort Myers/Naples areas include Joan Sonnenberg, Joan Klutch, Cheryl Fausel, Honey Costa, John Merchant, Peter Zell, Anna Rac, Richard Rosen, Joel Shapses and Christina Wyatt. All have won recognition for their art either nationally or internationally.

The Florida Artist Group is composed of artists who have gained recognition nationally or statewide and whose works contribute significantly to its exhibitions. FLAG members are juried into the organization and include representational and abstract artists producing traditional and contemporary art in a variety of media and style. The purpose of the group is to stimulate attainment of the highest standards of creative art within the state of Florida.



ACT featuring art of MiMi Stirn in the White Gallery (02-14-19)

During February, Arts for ACT Gallery is featuring the art of MiMi Stirn in its White Gallery.

MiMi’s cherished tools are knives. However, she is a resin art master. Both knives and the resin are unforgiving yet clear and finite when used.

Stirn finds working within the acrylic family enjoyable, but working with modeling paste and resin is where the art begins. Free form, each application is a form of sculpting. What she loves best about creating art is the freedom of expression without fear of consequence. In MiMi’s estimation, a work has turned out well at the moment she can return to the finished piece over the course of several days and repeatedly be transported into the picture itself.

The artist’s style centers on both working in circular and straight line motions, while respecting Fibonacci sequences in the placement of each element. Bright light, layers of color, and use of metallic pigments are her standard. MiMi’s go-to color on the spectrum is Prussian Blue and she incorporates the pigment into her skies, water scenes, and shadowing.

Although taught to clean her brushes before applying each new wash or color, she now employs a technique that she calls dirty brushing. Her brushes and knives during the painting process are typically lapped with new colors without washing. The blends are one of a kind.

With a career stretching back to high school, she has mastered over the intervening years a unique ability to blend her love of sculpture and painting into dynamic and one-of-a-kind works of art that evince influences of Klimt, Dali and O’Keefe in both message and stylings. Toward this end, her works include sculpted modeling paste and hand-mixed acrylics from pigments purchased from a distributor who is part of The Society of Ochers of France, operators of the last remaining Ocher quarry in the Provence region.

Stirn holds her degree in business and art from the University of Phoenix and is a Certified Marketing Strategist through Cornell University. When not in the studio, Stirn operates an online retail store and marketing consulting business. She is a self-acclaimed master chef who enjoys paddle boarding and playing guitar with her husband, Michael, and spending ample time entertaining Mardi, her peek-a-poo art dog.

The exhibition will remain on display through February 25, 2019.

Arts for ACT Gallery is located at 2265 First Street in the downtown Fort Myers River District in the historic century-old Arcade Building between Hendry and Jackson Streets. For more information, please call 239-337-5050 or 239-939-2553 or email



Cantrella Canady draws unexpected dimension from ‘Vagina Monologues’ (02-13-19)

Cantrella Canady describes herself as “just a girl who likes to act.” But the truth is, her growing reputation as a force of nature in the Southwest Florida theater market is her uncanny ability to drag audiences on an emotional journey. That’s true of her performance in The Vagina Monologues, where she delivers a charming monologue about an adolescent who achieves sexual healing through the patience and tutelage of an older woman.

This particular skit has sparked outrage, numerous controversies and criticisms due to its content. In the original version she is 13, but later versions changed her age to 16. It also originally included the line, “If it was rape, it was a good rape”, which was removed from later versions.

Read the rest of this post here.



With ‘Vagina Monologues’ performance, Leila Mesdaghi grows and grows (02-13-19)

Leila Mesdaghi is a recent FGCU graduate who has made quite a splash in Southwest Florida as a performance artist. Her highly-evocative and deeply visceral pieces comment on social and political issues such as the war in the Middle East, the negative impact of social media in society, and the price and promise of progress. But she’s also branched out into the performing arts as an actor, most notably in Ghostbird Theatre Partners’ 2016 production of Hanny Zuniga and Jim Brock’s The Chicken Play. Her latest foray into the realm of acting is The Vagina Monologues, in which hauntingly recounts the story of a Bosnian woman who was subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Given the tenor and tone of Mesdaghi’s own performance pieces, it was an a’ propos choice to have her deliver “My Vagina Was My Village.”

The monologue is based on interviews taken from Bosnian women living in refugee camps. Tens of thousands of women (as many as 70,000 according to some sources) were raped in the 1990s as a systematic tactic of war. The interviewers were shocked to learn how little people did to stop it. But, then again, about two hundred thousand women are raped in the United States each year, with little being done to stop it and law enforcement and criminal justice system often shaming, blaming and victimizing those women who dare to speak up.

Kudos to Mesdaghi for giving voice to this particular rape victim. She embraces the horror, describing in a slow, accented voice thickened by emotion the various methods of brutal violation (by guns, broom handles, and a week of violent penises) to which her character was subjected by her captors.

But this piece also afforded Mesdaghi the opportunity to wax poetic, and she took full advantage as she all but sang her monologues closing lines, “My vagina was a live wet water village. They invaded it, butchered it and burned it down. I do not touch now. I do not visit. I live someplace else.”

As both an artist and a performer, Leila Mesdaghi continues to grow and grow.

The Vagina Monologues are being performed at Laboratory Theater of Florida tonight and tomorrow night. Stephanie Davis directs a stellar cast of 17.



4th Annual Bonita Springs International Film Festival opens February 21 (02-13-19) 

moe-0444The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs introduced the inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival in  February of 2015. It will return February 21-24 with more than 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors, producers and actors.

The unique and entertaining special events begin with Thursday’s over-the-top ‘Opening Night’ and culminates with a spectacular Awards Night and Filmmakers rachel-albanese-2Party on Sunday evening. Each event is unique, featuring delicious catered food, refreshing beverages, quality entertainment and, of course, ample opportunities for film lovers to mix and mingle with a coterie of filmmakers, directors, writers and actors, who similarly enjoy the chance to share ideas and explore future opportunities. Films are shown in both the 400-seat CFABS Hinman Auditorium and the newly-renovated 200-seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center.

Last year, BIFF accepted films in 12 categories including youth- and teen-produced films, animated films, shorts and Florida films, as well as standard fiction/narrative and documentary works, and awarded cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000.

the-songbird-and-the-cinematographer-04The film festival is an expression of CFABS’ longstanding appreciation of film as an art form. The Centers launched their Film for Film Lovers series in 2008, offering one film per month for three months. Over time, Film for Film Lovers was expanded and now features films every Monday. And early in 2015, the Centers added the impressive Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, with showings on the first Tuesday of each month. Today, thousands of Southwest Florida residents and visitors attend these screenings, so it was only logical to add a multi-day film festival to the equation.

The mission of the Bonita Springs International Film Festival is to charlie-masi-06create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world, recognizing that it is through the art of cinema that a community becomes more informed, aware and alive.

“The big point that ultimately surfaced in our discussions about having a film festival was that we, as an organization, are all about the arts, all the arts,” says Susan Bridges, President of the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, who is also Co-Chair for the festival. “So, we began looking at the idea that our Bonita Springs International Film Festival might see the majority of our films showcasing an artistic connection of some kind, beyond the fact that film is an art form in henrikas-genutis-06itself.”

BIFF is so much more than just watching films. Festival-goers enjoy fascinating and rewarding experiences, right alongside the discovery of each film’s unique details, inspiration, meaning and challenges.

CFABS has posted its schedule of features, documentaries and short packages. You can access it here.

Read here for pricing.



Naples Art Association’s immigration-themed show on view through Feb 24 (02-13-19)

The Naples Art Association’s Immigration: Does it Matter? is on view now through February 24. The work in this show draws attention to the pressing issue of immigration, a topic that affects numerous areas, from work-force demographics to entitlement programs and finances. And as the conscience of society, artists have a lot to share on this important topic. So make plans to catch this timely show.



NAA’s Open Studio Program show on view through February 25 (02-13-19)

Person to Person: The Naples Art Association’s Open Studio Program Exhibition is on view now through February 25. The exhibition showcases work produced by the artists who participate in the NAA Open Studio program.

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



No make-up date yet for chalk art extravanganza on Fifth (02-13-19)

Creating Chalk Art 1Due to inclement weather on January 26, the 2019 Chalk Art on 5th was postponed. After all, it’s impossible to create beautiful chalk art drawings on the pavement when it’s soaked with rain. Organizers have announced that the one-day extravaganza will be rescheduled, but no date has yet been announced.

The event is presented by the Naples Pelican Bay Rotary Club. Participating artists and sponsoring businesses render drawings in 6-foot, 9-foot and 12-foot squares, and just to make things even more interesting, a panel of celebrity judges award five cash prizes (with first place receiving $1,500, second place receiving $1,000, third place taking home $800, fourth place getting $500 and fifth place receiving $200 in cash). Viewers also voice their opinion and cast their votes for People’s Choice Awards. Spectators who wish to participate in the judging can purchase tickets to cast their vote for their favorite square. First, second and third place are awarded in all three sizes of squares. Tickets are $1.00 each, or 6 tickets for $5.00, 15 tickets for $10.00 or 50 tickets for $20.00.

The winners are announced at the end of the event and in local news media. The proceeds from ticket sales and participation fees provide support to local charities and the Rotary Scholarship Fund. For more information, please call the Pelican Bay Rotary Club at 239-514-4100.



Muffy Clark Gill to give ‘Seminole Experience’ lecture & demo Feb 15 (02-13-19)

Naples batik artist Muffy Clark Gill is showing selections of artwork from her American Native Series in the 20th Century Seminole Experience, which is on display at the Naples Depot Museum through April 27. Many of the works that Gill has included in the exhibit were previously shown in the 22nd Floor Gallery at the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee. Gill will be give a lecture about this body of work and an associated demonstration from 11:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, February 15.

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



Lab to give staged reading to Robert Hilliard’s ‘The Politician’ (02-12-19)

On February 25, the Laboratory Theater of Florida will hold a staged reading of The Politician, a new work from Robert Hilliard.

In this one-act satirical fantasy an egotistical, abrasive American entrepreneur makes a deal with officials of a foreign power to which he owes billions of dollars. The foreign officials propose cancellation of the debt if he runs for and becomes President, expecting that his dictatorial personality and behavior will alienate America’s allies and destroy America’s standing and credibility in the world. What happens when the theater troupe putting on the play finds it increasingly unbelievable?

A Purple Heart World War II veteran, Robert Hilliard has been a member of Actors Equity Association, a theater director, scene designer, and New York drama critic. He is the author of over 35 books and 20 plays. Some of his plays have been seen at Southwest Florida theaters, including Laboratory Theater.

The Politician is presented as a one night staged reading at 7:00 p.m. on February 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Read here for more on Lab’s staged readings.



Watercolorist David Belling dives deep to paint Dixie Fish Co. (02-12-19)

Rene Miville is exhibiting a number of David Belling’s original watercolor paintings in his mezzanine gallery at the Franklin Shops on First in February and March. Three of these paintings have an interesting provenance for folks who love local history.

Some 25 years ago, Belling was taking photos in Matanzas Pass on the eastern side of Estero Island. He was idling through a stretch of water once plied by the mighty Calusa under the watchful eye of their chiefs sitting atop the pinnacle of their Mound Key capital. In the 1990s, this section of the pass was dominated by shrimp trawlers, commercial fishing vessels and fish houses. One of the latter belonged to the Dixie Fish Company.

Go here for the rest of this story.



David Belling’s ‘Tranquility’ on view at Miville Gallery in River District (02-12-19)

In turbulent times such as these, who couldn’t use a little more peace and serenity? To fill this need, the Rene Miville Gallery has introduced a little tranquility to the downtown Fort Myers River District art scene – as in a new exhibition of work by watercolor realist David Belling.

Tranquility – The Modern Landscape Art of Southwest Florida features dozens of the nautical scenes and historical-based landscapes that David Belling has been rendering since turning to painting full time after his retirement in 2004 following decades as a creative director for big and little advertising agencies in both Milwaukee and Cape Coral. While there are plenty of moderately-sized originals to admire, gallery owner Rene Miville has blown up photos of half a dozen of Belling’s paintings into 44-by-32-inch prints. These, in particular, uniquely enable viewers to savor the sublime quietude built into the fabric of each of Belling’s compositions.

For more, read here.



Naples Players raise over $1.3 million at Sapphire Soiree 65th anniversary gala (02-11-19)

The Naples Players raised over $1.3 million dollars this weekend at their 65th anniversary gala, The Sapphire Soiree. The funds will support The Naples Players’ unique community theatre programs in Southwest Florida.

The evening featured reprised performances from CHICAGO, KidzAct’s Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and a preview performance from the upcoming musical Guys & Dolls as well as “Tomorrow” from Annie, which drew a standing ovation for young performer Daniella Flom.

Held in the Grand Pavilion of the Ritz-Carlton Tiburon Golf Resort, the gala attracted over 250 theatre patrons and philanthropists, including Myra Janco Daniels, Marla and Allen Weiss and Jay and Patty Baker.

Gala co-chair Alyssa Haney, who was recently honored as Naples’ Young Professional of the Year, sees the event as a family reunion of sorts.

“The Naples Players is the gold-standard for community arts in Southwest Florida, but our roots are humble, beginning in the Watkins family’s living room sixty-five years ago,” Haney said. “Although our arts programming is serving tens of thousands of people each year, there’s a tight-knit community that feels more like a family.”

The evening’s auction featured a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 from Mercedes-Benz of Naples, an assortment of wine from Fairways Wine Vault of Naples, and a Broadway package including rare tickets to the Food Network’s New York City Wine & Food Festival and a backstage experience to Come From Away.

Tanya and Denny Glass hosted the gala. Tanya Glass is an accomplished artist currently exhibiting with the Naples Art Association, while Denny is The Naples Players’ incoming board president. The Glasses have been in the news of late as lead donors of the Naples Zoo’s Glass Animal Hospital (the final piece of Phase One of Naples Zoo’s Roaring Into Our Future $25 Million Capital Campaign and $5 Million Endowment Drive).

The evening’s programming also featured speakers that touched on many of The Naples Players’ work behind the curtain. The group’s wellness programs, which include therapy programs for people with autism spectrum disorder and Parkinson’s disease, have had a powerful impact throughout Southwest Florida.

One of the gala speakers, Julia Maloney, shared with the audience her family’s appreciation for the theater’s wellness programming and sensory-friendly programming.

“The Naples Players KidzAct education program has been that life changing experience,” Maloney said. “They’ve taught my daughter Kendall how to interact with others, have a conversation with back and forth dialogue, how to listen, take direction, and how to express herself.”

It was during the event’s final plea for donor support when the largest financial commitment came from Jay & Patty Baker.

The two traded $100,000 commitments back and forth until reaching a million dollars. Patrons, guests, volunteers and staff at the gala erupted with cheers and standing applause. Tears could be seen throughout the room.

“Patty and Jay care very deeply about the people who live in this community, about the quality of life here, and about the arts,” said Bryce Alexander, the company’s Executive Artistic Director. “I have heard Patty say that she and Jay like to lay eggs where they nest. How lucky are we to be one of those eggs? How lucky are we to live in that nest?”


“I can’t imagine what The Naples Players or Southwest Florida would be like without Jay & Patty Baker,” he continued. “The success of our organization and so many others rely on their leadership in our community. There are no words that do Naples’ gratitude for Jay and Patty justice.”

The Naples Players (TNP) Sugden Community Theatre is Naples’ oldest and premier theatre group and a vital part of the exciting experience of Downtown Naples. Celebrating its 65th season, and as one of the top theatres in the country, they offer a variety of plays and musicals in three intimate spaces, Blackburn Hall, the Tobye Studio Theatre and outside Baker Stage – all located in one building on Fifth Avenue South. The KidzAct program, Southwest Florida’s premier youth theatre program offers a performing arts education wing, offers top quality productions as well as in-depth skills classes for children. Adult education classes are offered throughout the year for skilled professionals to first-time performers. Readers Theatre offers an opportunity to hear new works as well as rare one act and classics and is entirely volunteer run.



A-R-T Walk on J & C takes place in Naples Art District on February 22 (02-11-19)

Four Naples Art District galleries and a new interior designer are banding together on Friday, February 22 for “A-R-T Walk on J & C.” This showcase event enables visitors to park to gain access to scores of new original artworks while enjoying face time with wonderful new artists and designers.

The participating concerns are:

  • Samaniego Art
  • Richard Rosen Art
  • Art Edge Gallery
  • Gary Roche Photography
  • Decoria Luxury Interiors.

Arturo Samaniego will be displaying work from three new series, Serenity (which is based on textural, neutral color fields), Urban Loft Monochromatic Abstract Expressionism and Abstract Seascape (with the coastal color and feel of sea and sky).



Lovegrove signing items from Bealls Collection in her Matlacha gardens (02-11-19)

Leoma Lovegrove is hosting three special events in her tropical Matlacha Island Garden during the month of February. The events will be special signings in her waterside gardens at Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens, 4637 Pine Island Rd NW, Matlacha, FL 33993. They will take place from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on consecutive Tuesdays: February 12 (just in time for Valentine’s Day), February 19 and February 26, 2019.

Leoma will be signing items from her Bealls Collection that attendees have purchased in the month of February. Guests are asked to bring their favorite new item from her collection and a receipt from Bealls reflecting their February purchase.

“I am excited to spend time with everyone in my Garden this month,” says Leoma. “I can’t wait to see what everyone is enjoying from the Bealls collection.”

[A retrospective containing 60 of Leoma’s works is also on exhibit at ONE/Allure Sales Center in the historic City Pier Building in the River District. For more on this show, read the next article.]



Lovegrove retrospective on exhibit in ONE/Allure sales center in City Pier Bldg (02-11-19)

How does a woman recover from a breast cancer diagnosis, emergency surgery and radiation therapy? Well, if she’s Matlacha Impressionist Leoma Lovegrove, it’s by staging an impressive retrospective of her work at an equally impressive venue. Here, There and Everywhere is on view now at ONE/Allure’s Sales Center in the downtown Fort Myers’ River District.

“We are humbled and honored to have Leoma Lovegrove exhibiting her beautiful high-energy art here at our sales gallery,” states Barbara Bengochea-Perez, director of Sales and Marketing for ONE/Allure. “I have personally been a longtime fan of her work and we know that everyone in the community will be excited to see her work return to downtown Fort Myers.”

Lovegrove last exhibited a retrospective of her work at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in January of 2017. Palettes: Past, Present & Pursuits included more than 200 paintings, 2D and 3D mixed media works, sculpture and art clothing and holds the distinction of being one of the Davis Art Center’s most popular and well-attended shows.

The ONE/Allure’s Sales Center is featuring roughly 60 pieces of Lovegrove’s most representative work, displayed in a refined upscale residential setting that evokes the discriminating taste that will define the 34 spacious SkyRises-two (2) residences per floor that Miami-based developer JAXI Builders expects to include in its 21-story waterfront residences which will be available “for only a fortunate few.”

“I’ve always wanted to exhibit in the historic City Pier Building,” Lovegrove acknowledges. Prior to serving as ONE/Allure’s sales office, the two-story building was home to Al Oerter’s Art of the Olympians. The facility and associated dock were originally constructed as a ferry terminal for a shuttle service to Key West.

The artist went public with her diagnosis and treatment to encourage women to be assertive when it comes to their health and speak up if something doesn’t feel quite right. Leoma insisted on an MRI after being told that nothing was wrong and to check back in six months.

Lovegrove has long been an advocate for cancer awareness and recovery. Not only does she observe National Cancer Survivors Day each June and Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October, the artist lost a sister to cancer several years ago.

Possessed of a deep and abiding faith and unyielding work ethic, Lovegrove now feels that painting and exhibiting her artwork is the best medicine for her complete recovery. Known as the People’s Painter, Leoma is inspired by the public to pick up a brush and create for the greater good each day.

Toward that end, Leoma plans to be on hand at ONE/Allure during each Art Walk and Music Walk during the 2019/2020 seasons to meet and greet visitors and perform Paint Out Loud events.

Leoma Lovegrove is an impressionist-expressionist painter known worldwide for her vivid colorful paintings. Nationally, her works are represented in numerous galleries. Her portrait of Jimmy Carter hangs in his Presidential Library in Atlanta. Her work is also included in the private collection of the White House in Washington, D.C., in President George W. Bush’s Presidential Library in Dallas, Texas, and has also graced the windows at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Internationally, Lovegrove was commissioned to paint a portrait of Richard Branson for the Virgin Airlines Headquarters in London. Her Beatles Series drew the attention of the city of Liverpool. She was the first American to paint on the replica of Claude Monet’s floating studio in Giverny, France, and she was honored to be the first American artist to exhibit, An American in Giverny in the famous Pierre Bonnard home in Vernon, France.

Here, There and Everywhere will hang for two years, with new pieces added during holidays. All work is for sale.

ONE/Allure Sales Center is located at 1300 Hendry Street, Fort Myers, Fl



DAAS CO-OP moving to Butterfly Estates by March’s end (02-11-19)

DAAS CO-OP is moving to the Butterfly Estates at the end of March. The gallery will close its Royal Palm Square location with a farewell party and closing reception on Saturday, March 23.

”We can’t express how grateful we are to the administration of the Royal Palm Square for the years at this location,” comments DAAS founder and president David Acevedo. “It is a bittersweet feeling, but we feel like it’s the right move and we look forward to working with the good people of the Butterfly Estates.”

The move to the Butterfly Estates marks DAAS’ return to the River District after a seven year absence. Acevedo and Xavier Brignoni operated the transformative daas Gallery on Broadway in the River District from 2008 until 2012, when they banded together to form The Union Artist Studio on the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. As he had with Art Walk, Acevedo played an instrumental role in forming the SoCo Art & Cultural District since he and Brignoni opened DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts in the Royal Palm Square.

“Everyone is invited to attend [the farewell party and closing reception] and get information about the new space,” Acevedo adds.

The new location is located at 1815-3 Fowler Street and will open on Tuesday, April 2, to be followed by the gallery’s first official opening reception on Friday, April 5 in conjunction with the Fort Myers Art Walk. More information is available on the gallery’s website at



Illustrations of Tavo Quiros to be final DAAS exhibit at Royal Palm Square (02-11-19)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is hosting a meet and greet reception with artist Tavo Quiros from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 in conjunction with an exhibition featuring a collection of fine art illustrations he has created in recent years.

Quiros’ story is quite remarkable.

In 2008, he developed severe psychotic symptoms which were ultimately diagnosed as a combination of Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. His attendant inability to focus led to a three-year-long hiatus from his career in the arts. But after doctors managed to stabilize his condition in 2011, he began sketching, drawing, and ultimately-painting again. He started exhibiting his work at Gallery 212 in Miami a short time later, marking the beginning of his career in the world of Pop Surrealism and fine art illustration.

Tavo’s art is a reflection of the vivid hallucinations and hyper-spiritual delusions he experienced during his illness and his classical training in the arts prior 2008. Quiros attended OTIS College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, with a semester abroad spent in Rotterdam, Netherlands at the Willem de Kooning Academy. Dutch architecture, graphic design, illustration, and street art soon became sources of inspiration. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (focused on Illustration) and took on a variety of jobs as a graphic designer and illustrator until deciding to focus on gallery work.

You can meet Quiros and learn more about his creative journey and influences at the March 9 meet-and-greet, which takes on added significance since it will be DAAS’ last at the Royal Palm Square gallery location. (See accompanying announcement regarding DAAS’ relocation in April to the Butterfly Estates.)

The exhibition will close March 23 with a farewell party and closing reception that begins at 6:00 p.m. More information is available on the gallery’s website at



DAAS featuring member artist Karen Gozzo Nolan in February (02-11-19)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is featuring work by founding member Karen Gozzo Nolan. Entitled Distraction, the exhibition showcases a collection of the artist’s music-driven, large-scale abstracts created in between 2018 and early 2019.

Gozzo Nolan was born in Connecticut, where she resided until the age of 28. She relocated to Vermont, and later to Florida in 2013.

She describes herself as born creative and an art lover. However, life circumstances prevented her from following her dreams of becoming an abstract artist.

While living in Vermont, Gozzo Nolan held some creative positions. For example, she managed a home decorating center for over 13 years where she worked with paint and colors and selecting color pallets for contractors. After battling a rare disease, she vowed to follow her passion. Once in Florida and fully recuperated, she decided to pursue her lifelong dream. Gozzo Nolan began to paint.

Primarily self-taught, she embraced abstract expressionism. In this context, her art is influenced by music, the emotion that comes from it, and her love for vibrant colors. For her, painting is an outlet of escape and distraction from life, as well as a place of total meditation and peace.

“The paint and brush become my instrument and my art is the song it plays,” says Karen, providing insight into her artistic raison d’etre.

Gozzo Nolan joined DAAS CO-OP as a founding member in April of 2016 and has remained one of the gallery’s most influential and active participants.

The opening reception is 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 9. The exhibition will be on display through March 2, 2019.

For more information about the gallery, please visit or call 239-590-8645. DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is conveniently located in the Royal Palm Square, in the heart of the SoCo Cultural District (, at 1400 Colonial Blvd STE 84 in Fort Myers, FL. Hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 6:00pm.



Newbies Dutko & Conolly to attend Tower Gallery’s ‘Life in Full Bloom’ opening (02-11-19)

Fabric artist Sally Dutko and minimalist acrylic painter Patrick Conolly have joined Sanibel’s Tower Gallery, one of the oldest running art galleries in the area with over 35 continuous years of service. Visitors will be able to meet the artists in person at the opening of the next exhibit, “Life in Full Bloom,” which will take place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 14. Wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

Sally Dutko is an award-winning fiber artist who hails from upstate New York. She dyes and paints much of the fabric used in her art quilts and mixed-media collages. Unlike traditional quilting, these works are more like painting with fabric and thread, and her combination of hand-dyed fabric, transferred images and geometric compositions make her artistic vision shine.

“I really get inspired by anything and everything,” she says. “I don’t have a single source that I look to for ideas. I have a wealth of ideas in my head all the time. I am very lucky that way. I’ve never experienced a block; it just comes out in volume all the time.”

Dutko’s work continues to evolve as she brings a painter’s eye to fiber art. The new pieces continue to use different media, but have a painterly feeling to them. She says that the future of ‘art quilting’ is rosy as it becomes increasingly acceptable in the mainstream art world.

Sally received her BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art, Architecture and Engineering. Her background in fine art and design has greatly influenced her work. She retired from over 30 years at Cornell University as a graphic designer, Art Director and Director of Publications and Marketing.

“All my life I have dabbled with the Arts, and now the Arts seem to be dabbling with me,” remarks minimalist painter Patrick Conolly.

With some exceptions, most of Conolly’s art springs spontaneously from his imagination. His brightly-colored canvas paintings, with their smooth, semi-gloss surfaces bring to mind the Pop Art of Mid-Century America. But they have a minimalistic, more relaxed tropical vibe that is a perfect fit for the Sanibel and Captiva lifestyle.

Patrick describes it this way: “Although I never know quite what will appear on my next canvas, much of my recent work celebrates and reflects the unique beauty of Southwest Florida.”

Of late, Conolly has been playing around with surfaces both flat and shiny, as well as line work that is somewhat minimal or painted with very bright colors. “My larger works may look simple, while my smaller ones can be filled with tiny details,” he explains.

Tower Gallery is open 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. The gallery is located at 751 Tarpon Bay Road on Sanibel Island. For more information, please email Carole Nastars,, Joanne Bedient or Marianne Ravenna



‘Unimaginable’ Evans & Green exhibition in FGCU’s Wasmer Gallery to Feb 28 (02-10-19)

Up Close and Unimaginable, Cliff Evans and Gregory Green is on display  Wasmer Art Gallery at FGCU to February 28.

The heightened threats of terrorism and war are ever-present -both nationally and abroad. These threats are experienced through a wide range of lenses, including social media, international news outlets and direct exposure. Cliff Evans (Austin, TX) and Gregory Green (Tampa, FL) make work that is critical of these threats and the psychological toll they impose on everyday life. This immersive installation includes panoramic animated collages and sculptural installations.



Guerrilla Girls rattling cages at Rauschenberg Gallery (02-10-19)

On view now through March 23 at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College is GUERRILLA GIRLS: Rattling Cages Since 1985. The exhibition is a site-specific survey and newly-commissioned, interactive installation.

The Guerrilla Girls is an internationally-renowned feminist advocacy and art collective which assiduously maintains its anonymity while confronting and addressing systemic problems of gender and racial parity in the art world.

Since their formation in 1985, the Guerrilla Girls have done more than 100 street projects, posters and stickers in cities ranging from New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis to Mexico City, Istanbul, London, Bilbao, Rotterdam and Shanghai. They have also done outrageous projects and exhibitions at museums, attacking them for their bad behavior and discriminatory practices right on their own walls. Of these, their stealth project on the façade of the Whitney Museum in 2015 stands out as a very public and publicized excoriation of income inequality and the extent to which the super-rich have hijacked art.

You will find the rest of this advance here.



Q&A with Guerrilla Girl Frida Kahlo (02-10-19)

On view in the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery on the Lee campus of Florida SouthWestern State College is GUERRILLA GIRLS: Rattling Cages Since 1985. Guerrilla Girl Frida Kahlo skyped in on the night of the show’s opening to field questions from the audience. While her identity remains a closely-guarded secret, her pithy remarks and observations reveal the woman beneath the guerrilla mask to be sharp, quick-witted, wry and singularly focused on the role of women in the arts.

You’ll find the questions and answers here.



Naples Artcrafters return to Cambier Park today for fine art and craft show (02-09-19)

 Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show takes place today in Cambier Park. Naples Artcrafters is committed to promoting excellence in arts and crafts and to supporting established artists, craftspersons and students by providing a venue for the display and sale of their work in a beautiful setting. At this show more than 90 artists will display a wide array of artistic genres, styles and media, including paintings in oils, acrylics, watercolors, drawings in pen and ink and pencil, pastels, scissors art, multi-media and collage, photography, ceramics and pottery, jewelry, metalsmithing, metal clays, lapidary, beading, sculptures, stained glass and fused glass, wood turning and carving, and basket weaving. The show takes place in Cambier Park along 8th Street South, within view of the Band Shell and Cambier’s Quilt, the first public art project at a municipal building under the City of Naples’ public art ordinance.



Art After Dark takes place tonight in Crayton Cove (02-09-19)

Art After Dark takes place tonight in Crayton Cove. Phil Fisher Gallery, Random Acts of Art, Guess-Fisher Gallery, Naples Ships Store and Pure Design band together from 6:00-9:00 p.m. to present an evening of art receptions, refreshments and local live music in this Art Walk-type event. Many art lovers complete their evening of art viewing with drinks and a sumptuous meal in one of Crayton Cove’s outstanding eateries, Bleu Provence, Chez Boez, or The Dock and Boathouse Restaurant.



46th Annual Pine Island Art Show and Sale is today and tomorrow (02-09-19)

The Pine Island Art Association’s 46th Annual Art Show and Sale is today and tomorrow on Matlacha Island from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. The event will draw the largest crowds of the season to Matlacha Island, a picturesque artists’ community where pelicans and great blue herons circle above moored fishing boats, brightly painted galleries, and fresh fish markets. Located in the Community Building in Matlacha Park (just west of the Matlacha Bridge), the show features works by more than 100 artists and includes more than 500 paintings in acrylic, oil, pastel, pen and ink, and watercolor, with an emphasis on Florida landscapes, seascapes, birds, fish and flowers – “all ready to hang in your home.”



2nd edition of Bonita Springs National returns to Riverside Park today (02-09-19)

The Bonita Springs National Art Festival returns to Riverside Park on Old 41 in historic downtown Bonita Springs today and tomorrow for the second of its three fine art festivals. This festival stresses quality and originality, with the 211 artists juried into the show from across the United States, Canada, South America and even Europe exhibiting and selling original paintings, drawings, pastels, photography, handcrafted jewelry, clay works and ceramics, glass art, metal sculpture and more. Riverside Park is located at 10450 Reynold Street or 27000 Old 41 Road in central Bonita Springs, Florida 34135.



Broadway Palm’s ‘Saturday Night Fever’ closes February 9 (02-08-19)

The Broadway Palm’s production of Saturday Night Fever comes to a glorious end February 9. Based on the iconic 1977 film starring John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney, the high-energy production features electrifying choreography by Amy Marie McCleary and a score packed with Bee Gees hits including “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love?,” “Jive Talking,” “You Should Be Dancing” and more!



Opening Valentine’s Day, ‘Guys & Dolls’ next up on Broadway Palm main stage (02-08-19)

Broadway Palm is rolling the dice and placing its bets on Guys and Dolls playing February 14 through March 30, 2019. Broadway’s perfect musical comedy about gambling men – and the women who long to tame them – is based on the stories of Damon Runyon.

The story revolves around Nathan Detroit, the ultimate gambling man and operator of “the world’s largest floating crap game.” He spends his days staying one step ahead of New York’s finest and evading marriage to his chorus girl fiancée of 14 years. Things really heat up when dashing, big time gambler Sky Masterson meets up with a refined Salvation Army girl Miss Sarah Brown. Masterson, who’ll bet on anything, gets talked into what appears to be an unwinnable bet involving the girl, setting up an unpredictable chain of hilarious events.

Guys and Dolls features one of the best musical scores in American theatre history with hits that include “Luck Be A Lady,” “I’ve Never Been In Love Before,” “Sue Me,” “A Bushel And A Peck” and more!

Guys and Dolls is the winner of eight Tony Awards, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award and a Grammy for Best Cast Album.

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



‘MID LIFE 2’ at the Off Broadway Palm through February 23 (02-08-19)

At Off Broadway Palm theater through February 23 is the ever-hysterical follow-up to Mid-Life The Crisis Musical – MID LIFE 2! #WhatDidIComeInHereFor? 

This uproariously funny comedy takes us back into the middle ages once again with a hilariously tuneful look at the aches, pains, and joys of getting older. From ever-increasing trips to the doctor’s office, to the horrifying moment when one qualifies for a senior discount, Baby Boomers and beyond are sure to see their lives reflected in this brand new, witty musical revue. If you bought some Gingko-Biloba, but can’t remember where you put it – then you’re ready for MID-LIFE 2! (The Crisis Continues).

For tickets, please call the box office as at 239-278-4422.



‘Improv Tonight’ returns to Moe Auditorium tonight (02-08-19)

Join CFABS for some of Southwest Florida’s best improvisational comedy tonight. 

Bonita City Improv will perform musical improv, games and scenes that include suggestions provided by the audience. Every show is different with special guests always popping in from nationally-touring improv groups. Be as involved in the show as you’d like – whether you’re just setting a scene with your suggestions or you’re on stage as a player.

The fun starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Center for Performing Arts – Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Road.

Adult Tickets are $13.50 for members and $15 for non-members. Beer and wine is available for purchase.



FGCU TheatreLab’s next production is ‘Machinal’ in February (02-08-19)

FGCU TheatreLab will perform Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal at 7:30 p.m. on February 15, 16, 22 & 23 and at 2:00 p.m. on February 17, 23 & 24. The Expressionist drama will be directed by Dan Bacalzo and feature a talk-back following the February 23 matinee.

TheatreLab describes Machinal in bleak, fatalistic terms. “Set in the 1920s, the play concerns a young woman whose every choice in life seems predetermined, as if she is merely a cog in a machine that can fulfill only one purpose.

While she initially succumbs to society’s expectations of marriage and childbirth, she yearns for something more. Refusing to submit to a life she does not want, she sets out to explore alternative paths to happiness. But as she attempts to break away from a life of conformity, will her efforts lead to freedom or punishment?”

While an apt description, the play is actually a unapologetically candid excoriation of the blueprint imposed by society that demands a woman marry in order to secure her future, bear children she does not necessarily want, and remain in a stifling, suffocating relationship long after it has grown stale and loveless. Treadwell underscores this reality by having her character enter into an intense affair that not only frees her passions, but starkly demonstrates what she’s been missing most of her life.

Based loosely on the 1927 true crime story and ensuing murder trial of Ruth Snyder, the play was first performed in 1928. However, it has since been revived a number of times, including Off Broadway runs in 1960 and 1990, on Broadway in 2014 and most recently in London last year. But across this vast generational divide, women viewers have experienced the same unsettling reaction. For many, the Young Woman’s monotonous, unfulfilling life, shaped and governed as it is by inflexible societal expectations, is eerily similar to their own circumstances– or those experienced by their own mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

“Outstandingly brave for its time, it remains a painfully evocative and astute study of womanhood in any age that values automation and expectations over human uniqueness in desires,” wrote one reviewer.

“Unflinching, heartbreaking, and unarguably relatable at its core,” adds another, “Machinal is a tour de force that presses beyond the typical tools of contemporary realism to evoke the world in which the young woman lives.”

Machinal was included in Burns Mantle’s The Best Plays of 1928–29. The Broadway production received four Tony nominations.

Tickets are $10 for the general public and $7 for students.



Florida Rep’s tender salute to Rosemary Clooney extended through March 9 (02-08-19)

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical is on stage now through March 9 at Florida Repertory Theatre. The show reunites regional theater and New York veteran Susan Haefner and frequent Florida Rep guest artist Michael Marotta. The duo originated the roles in the 2014 world-premiere production at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Just three more chances to see ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ (02-08-19)

You’re down to your last three chances to see P.J. McCready and Misha Ritter Polomsky in Lab Theater’s crazy mad production of the four-time Tony winning rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The remaining dates and times are 8:00 p.m. tonight with a 2:00 p.m. matinee and grand finale tomorrow (Saturday, February 9) at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available by visiting or by calling the box office at 239-218-0481.

For more on this production, follow these links:



‘Hedwig’ garners rave reviews (02-08-19)

Four-time Tony winner Hedwig and the Angry Inch resumes Thursday night at the Lab Theater. In addition to meriting four more shows, the “best rock musical in a generation” has garnered rave reviews:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch burns with punk-glam fury,” maintains the News-Press’ Charles Runnells. ““If you love edgy rock musicals — especially ones full of snark, heart, and the occasional penis joke — you owe it to yourself to see this criminally under-produced show. And now that it’s been extended, you have another whole week to do it.” [Read Charles’ full review here.]

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is raw, gritty, provocative, glorying in its own naughtiness,” adds Florida Weekly reviewer Nancy Stetson. “This production turns the energy up to 11.”



PJ McCready stars as Hedwig in Lab’s glam-punk musical (02-08-19)

PJ McCready stars as glam punk rocker Hedwig Robinson in Lab Theater’s production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. For more on McCready, read here.



Paul Graffy directs ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ for Lab (02-08-19)

The four-time Tony Award winner Hedwig and the Angry Inch by Stephen Trask & John Cameron Mitchell is on view at The Laboratory Theater of Florida through February 9. Paul Graffy directs. Graffy directed Les Liaisons Dangereuses for The Naples Players in 2014 and Steel Magnolias for The Naples Players in 2013. He’s directed at other places as well, including at Juilliard while he was a student there. To see all of Paul’s theater credits, read here.



Lab Theater presenting ‘Vagina Monologues’ February 13 & 14 (02-08-19)

Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues will be presented at The Laboratory Theater of Florida on February 13 and 14, 2019. This limited engagement is set to coincide with One Billion Rising and benefit the Indigo Skies Project, an emerging domestic abuse survivor organization.

Ensler’s groundbreaking collection of monologues are sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, but always truthful and thought-provoking. They will be performed by local actors under the direction of Stephanie Davis.

A charitable raffle, door prizes, and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be included in the ticket price. Sponsors for this event include Nevermind Awesome Bar and Eatery of Cape Coral and King’s Kitchen of Fort Myers. All proceeds from the raffle and performances will go toward the Indigo Skies Project: “From Abuse to Empowerment.”

“The Indigo Skies Project benefits women and children who need transitional services after emergency services are no longer available, such as long-term housing, group therapy, transportation, and empowerment classes,” notes Indigo Skies Project founder Marni Sawicki.

Indigo Skies’ mission is to offer a forum for healing, educational programs, training, and group support for women who have suffered domestic violence. It is the stepping stone after emergency services have been offered to ensure that victims not only survive abuse but find the tools in the community and the power within themselves to successfully rebuild their lives. The purpose is to end the cycle of abuse by empowering women to be their true, beautiful, powerful selves.

The Vagina Monologues will be performed at 8:00 p.m. both nights.



New Phoenix holding ‘Shadow Box’ auditions on February 23 & 24 (02-08-19)

New Phoenix Theatre is holding auditions for its upcoming production of The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer. The auditions will takes place from 3:30-6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 23 and 3:30-6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 24.

In this compelling dramatic triptych, three terminal cancer patients dwell in separate cottages on a hospital’s grounds. The three are attended and visited by family and close friends. First, there’s Agnes and her mother Felicity, who are estranged further by the latter’s dementia. Next are Brian and Beverly, whose marital complications are exacerbated by Brian’s new lover, Mark. And finally, there’s Joe and Maggie, unready for the strain of Joe’s impending death and its effect on their teenage son.

New Phoenix is casting for the following roles:


  • JOE – 40’s – 50’s
  • MAGGIE – 40’s – 50’s
  • STEVE – 14 – 16


  • BRIAN – 50’s 60’s
  • MARK – late 30’s early 40’s
  • BEVERLY – 50’s – 60’s


  • FELICITY- 70’s – 80’s
  • AGNES – 40’s

INTERVIEWER – (Not seen onstage) Strong speaking voice

New Phoenix Theatre, 13211 McGregor Boulevard, #1-2, Fort Myers, FL 33919. There is no need to bring a prepared monologue or other materials as auditioning actors will be reading from the script.



Theatre Conspiracy’s ‘Marian’ a gender-bending spoof of classic tale (02-04-19)

Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood by Adam Szymkowicz opens in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts on Thursday, February 7. It’s a gender-bending, patriarchy-smashing and hilarious new take on the classic tale.First there was Errol Flynn. He was followed by a succession of dashing leading men including Richard Todd, Sean Connery, Taron Egerton, Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner. But did you know that Robin Hood is, and has always been, Maid Marian in disguise? And to tell you the true tale of Robin/Marian, Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts and Director Rachael Endrizzi have cast no less than plucky Murderess Shelley Sanders (Hand to God, Sordid Lives, The Country Wife, The Taming, Cabaret) in the title role of Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood.

Come watch as Robin/Marian leads a motley group of Merry Men (many of whom are not men) against the greedy and duplicitous Prince John. As the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, who will stand for the vulnerable if not Robin? Modern concerns and romantic entanglements clash on the battlefield and on the ramparts of Nottingham Castle in this play about selfishness, selflessness, and the cost of revealing your true self in a time of trouble.

For more:



‘Don’t Dress for Dinner’ closes February 10 (02-08-19)

The Naples Players’ production of Don’t Dress for Dinner closes February 10. Directed by TNP’s Associate Artistic Director Jessica Walck (Kalamazoo, June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce), the play features seasoned TNP actor James Duggan (Maple & Vine), local actor/director Brett Marston, Rachel Ewy, Rachel Borwein, Lori Grandson and Daniel Ospina.

Don’t Dress for Dinner is a clever and rollicking comedy written by French playwright Marc Camoletti (Boeing-Boeing). Here’s the plot: Bernard plans a romantic weekend rendez vous with his saucy mistress, complete with a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert. But when Bernard’s wife learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own—setting the stage for a collision course of assumed identities and outrageous infidelities. The cook is Suzette, the lover is Suzanne, the friend is bewildered, the wife is suspicious, the husband is losing his mind, and everyone is guaranteed a good time at this hilarious romp through the French countryside.

“It is all in the timing; the absolutely ridiculous situation they find themselves in, and how they realistically have to wiggle themselves out of it without getting caught,” says Walck. “And, the audience gets to witness the insanity unfold!”

“The challenge is you have to be in complete unison, its truly an ensemble piece of work,” adds Duggan, who teamed with Marston to give a brilliantly dynamic comedic performance in TNP’s production of The Foreigner. “It’s so quick—if one of us falls, we all fall.”

Rachel Ewy plays Jacqueline. She was previously seen as Belle in TNP’s Beauty & the Beast and has performed at TNP since a young age. Ewy also recently directed ETC Readers Theatre’s Making God Laugh.

The role of Suzette is played by Rachel Borwein, who was seen last season as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew. Rachel also performs with local theatre troupe The Studio Players.

Lori Grandon is celebrating her TNP mainstage debut in the role of Suzanne. She has participated in ETC Readers Theatre and has also performed in The Vagina Monologues benefiting Project Help.

Daniel Ospina plays George and is a newcomer who is excited to begin his journey onstage with The Naples Players.

Don’t Dress for Dinner runs January 16 – February 10, 2019 in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players at Sugden Theatre at 701 5thAvenue South in Naples.

There is a Red Carpet Opening Night event on January 16, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. before the show which features Red Carpet partners Riptide Brewery, Emillions Art, Fairways Wine Vault, Spice & Tea Exchange of Naples, Neubek Photographers NeuBoothPhoto Booth and live music. The production is s sponsored by Gulf Coast International Properties.

Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



Francis, Hardcastle, Garnett and Kimball star in TNP’s ‘Marjorie Prime’ (02-08-19)

On stage at The Naples Players through March 3 is Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime. Clever and captivating, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits – if any – of what technology can replace.

In the future, the inevitable pain of losing a loved one is mitigated through a prime of artificial intelligence. As 85-year-old Marjorie loses the ability to recall memories at will, her daughter and son-in-law provide her with a “prime.” Among the questions the play poses is the connection between memory and family dynamics.

But what about you? If given the chance, what would you choose to remember and what would you choose to forget? And if technology offered you the chance to speak with your lost loved ones, would you take it?

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

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

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



More on TNP’s ‘Marjorie Prime’ (02-08-19)

The Naples Players’ production of Pulitzer Prize-finalist Marjorie Prime portrays a family grappling with the difference between a life lived and a life remembered as 85-year-old Marjorie struggles to keep a grasp on her memories and identity – assisted gently by an artificial version of her late husband, Walter. An exploration of aging, memory and technology, Marjorie Prime peers into what lies ahead and how our past is rewritten to face today.

Marjorie Prime is directed by Naples Players Executive Artistic Director Bryce Alexander. The TNP production features Kay Francis as Marjorie. Kenneth Hardcastle plays her husband, Walter. Debi Garnett (Kalamazoo) is her daughter Tess and Kevin Kimball is Tess’ husband, Jon.

Marjorie Prime runs through March 3, 2019 in the Tobye Studio Theatre at The Naples Players at Sugden Theatre, located at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples.

Talk Backs will be held after every Sunday performance. Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



‘Marjorie Prime’ postulates digital replicas and artificial intelligence (02-08-19)

Marjorie Prime is on stage at The Naples Players at Sugden Theatre through March 3. The play was written by Jordan Harrison. The New York Times hails Marjorie Prime as “elegant, thoughtful and quietly unsettling.”

The play was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2015. It premiered at the Mark Taper Forum and had its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons. A 2017 film adaptation, directed by Michael Almereyda, starred actors Lois Smith, Geena Davis, Tim Robbins and Jon Hamm.

Marjorie Prime challenges the traditional ideals of family by considering how a digital replica may or may not be embraced or loved. It’s a fascinating and exciting production.” shares Naples Players Executive Artistic Director Bryce Alexander (photos 2 & 3). “The concept of artificial intelligence is developing every day while our identities are being linked more and more to technology. What if that trend continues beyond our lifetimes?”

Both the play and movie received considerable critical acclaim. However, judge for yourself. Marjorie Prime runs February 6 – March 3, 2019 in the Tobye Studio Theatre at The Naples Players Sugden Theatre.



Vanagas, Coccari and Campbell headlining TNP’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (02-08-19)

Mark Vanagas, Alisa Marie Coccari and Titania Kylie Campbell headline the cast of The Naples Players’ upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by John McKerrow, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed free on the Baker Stage as part of TNP’s continuing effort to provide accessible Shakespeare to the community. Audience members are invited to bring lawn chairs and picnics to enjoy Shakespeare under the trees and stars in the Sugden Plaza. The show will run Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and Sundays at 6:00 in the evening between February 16 and March 10, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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



Dawn and Charles Fornara leading ‘Guys & Dolls’ musical direction (02-08-19)

Guys & Dolls will open in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players Sugden Theatre on March 6. And leading the choreography and musical direction is the creative team of Dawn Lebrecht Fornara (directing & choreography) and Charles Fornara (musical direction). This is the same artistic duet that led the creative and musical direction behind TNP’s sell-out productions, Chicago and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.

Interestingly, it was Guys & Dolls that brought Charlie and Dawn together for the first time fifteen years ago. Now, they are poised to re-live those moments, but as a married couple.

Guys & Dolls is a classic American musical featuring some of Frank Loesser’s most memorable tunes, including the hilarious “Adelaide’s Lament,” the romantic “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” the exuberant “If I Were a Bell,” and the classic “Luck Be a Lady.” Involving the unlikeliest of Manhattan pairings, Guys & Dolls follows the story of a high-rolling gambler and a puritanical missionary, a showgirl dreaming of the straight-and-narrow and a crap game manager who is anything but.

Guys & Dolls takes us from bustle of Times Square to the dance clubs of Havana to the sewers of New York City as it demonstrates the great lengths to which a guy will go when he truly falls in love with a “doll”.

Stage Management is by Cole Butcher and Jules Branche and Amy Tran are the Assistant Stage Managers. Guys & Dolls is produced with Scenic Design by Mike Santos, Lighting Design by Craig Walck and Chris Riley, Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten, and Costume Design by Dot Auchmoody.

Guys & Dolls runs March 6 – April 7, 2019. Tickets are $45 and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



Amy and Jesse Hughes headline ‘Guys & Dolls’ cast (02-08-19)

Guys & Dolls will open in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players Sugden Theatre on March 6. Amy Hughes and Jesse Hughes headline the large and talented cast of this masterful and unforgettable musical.

Amy and Jesse Hughes are remembered for notable performances as Marian and Harold Hill in TNP’s Music Man. In Guys & Dolls, the couple (who are married in real life) play Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson respectively.

TNP newcomer David Shaffer plays Nathan Detroit, with Jessica Walck (Sylvia, Chicago) portraying Miss Adelaide.

Reprising the successful and memorable TNP Guys & Dolls production from 15 years ago, Joseph Loiacono returns to perform again as Arvide Abernathy.

Jim Corsica is Nicely-Nicely Johnson. Bev Canell (oft referred to with the upmost admiration as “The General” within the walls of the Sugden Community Theatre) is reprising her unforgettable role as General Cartwright.

Completing the cast is Len Becker as Harry the Horse, Bob Patteri as Big Jule, Paul Lopresti as Lieutenant Brannigan, Jason Eugenides as Benny Southstreet, Evelyn Kasper as Agatha and Jack Weld as Rusty Charlie.

Ensemble members include Gaby Biagi, Mackenzie Black, Julia Cornwall, Sophia Costa, Adam Fasano, Frankie Federico, Jeremy Giovinazzo, Wiefta Jean, Kevin Kenneally, Elizabeth Marcantonio, Harry McCartney, Stephanie Nelson, Jack Norkeliunas, Ella Pflaumer, Thomas Richardson, Ryan Roberge, Logan Szittai, Sharon True, Perry Ventro, Lindsey Walsh and Elyse Yun.



TNP hosting Ed Asner and his prostate for interactive talk-back on March 16 (02-08-19)

Seven time Emmy winner and television icon Ed Asner is starring in his new comedy stage-play, A Man and His Prostate, at Unity Church of Naples on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16, 2019. Both performances of this comical and poignant show, which draws attention to men’s health, start at 7:00 p.m.

And at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, The Naples Players (TNP) will present a live audience talk-back with Asner in TNP’s Blackburn Hall.

Asner was last seen on the Broadway stage in Craig Wright’s tragicomedy, Grace, in which he co-starred with Paul Rudd. Asner is one of the most honored actors in television history, with 16 Emmy nominations, five Golden Globe Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. He is best known for his praised role as Lou Grant from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and for voicing Carl Frederickson in the Pixar box-office smash UP (which won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature). He is also widely known for his television roles in Roots, Rich Man Poor Man, The Good Wife, Criminal Minds, Mom, The Crazy Ones, Chasing Life, and Men at Work.

Asner also starred in the blockbuster film Elf as Santa and All of My Heart. For the stage, he toured across the country in his one-man stage-play FDR based on the life and career of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

A Man and His Prostate was created and written by award-winning Ed Weinberger, who has been showered with Emmys (9) and Golden Globes (3) and has earned a Peabody Award. Weinberger wrote for Bob Hope, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Dean Martin Comedy Hour, Taxi, and the Bill Cosby Show for eight seasons.

A Man and His Prostate is based on Ed Weinberger’s true-life experience while vacationing in Italy and being rushed to a hospital for prostate cancer surgery. Media critics have referred to the stage-play as a “hilarious” evening of entertainment. According to Weinberger, Asner was born to play this role of an old codger who won’t take any of life’s injustices sitting down, as he prepares for surgery.


Tickets for A Man and his Prostate, produced by Fubble Entertainment at Unity Church of Naples are $150 for VIP tickets (reserved seating and a meet-n-greet after the show) and $50 general admission for the 80-minute show. Tickets for the show are available online at

Tickets for The Naples Players’ 2:00 p.m. interactive talk-back and Q & A with Asner on Saturday, March 16th are $20 and available by contacting The Naples Players Box Office (239) 263-7990 or

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