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Visual and Performing Artists and Events in the news January 15-21, 2023


This is who and what’s creating news in Southwest Florida’s visual and performing arts community this week:


1     ACTORS


Suzanne Davies plays Beatrice Shelton in ‘Four Old Broads’

Suzanne Davies is appearing in the role of Beatrice Shelton in Four Old Broads for Belle Theatre in Cape Coral through January 22nd. A local actor and veteran stage manager, Suzanne’s stage credits include the reporter in Lab Theater’s production of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Annie Clark in Calendar Girls (which was Davies first role at Lab Theater), Charlotte Hay in Moon over Buffalo, Aida Gianelli in Over the River & Through the Woods, and Florence Stuart in You’re Never Too Old, an original comedy by local playwright Cart Megill. For more on Suzanne, please read here.



Makayla Davis makes Lab Theater debut in role of Roberta in ‘SISTAS’

Makayla Davis makes her Lab Theater acting debut in the role of Roberta in the Southwest Florida premiere of SISTAS: the Musical. However, January 15th 2 p.m. matinee is the last chance you have to see her in the role. Makayle is no stranger to the Lab, having worked as Assistant Director on Lab’s production of Fairview. After putting on several shows at Florida Gulf Coast University, Makayla is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and is now spreading her wings include newer avenues of performance.



Rosie DeLeon plays Lilly for Studio Players in ‘Need to Know’

Beginning January 20 Rosie DeLeon will play Lilly for The Studio Players in Jonathan Caron’s Need to Know, for which she also serves as its Assistant Director. DeLeon has appeared often on the boards at various Lee County venues. Her credits include the roles of Corrie Bratter for The Studio Players in Barefoot in the Park, P.B. in One Slight Hitch, Lauren in Circle Mirror Transformation, and Officer Pudney in Neil Simon’s Rumors for New Phoenix Theatre. Go here to view all of her theatrical credits.



Carolyn England plays Imogene Fletcher for Belle Theatre in ‘Four Old Broads’

Carolyn England plays the part of Imogene Fletcher in Belle Theatre’s production of Four Old Broads, on stage through January 22. Carolyn’s previous stage credits include Frieda in Charles Busch’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (New Phoenix Theatre), Dorothy Tree Hapgood in Daniel Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol (also for New Phoenix Theatre) and 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.



Harvey Evans magnificent as Charlie Mason in ‘Admissions’

Harvey Evans is magnificent in the role of Charlie Luther Mason in Players Circle Theatre’s production of Admissions, on stage through January 22. Previous credits include Jack Kelly in Newsies, Ned Schneebly in School of Rock for Belle Theatre, Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables for Melody Lane Theatre and Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the Alliance Youth Theatre.



Jorja Evans is Amy March in ‘Little Women’

Jorja Evans plays March sister Amy for Fort Myers Theatre in Little Women. Her previous credits include Mrs. McKee in The Great Gatsby, Margot Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank and Ursula in Little Mermaid Jr. for Creative Theatre Workshop



Simone Farrell is Gloria in Dorothy Marcic’s ‘SISTAS: the Musical’

Simone Farrell plays Gloria in the Southwest Florida premiere of Dorothy Marcic’s SISTAS: the Musical. But the 2 p.m. matinee on January 15 is your last chance to see her in the role. Simone previously appeared at Lab Theater in the role of Jasmine, the assertive and outspoken sister of Beverly Frasier in Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play Fairview. Simone discovered acting after taking a class in Orlando at The Maile School and became instantly drawn to the craft. Go here for the rest of Simone’s profile.



Matt Flynn is hard-nosed prosecutor in ‘Faceless’

Matt Flynn plays a hardboiled federal prosecutor with political aspirations who is called upon to prosecute a naive 18-year-old girl arrested at the airport trying to board a plane for Syria to meet and marry an ISIS fighter she met online. For reasons that emerge over the course of the trial, he’s out to make an example of her. Go here to see all of Matt’s theatrical credits.



Jessie Getlik is Aunt March/Mrs. Kirk in ‘Little Women’

Jessie Getlik is a former Royal Caribbean & Disney Cruise Line performer who has relocated from New Jersey to Fort Myers. After performing for theme parks, golf clubs and cruise ships for the past ten years Jessie can be seen in various Live at Chocs! events at Chocolattes. She made her Fort Myers Theatre debut as one of the dancestors (Flapper/Moon) in The Addams Family Musical and now plays Aunt March/Mrs. Kirk for Fort Myers Theatre in Little Women.



Elijah Grant is Laurie in ‘Little Women’

Elijah Grant is an aspiring Southwest Florida actor. He next plays Laurie in Little Women for Fort Myers Theatre. His stage credits include Pete in Burnt Part Boys, Enjolras in Les Miserables, the title role in Pippin, and roles in Spamalot the Musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Sweeney Todd.



Karen Goldberg in the role of Ginnie Peters in ‘Admissions’ at Players Circle Theatre

Karen Goldberg is a local actor and director. Through January 22, she is appearing for Players Circle Theatre in the role of Ginnie Peters in Admissions. Karen’s stage credits include the roles of Rosemary Muldoon in Outside Mullingar for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, 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 PeopleShe has also enjoyed roles in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Women in Jeopardy, Little Shop of Horrors, Marat/Sade, The Bad Seed, Invasion of Privacy and See How They RunYou can read here the rest of Karen’s theatrical credits.



Debi Guthery to play Melissa Gardner in ‘Love Letters’

Debi Guthery will play the part of Melissa Gardner in Gold Theatricals’ production of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters on February 17 in the Charlotte Performing Arts Center in Punta Gorda.

Debi Guthery has performed in national tours and regional theaters across the United States. She has played the title roles in Hello, Dolly!, Mame, The Drowsy Chaperone and Sylvia, for which she won a best actress award.

You can review all of the Ms. Guthery’s theatrical credits here.



Joann Haley plays Roberta for Players Circle’s ‘Admissions’

Joann Haley appears through January 22 in the role of Roberta in Players Circle Theatre’s production of Joshua Harmon’s Admissions. Joann has performed in numerous theaters throughout Southwest Florida and dozens of roles over the course of her 25-year career. Her credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time for Players Circle Theatre, Martha in Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: a Parody for Lab Theater, Beverly in The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre, and seductive Lady Shirley in Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood, Mrs. Kendal in The Elephant Man and Dr. Gertrude Ladenberger in 33 Variations for the Alliance for the Arts. But’s there more. Go here to see Joann’s full resume.



Sharon Isern plays prosecutor Claire Fathi in ‘Faceless’

Beginning January 19, Sharon Isern is playing Claire Fathi in Faceless for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts. Her stage credits include Robyn in The Roommate and Dagmara in The Chechens for Theatre Conspiracy; bride-to-be Courtney in One Slight Hitch, a server in Saved by the Bell and the woman in Where is Man? (both part of The Studio Players’ 3 Plays) and exasperated campaign manager Alex Klein in Jason Odell Williams’ Church & State for The Studio Players; and Susan White in America’s Sexiest Couple, Judith Baxter Short in The Bare Truth and Wendy in On the Farce Day of Christmas for The Marco Players. But there’s more. Go here for all of Sharon’s theatrical credits.



Julissa Jean-Bart is Tamika in Lab’s ‘SISTAS: the Musical’

Julissa Jean-Bart sizzles in the role of high-spirited Tamika in Lab Theater’s production of SISTAS: the Musical, which closes with a 2 p.m. matinee on January 15, 2023.  Lab Theater patrons are still talking about her portrayal of Nettie in Marsha Norman’s The Color Purple, which marked her Lab Theater debut, and she’s even more terrific in the role of the boy crazy teen who needs some R-E-S-P-E-C-T from her guy. Go here for Julissa’s full profile.



Carrie Lund is conflicted Momma Bear Sherri Rosen-Mason in ‘Admissions’

Carrie Lund is co-owner of The Players Circle and a talented local actor. Her credits at Players Circle Theatre include Miracle on South Division Street, Lifespan of a Fact, the inaugural season’s opening and closing night performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room. She currently plays conflicted momma bear Sherri Rosen-Mason in Admissions. Go here to see the rest of Carrie’s theatrical credits, which span a quarter of a century.



William Mahone plays headmaster Bill Mason in Players Circle’s ‘Admissions’

William Mahone is an actor, screenwriter and attorney. Trained at the Central School in London, he has worked in England, New York, Regional Theatre and Summer Stock, film, television and commercials. William plays the part of Bill Mason in Admissions for Players Circle Theatre through January 22. He was last seen as Lester Goodell in the Florida premier of Words That Made the Difference by Cindy Acker, and was Reverend Peters in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Players Circle Theater. Go here for the rest of Mahone’s stage and film credits.



Peyton McCarthy plays Ruby Sue Bennett in ‘Four Old Broads’

Peyton McCarthy plays Ruby Sue Bennett in Four Old Broads at Belle Theatre in the Cape through January 22. Previous credits include Daisy Buchanan for Fort Myers Theatre in The Great Gatsby, Annelle in Steel Magnolias (which was her Fort Myers Theatre debut), Dr. Harriman in Mind Games, Mother in Yellow Boat, and Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 



Robin Murray is evil nurse Pat Jones in ‘Four Old Broads’

A Chicago native, Robin Murray caught the acting bug in fourth grade. Now living in Southwest Florida, Robin’s stage credits include Mary Jane McMann in Inspecting Carol as well as Marvin’s Room, I Remember Mama, Anton in Show Business, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, On Golden Pond, Five Kinds of Silence and Calendar Girls. She plays the part of evil nurse Pat Jones for Belle Theatre in Four Old Broads through January 22.



Michael Nichols plays Andrew Ladd for Gold Theatricals’ ‘Love Letters’

Michael Nichols plays the part of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III in Gold Theatricals’ production of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters on February 17. Love Letters marks his Gold Theatricals debut.

Michael appeared on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Laurie Metcalf in the world premiere of David Mamet’s November. He also appeared in Steppenwolf Theatre’s Broadway production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Gary Sinise. Off-Broadway, he performed at The New Victory Theatre in Tom Sawyer and with The Pearl Theatre in Exit the King and Iphigenia at Aulis.

The rest of Michael’s credits can be found here.



Howard Nutt is Elvis impersonator Sam Smith in ‘Four Old Broads’ at Belle Theatre

Howard Nutt is a Queens, N.Y. native. Howard decided to try acting only a few years ago after moving to Southwest Florida. He is playing randy Elvis impersonator Sam Smith in Four Old Broads at Belle Theatre in the Cape through January 22. Howard’s previous stage credits include Joseph and others in Cultural Park Theater’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, California Suite by Neil Simon, Best Laid Plans by Fred Carmichael and Willy Loman in Lab Theater’s production of Tim Sniffen’s Death of Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: a parody. You can read his full profile here.



Myrtle October is Simone in ‘SISTAS’

Myrtle October plays the part of Simone in Dorothy Marcic’s SISTAS: the Musical. In addition to acting, she is a singer and author. In the latter capacity, Myrtle writes and publishes children’s books. As a singer, she performs “whatever my soul conjures up with remnants of spoken word melodies in acoustic soul.” The rest of this profile is here.



Samantha Pudlin is Meg in ‘Little Women’

Samantha Pudlin  is Meg in Little Women for Fort Myers Theatre. Pudlin’s recent stage credits include ensemble work in Head Over Heels for New Phoenix Theatre, the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors, Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, all for Cultural Park Theatre. Her other credits include playing a social worker and mom in Body and Sold at Laboratory Theater, Nurse Kelly in Harvey, Protean in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a dancer and member of the ensemble in Sweet Charity and Boylan Sister and a member of the ensemble in Annie, all for CPT. Samantha also appeared in the ensemble at Florida Repertory Theatre in 13: A New Musical and was a singer in the latest Live @ Choc’s event (Hooray for Hollywood).



Vanessa Schoof makes Theatre Conspiracy debut in ‘Faceless’

Vanessa Schoof makes her professional acting debut at Theatre Conspiracy in the role of Susie Glenn in Selina Fillinger’s drama Faceless. Born and raised in Fort Myers, she pursued theater at Lehigh Senior High School. Her most notable performances there included the roles of Addaperle in The Wiz, Violet in 9 to 5, and Donna Alternate in Mamma Mia!. Her most recent performance was the cross-dressing and tough-as-nails Beatrice in A Servant of Two Masters directed by Stuart Brown.



John Strealy plays Steven for Studio Players’ ‘Need to Know’

John D. Strealy appears for The Studio Players in the role of Steven in Jonathan Caron’s Need to Know. John’s credits include Yasmina Reza’s Art, Paul Bratter for The Studio Players in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, Ryan in Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch, Wayne Wellcare in Inspecting Carol for New Phoenix Theatre and klepto-director Sir Frank Finger in It’s Only a Play, Jason Shelburne in Body & Sold and Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Go here for more about John.



Jessica Walck branching out as freelance director, actor and acting coach

After a decade of distinguished service as associate artistic director for The Naples Players, Jessica Walck announced in December that she was leaving to pursue collaborative opportunities as a freelance director, performer and acting coach. While her decision leaves big shoes to fill at The Naples Players, Walck’s departure bodes well for the Southwest Florida theater community.

“I love challenging myself and I love collaborative relationships and people challenging me to be better, to be a better artist. And right now, I want that. I want to be a better artist and actress and director,” Walck said.

Go here to either listen or read this interview-based story.



Greg Wojciechowski resumes trial practice for role in ‘Faceless’

Greg Wojciechowski is a retired lawyer from Chicago who moved to Fort  Myers in 2011. That’s when he also exchanged the courtroom for the stage. But he’s returned to trial work in 2023, playing a defense attorney whose client is an 18-year-old arrested at O’Hare International Airport attempting to board a plane to Syria so she could meet and marry an ISIS fighter she met online. The play’s called Faceless, and its Florida premier is being staged by Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts through January 29.





Sonya McCarter directs ‘SISTAS: the Musical’ for Lab Theater

Sonya McCarter is an actor, director and instructor. She is presently directing the Southwest Florida premiere of Dorothy Marcic’s SISTAS: the Musical for Lab Theater. Sonya’s other directing credits include Fairview, The Color Purple, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, August Wilson’s King Hedley IISeven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Lydia Diamond’s The Bluest Eye and George C. Wolff’s The Colored Museum. McCarter studied theater and the language of Shakespeare at Pensacola Christian College 1990-1995. She holds two Master’s Degrees in Oral Interpretation of Speech and Theatre Arts. You can also hear Sonya on Otocast, the free mobile app which the City of Fort Myers utilizes to share stories with the public about the artworks in its public art collection. Hers is the voice you’ll hear on the audios for The Knife Sharpener and Female Fruit Vendor.



Isabel Isenhower choreographs ‘SISTAS: the Musical’

Isabel Isenhower is a young actor, singer, dancer and choreographer who is lives and goes to school in Fort Myers. Musical theater is currently her forte. But in addition to appearing in numerous musicals in the Fort Myers area,  she also excels at choreography. Most recently, she did the choreography for Lab Theater’s 2022/2023 production of SISTAS: the Musical. She’s also done the choreography for Lab’s 2022 summer spoof of The Birds, the dances in Sunset Schmoulevard and Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire amd choregraphed Children of Eden for the Junior Theater Festival in Sacramento, California (where her team won the inspirational award). You can view all of Isabel’s theatrical credits here.



Kevin Hendricks directing ‘Need to Know’ for The Studio Players

Kevin Hendricks is a local actor who was born, raised and educated right here in Naples (at Golden Gate Middle School and Naples High). Hendricks makes his directorial debut with Wendy MacLeod’s Slow Food. His next project is directing The Studio Players’ production of Jonathan Caron’s Need to Know. When he’s not acting or directing, Kevin produces Studio Players shows, builds sets and sits on The Studio Players’ board. Go here to see all of Hendricks’ theatrical credits.




Spotlight on River Basin muralist Sherry Lynn Diaz

Sherry Lynn Diaz is one of 39 artists who have painted murals for the River Basin Mural Project being conducted by the City’s Public Art Committee, Community Redevelopment Agency and Fort Myers Mural Society. Sherry has contributed two murals to the project, the first being this one of the great Seminole chief and warrior Billy Bowlegs. Sherry has exhibited her art in juried local, state and national shows, earning awards on all three levels. She has enjoyed two well-received one-woman shows. Her art can be found in private and corporate collections in the Dominican Republic as well as many places throughout the United States. Please go here to see Sherry Lynn’s full profile.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Lesley Morrow

Lesley Morrow is one of 39 artists who have painted murals for the River Basin Mural Project being conducted by the City’s Public Art Committee, Community Redevelopment Agency and Fort Myers Mural Society. Lesley painted the portrait of John Alexander Weatherford that appears on one of the stanchions across from Ella Mae’s Diner at the Luminary Hotel. Morrow is locally known for expressive oil, acrylic, airbrush and mixed media paintings that express the feminine experience and mystique. Featuring vibrant brushstrokes and a distinctive palette, Morrow’s paintings are bold, raw and eye-appealing. You can read Lesley’s full biography here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Eric Riemenschneider

Eric Riemenschneider is one of 39 artists who have painted murals for the River Basin Mural Project being conducted by the City’s Public Art Committee, Community Redevelopment Agency and Fort Myers Mural Society. Eric’s contribution to the project is a portrait of a Miccosukee warrior named Billy Fuel who fought alongside Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs and Miccosukee Chief Sam Jones during the Seminole wars.Eric is a portrait artist who also reimagines commercial spaces to match the theme of the business through murals and collections of paintings.  Go here to read Eric’s full bio.





Alliance accepting work for 37th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition

The Alliance for the Arts is accepting work for the 37th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition. As the name suggests, this exhibition features pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media from all over the 65,000 square miles that make up Florida.

Categories for entry are sculpture, painting (including oil, acrylic, collage, watercolor and mixed media), photography, prints and drawing. An entry may consist of 1 to 3 artworks. All entries are due by January 23, 2023. If you would like to be considered for this show, please download the prospectus found on the Alliance website, For more information, please email our gallery manager at

The accepted entries will come together for an award-winning and exciting exhibition in March 2023 representing Florida’s contemporary artists. Awards include $1,000 cash for Best In Show, a 2nd place gift certificate, $100 cash for 3rd place and Juror’s Choice Award(s) of Alliance for the Arts membership(s).

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

While visiting the exhibit, please be sure to also partake in the Arts & Economic Prosperity survey. All answers are anonymous and help to measure the economic and social impact of arts and culture in our community! More information can be found at



IMAG celebrates 100th anniversary of discovery of Tut’s tomb with ‘Return of the King’

November 4th marks the 100th anniversary of British archeologist Howard Carter’s discovery the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Because Tut’s successors tried to obliterate his name from the annals of Egyptian history, the pharaoh had been buried in an out-of-the-way place that had prevented robbers from finding and plundering the tomb. So when Carter opened it, the tomb still held the bulk of its treasures. The IMAG History and Science Center in Fort Myes is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the tomb’s discovery with an exciting exhibition containing reproductions of scores of the artifacts found in Tut’s tomb. Listen on WGCU for the details:…/imag-history-science-center…



IMAG offers alternative to National Geographic Tut exhibition

The National Geographic Museum is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the legendary discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings with Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience. The exhibition utilizes a combination of projection imagery and dramatic cinematic storytelling to transport visitors back in time more than 3,300 years to experience the Boy King’s world in a way that’s both educational and visually dazzling. Whether in Washington D.C., Boston or Vancouver, art and history buffs are snapping up tickets to the exhibition at a record pace. But Southwest Florida residents and visitors need travel no farther than to IMAG History & Science Center in Fort Myers to enter the tomb of the 12th pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian Dynasty or pore over hand-crafted reproductions of the artifacts that renowned archaeologist discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb 100 years ago this month.

“[Tutankhamun: Return of the King] is made up of faithfully-reproduced replicas of all the treasures that were found in the tomb,” IMAG Director Matt Johnson touts. “Many of them were created in Egypt by Egyptian artisans in the same manner and using the same tools as they would have done 3,500 years ago … A lot of them are authentic in their materials, authentic in their design, but what’s neat about these is that while they’re amazing pieces of art in themselves, they’re not priceless antiquities so we don’t have to put them behind glass with an armed guard standing next to it. I think you can be a little more immersive and engaged and feel a little more of a connection to these pieces than maybe you would if it was the original piece. So it’s a different experience than the original one, but I think it’s a unique one in itself.”

Besides dazzling, eye-popping artifacts like the pharaoh’s 11-kilogram blue-and-gold death mask, Tutankhamun: Return of the King visitors will find information about the mummification process, visual recreations of how Egyptians envisioned the after-life and the pharaoh’s mummy, along with the coffins and sarcophaguses in which he was entombed.

While there is no audio component or tours for Return of the King, there are plaques that described just about every artifact and aspect of the exhibition. While IMAG Senior Director of Development & Communications Kelli King reports that some kids blast through the exhibition in as little as 1o to 15 minutes, “visitors should plan on spending an hour and a half if they want to really immerse themselves in, get the full story, and read all the great history that we’ve assembled.”

IMAG’s Tutankhamun: Return of the King will be on display through March 31, 2023. Consult IMAG’s website for days, times and ticket information. You can also listen to IMAG Director Matt Johnson talk about the show on WGCU.



Late works of Helen Frankenthaler on exhibit at Baker Museum through February 5

Helen Frankenthaler: Late Works, 1990-2003 is on exhibit at the Baker Museum of Art in Naples. It is the first museum exhibition dedicated to the last phase of the painter’s prolific career. The show features 20 paintings on paper and 10 paintings on canvas. These works demonstrate the artist’s long-standing interest in the relationship between landscape and abstraction and reveal her continued sensitivity to the emotional effects of color. The exhibition is on loan from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) played a defining role in the history of postwar American painting. Her innovative soak-stain technique inaugurated the shift from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field Painting and influenced artists such as Morris Louis, Jules Olitski, Friedel Dzubas and Kenneth Noland. In the 1950s, Frankenthaler created saturated, luminous surfaces by applying thinned oil paint onto raw, unprimed canvas. For more than 60 years, she never stopped experimenting with new materials and tools to expand painting’s possibilities—on canvas, paper and prints.



‘Envisioning Evil: The Nazi Drawings’ at Baker Museum through February 19, 2023

On exhibit now through February 19, 2023 at the Naples Museum of Art are selected drawings of Mauricio Lasansky from his series entitled Envisioning Evil: The Nazi Drawings. Crafted from graphite and charcoal, asphaltum turpentine, and red and white wash, the series of 33 raw and haunting monumental drawings is making its first comprehensive exhibition since its inaugural tour over 50 years ago.

You can read the full advance for this exhibit here.



SWFL arts organizations conducting survey to quantify economic impact of the arts

The Alliance for the Arts and dozens of local arts organizations are surveying audiences attending their events in an effort to quantify the economic impact of the arts here in Southwest Florida. In fact, it’s part of a nationwide study by Americans for the Arts of the contribution made by arts organizations to their local economies.

This is the sixth such study and involves 387 participating communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Lee County, the Alliance for the Arts is spearheading the effort to collect the data needed for the study. Go here to hear why you should participate in the study if you are asked to complete a survey.





First mural installed at river basin

The first of the murals being installed around the detention basin between Hendry Street and Luminary Hotel was installed today. Featuring a portrait of Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs painted by local artist Sherry Lynn Diaz, the mural is part of a walkable outdoor art and history museum that will ultimately include 57 murals depicting people and scenes from Fort Myers’ early days as a riverfront port city.

The project is a collaboration between the City’s Public Art Committee, Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency and the Fort Myers Mural Society, and involves the participation of 40 local artists. The artists have been painting images since late September that were culled by a selection committee the month before from an aggregation of nearly 500 historical photographs and postcards provided by the IMAG History & Science Center, Southwest Florida Historical Society, True Tours, Joanne Iwinski Miller’s Fort Myers Old Photo Facebook Page, and local historians Woody Hanson, Ken Rager and Randy Koger.

The rest of this story is here.



Identifying river basin murals and muralists

Work is underway at the river basin adjoining Luminary Hotel on an ambitious new outdoor art and history museum. When it is completed, the walkable gallery will feature 57 murals – four on the obelisks on Edwards Drive and 53 on the concrete stanchions which anchor the decorative fence that circumscribes the basin.

The project is a collaboration between the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee and Community Redevelopment Agency and the Fort Myers Mural Society. The Mural Society has engaged 38 local artists to render the murals which, in turn, tell stories about Fort Myers’ early existence as a port town on the river that many once called the most picturesque waterway in all of Florida.

The artists are painting the murals on special, high-grade cloth that is being glued to the concrete in a way that converts them into scratch-resistant tiles that prevent fading and resist damage from moisture and other elements. So far, Fort Myers Mural Society artists Erik Schlake and Roland Ruocco have installed about 14 of the mural panels, and their efforts are attracting crowds.  Their recurring question:  What will the other murals depict? Here’s the answer.





‘Faceless’ an enthralling, thought-provoking drama based on real court case

Alliance for the Arts debuts two new faces in January’s performances of Faceless. This Florida premiere comes from an exciting new playwright – the two-time winner of the Agnes Nixon Playwriting Festival and the recipient of the first annual Judith Barlow Prize, Selina Fillinger. The full advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Faceless’ showcased in this week’s WGCU Spotlight on the Arts

In 2014, a 19-year-old Colorado woman, Shannon Maureen Conley, was arrested at Denver International Airport as she attempted to board a flight bound for Istanbul to meet and marry an ISIS fighter known simply as Y.M. Conley and her ensuing trial inspired playwright Selina Fillinger’s high-concept courtroom drama Faceless. The show’s Florida premiere is on stage at the Alliance for the Arts through January 29 and is featured on WGCU’s Spotlight on the Arts. Listen here.



Belle Theatre in the Cape presenting ‘Four Old Broads’ in January

Belle Theatre in the Cape is presenting Leslie Kimbell’s comedic farce Four Old Broads January 13-22.

The action revolves around four sassy residents of the Magnolia Place Assisted Living Center in Putula, Georgia. Their names are Beatrice Shelton (a retired burlesque queen), Eaddy Mae Clayton, Imogene Fletcher and Maude Jenkins, and together they dish the dirt, fall in love and get into a whole heap of trouble as they find themselves thrown headfirst into solving a dangerous mystery. But to figure out why so many residents have been moved to “the dark side,” they’ll need to outsmart evil nurse Pat Jones, find out what happened to Doctor Head and figure out what’s in Nurse Jones’ mysterious pill . A roller coaster of hilarity ensues through loads of naughty laughter, happy tears and even an old Elvis impersonator (who’s trying to bed every woman in the building) as Imogene goes undercover and Maude enters the Miss Magnolia Senior Center Pageant to throw Jones off their trail. One thing is certain…these old broads are not YOUR grandmother…or wait…maybe they are.

Margaret Bowman directs Suzanne Davies (Beatrice Shelton), Laurie Strum (Eaddy Mae Clayton), Carolyn England (Imogene Fletcher), Christine Sprague (Maude Jenkins), Howard Nutt (Sam Smith), Robin Murray (Pat Jones) and Peyton McCarthy (Ruby Sue Bennett).

Matinee performances are at 2:00 p.m. Evening performances start at 7:30. Tickets range from $27.50 to $35. Purchase tickets online, or by calling our box office at 239-323-5533.



Belle Theatre bringing ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ to the stage January 27-February 12

Belle Theatre is bringing the beloved comedic musical Little Shop of Horrors to the stage January 27 through February 12. The show contains all of the delectable elements audiences relish in a musical – delicious song and dance numbers, good acting and marvelous costumes and sets.

The music is by Alan Menken, with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, a duo that went on to collaborate on shows such as Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

But there’s more to Little Shop of Horrors. For as entertaining as Little Shop is, the show is actually a pretty damn good allegory. On a psychological plane, the musical can be viewed as a warning that when we give in to our baser instincts, dire consequences are likely to follow. Small or modest compromises of ethics and honesty lead invariably to larger, even wholesale ethical sacrifices until no moral code remains and life becomes totally transactional.

That said, Little Shop may be better understood in the rich tradition of science fiction as an examination of the threat posed to mankind’s survival by scientific discovery gone awry – as Seymour represents no less of an historic figure than the father of the atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, a personage who is sure to be on the tips of everyone’s tongue when Oppenheimer (starring Christopher Nolan, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Matt Damon) explodes onto cinematic screens in July.

In case you’ve forgotten, Oppenheimer said as the first atomic bomb was detonated, ” Now I become Death, destroyer of worlds.” Or, as Audrey II puts it, “If you wanna be profound/if you really gotta justify, take a breath and look around/ A lotta folks deserve to die!” And just as Audrey II devours Seymour and all he loved in the end, nuclear fission has the power to annihilate the world and every living thing in it. And that makes the “Finale Ultimo (Don’t Feed the Plant)” all the more poignant and meaningful.

The point is that there’s nothing little in the message underlying all the fun, singing and dancing and lighthearted caricatures that Alan Menken and Howard Ashman have built into the storyline, characters , dialogue and lyrics of their timeless little musical.

So bravo to everyone involved in this devious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical which has devoured the hearts of theater-goers for more than three decades.



Center for the Performing Arts brings ‘Portraits of Love’ to Moe Auditorium in Bonita

The Center for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs has something special in store for Southwest Florida on Valentine’s Day. They’re hosting The Biasi and King Music Experience (BKME), featuring local vocalist Jesse King, pianist Angelo Biasi, and their full band, along with Southwest Florida artist Marcus Zotter. In an event touted as Portraits of Love, the band will perform a lineup of romantic favorites along with debut original songs (King’s “Dancing with You” and Biasi’s “Love Me Forever”) while Marcus Zotter paints a charcoal portrait live on stage.

This unique live music and art experience featuring local artists is the first of its kind.

“We love writing and performing love songs and wanted to bring something special to this area,” pianist Angelo Biasi explains. “What better way to celebrate the love among us than through music and the arts – and on Valentine’s Day with the Moe Auditorium as the perfect backdrop!”

“We look forward to a wonderful, heartfelt performance that highlights the Centers’ motto of sharing Arts for All,” adds Theatre Director, Frank Blocker.

Portraits of Love will be performed at 7:00 on February 14 in the Moe Auditorium and Film Center at 10150 Bonita Beach Road.

Tickets are $30 per person and are on sale now at Limited seating is available.

Founded in 1959, the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs (CFABS) is committed to enriching the lives of the community by providing opportunities for artistic expression, education, and appreciation. CFABS has two campus locations—each dedicated to the visual or performing arts. The Performing Arts Center is a 4-acre, two-building campus, which is home to the 400-seat Hinman Auditorium and Gallery in the Round; the 200-seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center/Dance Studio; fully equipped art studios; and edible garden/teaching kitchen. At this diverse center, patrons can enjoy an ongoing array of live concerts, theatre, comedy, film, lectures, youth and adult dance classes, music lessons, and art classes, as well as multicultural events featuring visual and performing arts from around the world.



Cultural Park produces ‘The Sound of Music’ January 12-22

Cultural Park Theatre is producing The Sound of Music January 12-22. In this Tony-Award-winning final collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Cultural Park Theatre comes alive with all the enduring musical numbers audiences revere – from “The Sound of Music,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen, “Do-Re-Mi” and “My Favorite Things” to “Climb Every Mountain” and the heartbreaking ode to Austria “Edelweiss.” Set in Austria in 1938 on the eve of the Anschluss, the musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess of a large family while trying to decide whether or not to become a nun. Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse based the book for the show on real people and events, as relayed in Maria von Trapp’s 1949 memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.

Cathy James directs.

The Sound of Music plays on eight dates between January 12 and the 22nd. Evening performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Sunday matinees are at 3:00 p.m.



Cultural Park performs Pippin February 16-26

Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral will perform Pippin February 16-26. Directed by Mark Fleming, book by Roger O. Hirson and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, an ensemble cast tells the story of a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life. To prove his loyalty to his distracted father, King Charles, Pippin goes to war. But when The Leading Player convinces the prince to fight tyranny, Pippin kills Charles and takes over the throne. Realizing his mistake, Pippin begs The Leading Player to bring his father back to life, and she obliges. The prince falls in love with Catherine, a widow with a young son, and (much to The Leading Player’s chagrin), Pippin struggles to decide whether he should settle down and pursue a peaceful life or continue to make magic with the dazzling troupe of performers.

Pippin plays on eight dates between February 16 and the 26th. Evening performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Sunday matinees are at 3:00 p.m.



Fort Myers Theatre producing ‘Newsies Jr.’ January 13-15

Fort Myers Theatre is producing Newsies Jr. January 13-15. Adapted for the stage from the popular Disney film, Newsies Jr. features a poignant book by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, Kinky Boots: The Musical), lyrics by Jack Feldman (Thumbelina, Pretty in Pink) and music by legendary composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Little Shop of Horrors, The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Inspired by the true story of the 1899 Newsboys Strike, Newsies is a joyful, uplifting and highly entertaining musical capturing the strength that young people have when they join together to stand against injustice.

The musical revolves around the charismatic figure of Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life as an artist away from the big city. But when powerful publisher Joseph Pulitzer hikes the price of “papes” hanging Jack and his ragtag team of newsboys out to dry, there is nothing left to do but “open the gates and seize the day.” Led by Jack, “new guy” Davey and young, independent newspaper reporter Katherine Plummer, the scrappy Newsies form a union and organize a strike against Pulitzer and his New York World newspaper. But can a group of idealistic newsboys win against a foe as powerful and politically-connected as Joseph Pulitzer?



‘Little Women’ musical brings adventures of March sisters lyrically to life

Little Women comes to Fort Myers Theatre February 3-12. The musical brings Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story of the adventures of the four March sisters to vivid, lyrical life. The full advance is here.

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



Gold Theatricals’ ‘Love Letters’ a tender tragi-comedy that spans half a century

Gold Theatricals is producing A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters at The Charlotte Performing Arts Center on Friday, February 17. This tender, tragi-comedy takes audiences on a nuanced examination of the shared nostalgia, missed opportunities, and deep closeness of two complicated lifelong friends. While spanning nearly five decades and numerous locations, it is staged simply, with two actors behind desks or sitting in cozy chairs, letting their words describe a world of emotion.

You will find the rest of this advance here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘SISTAS: the Musical’ makes Southwest Florida premiere at Lab Theater

The Southwest Florida premiere of Dorothy Marcic’s SISTAS: the Musical plays at Lab Theater from December 16th – January 15th. Nominated for the 2012 Tony for Best New Musical and just months off its Off-Broadway run, this uplifting hit show highlights the musical journey of a multigenerational African-American family.

After Grandma’s death, the women in the family clean out her attic and unpack love and memories. They sing hit tunes that trace the history of Black women, from the trials of the 1930s through the girl groups of the ’60s to the empowerment of the ’90s. Featuring 40 hit songs from Black legends including Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes and Beyonce such as Oh Happy Day, Stormy Weather, Strange Fruit, Stop! In the Name of Love, R.E.S.P.E.C.T., I Will Survive, Single Ladies, We are Family, and more, this musical will lift your spirits and leave you singing all the way home.

You can read the rest of this advance here.



Listen to ‘SISTAS’ preview on WGCU

On WGCU’s podcast “Three Song Stories,” guests choose three songs that connect them to powerful memories, events and people in their lives. Each song serves as the springboard for a highly introspective and often emotional discussion of how the guest relates to the music and what was going on at the time that gives that song so much meaning years later.

This is the very premise underlying Dorothy Marcic’s Tony-nominated stage production “SISTAS: The Musical.” Laboratory Theater of Florida is mounting Southwest Florida’s premiere production of the show through Jan. 15.

Listen to the preview here.



Spotlight on ‘SISTAS’ playwright Dorothy Marcic

The Southwest Florida premiere of Dorothy Marcic’s SISTAS: the Musical plays at Lab Theater through January 15th. Nominated for the 2012 Tony for Best New Musical and just months off its six year Off-Broadway run, this uplifting hit show highlights the musical journey of a multigenerational African-American family.

“Ultimately, SISTAS: the Musical is a story of family, of the history that binds us, and of the love we share that transcends our differences,” summarizes Marcic. “It is a joyous celebration of strong women.”

The rest of this post can be found here.



Naples Performing Arts taking Narnia to area elementary and middle schools

Danica Murray and Cameron Rogers are two of Southwest Florida’s most promising young stage actors. You may have seen Murray as Caitlin O’Hare in Over the River and Through the Woods at Off Broadway Palm or Cloe in Bulletproof Backpack at Florida Repertory Theatre. Rogers burst onto the local theater scene in the role of Brad in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show at New Phoenix Theatre and dazzled Laboratory Theater of Florida audiences with his deft and daring swordplay in Dangerous Liaisons.

Interestingly, Murray’s first exposure to theater was at a touring show about Thomas Edison that visited her elementary school. Rogers’s mom took him to a Broadway Palm Children’s Theatre production of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a short time after they’d seen the movie. Now Murray and Rogers are returning the favor by performing multiple roles in the Naples Performing Arts Center’s (NPAC) Theatre for Young Audiences production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Naples Performing Art Center Associate Artistic Director Kody Jones said that while Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) has been around for about four decades, it is new to many people, even avid theater-goers. But TYA has an important role in introducing elementary and middle school students to the performing arts.

Go here for the full story on WGCU.



More on Naples Performing Arts Center’s TYA production of ‘Lion, Witch and Wardrobe’

Naples Performing Arts Center has officially announced its first Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) touring production, C.S. Lewis’ iconic The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  This new and innovative program delivers a fully-realized professional touring production to area schools.  Each production will be tailored to not only provide engaging and educational entertainment, but tie in with the host school’s curriculum and Florida’s Education Benchmarks and Standards. The highly-imaginative production runs 50 minutes and comes with an optional fifteen-minute Q and A with the actors following the performance.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a tour de force adventure that enables the audience to join our journey as we utilize imaginations and creativity to depict the stories of Narnia,” notes NPAC in its press release announcing the production, which stars Danica Murray and Cameron Rogers, who play storytellers as well as a dozen other characters within Narnia that careen in and out of the story with a simple costume change and complete physical and vocal transformation.

The production is directed by veteran TYA Director, Kody C Jones with support by NPAC Production Manager, Jenn Murray.

“There is nothing more special than TYA Theatre for Young Audiences,” says Jones. “It’s a program with the sole purpose of introducing the performing arts to as many kids as possible while introducing life skills and inspiring creativity and imagination.”

Recommended for 1st through 6th grades, the show is designed and directed to be performed any space, large or small whether it be a classroom or large theatre or gym.

For pricing questions or to book your tour today, please email Associate Artistic Kody C Jones at

And to listen to more on TYA and the production on WGCU, please click here.



Players Circle Theatre tackles issues of diversity & entitlement with ‘Admissions’

In 2019, Joshua Harmon’s drama Admissions won both the Drama Desk and Obie Awards for Best Off-Broadway Play. The hype surrounding the play focuses almost exclusively on its subject matter: white entitlement and guilt. However, at its core, Admissions is a family drama that deals with the way one upper middle class New England family deals with a setback – their son’s failure to get into the college of his choice. It’s this facet of the play that has Players Circle Theater co-founder and Artistic Director Bob Cacioppo drawing parallels between Joshua Harmon and legendary playwrights Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller.

People will relate to the play in that it is a family drama. If you bring up Arthur Miller in particular, it’s about family,” said Cacioppo. “The mother is the admissions officer at a private high school and the father is the headmaster. Their values are called into question when their son, who is the best student in the school – great SAT scores, lots of extracurricular activities – doesn’t get into Yale and his best friend, who is one-quarter black, gets into Yale.”

Go here for the rest of this review on WGCU.



‘Need to Know’ provides steady stream of surprises and red herrings

Coming to the Joan Jenks stage at Golden Gate Community Center is The Studio Players production of Jonathan Caron’s situational comedy Need to Know. Directed by Kevin Hendricks and starring John StrealyRosie DeLeon and Nathan Eichhorn, Need to Know keeps surprises and red herrings in constant flow while having fun with a symbolic pair of fish in a bowl.

The play revolves around Steven (John Strealy) and Lilly (Rosie DeLeon), an attractive and charismatic couple who have just moved into a new apartment. To their dismay, they discover that the tenant with whom they share a wall, Mark Manners (Nathan Eichhorn), is mannerless.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Spotlight on ‘Need to Know’ playwright Jonathan Caron

Jonathan Caron is an American playwright and screenwriter. His plays include The House That Jake Built (2017), Need to Know (Colt Coeur Play Hotel 2015, Rogue Machine 2015),  The Recommendation  (IAMA 2014, The Flea 2013, Old Globe 2012, Craig Noel Award, Best New Play,  2014 Ovation Best Play, NAACP nomination), The Morning The Sun Fell Down (MTC 7@7 2013), Catch The Fish (Most Outstanding Play, NY Fringe),  The Venerable Raman Gupta (Sundance Finalist, New Group 2014 New Works Lab).

His work has been developed at theaters across the country including MTC, The Roundabout, EST, The Rattlestick, New Group, Williamstown, Ars Nova,  Pasadena Playhouse, The Keen Company, Colt Coeur, Woodshed Ensemble, Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, Rogue Machine as well as developmentally at The Lark, New York Stage and Film, The Jewish Plays Project, Partial Comfort and in The Samuel French OOB Festival and The Old Vic in London.

He is a 2016 member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group at Primary Stages, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, The New York Stage and Film Founder’s Award Winner, a two time recipient of a Fellowship to SPACE @ Ryder Farm, a two-time Lecomte du Nouy award winner and a recipient of the Theater Publicus Prize for Dramatic Fiction. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award, a nominee for the Otis Guerney New American Playwright’s Award.

In TV, Jonathan is a writer on Netflix’s new original drama Gypsy and has written pilots for FOX and CBS with frequent collaborator Jason Winer.

He is a graduate of The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright’s Program at The Juilliard School and Vassar College where he studied mythology and religion.  He’s a member of The IAMA Theater Company, Partial Comfort and originally hails from Los Angeles.


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