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This is what’s happening June 1-7, 2018

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Here’s what’s taking place in the arts, indie films and community theater between June 1 and 7, 2018:

 

Banyan Gallery adds two new artists to representation (06-06-18)

Abstract artist Mary Parkman and plein air artist Shawn Escott have joined Banyan Art Gallery. Mary is from Naples; Shawn hails from Boca Raton. Because of the overwhelming enthusiasm that has met the display of their work in recent exhibitions of their work, the gallery added them to their permanent stable of artists, which includes Paul Arsenault, James P. Kerr and photographer Clyde Butcher. The gallery is located at 1199 Third Street South in Naples. 

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Ave Maria’s ‘Heritage & Harvest’ exhibit features Arsenault paintings (06-06-18)

Heritage & Harvest is on exhibit now through June 24 in the Canizaro Gallery at Ave Maria University. The show includes paintings and stories of Southwest Florida rendered by Naples artist Paul Arsenault.

Over the 44 years Paul Arsenault has devoted to painting in Collier, Lee, and Hendry Counties, he has recorded places and events that visually tell a story of the region’s prehistory and history. The painted stories in this exhibition include the thousand-year-old era of the Calusa Indians, but mainly concentrate on Southwest Florida’s evolution over the last 150 years from a raw wilderness inhabited by Seminole Indians and extremely hardy pioneers into a manicured metropolis of international renown.

Heritage & Harvest depicts not only the bountiful natural resources that attracted and helped sustain early Native Americans and 19th-century settlers, but also the architectural expressions of that bounty, including early homes, stores, and schools, and particularly the waterfronts. The exhibit ranges geographically from the Everglades to Naples to Boca Grande and Pine Island Sound and inland to Immokalee, LaBelle, and the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.

For more information and directions, please call 239-263-1214.

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‘Parallel Harmonies’ art/nature exhibit on view at Rookery Bay through October 31 (06-06-18)

Parallel Harmonies: Art and Nature is on view now through October 31 at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. The exhibition features a collection of work by Cesar Aguilera, Paul Arsenault, Juan Diaz, Ehren Fritz Gerhard and Katia Miranda that celebrates the relationship between the artist and the natural world that inspires him or her.

This relationship has evolved over the millennia and is still a central focus of contemporary practice for many artists today. Relationships are symbiotic, one taking care of the other. In a time of global climate change, artists are using the inspiration of nature and its current health to bring light and change to human patterns of behavior. They aim to protect this relationship and care for what inspires them.

 

 

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Beginning in June, SoCo will be every day each month all year long (06-05-18)

In October of 2016, roughly ten art and cultural businesses within the block of McGregor to Rarco Boulevard joined forces to start a monthly art crawl event called SoCo Second Saturday. The event brought attention to the area and helped unify the participating businesses through collaborations and cross-promotions. Now, these businesses hope to maintain the popularity of the SoCo Cultural District throughout the entire month by offering, beginning in June, a series of projects and events on different days of the month, every month and all year long.

“SoCo is every day now,” remarks David Acevedo, who created the original second Saturday event and helped incorporate the cultural district along with community leaders that include Alliance for the Arts Executive Director Lydia Black, Broadway Palm Dinner Theater Marketing Director Melissa Vogt and Chip Withrow from Yoga Bird.

“During these last nineteen months of SoCo [Second Saturday] many ups and downs happened, but we feel like it is time for the next step in this process,” adds Acevedo, who opened DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts in the Royal Palm Square a few months before the introduction of the first event. “I feel like the community knows we are here now and that there are amazing things happening here every day, not just one night a month.”

Acevedo is also the co-founder of the Union Artist Studios of Fort Myers and played an instrumental role in establishing Art Walk in the Fort Myers River District to attract art lovers and others downtown after the disruption and confusion created by the City’s four-year-long Streetscape project.

So what’s there to do at the SoCo Cultural District?

Within the SoCo Cultural District, there is a fantastic dinner theater which entertains over 170,000 guests annually with amazing productions, a center for arts and art education in a ten-acre campus that hosts significant art exhibitions and offers an arts curriculum that is second to none, an art loft with more than twelve artists and studios, a cooperative art gallery with more than twenty-five artists and monthly exhibition receptions for guest artists, a very popular yoga studio, a trendy barber shop, a Swedish goods store, a dance studio, three restaurants and much, much more.

The socoswfl.com website has been refurbished as a hub for all things SoCo, including a comprehensive calendar of events for all businesses within the district. The very popular SoCo map has been modified to be used as a cross-promoting tool, inviting patrons to stroll around the variety of venues and make the best of their visit. In addition, the map will include information and even coupons for discounts at various locations within the district.

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Brignoni and Brown creating a ‘Balancing Act’ at DAAS in June (06-05-18)

Concurrently with the SoCo Cultural District’s initiative to redefine itself as a center where art happens every day each month all year round, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts will become an experience well beyond a simple exhibition beginning with the month of June. Consisting of a large collection of conceptual art pieces constructed within the realms of mixed mediums and forgotten techniques such as “decoupage,” The Balancing Act will become the central focus in DAAS’ main gallery space.

The Balancing Act is the brainchild of 2017 FACE award winner Xavier Brignoni, inspired by recent personal experiences in the artist’s life.

“I like to take my experiences in conceptual art and turn those life experiences in a conversation piece,” says Brignoni, whose love for the medium became almost an obsession once he started the first piece of the collection. “I practiced traditional decoupage – which is the art of cutting multiple levels of the same images and positioning them on top of each other, separated by a rubbery substance, to achieve a tridimensional effect – since I was very young and rediscovering now has been my greatest artistic revival.”

In the majority of Brignoni’s pieces, the focal point is black-and-white images of birds, brains, hearts and bodies. He also employs drips of paint in red and black to suggest tears and time spent during a healing process known only to those who have experienced situations similar to the artist’s. These are all elements that represent different aspects of human behavior, actions and reactions. The collection is displayed in a thought-provoking way, intending to deliver an experience to the viewer, with whom the imagery resonates.

In conjunction with The Balancing Act, Sarah Brown has designed an impactful protest art piece for the Window Room of the gallery. Named recently Best Florida Protest Artist by Florida Weekly, Brown gained renown for her Collateral Damage conceptual pieces, which included the names of the hundreds of people killed in recent mass shootings.

The opening reception for The Balancing Act will take place from 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, 2018.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is conveniently located in Suite 84 in the Royal Palm Square at 1400 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL. Regular off-season business hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (starting this month). For more information about the gallery, please visit daascoop.com or call 239-590-8645.

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Season-ending Naples Art District Studio & Gallery Tour is tomorrow (06-05-18)

The Naples Art District will host its last monthly 1st Wednesday Studio and Gallery Tour from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on June 6. The event is a unique opportunity to not only visit some of Southwest Florida’s most interesting galleries, but immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the studios of more than 50 emerging and mid-career artists working in a broad cross-section of genres and media. Look for the magenta and white art flags. Call 239-289-5070 for more information or visit http://www.NaplesArtDistrict.com/.

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‘Inventory’ is Thomas Riley Studio’s new creative space in Naples Art District (06-05-18)

Thomas Riley Studio has inaugurated a new creative space in the Naples Art District. They call the 2500-square-foot multi-use space Inventory,” and it houses the studio of master painter Carmelo Blandino, design atelier of Thomas Riley Studio Director Chad Jensen, and works by internationally recognized artists. As collaborative as it is immersive, the space is meant to envelope visitors in the creative process. Inventory is located in Units 3 & 4 at 1719 Trade Center Way. For more information, please telephone 239-529-2633.

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Sweet Art places premium on getting to know collectors, their homes and their artistic sensibilities (06-05-18) 

One of the venues located within the Naples Art District is The Sweet Art Gallery, Southwest Florida’s largest contemporary art gallery. Last season, Sweet Art collaborated with CDH2, Clive Daniel Home, “where fine art meets fine furnishings.”

“This is our Rodeo Drive of design, and it’s where you find collectors these days,” explains gallery owner Dede Sweet matter-of-factly. One reason for this is because most of the galleries and working studies in the Naples Art District take an educational approach to the sale and collection of artworks.

“This new breed of collector is educated, sophisticated and outgoing,” Sweet amplifies. “They want to know the artist’s history, and in a real sense, become invested in the success of the artist. That’s where we come in. We help designers and clients build collections of value.”

Devoted to the arts, Sweet Art’s mission is to find and bring the best artists to their clients in a comfortable, friendly setting offering complimentary consultations and installations. To engender this result, the gallery’s art consultants place a premium on getting to know their collectors, their homes and their artistic taste and sensibilities.

Although it is now summer, Sweet Art continues to get new artworks and entire collections from the artists it represents. “From the collect[ed] works of Al Razza from his one man show at the Coral Springs Museum Of Art, A Survey of Artwork, to new work from Stephen Mancini, Gisela Miller, Mary Ann Flynn Fouse, Clemente Mimun [and] Luba Drahosz … [c]ome in and see the work by all of our many fine contemporary artists and sculptors.”

All summer long, Sweet Art is running free shipping on all paintings along with special summer savings if you mention the gallery’s ad in its artspan blast. “Remember to view our website, which is updated daily, and our special Blog section which gives you more information on events and artists.

Sweet Art’s summer hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Frida and from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays until June 30, 2018. The gallery will be closed on Saturdays during the months of July, August and September 2018.

You will find Sweet Art Gallery at 2100A Trade Center Way, Naples, FL 34109. For more information, please telephone 239-597-2110

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Camera USA 2018 on view at Naples Art Association through August 3 (06-04-18)

Camera USA 2018 opened June 1 at the Naples Art Association. This year, 218 photographers from around the country submitted images for inclusion in the show. From these, jurors Christopher Jones, Mark Sloan and Paul Tognarelli selected 75 photographs, with work coming from California (7), Colorado (1), Florida (21),Georgia (2), Illinois (2), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (3), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (2), New York (8), North Carolina (2), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (2), Texas (4), Virginia (2), Washington (4), Wisconsin (2) and Wyoming (1).

Raleigh, North Carolina photographer Christer Berg won the $5,000 National Photography Award for his image Dewayne Beamon, boxer. Merit Awards and $100 in cash were also given to:

  1. Constance Brinkley, Celebrating Life, 2014, photograph: archival pigment print, 16 x 16 inches
  2. Ron Cooper, Joaquin, 2016, monochrome photograph, 33 x 25 inches
  3. Lisette Morales, Margarita Claro, 2017, photograph, 16 x 24 inches
  4. Wendy Roussin, Badlands Series, 2017, photograph: archival silver gelatin print, 24 x 20 inches
  5. Ben Tanzer, The Boxer, 2015, photograph: digital inkjet print, 12 x 12 inches

For more, follow these links:

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Naples Art issues call to members for ‘Your Choice 2018’ exhibit (06-04-18)

The Naples Art Association is accepting applications from member artists interested in exhibiting work in Your Choice 2018. Artists are invited to register one artwork before the July 11 deadline (deadline to register early and provide an image for possible pre-exhibition publicity is June 14).

Your Choice is the Naples Art Association’s annual non-juried exhibition. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for Naples Art Association contributors to present their artwork to a large audience with no jury process requirement. The exhibition is called “Your Choice” because artists and viewers make the choices. Artists decide which artwork they will exhibit while viewers attending the reception decide who will receive the awards (of which there are five with a total cash value of $1,000).

Everyone attending the 5:30-7:30 August 10 reception may cast one vote for a favorite artist. Voting is overseen by the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office and the award winners will be announced on the Naples Art Association’s Facebook page.

Your Choice 2018 will be on display August 13 – September 19, 2018. The exhibition will be on view on the first and second floors in all of the Naples Art Association’s galleries. Located at 585 Park Street, Naples, the Naples Art Association is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please telephone 239-262-6517 or visit NaplesArt.org.

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‘Augmented Reality’ superimposes computer-generated images on Alliance’s blank walls (06-03-18)

Augmented Reality superimposes computer-generated images on the blank walls of the Alliance for the Arts’ main gallery. They are produced via a free Alliance app that viewers can download on their phone or tablet. Through a series of marker-based targets, the AR app brings to life megalithic creatures, asteroids, board games and more.

This virtually-interactive digital exhibition was designed and curated by August Taylor. A sophomore at Florida Polytechnic University majoring in Computer Science with a focus in Cyber Security, Taylor has over 20 industry certifications, most achieved while at Dunbar High School’s Microsoft Academy.

“From improving education to bringing art to life, augmented reality will no doubt be part of our future,” Taylor predicts. “My hope is that this exhibition will display some of the possible augmented reality implementations that we may see in our day-to-day lives in a future that is not so far off.”

August will give a conversational tour through the gallery at 6:00 p.m. on June 9. The discussion will break down the complicated mechanics of augmented reality as well as educate patrons on how augmented reality will transform how we work, play, learn and connect with the world around us.

Augmented Reality will exhibit through June 23.

The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit www.ArtInLee.org.

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‘Hacking the Heist’ puts another slant on Alliance’s ‘Augmented Reality’ show (06-03-18)

On the night of March 18, 1990, two men dressed as police officers gained access to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Once inside, they overpowered and tied up security guards and proceeded to steal 13 objects valued at approximately $500 million. In addition to Degas sketches and Rembrandt works, they took a Vermeer painting that was one of only 36 in existence. Despite the FBI’s best efforts and the museum’s offer of a $10 million reward, none of the stolen artworks has ever been recovered. But on the 27th anniversary of the heist, a Boston-based start-up dedicated to using technology to enhance museum visitor experience introduced an augmented reality app that allows visitors to once again see two of the missing artworks in their empty frames.

“As we started to work more extensively with Apple’s ARKit and augmented reality, one of my colleagues said ‘wouldn’t it be interesting to put the stolen art back in the frames at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum?’” Cuseum founder and CEO Brendan Ciecko told artnet News earlier this year. “When you visit the Gardner today, a lot of people don’t even realize that there was a heist, or don’t know what the artworks that were stolen looked like.”

The app is called “Hacking the Heist” and allows smartphone users to enjoy works of art that haven’t been seen publicly for nearly three decades.

“[I]t’s not Pokémon Go and it’s not a video game—it’s culture, it’s art, something that has a deeper meaning,” Ciecko adds.

The app currently only includes Rembrandt van Rijn’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black, but there are plans to expand its scope. In addition to these paintings, a Rembrandt self-portrait, Johannes Vermeer’s The Concert (one of just 36 of his works still in existence), Edouard Manet’s Chez Tortoni, five Degas sketches and a landscape by Overt Flinck were also among the 13 masterpieces stolen. To this day, the Gardner Museum heist remains the largest property crime in U.S. history. While the FBI believes it knows who stolen the artworks (both died in 1991 shortly after the theft), it has no leads on the whereabouts of any of the missing art.

The Gardner Museum was not involved with the app’s development, but Ciecko is hoping it will share “Hacking the Heist” with its visitors, saying “there’s a big opportunity to inspire Boston public school children and people interested in the arts and sciences.”

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Alliance bringing back ‘Arts on Tap’ fundraiser (06-03-18)

The Alliance for the Arts is bringing back its annual fundraiser Arts On Tap. The event is scheduled for 7:00-10:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 20 on the Alliance campus at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33919.

The announcement comes alongside the nationwide celebration of American Craft Beer Week. Now in its second year, Arts On Tap is a taste of creativity in the Alliance gallery featuring the craft of local brewers benefiting the Alliance for the Arts. For one night only, guests can delight their senses with locally-handcrafted beers and spirits, hand-selected wines and culinary creations against a vibrant backdrop of local art.

Participating crafters include Big Blue Brewing, Bury Me Brewing, Eight Foot Brewing, Fort Myers Brewing Company, Momentum Brewhouse, Palm City Brewing, Point Ybel Brewing Company and Scotty’s Bierwerks, with more participants to be announced. The event is sponsored by Briers CPA, Custom Packaging and Products , EnSite, HBKS Wealth Advisors, Priority Business Solutions and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. Sponsorships and visibility opportunities are also available at ArtInLee.org/OnTap.

Last year, Arts On Tap attracted 200 guests. Tickets are $75 and include unlimited tastings from participating breweries and distilleries, culinary creations, pub snacks, gallery admission, music and games. The first 75 guests to purchase a ticket will receive an exclusive Support Local pint glass.

“The Alliance for the Arts is all about supporting small, independent makers who have a story,” says development and marketing director Jessica Wisdom. “We’re excited to celebrate the art of craft beer for the second year in a row. In our never-ending quest to outdo ourselves, this year’s event will be bigger and better with more art, more food, more fun and of course more beer!”

Arts On Tap is a fundraising event for the Alliance for the Arts, a nonprofit visual and performing arts center located in the heart of Fort Myers. Since 1975, the Alliance has been transforming lives and improving community through the arts. Event proceeds support a creative hub that spurs self-expression, imagination and individuality.

Arts On Tap is for ages 21 and older. A state-issued form of I.D. is required.

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit ArtInLee.org/OnTap.

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Smithsonian’s traveling ‘Hometown Teams’ exhibition comes to Alliance June 30 (06-03-18)

Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America is a traveling exhibition that features sports-related objects, images, videos and personal stories culled from the Smithsonian Institution’s cast collection. It comes to the Alliance for the Arts this summer as the result of a grant provided by the Florida Humanities Council to the Southwest Florida Historical Society and an unprecedented partnership by and between the Alliance, the Smithsonian and the Black History Museum.

The premise is straightforward. Hometown sports are more than just games – they shape our lives, unite us and celebrate who we are as Americans. We play on ball fields and sandlots, on courts and on ice, in parks and playgrounds, even in the street. From pick-up games to organized leagues, millions of Americans of all ages play sports. And, if we’re not playing sports, we’re watching them. We sit in the stands and root for the local high school team, or gather on the sidelines and cheer on our sons and daughters as they take their first swing or score their first goal. So it’s only fitting and proper that we celebrate our love of the game, and Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America does just that.

The show opens June 30 and runs through August 11. The opening reception will take place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Friday, July 6. The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information, please telephone 239- 939-2787.

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Alliance’s August members’ show to explore concept of ‘Identity’ (06-03-18)

The Alliance’s member exhibit opening August 17 will explore the concept of identity – the factors that influence or determine our sense of who we are – that which makes one person distinct from another. You may become a member to participate in the show. Drop off is from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. August 14. The opening reception is 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 17. The exhibition runs from August 17 to September 29.

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Alliance calls for submissions for ‘Dia de lost Muertos: A Juried Exhibit’ (06-03-18)

The Alliance for the Arts has issued a call to artists for Dia de lost Muertos: A Juried Exhibit coming in October. Exhibiting through November 3, this exhibit will be up during such high-traffic events as Pride, Italian Fest, Rocky Horror and the Arts on Tap Fundraiser.

In many parts of Mexico, South America and the United States, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a time to remember and celebrate the lives of friends and family. More about reveling in life than remembering death, this unique day encourages us to connect with loved ones while reflecting on the ties that bind the past to present.

Artists should create pieces that showcase traditional Mexican sugar skulls flavored by the artist’s aesthetic. Submission categories include sculpture, painting (including oil, acrylic, collage, watercolor and mixed media), photography, prints and drawings. Artists may submit up to 3 artworks for consideration. All entries must be submitted online no later than September 20. To download the prospectus or submit artwork, visit ArtInLee.org/SugarSkulls.

“Community participation is a powerful part of this holiday,” says exhibitions coordinator Krista Johnson. “That’s why we’re calling on local artists to contribute to this lively and fun exhibit.”

The show’s opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on October 5, with awards being announced at 6:00. There will be a $250 prize for Best in Show, $125 for 2nd place and $75 for 3rd place.

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

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Alliance Youth Theatre to perform ‘Calvin Berger’ in June (06-02-18)

The Alliance Youth Theatre will produce three performances of Calvin Berger by Barry Wyner in June. Based loosely on Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac, Calvin Berger is the hip and hilarious story of unrequited feelings, love notes, and physical insecurity among four high school seniors.

Calvin is smitten by the beautiful Rosanna, but he feels insecure because of the size of his nose. Rosanna, in turn, is attracted to the good-looking newcomer, Matt, who is painfully shy and inarticulate around her, although the attraction is mutual. Hoping to get closer to Rosanna through his eloquent love notes, Calvin offers to be Matt’s “speech writer, all the while ignoring the signals of attraction from another girl, his best friend, Bret. When the deception unravels, everybody’s friendship is seriously jeopardized, but Calvin eventually realizes that his preoccupation with his appearance had led him astray, and his eyes are opened to Bret, who’d been there all along.

Shows are at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Saturday June 16 and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday June 17.

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‘Ring of Fire’ on stage at Broadway Palm through June 23 (06-02-18)

Even after his passing, Johnny Cash is still one of the most popular entertainers of all-time. Ring of Fire tells his remarkable life story of passion, redemption, humor and salvation. Performed by a multi-talented cast, this production paints a musical portrait of The Man in Black that promises to be a foot-stompin’, crowd-pleasin’ salute to this remarkable legend! Featuring over 30 Johnny Cash hits including “I Walk the Line,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “A Boy Named Sue” and the title track “Ring of Fire.” Ring of Fire will be on the boards at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre through June 23, 2018 with matinee, twilight and evening performances. For tickets or more information, please telephone 239-278-4422 or visit http://broadwaypalm.com.

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Savannah Sipping Society’ plays Off Broadway June 12 to July 22 (06-02-18)

Back by popular demand, The Savannah Sipping Society returns to the Off Broadway Palm on June 14 after a sold-out run last season. It’s a delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy that features a barrage of jokes, one-liners and zingers worthy of a Samantha Bee or Paula Poundstone stand-up comedy routine.

The action starts when Randa Covington, Marlafaye Mosley and Dot Haigler stagger into the juice bar after nearly expiring in a hot yoga class. Forming an instant bond as a result of their near-death experience, they resolve to share drinks that evening on Randa’s verandah. Dot invites the manager of a nearby make-up store to join the trio.

So who are these imperfect strangers?

Randa is a workaholic perfectionist who is struggling to cope with a surprise career derailment that reveals she has no life and no idea how to get one. Dot’s a widow who is reeling from her husband’s recent demise and the loss of their plans for an idyllic retirement. Marlafaye is a boisterous good ol’ Texas gal trying to come to terms with losing her tom-cattin’ husband to a twenty-three-year-old dental hygienist. And Jinx is a spunky ball of fire who offers her services as a much-needed life coach for her three friends.

As it turns out, Jinx has already met Randa – in the check-out line at the local grocery.

“I got a slab of Brie and seven tangerines,” she tells Dot and Marlafaye before encountering Randa for the second time that day. “When I got into the five-items-or-less line, the most pretentious, uptight gal I’ve met in years threw a frothing fit. She went ballistic. I mean, what kind of person is so tightly wound she’d even care about that?”

Enter the self-same tightly-wound Randa, holding aloft a plate of cheese straws. But never underestimate the healing power of a cheese straw! The two unite at first bite.

From that moment on, the banter is droll and repartee snappy. The man-bashing jokes and gender-based sarcasm even has the men in the audience guffawing with laughter. But there’s more here than a disjointed string of wisecracks and witticisms. Playwrights Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten (whose credits include The Dixie Swim Club, Dearly Beloved, Christmas Belles, The Red Velvet Cake War and Always a Bridesmaid) explore the ways in which all of us cope with the reverses, setbacks and tragedies that life throws our way with all too much regularity.

Just like us, Randa, Marlafaye, Dot and Jinx are self-involved, filled with irrational fears and desires, and consumed by conflicting emotions. On their own, they struggle to get by, but with each other’s support and understanding, they find the courage to try and do new things that make them individually and collectively smarter, stronger, more confident and self-aware. Along the way, they forge lasting friendships and discover a renewed determination to live in the moment. More importantly, they also realize it’s never too late to make new old friends.

The Savannah Sipping Society plays June 12 through July 22. But lock up your tickets now. This show is sure to sell out again.

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Here’s what audiences will see on Broadway Palm’s main stage during 2018-2019 season (06-02-18)

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre has released the main stage productions that will comprise its 2018-2019 season:

Let’s Go To The Movies (August 30 – September 29, 2018)

“Here’s lookin’ at you kid,” “Hasta La Vista Baby,” and “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” are just a few of the iconic movie quotes that have become colloquial sayings. Join Victor Legarreta and his cast as they sing and dance their way through movie history. This all-movie musical revue will feature songs from all of your favorite movies and movie musicals along with surprise guest appearances by “the movie stars” themselves! You’ll laugh, sing along and become part of the action. So, get your tickets, click your heels together three times and say “There’s no place like Broadway Palm…..There’s no place like Broadway Palm…”

42nd Street (October 4 – November 17, 2018)

The dazzling tribute to Broadway, New York City and the world of musical theatre high-kicks its way onto the Broadway Palm stage! Aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer heads to NYC and quickly lands her first big gig in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. Just before opening night, the leading lady breaks her ankle which might give Peggy a chance to step in and become a star! 42nd Street sparkles with some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history including We’re In The Money, Lullaby Baby, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, Dames, I Only Have Eyes For You and the title song 42nd Street.

Elf The Musical (November 22 – December 25, 2018)

Based on the holiday film of the same name, this hilarious musical comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Buddy, a young orphan, crawls into Santa’s bag and winds up in the North Pole where he is raised, unaware that he is human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to discover his true identity. This modern day holiday classic is sure to bring out the true spirit of Christmas….after all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!

Saturday Night Fever (December 29, 2018 – February 9, 2019)

Put on your “Boogie Shoes” for one of the most adored dance stories of all time that captures the passion, energy and life-changing moments that have thrilled audiences for over forty years! Tony, a young man from Brooklyn, tries to escape his problems and dance his way to a better life. With his electric dance moves, he hits the dance floor every weekend at the discotheque, where he tries to win the admiration of the crowd, and his crush. Based on the 1977 film that became a cultural phenomenon, the score is packed with Bee Gees’ hits including the Night Fever, Stayin’ Alive, How Deep Is Your Love?, Jive Talking, You Should Be Dancing and more!

Guys and Dolls (February 14 – March 30, 2019)

This is the story of the unlikely romance between Miss Sarah Brown, a pure-at-heart urban missionary, and a slick Broadway gambler, Sky Masterson. The show’s second romantic storyline involves Nathan Detroit, the consummate gambling man and the operator of “The World’s Largest Floating Crap Game”, and Miss Adelaide, the main attraction at the Hot Box nightclub, who have been engaged for fourteen years. Frank Loesser’s score features classic songs such as Luck Be a Lady, I’ve Never Been in Love Before, Sue Me, A Bushel and a Peck and the wonderful title song Guys and Dolls.

Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical (April 4 – May 12, 2019)

A funny, yet inspirational, musical comedy about the quirky characters that run The Second Chances Thrift Shop. You’ll meet the hilarious lead clerk who always brings sunshine to the day with humor, the couple who work in the collection area who discover that you can find love later in life, the young mother and new shop manager trying to start over, and more! When the thrift shop is threatened to be sold by the greedy landlord, the team won’t stand for it. Spend a year with the loveable, yet quirky, group and see how they band together to save the shop and in the process, discover it’s not just old treasures that are getting Second Chances!

Little Shop of Horrors (May 16 – June 15, 2019)

One of the longest running Off-Broadway shows is a deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi, smash-hit musical that has devoured the hearts of theatre goers for decades! Meek floral assistant Seymour stumbles across a new breed of plant that he names “Audrey II” – after his coworker (and crush!). This sassy, R&B-singing plant promises everlasting fame and fortune, as long as Seymour keeps feeding it its special diet. Between bites, Audrey II brings down the house with music composed by Alan Menken in the style 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and Motown including the well-known Suddenly, Seymour.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (June 20 – August 10, 2019)

“Be Our Guest” as we step into the enchanted world of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! The classic “tale as old as time” tells of Belle, a young woman in a small town, and a Beast, who is really a young prince under a spell. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. Time is running out and if the Beast doesn’t learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed forever. The spirited, headstrong Belle enters the Beast’s castle after he imprisons her father and with the help of his enchanted servants, Belle begins to draw the cold-hearted Beast out of his isolation.

Broadway Palm’s main stage opens on August 30, 2018 and runs through August 10, 2019. Show prices range from $45 to $75 with group and children’s prices available. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings (no Tuesday evening performances May through October), with selected matinees. Individual tickets go on sale June 1st.

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Broadway Palm announces productions include in 2018-2018 Off-Broadway season (06-02-18)

The Off Broadway Palm Theatre is Broadway Palm’s second performance venue. The Off Broadway Palm’s season begins September 27, 2018 and runs through July 21, 2019 and here are the five shows you’ll see Off-Broadway:

Don’t Dress for Dinner (September 27 – November 10, 2018)

When Bernard’s wife decides to visit her mother for a few days, he makes plans to spend a romantic weekend with his chic, new, Parisian mistress in his charming converted French farmhouse. He invites his friend Robert as an alibi, but when his wife finds out Robert will be in town, she changes her plans for a surprise tryst of her own. An evening of sidesplitting confusion ensues as Bernard and Robert improvise at breakneck speed!

Winter Wonderettes (November 15 – December 25, 2018)

The Marvelous Wonderettes are the entertainers at Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party and like every year, Mr. Harper is scheduled to pass out the employee bonuses. When Mr. Harper doesn’t show, one of the girls goes to find him, but instead finds what she thinks are the bonuses, but they’re not and everyone is in for a big surprise! The 60s style holiday songs include Santa Baby, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jingle Bell Rock, Winter Wonderland and more.

Midlife 2! #WhatDidIComeInHereFor (January 10 – February 23, 2019)

The follow up to the hilarious Mid-Life The Crisis Musical, Midlife 2! 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, the aging Baby Boomers and beyond are sure to see their lives reflected in this brand new, witty musical revue.

Mama Won’t Fly (February 28 – April 28, 2019)

A race against the clock begins when Savannah Sprunt Fairchild Honeycutt agrees to get her feisty mother all the way from Alabama to California in time for her brother’s wedding. Savannah’s problem: MAMA WON’T FLY. So three generations embark on a hilarious road trip where they meet family, friends, strangers and each other along the way. This ferociously funny comedy is by the writers of The Savannah Sipping Society and The Hallelujah Girls!

Sex Please, We’re Sixty (June 6 – July 21, 2019)

Mrs. Stancliffe’s Rose Cottage Bed & Breakfast has been successful for many years. Her guests, most of which are women, return year after year. Next-door neighbor, “Bud the Stud” thinks they come to spend time with him in romantic liaisons. The fun begins as three women arrive and turn the table on Bud and Mrs. Stancliffe’s suitor, Henry, in a hysterical attempt to show the men who is the smarter sex.

Ticket prices range from $39 to $59. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings (no Tuesday evening performances May through October), with selected matinees. Individual tickets go on sale June 1st.

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‘Improv Tonight’ returns to Moe Auditorium June 8 (06-02-18)

Join CFABS for some of Southwest Florida’s best improvisational comedy on June 8.

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.

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Florida Rep includes nine shows in its 2018-2019 season (06-02-18)

Florida Repertory Theatre will begin its third decade of producing nationally-recognized, professional theater in the Fort Myers River District with its 2018-2018 season. Set to open September 21 and run to May 5 in the Historic Arcade Theatre and ArtStage Studio Theatre, the nine-show season includes two musicals, multiple comedies, a modern American classic, a southeastern United States premiere, and a world-premiere adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

The 2018-2019 season features five productions in the 393-seat Historic Arcade Theatre and four in the intimate 120-seat ArtStage Studio Theatre. It kicks off with the one-woman tour-de-force, Becoming Dr. Ruth, by Mark St. Germain – whose farce, George Washington’s Teeth, closed the current season on May 13.

Also featured next season is Million Dollar Quartet, Broadway’s rock ‘n’ roll sensation; Native Gardens, one of the hottest new comedies in the country right now; Tenderly, a salute to jazz icon Rosemary Clooney; August Wilson’s Fences, the Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Award-winning modern American classic fresh from a Broadway revival and Academy Award-winning film adaptation, and more!

Florida Repertory Theatre’s 21st season also includes two brand-new plays as part of its ongoing efforts to develop new works and nurture playwrights. Opening November 9 in the ArtStage Studio is Damascus by Bennett Fisher, an electrifying psychological thriller that was read as part of Florida Rep’s 2017 PlayLab. Opening November 30 in the Historic Arcade is a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by Mark Shanahan, whose play The Dingdong had its regional premiere to critical acclaim at Florida Rep in 2016. Shanahan is a Broadway actor, regional theatre veteran, and a familiar guest director at Florida Rep, who most recently helmed How the Other Half Loves earlier this year.

“We are delighted to be celebrating the beginning of our third decade with this very exciting season,” said Interim Artistic Director Jason Parrish. “This diverse line-up of plays and musicals, both classic and contemporary, will break new ground for the theatre, introduce many new faces, and of course, showcase our ensemble of artists in a variety of roles. It is particularly exciting to be taking on one of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle plays that will introduce Florida Rep audiences to one of the great 20th century American playwrights. Our 21st will be a season of new beginnings, and we hope you’ll join us.”

Florida Rep’s weeknight performances (Tuesday-Thursday) in both venues will continue at the earlier 7:00 p.m. curtain time instituted last season. Friday and Saturday evening performances will begin at 8:00 p.m., with matinee performances on Wednesday (Arcade), Thursday (ArtStage), selected Saturdays, and Sunday continuing at the popular 2:00 p.m. curtain time.

Subscriptions start as low as $150 for 6 plays and offer the best seats and the biggest savings. Packages for 9, 8, 7, and 6 shows are on sale for both new and renewing season ticket holders through the box office at 239-332-4488. Single tickets are priced at $55/$45 for regular performances and $35/$25 for previews, and will go on sale July 17 through the box office and online at www.FloridaRep.org.

Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre and the ArtStage Studio Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep online at FloridaRep.org, and by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.

 

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Here are the plays in Florida Rep’s 2018-2019 season (06-02-18)

Here are the plays included in Florida Rep’s 2018-2019 season:

 

Becoming Doctor Ruth by Mark St. Germain in the Artstage Theatre

This play tells the heartfelt, hilarious, and triumphant story of the girl who became Dr. Ruth! Based on the life of Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer, Becoming Doctor Ruth is a one-woman tour-de-force from the author of George Washington’s Teeth and Best of Enemies! Show dates are September 21 through October 21, with previews on September 18-20.

 

Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling in the Historic Arcade Theatre

Make an appointment at Truvy’s Beauty Salon to see the play that inspired the classic 1989 film. ”A skillfully crafted picture of eccentricity in the small-town South,” states Drama-Logue. Performances are October 19 through November 7, with previews on October 16-18.

 

Damascus, A Southeastern Premiere, by Bennett Fisher in the ArtStage Studio Theatre

Nothing is what it seems in this dangerous psychological thriller that challenges all we think we know. Gripping and electrifying, this new play was chosen from the 2017 PlayLab. Performance dates are November 9 through December 9, with previews on November 6-8.

 

Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL in the Historic Arcade Theatre

Southwest Florida audiences are in for a holiday treat with a brand-new adaptation of the beloved holiday classic by Mark Shanahan. Join Ebenezer Scrooge on a thrilling journey of discovery and redemption that is perfect for the whole family. Performances are November 30-December 19, with previews on November 27-29. Shanahan’s play The Dingdong had its regional premiere to critical acclaim at Florida Rep in 2016. Shanahan is a Broadway actor, regional theatre veteran, and a familiar guest director at Florida Rep, who most recently helmed How the Other Half Loves earlier this year.

 

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical by Janet Vogt & Mark Friedman

This new musical is a salute to the beloved radio, television and film icon! Featuring over 20 amazing tunes like “Come on-a My House,” “Hey There,”‘ “Sisters,” and “Mambo Italiano,” Tenderly will be performed in the ArtStage Studio Theatre December 21 through February 24, with previews December 18-20.

 

Fences by August Wilson in the Historic Arcade Theatre

The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning American Classic! Hot off a Broadway revival and Academy Award-winning film adaptation, August Wilson’s universal story will strike a chord in every heart. The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning American classic will be performed January 11-30, with previews January 8-10.

 

Hay Fever by Noël Coward in the Historic Arcade Theatre

Razor-sharp and dry as a martini, Hay Fever is a delightfully madcap comedy of bad manners. Watch a weekend getaway spiral into mayhem as tempers flare and eccentricities reign supreme. “An evening of intoxicating escape,” says The New York Times. Performances will be February 15 through March 6, 2019, with previews on February 12-14.

 

Dollar Quartet in the Historic Arcade Theatre

Sit in on the Memphis jam session that changed music forever! One of Broadway’s hottest tickets, Million Dollar Quarter was inspired by the true story of the famed recording session where icons Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley got together for one unforgettable night. The book for this Tony-winning Broadway rock ‘n’ roll sensation is by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, who also provided the original concept and direction. Performances are March 22 through April 10, 2019, with previews March 19-21.

 

Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías in the ArtStage Studio Theatre

It is neighbor against neighbor in this hilarious new hot-button comedy. Cultures and gardens clash as well-intentioned neighbors become arch-enemies. Native Gardens is one of the hottest new comedies in America. Performances are April 5- May 5, 2019, with previews on April 2-4.

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Florida Rep Education’s 2018-19 season focuses on ‘the journey’ (06-02-18)

Florida Rep Education’s 2018-2019 season will be filled with classic stories brought to the stage, electrifying Broadway musicals, a world premiere, and brand new competitive programming adjudicated by the industry’s leading professionals.

“This year’s education season places a thematic focus on journey and the struggles and joys one faces when overcoming the challenges of that journey,” said Education Director Kody C. Jones. “Everyone’s journey leaves a mark on us as a human as well as a mark on the world around us. With this season we challenge our students and patrons to reflect on their own journey as we navigate the trials and tribulations every young person faces in life as they mature in to adulthood.”

New this season, Florida Rep Education will be participating in the 2019 Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, GA. The Junior Theatre Festival is the world’s largest celebration of young people performing musical theatre. Florida Rep Education will bring 30 students from the Southwest Florida area to Atlanta to gather with peers from across 40 states and 6 countries. The Festival is a mix of adjudications, workshops for students and teachers, and special events like the “New Works Showcase” and “Direct From Broadway,” where Broadway’s best share their talents.

“Our Education Associate, Christina DeCarlo, has initiated a groundbreaking idea that will lead to a career-changing opportunity for our young actors,” Jones said. Past attendees and performers of JTF included Tony, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Emmy nominee Darren Criss; 11-time Grammy Award-winning musical theatre and film score composer Alan Menken; and critically acclaimed, Tony Award-winning songwriting duo Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

Education programs have grown exponentially in the past few seasons, and reach upwards of 35,000 young people and families each year. Overseen by Education Director Kody C. Jones, the department continues to educate, excite, and enlighten Southwest Florida audiences as our popular programs thrive and new ones take shape.

Florida Rep Education performs in several venues on tour and in the Historic Arcade Theatre on Bay Street between Jackson and Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep Education online at FloridaRepEducation.org, and by following the Education Department on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

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Here are Florida Rep Education’s 2018-2019 shows (06-02-18)

Here are the shows that Florida Rep Education will produce during its 2018-2019 season:

The Cat in the Hat

Originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain, The Cat in the Hat was adapted from the book by Dr. Seuss and originally directed by Katie Mitchell. A beloved classic, watch the troublemaking Cat in the Hat perform incredible tricks and produce wondrous items to entertain Sally, her brother, and the frustrated little pet fish during one rainy day. The Cat in the Hat is available as either a touring show or field trip for area schools.

Refugee

A world premiere, Refugee follows three kids from different eras with a common mission: escape. Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. Isabel is a Cuban girl in riotous 1994. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end. Refugee is based on the New York Times Bestselling book written by Alan Gratz as adapted by Eric Coble. Like Cat in the Hat, Refugee is available as either a touring show or field trip for area schools.

Romeo and Juliet

Adapted by Bill Kincaid from the William Shakespeare classic, Romeo & Juliet retells the ancient tale of star-crossed lovers whose struggling passion for each other brings fatal consequences that ultimately reconcile their feuding families. Romeo & Juliet is available as a touring show .

Disney’s Newsies: The Musical

Inspired by real events, this high-energy Tony Award-Winning musical tells the plight of young newspaper sellers to make ends meet in 1899 New York City. When newspaper owners start to exploit their labor beyond reason, Jack Kelly and his band of newsies rise up and face the ruthless Joseph Pulitzer. Based on the 1992 eponymous film, music for Newsies is by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and book by Harvey Fierstein. This production will take to the Arcade Theatre stage in the spring.

Spring Awakening

The winner of eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical), Spring Awakening explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with a poignancy and passion that is illuminating and unforgettable. Told by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater through what Entertainment Weekly called “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade,” this landmark musical is an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock and roll that is exhilarating audiences across the nation like no other musical in years. With book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening comes to the Arcade Theatre stage during the summer of 2019.

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins JR.

Based on one of the most popular Disney movies of all time and the Broadway musical that played for over 2,500 performances and received multiple Olivier and Tony Awards nominations, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins JR. is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs and breathtaking dance numbers. For ages 8-15, this program focuses on touring performances and collaborative competition! The music and lyrics for Mary Poppins JR comes from Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, with book by Julian Fellowes and new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

The 2018-2019 season will also feature the 2019 Junior Theatre Festival entry Show on the Go.

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A look at Lab Theater’s 2018-2019 season following ‘Hush Up Sweet Charlotte’ (06-02-18)

Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte ends its run on July 1. But The Lab has scheduled plenty of high-quality, high-energy productions after that. Here’s a look at the rest of Lab Theater’s 2018-2019 season:

 

Evil Dead, The Musical (High School Version) – July 19-22

What do you get when you combine cult classic zombie movies with stereotypical teen movies and put it all to music? You get this crazy, cheesy, hilarious, fun-filled show that appeals to horror and non-horror fans alike! Get ready for blood, chainsaws, limbs, and demons…along with laughter and singing! “If you think Sweeney Todd is for sissies, you need to see this show!” NYTheater.com. “Bloody Awesome!” The Globe and Mail.

Evil Dead, The Musical is written by George Reinblatt and is an Education Camp Teen Show. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on July 19, 20 and 21, with two 2:00 p.m. matinees on July 21 and 22, 2018.

It’s Only A Play – August 3-26

Set in the townhome of a Broadway producer, we meet the team behind The Golden Egg as they are waiting for their opening night reviews. There’s the producer herself, the terrified playwright, his best friend, the has-been female lead, the British director,, and a theater critic (wait, why is he there?). Filled with one-liners about the entertainment world that will make you laugh and cringe, this show will remind you that there truly is no business like show business!

Written by Terrence McNally and directed by Scott Carpenter, the Southwest Florida premiere of this razor-toothed parody (Hollywood Reporter) will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on August 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25, with three 2:00 p.m. matinees on August 12, 19 and 26.

Anna In The Tropics – September 14-30

Picture it: Ybor City, Tampa in 1929. Its hot and humid inside a small cigar factory. Workers are hand-rolling tobacco leaves, while a lector reads anything from newspapers to poetry to novels to entertain them. But when the new hire reads from the novel Anna Karenina , it sets in motion the major events of the story. Themes in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play range from love, lust and infidelity to violence and debt. And they turn the lives of these Cuban-American families into the very story to which they’ve been listening. “The passions of love and lust are delicately observed….The characters are sympathetic and true,” says TheaterMania.com.

Directed by Artistic Director Annette Trossbach and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, performances are 8:00 p.m. on September 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29, with 2:00 p.m. matinee performances on September 23, 29 and 3 and a special preview performance at 8:00 p.m. on September 13.

Hand To God October 19-November 4 Sponsored By Art Zupko

Admit it. You’ve had certain…impulses, right? Ones you’ve thought about, but would never actually say out loud or act upon? It’s human nature. And that darkest human nature is exposed when a Texas church youth-group assignment to create original hand puppets goes strangely awry. Chosen the Best New Play in 2014 by Off-Broadway Alliance, Hand to God is described as “darkly delightful … filthy hilarity” by The New York Times and “ribald and wickedly funny … Sesame Street meets The Exorcist” by the Wall Street Journal. Written by Robert Askins and directed by Nykkie Rizley, the Southwest Florida premiere of Hand to God will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on October 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 and November 1, 2 and 3, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on October 21 and 28 and November 3 and 4, with a preview performance at 8:00 p.m. on October 18.

24-Hour Playwriting Project – November 17 Sponsored By Stacy Lee-Williams

Playwrights will bring their sleeping bags and coffee mugs to Lab Theater, where they will be assigned a theme, a director, and actors. Within just twenty-four hours, you will see the fruits of their labor when we stage all of their 20-minute one-act plays! Judged by a panel of area theater and arts professionals, the 24-Hour Playwriting Project is a hugely popular event! The actors take the stage at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 17.

 

Every Christmas Story Ever Told – November 30 – December 22 Sponsored By The Patterson Family

It’s the holidays! Time for the classics – Rudolph, Frosty, Ebenezer Scrooge, the Nutcracker and many more! But maybe not the way we’re accustomed to hearing them. In what can best be called a holiday mash-up, actors take beloved stories and traditions from around the world and turn them upside-down and sideways! Says Orlando Weekly, “The play accomplishes the small miracle of making all Christmas myths seem both utterly ridiculous and absolutely essential. Yes, Virginia, you can have your fruitcake and eat it, too.” Written by James FitzGerald, John K. Alvarez, Michael Carleton & Will Knapp, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on December 9, 16 and 22. There will also be an 8:00 p.m. preview performance on November 29.

A Guy, A Girl, A Piano (Cabaret Act) January 4-6, 2019

Theresa Quinn and Randy Kramer will join The Lab with their 4-hands-1-piano cabaret. Enjoy an evening of virtuosic 4-hand piano arrangements, vocal solos and duets, featuring the music of Gershwin, Sondheim, the Beatles, Beethoven, Joplin, Bernstein, Fats Waller, and others. There are just three performances: two at 8:00 p.m. on January 4 and 5, and a 2:00 p.m. matinee on January 6.

Hedwig And The Angry Inch January 18-February 3, 2019 Sponsored By The Bireley Family Foundation

Meet Hedwig, one of the most unique characters to hit the stage in this wickedly funny, innovative, and heartbreaking rock musical sensation. Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, Entertainment Weekly calls the show groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time. “Foulmouthed, electrically tuneful, and furiously funny,” adds The New York Times. “Smart lyrics and beautiful melodies,” says the New York Daily News. Written by Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell and directed by Paul Graffy, Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on January 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 31 as well as on February 1 and 2, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on January 20 and 27 and February 2 and 3. There will also be an 8:00 p.m. preview performance on January 17.

And The Winner Is… February 22 – March 16, 2010 Sponsored By Arlene Foreman

Tyler Johnes just wants to make it to the Oscars to accept his award for Best Supporting Actor. There’s just one problem – he seems to be stuck in a bar where things are not quite…normal. Seamus the bartender isn’t helping matters, either. While Tyler continues to try to make it onto the red carpet, he is interrupted by unusual visitors. Filled with humor and emotion, this play will win your heart. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on February 22, 23 and 28 and March 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 and 2:00 p.m. on February 24 and March 3, 10 and 16, with a preview performance at 8:00 p.m. on February 21.

Andorra – March 29-April 14 Sponsored By Ella Nayor & Jeffrey Cull

One of the most oft-produced plays in Europe, this parable about racism and prejudice is a great example of epic-theater. Set in fictionalized Andorra, Andri is adopted by a teacher and raised as a Jew. Throughout the play, Andri is faced with outright prejudice and complicit silence from his fellow townspeople. Playwright Max Frisch’s message is loud and clear: prejudice happens in every country, both in the past and the present, and we must learn to accept everyone’s differences if we are to lead happy, productive lives. “The guilty are sitting in the stalls … They are to be frightened: they should, when they have seen the play, lie awake at night,” says Time Magazine. The Southwest Florida premiere of Andorra will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on March 29 and 30 and April 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20; at 2:00 p.m. on March 31 and April 7, 14 and 20; with a special 8:00 p.m. preview performance on March 28.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for students at the door. However, discounts are available for season ticket and snowbird ticket holders. You can purchase tickets here.

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Lab Theater’s new seating will provide better line of sight for viewers (06-02-18)

While Lab Theater’s 2018-2019 season opened June 1 with the campy parody Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte, a highlight of the new season will be the addition of risers in The Lab’s proscenium that will elevate seats in the fourth row and beyond in order to provide better viewing.

Starting with Anna In The Tropics in September, Rows A, B, And C will be on the floor, with Rows D through I on risers. Each row of risers will be six inches higher than the row in front of it.

In addition, a special seating arrangement is being employed in conjunction with The Lab’s production of Hedwig And The Angry Inch January 18 through February 3, 2019.

Lab Theater has been conducting extensive renovations and improvements of both the theater and its lighting and sound systems since it purchased the facility in which it stages its productions. If you haven’t been lately, The Lab is all new, all business, all fun.

 

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New Phoenix aims to entertain, enlighten, inspire and celebrate diversity in theater (06-02-18)

Next season, a new community theater will open in Fort Myers. Located at 13211 McGregor Boulevard (roughly midway between College and Cypress Lake), the New Phoenix Theatre will strive to entertain and enlighten the community, celebrate diversity and inspire imagination. The theater is the brainchild of seven actors and directors who have worked together at Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral and The Laboratory Theatre of Florida in downtown Fort Myers, namely Brenda Kensler (who serves as president), Anthony Neri (vice-president), Lori Riti, Debra Neri, James Robinson, Alide Jarbeau and Tom Riti.

The name is strategic.

“We all come from previous experiences in the theater — some good and some not so good,” divulges co-founder Lori Riti, whose stage credits since arriving in Southwest Florida include Chris in Calendar Girls, Frankie in Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune, Kate in Kiss Me Kate, Elaine in Arsenic and Old Lace, the niece in The Sunshine Boys, Nikki in Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, Ms. Casewell in Mousetrap, Mrs. Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis, and roles in The Laramie Project, The Gay Marriage Plays and Agnes of God at Lab Theater.

“We feel like this is the beginning of something fresh and new for all of us – a chance for us to be reborn.”

High on Phoenix’s agenda is bringing greater diversity and more roles for women in the local theater scene. The theater will even have a mechanical lift that will convey handicapped actors, directors and stage hands onto the boards and backstage facilities.

New Phoenix will open its inaugural 2018-2019 season in October with Marvin’s Room, a dark comedy by playwright Scott McPherson that affords a moving view of one woman’s commitment to family and correlative response to despair.

The season will include five other shows, including one musical. Seating will be cozy initially, with the theater’s proscenium accommodating 100 seats for plays and musicals and 300 spectators for concerts. Tickets will go on sale at a date yet to be announced.

For more information, visit newphoenixtheatrefortmyers.org or follow The New Phoenix Theatre on Facebook.

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Here are the show that New Phoenix Theatre will produce in its inaugural season (06-02-18)

New Phoenix Theatre’s inaugural 2018-2019 season will include six productions. Here they are:

Marvin’s Room by Scott McPherson

Bessie cares for her pain-ridden aunt and ailing bed-ridden father in Florida. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, she’s constrained to contact her long-estranged sister, Lee, to see if their bone marrow is compatible for a transplant. Lee reluctantly makes the trip from Ohio to Florida, bringing along her two sons. The sisters’ reunion is uneasy, with long buried recriminations coming to the surface even as love slowly overwhelms Lee’s veneer of selfishness and glib denial. Beloved for its mordant humor and unflinching wisdom, Scott McPherson’s dark comedy allows us a moving view of one woman’s commitment to family and response to despair. Performances are October 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 at 8:00 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on October 7, 14 and 21. [Auditions August 4 at time and place TBA.]

Inspecting Carol by Daniel J. Sullivan

In this hilarious hit from Seattle, a man who asks to audition at a small theater is mistaken for an informer for the National Endowment for the Arts. Everyone caters to the bewildered wannabe actor, and he is given a role in the current production, A Christmas Carol. Everything goes wrong and hilarity is piled upon hilarity. A Christmas Carol meets The Government Inspector meets Noises Off , this delightful production is perfect anytime, but is particularly appropriate at Christmas. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on November 29 and 30 and December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on December 2, 9 and 16. [Auditions September 29 at time and place TBA.]

The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer

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: Agnes and her mother Felicity, estranged further by the latter’s dementia; Brian and Beverly, whose marital complications are exacerbated by Brian’s new lover, Mark; and Joe and Maggie, unready for the strain of Joe’s impending death and its effect on their teenage son. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on January 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 31, as well as on February 1 and 2, together with 2:00 p.m. matinees on January 20 and 27 and February 3. [Auditions November 10 at time and place TBA.]

La Cage Aux Folles with Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman & Book by Harvey Fierstein

In this beloved 1983 Broadway hit, the sparkling “Cagelles” (men in drag) perform lively musical numbers, but it’s Georges and Albin’s enduring love for each other and the family they have created that’s at the heart of this show. The Tony-winning music and lyrics are by Jerry Herman, who composed the music for both Hello, Dolly! and Mame. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on March 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on March 10, 17, 24 and 31. As the song says, “The Best of Times” is always now to see La Cage aux Folles. [Auditions December 8 at time and place TBA.]

Quartet by Ronald Harwood

Cecily, Reggie and Wilfred reside in a home for retired opera singers in Kent, England. Each year, on the tenth of October, there is a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday. Jean, who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium. She still acts like a diva and refuses to sing. But the show must go on in this funny and poignant play by the author of Another Time, The Dresser and Interpreters that premiered at the Albery Theatre, London. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on May 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on May 5, 12 and 19.

Rumors by Neil Simon

At a large, tastefully-appointed Sneden’s Landing townhouse, the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of Farce. Fathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room, and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken, and wife, Chris, must get “the story” straight before the other guests arrive. As the confusions and mis-communications mount, the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on June 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on June 16, 23 and 30.

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Theatre Conspiracy’s 25th season marked by earlier curtain time, audio described shows and more talk-backs (06-02-18)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance will celebrate its 25th consecutive season with beloved classics, comedic favorites and award-winning new plays from fresh voices.

“We’re celebrating the past, present and future of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts this season,” says founder and producing artistic director Bill Taylor. “Our productions will reflect on the incredible work that has shaped the Southwest Florida theater community, as well as welcome the journey of our next 25 years.”

New this year will be a 7:30 curtain time for evening performances, audio described shows and even more talk-backs.

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturdays with a new 7:30 p.m. start time. Sunday matinees will remain at 2:00 p.m.

For theatregoers who are blind or have moderate to severe vision loss, the Alliance will provide a specially-trained describer who verbalizes what’s happening on stage during pauses in dialogue. The “audio describer” uses a headset microphone, while individuals using the service listen through a receiver with a single earpiece. Reservation of headsets is required prior to the show by calling 239-939-2787.

To widen the post-show conversation and discuss what the art onstage means to us as individuals and as a society, the Alliance will facilitate a community conversation through talkbacks on selected dates. Talkbacks allow the audience to ask questions and express their thoughts and ideas on issues revealed in the play through the form of meaningful discussion with the cast or panel guests. The opportunity is included with ticket purchase.

Theater lovers can save up to $42 with a season subscription. Season subscriptions range from $115 per person for 5 shows to $140 per person for all 7 shows. Individual tickets to each show are $26, $11 for students or $22 for Alliance members. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the box office at 239-939-2787, visit 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL or go online at www.ArtInLee.org/Theatre.

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Here’s a look at Theatre Conspiracy’s 2018-19 season (06-02-18)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance will celebrate its 25th consecutive season with these shows:

 

Repossessed (A World Premiere Play) by Greg Lam; directed by Steve Hooper

What would happen to our world if anyone could choose to remix and rewrite their memories and personalities? Rich and Gretchen seem to have the ideal marriage, until they learn that it was manufactured by a mysterious biotech company which installed it into their brains. Because they can no longer afford this service, the company must repossess their improvements. Repossessed explores questions of identity, morality, and authenticity amidst a world of rapidly changing technology and the ethics that come with it. The play won the annual Janet and Bruce Bunch New Play Contest Award, presented by Theatre Conspiracy. Performances are August 16-18 and 23-25 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on August 19 and 26. The August 26 date is an Audio Descriptor Performance. There will be a talk-back with playwright Greg Lam following the August 18 show.

Murderers – A Killer Comedy by Jeffrey Hatcher; directed by June Koc

Gerald, Lucy and Minka look like everyday people, and each relates to us as they would to a trusted friend. But they have one dark secret in common: they’re murderers! Homicide has never been so hilarious as in this quirky whodunit show! Except you know whodunit; the fun is finding out how they dunit and why. Set in Riddle Key Retirement Center in Riddle, Florida, these three unlikely killers justify their crimes in the most outrageous ways. Performances are September 27-29 and October 4-6 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on September 30 and October 7. The October 7 date is an Audio Descriptor Performance.

The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance; directed by Rick Sebastian

The Elephant Man is based on the life of John Merrick who lived in London during the latter part of the nineteenth century. A horribly deformed young man – victim of rare skin and bone diseases – he becomes the star freak attraction in traveling sideshows. Found abandoned and helpless, he is admitted to London’s prestigious Whitechapel Hospital. Under the care of celebrated young physician Frederick Treves, Merrick is introduced to London society and slowly evolves from an object of pity to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati, only to be denied his ultimate dream – to become a man like any other. Performances are November 8-10 and 15-17 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on November 11 and 18. The November 18 date is an Audio Descriptor Show. There will be a talk-back following the November 18 performance. The Elephant Man is sponsored by Noreen Raney.

The Agitators by Mat Smart; directed by Bill Taylor

The Agitators is inspired by the enduring but tempestuous four-decade-long friendship between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. As they grew to become the cultural icons we know today, their movements collided and their friendship was severely tested. This series of powerful vignettes tells their story, from their meeting in Rochester, through the Civil War and to the highest halls of government. They agitated the nation, they agitated each other and, in doing so, they helped shape the Constitution and the course of American history. Performances are January 17-19 and 24-26 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on January 20 and 27. The January 27 date is an Audio Descriptor Show, which will also be followed by a talk-back. This show is sponsored by Janet and Bruce Bunch.

Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood by Adam Szymkowicz; directed by Rachael Endrizzi

A gender-bending, patriarchy-smashing and hilarious new take on the classic tale. Robin Hood is and has always been Maid Marian in disguise. Robin/Marian leads a motley group of Merry Men (many of whom are not men) against the greedy 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. Performances will be February 7-9 and 14-16 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on February 10 and 17. The February 17 date is an Audio Descriptor Show, which will also be followed by a talk-Back. This production is sponsored by Susan Ion Hogan, DDS.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson; directed by Sonya McCarter

Set in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911, owners Seth and Bertha Holly play host to a makeshift family of people who come to stay – some for days, some longer – seeking new jobs, new lives and new beginnings. This eccentric group of wanderers includes proprietors, an eccentric clairvoyant with a penchant for old country voodoo, a young homeboy from the South and a mysterious stranger searching for his wife. Each denizen of the boarding house has a different relationship to a past of slavery as well as to the urban present. Performances are March 1-2, 7-9 and 14-16 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 matinees on March 10 and 17. The March 17 date is an Audio Descriptor Show, which will also be followed by a talk-back. This production is also sponsored by Noreen Raney.

Rancho Mirage by Steven Dietz; directed by Anne Dodd

Acclaimed playwright Steven Dietz’ comedy looks at affluent suburban couples whose truths finally catch up with them. At an ill-fated dinner party, these long-time friends are awakened to the secrets of their past with hilarious and farcical results. Written by one of America’s most widely produced playwrights, this comedy asks what remains between us when youth and dreams have faded and the last bottle of wine is gone? Performances are May 9-11 and 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on May 12 and 19. The latter date is an Audio Descriptor Show. Rancho Mirage is sponsored by: Stephen Hooper & Ellen Poage.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the box office at 239-939-2787, visit 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL or go online at www.ArtInLee.org/Theatre.

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65th anniversary season illustrates why The Naples Players one of leading theatres of its kind in country (06-02-18)

The Naples Players (TNP) has announced the line-up for its 65th anniversary season, and it is packed with dazzling musicals (including Chicago, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and Guys & Dolls), heartfelt comedies, magical adventures and a world premiere show.

“Our 65th Anniversary season showcases the reasons that The Naples Players has become one of the leading theatres of its kind in the country,” says The Naples Players’ Artistic Director Bryce Alexander. “Presenting three classic American musicals – with full orchestras to accompany the casts – the season celebrates the styles of music and dance that have defined the best of Broadway. The season also features a world premiere play written by a local playwright, as well as classic works that articulate the funny, thought-provoking, and touching ideals that represent our community. We are thrilled that this diverse offering will provide Southwest Florida with the high-quality, fully realized artistic productions that our seasoned and novice theatre-lovers will be able to enjoy together. A season about dreams, and the way we achieve our dreams together – we could think of no better way to celebrate the last 65 years while looking forward to the next.”

There will be not only a fabulous celebration of the 65th anniversary of Naples Players, but also the 20th anniversary of the Naples Players at Sugden Theatre on Fifth Avenue. “And Naples Art Association, our sister organization across the street, is also celebrating its 20th anniversary on Fifth Avenue (in the district), so I can assure you there’s going to be a lot to celebrate this year,” Alexander adds.

The event is planned for early 2019.

Here are the shows that The Naples Players will produce during its 2018-2019 anniversary season:

Chicago (Musical Comedy)

Set in the roaring twenties, with its universal tale of fame, fortune and “All That Jazz,” Chicago is packed with show-stopping songs and spectacular Fosse-style choreography. Earning 6 Tony Awards, a Grammy® and the record for the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, Chicago sets the bar for entertainment. With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse, and script adaptation by David Thompson, Chicago is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. Dazzling and enduring, Chicago will be performed in Blackburn Hall June 28-July 29, 2018.

Peter and the Starcatcher (Family Friendly Comedy)

Tony-winning Peter and the Starcatcher up-ends the century old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (a.k.a. Peter Pan). From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, Peter and the Starcatcher playfully explores the depths of greed and despair… and the bonds of friendship, duty and love. Written by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and with music by Wayne Barker, this imaginative and magical story will be performed in Blackburn Hall October 3-28, 2018.

June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce (TNP’s First World-Premiere Comedy)

Reminiscent of great sitcom humor, this quick-witted comedy introduces an unforgettable collection of zany neighbors and friends who try to save June and Jason from a looming divorce. Fun and fresh, June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce comes from the wild and creative mind of local playwright and actor Laura Lorusso. It will be performed in Tobye Studio Exclusive October 24-November 18, 2018.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Holiday Musical)

Veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former army commander. The dazzling score features 17 well-known Irving Berlin standards including “Blue Skies,” “I Love a Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.” Based on the beloved and timeless Paramount Pictures film of the same name, this heartwarming musical adaptation features a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. It will be performed in Blackburn Hall November 28-December 23, 2018.

Don’t Dress for Dinner (Comedy)

With a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert, Bernard’s plans for a romantic rendezvous with his mistress are complete. 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. Penned by Marc Camoletti and adapted by Robin Hawdon, this clever and rollicking comedy centers will be performed in Blackburn Hall January 16-February 10, 2019.

Marjorie Prime (Pulitzer Prize Finalist)

In the future, the inevitable pain of losing a loved one is mitigated through 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,” an A.I. hologram of her late husband Walter. The vaporous and shifting nature of memory and the power it holds in relationships is illuminated as Walter Prime begins to assimilate the stories of Marjorie’s memories as his own. Written by Jordan Harrison, this insightful and visionary story will be performed in Tobye Studio Exclusive February 6-March 3, 2019.

Guys & Dolls (Musical Comedy)

Considered one of the greatest musicals of all time, Guys and Dolls is filled with some of the most wonderful show tunes ever written, including “Luck Be a Lady,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and the irrepressible anthem “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Guys and Dolls will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face and remind you how much fun it is to see a revival of a classic American musical! With book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and based on The Idyll of Sarah Brown and characters by Damon Runyon, this masterful and unforgettable musical will be performed in Blackburn Hall March 6-April 7, 2019.

Always a Bridesmaid (Comedy)

In this hilarious comedic romp, four friends have sworn to keep the promise they made on the night of their Senior Prom: to be in each other’s weddings…no matter what. More than thirty years later, these Southern friends-for-life are still making “the long walk” for each other, determined to honor that vow. Written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones & Nicholas Hope, look for this quirky and loveable play to be performed in Tobye Studio Exclusive March 27-April 20, 2019.

Lost in Yonkers (Comedy)

During the 1940s, two young brothers find their lives turned upside down when their father moves south for work, leaving them with their no-nonsense grandmother, their loving but absent-minded spinster Aunt Bella, and her small-time hoodlum brother in a strange new world called Yonkers. This heartfelt and nostalgic Neil Simon comedy will be performed in Blackburn Hall May 1-26, 2019.

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Fort Myers Art Walk returns to River District tonight (06-01-18)

June 2016 Music Walk 01The River District will come alive tonight when Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers. Now a two-day event, Art Walk will continue Saturday, June 2, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With exciting new exhibits and live art demonstrations, rain or shine, this is a “must attend event.”

New exhibits include exceptional art in a variety of mediums done by a bevy of local artists and some June 2016 Music Walk 02national and international artists as well.  You can meet the artists and talk art at the self-guided Friday night event, which brings together art enthusiasts, collectors and community friends who celebrate the arts each month. The Friday night Art Walk sees First Street closed to traffic. Local artists set up in the street selling their art, and face painting is offered at several Bicycles on Parade 03locations along First Street. And at the Broadway and First Street intersection, the Fort Myers Art League will be hosting a “Make It/Take It” table for children of all ages.

Saturday Art Walk is a quieter affair with most of the galleries open for examining the art at more leisurely pace. This new and improved version of Art Walk includes 14 galleries and art stops, including:

  • Anything GoesAmerican Legion Veterans Gallery showing Art done by Veterans
  • Art League of Fort Myers – new exhibits each month
  • Arts for ACT Gallery – features three or more art exhibits every month plus co-op members art
  • Bootlegger Alley Gallery – outdoor gallery open only during Art Walk in The Patio de Leon
  • Ford's GarageGrand Illusion Gallery – art, tee shirts and more
  • Marc Harris Wildlife Photography – on Jackson Street
  • Miville Art Gallery – art and photography in the Franklin Shops
  • Ollie Mack Gentry Photography – photography  at 2180 West First Street
  • Reverie & Rock Art Gallery – concert Hideaway Sports Bar April 2013B (3)photography and Surrealistic digital art
  • Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center – Main Gallery Exhibit and Capitol Exhibit on the 3rd Floor
  • The Barrel Room – Jazz art – on Bay Street
  • Timeless Gallery – gallery and gift shop featuring steampunk art and more
  • Two Newts Gallery – co-op gallery located off Horse Drawn Carriage 01 (4)West First Street at 2064 Bayside Parkway
  • Unit A – urban contemporary gallery of internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen located in Gardener’s Park

As this survey of participating galleries reveals, Fort Myers Art Walk spans the core of downtown Fort Myers and includes the Gardener’s Park area Trolleyand West First Street. Most of the action is located on First Street, but you can obtain a Fort Myers Art Walk map at any of the galleries that will lead you to all the art venues and Art Walk partners.  “Enjoy cultural venues, restaurants, bars and businesses, plus live music,” touts the River District Alliance. “Watch live art demos on First Street, eat amazing food, shop the unique local boutiques or just enjoy the atmosphere.”

United Cafe Under the LightsSo whether you prefer the energy of night or the calm of day, there’s something for everyone during this new-and-improved weekend of art that Fort Myers still calls Art Walk.

The best way to get to Fort Myers Art Walk:

  • off I-75 North: Exit #141 then west on Palm Lambo 2Beach Blvd
  • off I-75 South: Exit #138 then west on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
  • From U.S. 41 Northbound: exit at Historic District McGregor Blvd., Right turn or
  • From U.S. 41 Southbound Exit before the Caloosahatchee bridge.

Sax outside Hotel IndigoThere is free street parking and $5.00 at any of the parking garages.  In season ride the free River District Trolley. Fort Myers Art Walk is a Pet and Family Friendly free event! Fort Myers Art Walk is hosted by The River District Alliance, a non-profit organization. For more information, please visit www.fortmyersriverdistrictalliance.com.

To become a volunteer, partner or sponsor of Fort Myers Art Walk, contact Claudia Goode via cgoode@actabuse.com.

 

 

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‘X’ marks the spot tonight at the Davis Art Center (06-01-18)

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is marking its 10th anniversary season with a juried exhibition that challenges artists to interpret the symbol X.

“Icons have power,” observes the prospectus for the show. “They evoke memories, experiences, and information stored in the collective unconscious. Of these icons, the symbol X has many evocative meanings: X marks the spot. X speaks of intersections. X is numeric. X is the most controversial rating. X indicates elimination. X is where we sign. X is how we sign. X signals a choice made. X is a variable. X expresses the power of magnification. X is marked of an unknown identity.”

Explore the meaning of this powerful symbol in the June Juried Exhibition. The opening reception takes place tonight during Art Walk.

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CFABS ‘Black and White’ exhibition opens tonight (06-01-18)

The next exhibit at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs opens June 1 with a 6:00-8:00 p.m. reception. Titled Black and White, the exhibition explores what artists can say when they remove the impact of color from the creative process and emphasize texture, line, and composition as the foundations for powerful images and sculpture. The exhibition runs through June 28.

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Six artist show at Naples’ Thomas Riley Studio closes today (06-01-18)

On view now through June 1 at Thomas Riley Studio in Naples is a group exhibition of new works by artists Matthew Shlian, Shizue Imae, Kim Keever, Josh Wojick, Jason Krugman and Jamie Harris. Thomas Riley Studio is located in the heart of the Naples Design District at 26 10th Street South, Naples, FL 34102. For more information, please telephone 239-529-2633.

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FBI Art Crimes Team recovers Chagall nearly 30 years after painting stolen from Manhattan apartment (06-01-18)

While Marc Chagall lived in Paris, he did a painting of sworded Othello looking at his bride, Desdemona, as she reclined on her bed. Ernest and Rose Heller bought the painting in the 1920s, and added it to their private collection, which included paintings and sculptures by a coterie of renowned artists that included Picasso, Renoir and Hopper.

The couple went on vacation in 1988. When they returned to their Upper Eastside Manhattan apartment, a number of their paintings, including the Chagall, were gone. As it turned out, the thief worked in the building and broke into a number of apartments while the tenants were away.

The thief dealt the Chagall to a Maryland man in the late 1980s or early ‘90s. He initially tried to sell the painting, but when the transaction fell through, he made a custom box for the painting out of a door jamb and plywood, marked the box “Misc. High School artwork,” and stashed it in his attic for some 20 years.

He tried to consign the painting for sale at a Washington D.C. art gallery in 2011 and again in 2017. The gallery owner declined to accept it because the Maryland man didn’t have a shred of paperwork supporting the painting’s authenticity or provenance. Convinced that the painting was unmarketable at any price without proper paperwork, the Maryland man surrendered the painting to local field office of the FBI.

“Gallery owners are our first line of defense in identifying pieces of art that do not have the appropriate documentation and should be brought to the attention of law enforcement,” said Special Agent Harc Hess, one of a handful of investigators on the Bureau’s specialized Art Crime Team.

The Hellers both died prior to the FBI’s recovery of their painting, so the Chagall is being returned to their estate, which plans to place it on auction. The proceeds from the painting’s sale will reimburse the insurance company that paid the theft claim years ago, with the balance being distributed to several non-profit organizations supported by the estate, including an artists’ colony in New Hampshire.

The statute of limitations for the theft has expired, so no charges can be brought against either the Maryland man or the individual who stole the painting. However, court documents reveal that the suspected thief in the case was convicted in federal court and served time on charges related to selling stolen property, including art from other apartment buildings.

“The investigation into the other missing paintings continues,” Hess said.

“As the FBI returns this painting to the estate of its proper owners, we do so with the purpose of preserving history,” Nancy McNamara, the Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office. “This piece of artwork is of significance not just for its monetary value, but for its place in the world of art and culture. The FBI continues to commit investigative resources to recover cultural property.”

The FBI established a rapid deployment Art Crime Team in 2004. The team is composed of 16 special agents, each responsible for addressing art and cultural property crime cases in an assigned geographic region. The Art Crime Team is coordinated through the FBI’s Art Theft Program, located at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Art Crime Team agents receive specialized training in art and cultural property investigations and assist in art related investigations worldwide in cooperation with foreign law enforcement officials and FBI legal attaché offices. Since its inception, the Art Crime Team has recovered more than 14,850 items valued at over $165 million.

 

 

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