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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news March 1-7, 2020

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

 

1     ART EXHIBITS

 

Edison Ford Estates hosting two art presentations on March 4

The Edison Ford Winter Estates is hosting two art-related presentations by fine art conservator Jeremy Fogg on March 4.

The first is titled “Real or Fake: How to tell if an oil painting is genuine,” and will focus on inspection techniques, material identification, and clues to look for when identifying the origin and age of a painting. Part of the monthly volunteer lecture series, the presentation will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the South Florida Water Management building at 2301 McGregor Boulevard.

The second addresses the process of conserving oil paintings. To illustrate the subject, Fogg will examine paintings in the Edison Ford archives that need conservation work. Participants will be able to see a painting that has had conservation work done and will be unveiled for the first time in many years. This presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. and registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/art-conservation-talk-with-jeremy-fogg-tickets-90515338815.

Fogg is the owner of Anthony Moore Painting Conservation in York, Maine. He has restored, researched, and sold works by some of the world’s most famous artists, including Raphael, John Singer Sargent, Gilbert Stuart, Rockwell Kent and many more. In January 2017, he and his business partners purchased the long-standing fine art auction house, Barridoff Galleries, based in Portland Maine.

Both presentations are free; however, donations are encouraged. For more information, visit the website at www.edisonford.org.

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Here are the artists in this year’s All Florida Juried Exhibit

The Alliance for the Arts’ has published the names of the artists who’ve been juried into the 34th Annual Juried All Florida, which runs March 6-28. This year’s exhibition features pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media which come together for an exciting show representing today’s Florida artists.

Accepted artists include:

  • Eileen Amster,
  • Cynthia Barbanera-Wedel,
  • David Belling,
  • Della Boynton,
  • Mila Bridger,
  • Stephen Bufter,
  • Deborah Butler,
  • Marcy Calkins,
  • Dennis Church,
  • Carol Coates,
  • Steve Conley,
  • Michael Danley,
  • Taylord Dezeme,
  • Kathleen Durdin,
  • Sharon Eng,
  • Alejandro Estrada,
  • Stacey Fletcher,
  • Muffy Clark Gill,
  • Kristin Herzog,
  • Del Holt,
  • Priscilla Jeffcoat,
  • Pamela Jones,
  • Jay Lana,
  • JoAnn LaPadula,
  • Jean Mau,
  • Dave McFarlane,
  • John Merchant,
  • Kellen Mills,
  • Lucy Nesheim,
  • Gregory Presley,
  • Whit Robbins,
  • Roy Rodriguez,
  • Sherry Rohl,
  • Thomas Roth,
  • Rita Schwab,
  • Cree Scudder,
  • Joel Shapses,
  • Dale Smith,
  • Paul Stackpole,
  • Richard Stanton,
  • Erin Stein,
  • Grayson Stoff,
  • Daniel Venditti,
  • Christina Wyatt,
  • Barbara Yeomans and
  • Peter Zell.

This year’s juror is Amanda Poss (right). Poss received her MA in Art History from the University of South Florida in 2015 specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art, and a BA from the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2011. Poss currently holds the position of Gallery Director at Gallery221@Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry campus, where she also manages the Public Art Program, Grounds4Art@HCC, and oversees a growing Permanent Art Collection.

The opening celebration will be March 6 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The event is free to attend and features a live performance by Gulf Coast Symphony. Poss will be on hand to present awards including $1,000 cash for Best In Show, a 2nd place $250 gift certificate for Golden Artists Colors, $100 cash for 3rd place and Jurors Choice Award(s) of Alliance for the Arts membership(s).

Meet and engage with the juror during a conversational tour through the gallery on March 7 at 10:00 a.m. during the Alliance for the Arts weekly GreenMarket, where Poss will discuss her selections for the exhibit, the context behind them and the environment of contemporary art in Florida today.

Work by local photographer Katy Canca Galli will be on display in the Theatre Lobby Gallery. Displaying her latest abstract works, Marie Collier will be on display in the Members Gallery.

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

All Florida is sponsored by Family Thrift Center.

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

Photos:

  1. A Slice of Life by Taylord Dezeme
  2. Jerusalem Rabbis by Dave McFarlane
  3. Feeling the Glow by JoAnn LaPadula
  4. Vexations, for Chuck by Kellen Mills

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Maria Ramona Sanchez is DAAS CO-OP’s featured artist for March

In the month of March, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts will feature the whimsical works of Maria Ramona Sanchez. The exhibition is a collection of surrealist pieces created within recent years. The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2020 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk event. The pieces will be on display through March 28, 2020.

Maria Ramona Sanchez  is a self-taught artist whose medium is oil on wood, canvas and handmade paper.

“The moon lives in its secular cycles and rhythms,” says of her motifs.” Creatures of diverse origin flow with it in a cosmic dance. With its intangible light fills hearts with magic.”

Painting is a deep and integral part of this artist’s life.

“It is a perceptual adventure, and my most pleasing support whenever giving or receiving anything. My paintings and their inhabitants come without effort, sometimes surprised to find themselves in them. And they arrive with a mission: that of populating the universe with beauty, love and a serene happiness.”

Sanchez’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Latin America, the United States and Europe. She has also participated in important art fairs (Chicago, Art Miami, Art Santa Fe, Red Dot Art) and museum exhibitions (MOLA, Long Beach, Santa Fe Museum of History in New Mexico, Naples Museum of Art and National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba). Many of her paintings are part of important private collections worldwide. She has also rendered big format works that are part of public and private places.

Sanchez has also illustrated books for children and youngsters (Scholastic/Lectorum in US and Everest, Spain).

Maria Ramona Sanchez  was born in Havana, Cuba in 1952. She graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in Spanish Literature. She currently lives and works in Southwest Florida.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, Unit 3, in Fort Myers, FL 33901. Business hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

More information about gallery and/or how to become a member can be found at daascoop.com or by calling 239-590-8645.

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‘Beatriz Monteavaro: Vacation’ at Bob Rauschenberg Gallery through March 28

Beatriz Monteavaro: Vacation is on view at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College through March 28. The show presents a survey of drawings, designs for concert flyers and comics/zines, and large-scale art objects that Beatriz Monteavaro has created over more than two decades.

This immersive installation takes its title from the 1982  Billboard Top 10-charting single and RIAA Gold-certified studio album of the same name by the seminal “all-female” Punk/New Wave group, The Go-Go’s.  The heroines of several adventurous and densely-drawn narratives included in the exhibition, The Go-Go’s are recurring characters in the work of Beatriz Monteavaro and provided early inspiration for the artist and four of her teenage friends to pay tribute to the band by dressing-up as the band for a Halloween show in the 1980s. Fulfilling a childhood dream and literally coaxing one frequent subject of Monteavaro’s art to life, the Rauschenberg Gallery is pleased to welcome The Go-Go’s co-founder Jane Wiedlin during the reception for this one-night-only “in-person” appearance.

Cuban-born, Beatriz Monteavaro received a BFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Her art has been influenced by monster movies, science fiction, Disneyworld (especially it’s themed Adventureland area, a midcentury representation of Africa, Asia, Polynesia, and The Caribbean), and music scenes including the 1970’s English punk and the Miami underground surrounding Churchill’s Pub, which she has been a part of since 1991. Her work has been exhibited in venues such as Annina Nosei Gallery, New York; Miami Art Museum, Miami; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; NFA Space, Chicago; The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C; Tent, Rotterdam; Galerie Edward Mitterrand, Geneva; Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris; The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum at FIU, Miami, among others.

She has had solo exhibitions at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles; Derek Eller Gallery, NYC; Galerie Sultana, Paris; Locust Projects, Miami; Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami; Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Miami; The University Galleries at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, The Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo, FL; and CUNSTHAUS, Tampa, FL.

Her work has been reviewed and featured in Flash Art, ArtUS, ArtNews and Art Papers.

Monteavaro plays drums for SAAVIK and is one half of the band Holly Hunt. She has a solo sound project called Ellen Ripley. Monteavaro works at a record store, which she considers part of her practice.  The artist lives and works in Miami.

For additional information, please telephone 239-489-9313 or visit www.RauschenbergGallery.com. The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery  is located on the Fort Myers campus of Florida SouthWestern State College at 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919.

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Naples Art will be ‘Daydreaming’ in April and May

Daydreams: Fantastical Wanderings of the Brain will be exhibited by Naples Art in Gallery 104 between April 7 and May 26, 2020. The possibilities are endless when artists use daydreams as their inspiration. Mind wandering, fantasy and spontaneous thoughts all lend themselves to some very creative artwork. If you’d like to participate in this show, then please deliver one exhibit-ready artwork on March 30, 2020 between 12 noon and 4:00 p.m.

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2       Outdoor Art Fairs and Festivals

 

2020 Pine Island Arts and Craft Show ends today 

The final day of the 2020 Pine Island Arts and Crafts Show takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. today at VFW Post 4353 at 8150 Stringfellow Road (2nd left following Woodstock Road) on Pine Island. It will host a variety of craft vendors and artisans as well as few retail vendors selling their items. You will find both handmade goods and some quality buy-sell items. Food vendors will also be present on-site.

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1st Wednesday Studio & Gallery Tour back at Naples Art District on March 4

On Wednesday, March 4, the more than three dozen galleries and artist studios that comprise the Naples Art District open their doors to the public from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Called 1st Wednesday Studio & Gallery Tour, 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 60 emerging and mid-career artists working in a broad cross-section of genres and media. Look for the magenta and white art flags. Call 239-289-5-70 for more information.

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Next Fort Myers Art Walk on March 6 and 7

The River District will come alive on March 6 when Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers. Now a two-day event, Art Walk will continue Saturday, March 7, 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 national 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 locations 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:

  • American 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
  • Grand 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
  • 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 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 and 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.”

So 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. There 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.

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Art in the Park is Saturday, March 7

On Saturday, March 7, Art in the Park returns to Park Street, adjacent to The Naples Art Association. Located just a block and a half from historic Fifth Avenue South, Art in the Park is within walking distance of trendy European boutiques, sidewalk cafes and iconic art galleries such as Sheldon Fine ArtCall of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery of Fine Art. The show is also just three minutes by car from fabled Gallery Row and the Third Street South Gallery District and the Crayton Cove art district. Since 1957, Art in the Park has been showcasing paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass art, jewelry and wood-working created by members in good standing of the Naples Art Association. You can find more information on Southwest Florida’s longest running fine arts and craft fair at http://www.naplesart.org/content/art-park-2011-2012.

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Third installment of Bonita Springs National Art Festival is March 7 & 8

The Bonita Springs National Art Festival returns to Riverside Park in Bonita Springs for the final time in 2020 on the weekend of March 7 & 8. Like its January and February editions, this festival places a heavy emphasis on quality and originality, with the more than 200 artists juried into the show from across the United States, Canada, South America and even Europe exhibiting and selling original paintings, drawings, pastels, photography, handcrafted jewelry, clay works and ceramics, glass art, metal sculpture and more. Together with the festivals held in January and March, this show is a major fundraiser for the Center of the Arts of Bonita Springs.

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Art League of Marco Fine Craft Fair is March 7 & 8

acrylicThe Art League of Marco Island Fine Craft Fair takes place on the weekend of March 7 & 8. This fair is held at 1010 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island, Florida 34145, which is toward the southern pastelend of the island. This craft fair provides browsers and art enthusiasts with some of the region’s best original artwork, including paintings, watercolors, photography and digital art, ceramics, pottery, glass, clothing, children’s clothing, jewelry and mixed media work.

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3.      FILM

 

Bonita Springs International Film Fest ends today

Today is the last day of the Fifth Annual Bonita International Film Festival. The film festival is an expression of CFABS’ longstanding appreciation of film as an art form and is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.

The Centers launched their Film for Film Lovers series in 2008, offering one film per month for three months. Over time, Film for Film Lovers was expanded and now features films every Monday. The Centers launched their Foreign Film Series in 2012, and added the impressive Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers in early 2015, with showings on the first Tuesday of each month. Today, thousands of Southwest Florida residents and visitors attend these screenings, so it was only logical to add a multi-day film festival to the equation.

Go here for the rest of this notice.

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BIFF Closing Night Party to feature ‘Love is a Rose’ Linda Ronstadt tribute band

Closing night at the Bonita International Film Festival will include a film, an awards ceremony and a concert by a Linda Ronstadt tribute band, Love is a Rose.

With full-on vocal prowess, Paula Hanke and Peggy Ratusz light up the stage as they belt-out the iconic hits of Linda Ronstadt while adding personal stories and historic accounts of her impressive career. Highlights include up-tempo hits such as “When Will I Be Loved” to the tender “What’s New.”

Paula Hanke and Peggy Ratusz both consider Linda Ronstadt a key influence upon their singing as well as a role model for strong women everywhere. So when they heard in 2013 that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease – and also learned that the singer had no intention of letting the affliction define her life, much less turn her into the object of public pity – they decided to put together a tribute covering material spanning stretching back to the late ‘60s and spanning her entire career.

The rest of this post is here.

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If it’s time for BIFF, then it’s time for another Judy Copeland short film

They’re back. Mark Stolzenberg and Judy Copeland are returning to Bonita International Film Festival with another short film. This year, their 15-minute comedy My Father’s Fabulous Funeral will be screened during BIFF’s Shorts Package II beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 29.

As the title suggests, the film is a quirky comedy about a dysfunctional family who struggle to give their oddball father a fitting funeral. The wrinkle here is that they must overcome ridiculous difficulties imposed by their obnoxious stepmother. Directed by Stolzenberg, the film stars Copeland (Annie), Ronald Cohen (Alan), Joe Giordano (Ben), Joannie Mackenzie (Myra), Peter Rosenblatt (Sam), Jewel Rouge (Soldier), Mark Stolzenberg (Michael) and Lorraine Cohen (as herself). It has already screened at the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival, where it was a Best World Premiere nominee, and the American Filmatic Arts Awards in Brooklyn, where Copeland won the award for Best Short Story and Stolzenberg picked up the Best Short Comedy award.

For more, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘My Father’s Fabulous Funeral’ actor/co-producer Judy Copeland

After a lengthy lay-off, Naples resident Judy Copeland has returned to the genre of film as an independent film producer, actor and creative mind. Her return has been, in a word, triumphant.

The lay-off occurred early in Copeland’s life. After studying theatre at Boston University, Judy had big plans for a career in film or theater. Like many aspiring actors, she waited tables to earn a living while auditioning for roles. Then, she came to the realization that she just couldn’t waitress one more day, so she gave up acting, got a real job, and established a career outside of film and stage (which included serving as a Director of Marketing and Communications at Morgan Stanley). But after retiring to Florida, she decided to return to what she really loves doing. Since then, she’s been in several films, including Actors Anonymous (2018), Talk to Me (2017), Happy Family (2016), The Bright Side (2016), Sisters (2015), I Love You, Now Die (2014), Shlomo Pussycat and Tommy and Teresa.

The rest of Judy’s profile is here.

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‘In Tango’ filmmaker Marilu Holmes talks inspiration and challenges in making the film

Marilu Holmes’ short film In Tango screens on Saturday during the Bonita International Film Festival’s Short Package II. It’s a film about romance, redemption and the benefits that come from getting to know the people you meet rather than prejudging them based on brief encounters.

In Tango is Holmes’ second filmmaking effort. She previously wrote the screenplay, produced and starred in the 2017 indie Thinking Out Loud, a comedic short about what would happen if our thoughts could be heard.

She and co-producer Wendy White shot that film with tricked out iPhone 6s.

Although Holmes again wrote the screenplay for In Tango (she also stars in, directs and produces the film), this time around she hired a cameraman.

Go here for the rest of this piece.

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‘Meat Girls’ filmmaker Gabriella Griego displays Tarantino tendencies

The Youth Shortz package at this year’s Bonita Springs International Film Festival included 11 wonderful films directed and produced by aspiring young filmmakers from the United States, Australia, Canada and Iran, including Meat Girls Inc. by Gabriella C. Griego.

Meat Girls is a futuristic 7-minute short that Gabriella wrote, shot, edited and produced as a class assignment at Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH) in the Miami Design District, where she is a junior. The film takes us into the future, where we discover that the planet’s human population has burgeoned to 50 billion people. Not surprisingly, food is in short supply. In an effort to prevent widespread starvation and attendant war, people are being induced to “volunteer” for a mind-control program under which they are harvested like a farm animal for their meat. In fact, they assume the characteristics of animals, and in one disturbing scene, the film depicts a young Asian girl crawling on all fours and pushing her face into a plate of food which has been placed for her on the floor as if she were a cat or a dog.

Go here for more.

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BIFF 5 announces winners in 10 indie film categories

The 5th Annual Bonita Springs International Film Festival wrapped up Sunday night with the announcement of winners in ten categories:

Kids Shortz:  Oh, The Places You’ve Been, a 9-minute film in which a specific demographic travels to new places and old via VR; produced by Lighthouse Studios.

Florida Youth:  Reserved, a 6-minute film about connection and familiarity in spite of the difficulties life throws at us; directed by Hannah Cheesman.

Florida Adult: My Father’s Fabulous Funeral, a quirky 15-minute comedy about a dysfunctional family struggling to give their oddball father a fitting funeral despite the difficulties presented by their obnoxious stepmother; directed by Mark Stolzenberg and produced by Mark Schulman, Judy Copeland, Mark Stolzenberg and Eric H. Alexander.

You will find the rest of the winners here.

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Taika Waititi’s dramedy ‘JoJo Rabbit’ wins BIFF Tom Falciglia People’s Choice Award

The Tom Falciglia People’s Choice Award at this year’s Bonita Beach International Film Festival went to JoJo Rabbit.

JoJo Rabbit is a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

Go here for the rest of this post.

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James Cotton’s ‘Tiger Claw’ wins BIFF’s Best Short Narrative award

Taking Short Narrative honors at this year’s Bonita Beach International Film Festival was James Cotton’s kung fu action film Tiger Claw, in which some low-level criminals are callin’ for a maulin’.

The short features a trio of kung fu enthusiasts who are on their way to a regional tournament when they witness a small-scale jewelry heist. Unlike the Seinfeld foursome, this trio sets aside their personal quest for Golden Dragon Trophy and pursues the thieves in their garish orange van to a dark and dank warehouse (where else?). What happens next is a mash-up and homage to iconic martial arts stars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Gordon Liu (Pai Mei in Kill Bill Volume 2) ….

Go here for the rest of this story.

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Kickin’ it with ‘La Vista’ filmmaker Pedro Cohen

Among the indie films screened at this year’s Bonita Springs International Film Festival was La Visita, a short film with horror elements starring Pedro Pablo Porras as a man who must face his own demons and Daniel Lugo as Lucifer.

“There are not many films that explore mental health,” explained Miami filmmaker Pedro Cohen during the film festival.

“Many people face mental health issues, so it’s important to let people know that they’re not alone and that there are people they can turn to and rely upon when they need assistance.”

Go here for the rest of this review.

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TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on March 2

The Fort Myers Film Festival returns on March 2 to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s grand atrium.

New to the term? Well, the acronym stands for “Thank God for Indie Monday,” and symbolizes the anticipation and excitement that area indie film lovers feel as the first Monday of the month draws near each season. That’s when hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven screen a number of the indie short and short short films that have been submitted for inclusion in the Fort Myers Film Festival.

The rest of this advance is here.

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Spotlight on March, 2020 TGIM celebrity judge Marc Collins

The final edition of Season 10’s TGIM comes to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center tonight, and among the esteemed panel of celebrity judges that hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven have assembled for the occasion is Marc Collins.

Marc sits on the board and development committee of SalusCare of Fort Myers. Since 2013, the Florida based not-for-profit company has been providing mental health and substance abuse services  to more than 16,000 adults and children in Southwest Florida. Operating several locations throughout Southwest Florida, SalusCare employs more than 400 people. But many know Marc locally through “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” an annual SalusCare fundraiser that features local luminaries (like Eric Raddatz, Downtown Diva Stephanie Davis, Fort Myers News-Press/Tropicalia writer Amy Bennett Williams and Gina Birch) in the role of stand-up comics.

Go here for more on Marc.

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Spotlight on March, 2020 TGIM celebrity judge Sarah Owen

Seated at the celebrity judging table for tonight’s TGIM screenings will be SalusCare’s Marc Collins, Valerie House’s Angela Melvin, actor April Florio and Southwest Florida Community Foundation President & CEO Sarah Owen.

At SFCF, Owen leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to cultivating regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to connecting the community through conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and leveraging the funding to make those changes a reality.

You will find more on Sarah here.

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Spotlight on March, 2020 TGIM celebrity judge Angela Melvin

Seated at the celebrity judging table for tonight’s TGIM screenings will be Angela Melvin. She’ll be joined for tonight’s final TGIM of the 2019-2020 season by Marc Collins (SalusCare), Sarah Owen (Southwest Florida Community Foundation) and actor April Florio.

Born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida, Angela Melvin is the Founder of Valerie’s House, an organization that focuses on providing children and families who have lost a loved one a loving place where they can grieve together and learn the tools to go on and live fulfilling lives.

As a 10-year-old in Fort Myers, Angela lost her mother, Valerie, to a car accident.

Go here for more on Angela.

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Spotlight on March, 2020 TGIM celebrity judge April Florio 

One of the celebrity judges who will be on hand tonight for the final TGIM screening of the 2019-2020 season is Kids Incorporated superstar April Florio.

Florio has gained expertise in a myriad of professions over the course of her career. In addition to building a reputation as a public relations and marketing guru at Music Center in Melbourne, she has also done web design, photography and event planning. She also writes and records music (she was a soul and R&B singer in her late teens). As a runway model, she has appeared in ad campaigns for Marie Claire, Twist, Seventeen, Maxim Pijan Perfrum, FHM (Australia/UK) and even Quaker State Motor Oil. While living in New York City, she also worked as an actress and in public relations for nightclubs, clothing companies and A-List celebrities.

Go here for more on April.

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4      THEATER

 

‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ closes March 1 with 2:00 p.m. matinee

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom is just as hysterical, quirky, and off-kilter as its title suggests. A gut-busting piece of camp, the show has attracted something of a cult following since its debut the Limbo Lounge in New York City’s East Village in 1984 that’s reminiscent of The Rocky Horror Show. In fact, it puts Rocky Horror’s fabled irreverence, the gender-bending characters, schlocky horror film aesthetic, awful puns, sinister innocence and harmless depravity on steroids. But the show closes March 1 with a 2:00 p.m. matinee.

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom tells the saga of two eponymous immortal vampire lesbians – a creature known as The Succubus (who is also known as La Condessa or Magda Legerdemaine) and a virgin-turned-vampire who becomes known as Madelaine Astarte and Madelaine Andrews. These fatally seductive vampiresses first cross paths in ancient Sodom and over the next two thousand years, their bitter rivalry as bloodsuckers but more importantly, as actresses, makes stops in 1920’s silent movie Hollywood and contemporary Las Vegas.

You will find the rest of this advance here.

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

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‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ big on camp, laughs and ATTITUDE

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom closes today at the Alliance for the Arts. It’s a campy, kitschy hour or so romp that’s big on attitude with a capital A. And that’s precisely why Bill Taylor and June Koc’s cast is comprised by the likes of Joey Bostic, Imani Lee Williams, Chris Heartthrob Heartwell, Kayleigh O’Connell, the ab-and-thigh brothers Grant Cothran and Nemo Philor, Jamie Carmichael and Jim Buh-Dum-Bum Yarnes. Go here for full review.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbian of Sodom’ Succubus Imani Lee Williams

Imani Lee Williams is playing Succubus/Condessa in the Alliance for the Arts’ upcoming production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. The Succubus (who is also known as La Condessa or Magda Legerdemaine) vies for supremacy with a virgin-turned-vampire who becomes known as Madelaine Astarte and Madelaine Andrews in a contest stretching more than 2,000 years from ancient Sodom to present day Sodom, er Las Vegas.

Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Imani Lee Williams began her career as a member of Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YE.A). She received classical training while attending DeKalb School of the Arts. Her recent credits include Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible (Lab Theater), Jo in Lab Theater’s Southwest Florida premiere of The Legend of Georgia McBride, Penny Pennywise in TheatreZone’s production of Urinetown and the Vagina Monologues (“My Angry Vagina”). She also has more than a decade of improvisational experience, with the most recent being her membership in Florida State University’s No Bears Allowed.

Go here for a full delineation of Imani’s growing theatrical credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ virgin, Madelaine Astarte

Joey Bostic is playing virgin-turned-vampire Madelaine Astarte (aka Madelaine Andrews) in the Alliance for the Arts’ upcoming production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Astarte vies for supremacy with The Succubus (known as La Condessa or Magda Legerdemaine) in a contest stretching more than 2,000 years from ancient Sodom to present day Sodom, er Las Vegas.

Bostic is a Fort Myers based actor and aspiring director. Most recently, he took New Phoenix Theatre by storm in the role of Frank N Furter in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, a performance that followed his performance as the butler Jacob in La Cage Aux Folles. 

To see all of Joey’s stage and related credits, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ actor Kayleigh O’Connell

Kayleigh O’Connell plays Renee Vein/Tracey in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Kayleigh has been working in theater for twenty years. Over that span, she had done everything from performing, stage management, set design and playwriting. Among her acting credits are Andorra (the Village Idiot),  Every Christmas Story Ever Told (multiple roles), the Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940sCrimes of the Heart (condescending cousin Chick Boyle), Sordid LivesPlay On! (feather-dusting Marla Smitty Smith), the campy cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane – a Parody of the Horror (Elvira), Anything Goes (Florida Rep), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Florida Rep) and Hairspray for North Fort Myers High School for the Performing Arts.

The rest of Kayleigh’s profile is here.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ actor Grant Cothren 

Grant Cothren plays Hujar/Zack in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. His credits include The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre (Joe), Marian: The True Tale of Robin Hood for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts (Little John), Don’t Dress for Dinner at Cultural Park Theatre (George) and the husband in a SoCo play produced by Theatre Conspiracy.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ actor Chris Heartwell

Chris Heartwell plays King/Danny in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. 

Chris knows a little somethin’ about performing in a show that’s attracted a strong cult following since its inception. Earlier this season, he played Rocky Horror in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show to rave reviews.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ actor Nuniez Philor

Nuniez Philor plays Ali/PJ in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. 

Philor is a young actor who is taking his first fledgling steps into the brave new world of theater. A recent FGCU graduate who focused on psychology and theater, the Fort Myers native last performed in Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage after appearing as Seth Holly in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ actor Jim Yarnes

Jim Yarnes plays Etienne in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Like Johnny Depp in the genre of film, local actor Jim Yarnes is building a reputation for playing off-kilter and larger-than-life characters. Among his acting credits are the world’s second greatest classical composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations and Pinchwife (an abusively possessive husband who locks his young bride in a room rather than risk her seduction by a London rascal) in The Country WifeGo here for Jim’s entire resume.

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Spotlight on ‘Vampire Lesbians’ actor Jamie Carmichael

Jamie Carmichael plays Oatsie Carewe and the vampire slayer in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. He is a teacher, director and actor who has been extremely fortunate to have worked on stage and behind the scenes at many of Southwest Florida’s theatres.

This is actually the second time Jamie has played this role for Theatre Conspiracy- the first being around about 15 years ago.

He has been out of the spotlight for a while but is excited to be back and is ready to sink his teeth into such a fun role once again!  He can’t thank his friends and family enough for their support and encouragement!

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Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance producing August Wilson’s ‘King Hedley II’

Playwright August Wilson makes his triumphant return to the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts on Saturday, March 7 with King Hedley II. This is the fourth production in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s ongoing commitment to produce each of the ten plays in August Wilson’s Century Cycle. Directed by Sonya McCarter, King Hedley II stars Derek Lively as the King and Tijuanna Clemons, Lemec Bernard, Dwayne Donnell, Cantrella Canady and Chris McCarter.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info

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Spotlight on ‘King Hedley’ actor Derek Lively

Derek Lively is an actor, playwright and screenwriter. Since relocating to Fort Myers from New York City in 2015, Lively has starred as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Katori Hall’s Mountaintop, Frederick Douglass in The Agitators, Walter Lee Younger in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Lorraine Hanberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Canewell in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. A member in good standing in both the Actor’s Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Lively will play the part of the King in August Wilson’s King Hedley II for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.

For more on Derek, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘King Hedley’ actor Tijuanna Clemons

Tijuanna Clemons is an aspiring young Southwest Florida actor whose stage credits include Diana Dahner in Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage, Bertha Holly in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Louise in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, all for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts. She appears next in the role of Ruby in August Wilson’s King Hedley II.

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Spotlight on ‘King Hedley’ actor Cantrella Canady

Cantrella Canady is one of the best young actors in Southwest Florida today. She appears regularly in productions at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Laboratory Theater of Florida, Cultural Park Theatre, The Naples Players and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. She plays Tonya in August Wilson’s King Hedley II for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.

Go here for more on Cantrella.

And go here to read an interview in which she talks about her process.

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Spotlight on ‘King Hedley’ actor Lemec Bernard

Lemec Bernard is an imposing figure. He made his presence known in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. But as Tom in Engagement Rules, audiences got to see a much softer, sentimental side of this talented young actor who clearly has the acting chops to convincingly play both dramatic and comedic roles. He appears next in August Wilson’s King Hedley II, where he’ll play the role of Mister for Director Sonya McCarter and Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.

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‘Kinky Boots’ a wonderful story about the family we are born into and the one we create

Kinky Boots opened at Broadway Palm February 13. The high-energy musical won every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, the Grammy Award and London’s Olivier Award.

Based on true happenings, this heartwarming story follows Charlie, a factory owner struggling to save his shoe business, and Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. The two have seemingly nothing in common, but with a little compassion and a lot of understanding, this unlikely duo learns to embrace their differences and find they have more in common than they think!

Featuring original songs by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this full-hearted hit is inspiring audiences to let love shine and showing them that sometimes the best way to fit in is to stand out.

Directing Kinky Boots is Amy Marie McCleary, whose director/choreographer credits include such Broadway Palm hits as Beauty and the Beast, Saturday Night Fever, Mamma Mia, Cats and more.

Kinky Boots is a story taken from true events, about a young man who must learn to adapt to keep his family’s shoe making company in business,” explains McCleary, “and at its heart, the show is about accepting others and accepting yourself. Both lead characters go on a huge journey in learning to trust themselves and honor their pasts while looking toward the future. It’s a wonderful story about the family we are born into and the family we create.”

Choreographer Chris Kane was recently on tour with the Broadway production of Kinky Boots for two years as the Dance Captain and Swing. He also just finished performing in Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of Kinky Boots as an Angel.

Kinky Boots plays April 4, 2020. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $55 to $80 with group discounts available. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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Spotlight on ‘Kinky Boots’ director Amy Marie McCleary

Kinky Boots opened at Broadway Palm February 13. Directing Kinky Boots is Amy Marie McCleary, whose director/choreographer credits include such Broadway Palm hits as Beauty and the Beast, Saturday Night Fever, Mamma Mia, Cats and more. Amy also helped create the musical revues including 2019’s holiday smash Sounds of Christmas (which she wrote, directed and choreographed),  Holly Jolly Christmas and A Swinging Christmas – creating a Fosse version of The Nutcracker Suite and a tap ballet featuring all nine of Santa’s reindeer.

Go here for all her acting, directing and other stage credits.

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‘Always a Bridesmaid’ at Off Broadway Palm through April 19

Always a Bridesmaid is playing now through April 19 in the Off Broadway Palm. This hilarious, comedic romp comes from the Jones Hoop Wooten team which also brought you The Dixie Swim Club, The Hallelujah Girls, Mama Won’t Fly and The Savannah Sipping Society.

Always A Bridesmaid is a hilarious comedy about four high school friends who promised to be in each other’s weddings, no matter what. Determined to honor that vow, these Southern friends-for-life are still making “the long walk” over 30 years later. Hop on this marriage-go-round for a laugh-out-loud journey with these struggling bridesmaids as they navigate the choppy waters of love and matrimony!

The Off Broadway Palm is an intimate 100-seat theatre, located off the main lobby of Broadway Palm. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $42 to $62 with discounts available for children and groups of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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4th Annual Stage-It! 10-Minute Play Festival winners announced

The 4th Annual International Stage It! 10-Minute Play Festival has announced the winners for this year’s productions and publication.  The unique competition began with open submissions in October, garnering 346 plays from around the world, and a unique adjudication process.  The top 25 plays have been selected for publication in Stage It! 4: 10-Minute Plays.  The book is released in conjunction with the Festival weekend, March 19-22, where many of the plays will be produced.

More than 30 states were represented in the playwrights’ submissions as well as plays from Australia, Canada, France, Luxembourg, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.  The adjudication process included 31 judges, most coming from Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Florida, with others from Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, with three coming from Canada and one from Australia.  All judges have had professional experience as actors, playwrights, directors, producers, designers, critics, writers and/or filmmakers.  Each play received a critique from each judge and is then rated. The top-scoring 20-25% became semi-finals.  The plays are re-read by judges who have not seen them to help determine the finalists.

FINALISTS:

  1. A Life Assembled………………….. Kirt Shineman………………. Phoenix, AZ
  2. Breakdown in Babel…………….. Alex Goldberg……………….. Burbank, CA
  3. Charlotte……………………………… Alex Bulova…………………… Fairfax, VA
  4. Crossroads………………………….. Mark Okladek……………….. New York, NY
  5. Dance Class…………………………. Teri Foltz………………………. Fort Thomas, KY
  6. Dark Matter………………………… Donald Loftus……………….. New York, NY
  7. Don’t Toy With Me……………….. Andrew Lyman Black…….. Columbia, MO
  8. Dostoevsky………………………….. Jonathan Josephson……… Pasadena, CA
  9. First Contact……………………….. Joe Carlisle…………………… Croton-on-Hudson, NY
  10. Handiwork………………………….. Judd Lear Silverman…….. Brooklyn, NY
  11. Intervention…………………………. Richard Ciccarone…………. San Francisco, CA
  12. Last Call……………………………… Aviva Fleising……………….. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  13. Last First…………………………….. Martin Keady………………… London, United Kingdom
  14. Locker 142…………………………… W. L. Newkirk……………….. Celebration, FL
  15. Mime Stop……………………………. Steven San Luis……………. Johns Island, SC
  16. No Honor…………………………….. Craig Moeckly……………….. White Bear Lake, MN
  17. One More Run……………………… Kathie O’Brien………………. Corvallis, OR
  18. Private Dick…………………………. Judy Klass…………………….. Nashville, TN
  19. Ricky and Ready…………………. Colleen Nicole O’Doherty. Omaha, NE
  20. Single Rider…………………………. Michelle Pascua……………. Celebration, FL
  21. Sister of Experience……………… Colleen Nicole O’Doherty. Omaha, NE
  22. Ten Minutes to Close……………. Andy Wasif…………………… Beverly Hills, CA
  23. The Tinkerbell Situation………… Marc Paykuss……………….. Chestnut Hill, MA
  24. Turnaround Time………………… Vicki Riba Koestler ……….. Alexandria, VA
  25. Unreasonable Situations………. Lindsey Brown………………. Auckland, New Zealand

Winners include comedies and dramas of varied styles from the sublimely ridiculous to the issue-oriented.  Local actors participate in the directing, casting and performance.

The competition is done in a blind-judging process which often creates interesting results.  The Center for Performing Arts is delighted that two women each had all of their submitted plays make the semi-finals:  Teri Foltz and Emily Hageman.  Playwright Colleen Nicole O’Doherty has the distinction of having two of her plays make it into the publication.

Stage It! International 10-Minute Play Festival runs March 19-22, 2020, 7:30pm evenings and 2:00pm matinees.

Stage It! 4: 25 Ten-Minute Plays will be published by March 19 and available at the Festival as well as ordering online.

Tickets: 239-495-8989, www.artcenterbonita.org

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Ghostbird Theatre Company presents Annual 24-Hour Festival this evening

Visual artists, filmmakers, theater artists, dancers, musicians, and poets are racing against the clock to create unique works based on prompts given by Ghostbird Theatre Company Artistic Director Barry Cavin last night. It’s the 24-Hour Festival and the results will be placed on parade in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers tonight. Doors open on Sunday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m., with the performances beginning promptly at 7:00.

This year’s judges are the Director of the Rauschenberg Residency Ann Brady, renowned local interdisciplinary artist and performer Leila Mesdaghi, and Kyle Anne Bretschneider, celebrated local musician, rock-star and open-mic impresario.

Individual cash awards of $500 will be given to best visual artwork, best video, best live performance and best musical performance.

Ghostbird is the only theater company in the American South devoted to site-specific work. Ever striving to partner with just the right venue for each of its productions, Ghostbird has been recognized as one of the ten best companies in Florida for live theater. The experimental theatre company takes its name from a swamp-dwelling ivory-billed woodpecker once thought to be extinct, but which has been spotted sporadically over the past two decades. Drawing upon the elusiveness, mystery and magic of its namesake, Ghostbird Theatre seeks to draw its audiences into those deep spiritual woods where they can discover loss, beauty, communion, reconciliation and hope.

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Florida premiere of ‘How to Transcend a Happy Marriage’ at Lab Theater

The Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is on stage at The Laboratory Theater of Florida through March 14.

Four best friends decide to invite an unusual young polyamorous woman and her two companions to join them for a New Year’s Eve party. What happens next pushes the boundaries of friendship, marriage, and parenthood.

The show is directed by New York director, international acting coach and Meisner alum Steven Ditmyer.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.

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‘How to Transcend a Happy Marriage’ fascinating study of dissociative disorder

Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is a titillating little tome, but not because it features a tightly-choreographed fully-clothed orgy to end Act One. But rather because it’s a fascinating study of dissociative disorder the likes of which we haven’t seen since “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” aired 37 years ago on February 28, 1983.

Whether or not you were a M*A*S*H devotee, you probably saw a rerun of the series finale a time or two. And whether you saw it in real time or syndication, the memory of Hawkeye’s mental breakdown lingers to this very day. In brief, a bus in which Hawkeye is riding has pulled off the main road to avoid detection by a marauding Chinese patrol. But there’s a woman traveling with a chicken and its incessant clucking threatens to give away their position. Finally, Hawkeye yells at her to keep the chicken quiet and seeing no other alternative, she smothers the poor animal to protect everyone on the bus. Hawkeye is so guilt-ridden that he breaks down and ends up in a mental hospital, where he’s seen by psychiatrist Sidney Freedman. With Sidney’s help, Hawkeye finally accepts that the chicken was actually a baby and the role he played in causing the mother to take her child’s life.

You will find the rest of this review here.

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Spotlight on ‘Happy Marriage’ actor TJ Albertson

Included in the cast of the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is TJ Albertson. TJ is one of Southwest Florida’s rising community theater stars. In just the past season, he’s turned in outstanding performances as the priest in The Crucible, Anorexia Nervosa in The Legend of Georgia McBride, The Soldier in Andorra, Tyler Johnes in And the Winner Is … and Timmy in Hand to GodGo here to access his full profile and accompanying interview.

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Spotlight on ‘Happy Marriage’ actor Tamicka Armstrong

Included in the cast of the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is Tamicka Armstrong. She plays Pip, a polyamorous woman who’s involved with two men. Prior to this role, Tamicka appeared in The Crucible at Lab and in two shows for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, the first alongside Rachel Burttram and Brendan Powers in Repossessed and then as Will Scarlett in Marian, or the True Story of Robin Hood.

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Spotlight on ‘Happy Marriage’ actor Steven Coe

Included in the cast of the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is Steven Coe. He’s one of Southwest Florida’s most intelligent and engaging actors. His evolving body of work includes starring roles as John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Thomas Novachek in David Ives’ Venus in Fur for The Studio Players, Andri in Andorra, The Boy in Veronica’s Room, and Doug in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, as well as memorable supporting and ensemble appearances in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror, Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Rick Abbot’s Play On!The Last Night of Ballyhoo and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. Inveterate theater-goers may also remember Steven as the twenty-something Russian spy in Theatre Conspiracy’s 2013 production of Red Herring, a light-hearted espionage spoof. Other favorite shows include Blithe Spirit and The Government Inspector, both comedies.

Go here for the rest of Steven’s resume.

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Spotlight on ‘Happy Marriage’ actor Scott Davis

Scott Davis plays the part of Michael in Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage. Earlier this season, Scott  played three different roles in the Florida premiere of Let Nothing You Dismay in December of 2019. Recent performances with The Naples Players include White Christmas, The Music Man, Miracle on 34th Street and My Fair Lady. Scott’s onstage credits with Grosse Pointe Theatre in Michigan include Mamma Mia, Annie, Rehearsal for Murder, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Laura.

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Spotlight on ‘Happy Marriage’ actor Paul Graffy

Included in the cast of the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is Paul Graffy. Over the past 15 years, Paul has appeared in more than 25 productions and directed over a dozen others at such theaters as The Naples Players, Artis Naples, TheatreZone, The Studio Players, The Naples Dinner Theater and the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Among his acting credits are the deputy governor of Massachusetts, Judge Thomas Danforth, in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible,  General Thomas F. Waverly in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (The Naples Players), Pale in Burn This! (for The Lab), Senator Joe Cantwell in The Best Man (also for Lab), Frank Sr. in Catch Me if You Can, Johnny Lowell in Stage Kiss, Alan in God of Carnage and George in Moon Over Buffalo, both at The Naples Players in 2014. In 2011, Florida Weekly recognized his stage talent with its Best Actor award.

Go here for Paul’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Happy Marriage’ actor Heather McLemore Johnson

Included in the cast of the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage is Heather McLemore Johnson. Heather is a recent theatrical transplant from Starkville, Mississippi. Heather’s stage credits include the role of Rebecca Nurse in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, an aggrieved soccer mom (and the only adult cast member) in The Wolves, Andre’s mother in Max Frisch’s Andorra and the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. She also recently participated in Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project, directing Candice Sanzari’s Critics’ Choice winner Thanksgiving is for NuttersGo here for more.

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Spotlight on ‘Happy Marriage’ actor Madalyn Brown

Madalyn Brown is an aspiring young actor who made her debut at Lab Theater wearing jersey #14 in The Wolves. She is currently appearing as Jenna in the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, where she has the unfortunate experience of walking in on her parents and their best friends having an orgy on New Year’s Eve. The show not only provides Madalyn with another opportunity to be on stage, but the unparalleled experience of being taught and mentored by New York director Steven Ditmyer.

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High-energy Tony-winning ‘In the Heights’ musical coming to Lab Theater stage

The Southwest Florida premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights opens March 27 at The Laboratory Theater of Florida. This high-energy musical was nominated for 13 and winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams, and pressures and where the biggest struggles involve deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Spotlight on ‘In the Heights’ director Carmen Crussard

Carmen Crussard is a uniquely insightful, stage savvy and immensely talented actor, director and instructor. She dazzled audiences as Conchita in Anna in the Tropics, but she’s made her greatest impact on the directorial side of the boards, molding and leaving her imprint on both adult, teenage and grade school casts over the past several years.

Go here for the rest of Carmen’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘In the Heights’ actor Miguel Cintron

Miguel Cintron’s theater career is denoted by many highlights, but perhaps none as lofty as playing a sarcastically irascible Almighty in Lab Theater’s An Act of God. Other stage credits include Anna in the Tropics and Yasmina Reza’s Art for Lab Theater and Women in Jeopardy, The Gun Show (a single-actor tour de force in which he shared the playwright’s unique perspective and true stories about America’s love-hate relationship with firearms), My First Time, Domestic Tranquility, Shipwrecked, Tower of Magic, Shakespeare Abridged, The Bible Abridged and Art of Murder, all for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance.

Cintron has also performed at The Herb Strauss Theatre, The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and the Florida Repertory Theatre. Some of his favorite shows are Into the Woods, Spamalot, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Lucky Stiff, Run for your Wife, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Aladdin, Buddy, and The Fantastiks.

Go here for the rest of Miguel’s profile.

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Ten time Tony nominee ‘The Full Monty’ coming to New Phoenix Theatre

On stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22 is Terrence McNally and David Yazbek’s The Full Monty. Based on the cult hit film of the same name, this ten-time Tony Award nominee is filled with honest affection, engaging melodies and the most highly anticipated closing number of any show.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.

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Spotlight on ‘Full Monty’ actor Gerrie Benzing

The Full Monty is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22, and included in the cast is the astounding Gerrie Benzing, who is known locally as a stage and film actor, director, musical theatre instructor and the owner and creative director of Monologues4kids.com.

Gerrie has appeared in more than 14 productions at Cultural Park Theater, three shows at Lab Theater and made her debut at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in 2019 as Lucy and Tommy of No Consequence in Adam Szymkowics’s Marian, or the True Story of Robin Hood. Among her CPT acting credits are Harvey (for which she won a Cultural Park Theatre Best Actress Marquee Award for her portrayal of Veta), The Glass Menagerie (in which she was cast as Amanda), Dixie Swim Club (Sharee), Bella Manningham in Angel Street (Gaslight) (where Charles Runnells applauded the hysterical froth she worked up in the role of a “borderline bonkers housewife … driven to the brink by a husband with sinister ulterior motives”), Bad Seed (Christine) and Jack Neary’s The Porch. For The Lab, she appeared as the lead in the world premiere of playwright Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V., in Rick Abbot’s Play On! (where she depicted a maddeningly meddlesome playwright), The Best Man (in which she played Mabel Cantwell) and Miss Witherspoon (where she played the part of Maryamma).

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Spotlight on ‘Full Monty’ actor Todd Lyman

The Full Monty is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22, and included in the cast is Todd Lyman,  a Fort Myers actor whose credits include the roles of Assemblyman Paul Gordon, Dr. Tim and Mr. Yarmowich in Topher Payne’s Let Nothing You Dismay, Thomas Putnam in The Crucible, multiple roles (Customers 3, 6 and 9) in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V., Teddy LaPetite in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …, theater critic Ira Drew in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (which marked Todd’s Lab Theater debut), Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Enoch Snow in Carousel, Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ivan in Anton Chekhov’s The Marriage Proposal.

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Spotlight on ‘Full Monty’ actor Scott Carpenter

The Full Monty is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22, and included in the cast is Scott Carpenter, an actor and director who lives in Cape Coral, Florida. Scott was last on stage in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of La Cage aux Folles. His other acting credits include It’s Only a Play (which he also co-directed), Play On! (Lab Theater), Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Lab Theater), Yasmina Reza’s Art (Lab Theater), Cabaret (Lab Theater), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Glengarry Glen Ross. On the directing side, it was Scott’s vision on stage that Sue Schaffel, Steve Stefanik, Michael Hennessey, Joann Haley, Robert Armstrong and Howard Nutt brought to life in Lab Theater’s spoof Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf.

Go here for all of Scott’s acting and directing credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Full Monty’ actor Kenneth Bradley Johnson

The Full Monty is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22, and included in the cast is Kenneth Bradley Johnson, whose local acting credits include His local acting credits include the roles of Richard Ehrlich in Time Stands Still, Milford, Ivan and Oscar Saperstein in Topher Payne’s Let Nothing You Dismay, Phaedra (the enigma) in La Cage aux Folles for New Phoenix Theatre, Paster Greg in  Hand to God, Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram in Sordid Lives for Lab Theater and Noli Timeri (Don’t Be Afraid) for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance. Ken has also appeared at Florida Repertory Theatre, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and The Cape Playhouse. For more on Ken, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘Full Monty’ actor Kristen Wilson

The Full Monty is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22, and included in the cast is Kristen Wilson. Kristen’s stage credits include the roles of Tawny, Deb and Linda Saperstein in Let Nothing You Dismay, the Senora in Andorra, and roles in Steel Magnolias, Dearly Beloved, Home Games, Five Tellers Dancing in the Rain, Always a Bridesmaid, The Dinner Party, Who Am I This Time?, Evening of Culture, Grace & Glorie and TributeBut go here for Kristen’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Full Monty’ actor Maryann Connolly

The Full Monty is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22, and included in the cast is Maryann Connolly, a singer, songwriter, model and stage and film actor. Her stage credits include Chicago (Hungarian immigrant Kaitlin Hunyak), Jesus Christ Superstar, Don’t Drink the Water and Sister Act for Cultural Park Theatre as well as The Witch in Into the Woods, Rachel in Glee, Skuttle in Little Mermaid, Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, and a child in Elf at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. She has played the lead in the 2019 WGAE film Sacrifice, was featured in the short film Amrak (along with her original song “Never Run Away”), played a supporting role in the 2019 UFTA film The Shooting and was an extra in A Turtle TaleGo here for Maryann’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Full Monty’ actor Eren Sisk

The Full Monty is on stage at New Phoenix Theatre through March 22, and included in the cast is Eren Sisk, a rising star in the local theater scene. Her credits include the recent role of Mandy Bloom in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Donald Margulies Time Stands Still, one of the Phantoms and the Popcorn Girl in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, the babysitter in Rancho Mirage for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance, Barblin in Andorra (taking over on less than four hours’ notice when Danica Murray fell ill and had to be hospitalized for the remainder of the show’s run), Helene in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, Annie in Evil Dead the Musical, young Blanche Hudson and next-door-neighbor Abby Bates in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror, and a critically-ill high school student in Lauren Gunderson’s I & You. You can access Eren’s full profile here.

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‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor’ based on Neil Simon’s early days in television

Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy Laughter on the 23rd Floor is on stage at Players Circle Theatre and plays through March 8 with performances Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Wednesdays and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. The uproariously funny comedy emanates from Neil Simon’s early days in show business, when he worked as a jokes-smith for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows. It’s about the early days of TV, when Caesar and his writers wrote a very smart comedy, a biting comedy,” says Director Robert Cacioppo. “It was definitely the precursor to Saturday Night Live!” Variety called it “The funniest comedy on Broadway in years and likely to remain the funniest comedy on Broadways for years.”

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Spotlight on ‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor’ cast 

Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy Laughter on the 23rd Floor is on stage at Players Circle Theatre in The Shell Factory in North Fort Myers through March 8. The uproariously funny comedy emanates from Neil Simon’s early days in show business, when he worked as a jokes-smith for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.

The comedy stars Matt Michael as Max Prince, the character based on Sid Caesar. Michael was recently featured in The Players Circle production of The Dining Room.

Jordan Bunshaft plays Ira, the hypochondriac comic genius based on Mel Brooks. Brunshaft is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Wagner College.

Go here for the rest of this piece.

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Spotlight on ‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor’ actor Katie Pankow

Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy Laughter on the 23rd Floor is on stage through March 8 at Players Circle Theatre in The Shell Factory in North Fort Myers. Included in the cast is Katie Pankow, a talented actor who frequently performs locally. Her acting credits include Grounded and Swell Party for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, and Haley Quinn in Mama Won’t Fly at Off-Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol (December, 2018 at the Hippodrome State Theatre), Poppy Norton-Taylor in Noises Off (January 12-February 17, 2018), Belle (along with Mrs. Fezziwig, Martha Cratchit and many others ) in A Christmas Carol (December 8-29, 2017) and many more. For all of Katie’s stage credits, please go here.

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TNP’s ‘Silent Sky’ tells the true story of astronomer Henrietta Leavitt 

The Naples Players’ production of Silent Sky is on stage in TNP’s Tobye Studio through March 8. Silent Sky tells the true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. The drama explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries – when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them.

Inspiring and touching, the story follows Henrietta as she begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s but isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta attempts to measure the light and distance of stars in her free time, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.

The show stars Pamela Austin, Katie Callahan, Tina Maroni, Bernardo Santana and Esther Synder.

Showtimes are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. through March 8 (the show’s been extended by a week due to the extraordinary audience response the show has received). Tickets are $35 to subscribers and $40 for other individuals. Please call 239.263.7990 or visit NaplesPlayers.org to reserve your seats.

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Shakespeare-on-the-Plaza returns to Baker Stage February 15-March 8

Shakespeare-on-the-Plaza returns to The Naples Players’ outdoor Baker Stage February 15 through March 8. This year, the free annual outdoor Shakespeare event features the pastoral comedy, As You Like It. Shakespeare-on-the-Plaza runs every Saturday and Sunday, February 15 through March 8, with the Saturday performances taking place at 2:00 p.m. and the Sunday performances starting at 7:00 p.m.

Bring a folding chair to reserve your spot.

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Pulitzer-winning ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ on stage Golden Gate through March 1

The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is on stage in Joan Jenks Auditorium in the Golden Gate Community Center through Sunday, March 1.

The iconic play takes place is a plantation house, where a family is celebrating the sixty-fifth birthday of Big Daddy, as they sentimentally dub him. The mood is somber, despite the festivities, because a number of evils poison the gaiety. Greed, sins of the past and desperate, clawing hopes for the future spar with one another as the knowledge that Big Daddy is dying slowly makes the rounds. The play stars Vic Caroli as Big Daddy, Nancy Scanlan as Big Mama, Kevin Hendricks as Brick, Rachel Borwein as Maggie, Matt Flynn as Gooper and Danielle Channell as Mae.

You’ll find the rest of this advance here.

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

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Spotlight on ‘Hot Tin Roof’ actor Rachel Borwein

Rachel Borwein is a Naples actor. She is appearing in the lead as Maggie in The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Her other credits include the roles of Suzette in Don’t Dress for Dinner for The Naples Players, Martha Livingstone in Agnes of God for The Studio Players and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew.

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Rachel Borwein’s every line and movement draws audience’s attention

The Studio Players is performing Tennessee Williams’  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof through March 1. Cast in the role of the cat is Rachel Borwein.

In the context of the story, the cat’s actual name is Maggie Pollitt. She’s the winsome wife of a sports commentator and former athlete by the name of Brick. Brick is the youngest of two sons of a authoritarian plantation owner, appropriately nicknamed Big Daddy, who is fabulously wealthy. In addition to sitting on 28,000 acres of the most fertile land in the Mississippi delta, he boasts a portfolio worth $10 million in cash and blue chip stocks. And a recent health scare is now motivating Big Daddy to decide whether to leave the bulk of his estate to Brick or his older son, Gooper, a scheming lawyer motivated as much by sibling rivalry as primogeniture to assume control of the family assets once his father has passed.

Borwein’s portrayal of Maggie is as nuanced as it is powerful.

You will find the rest of this review here.

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Kevin Hendricks gives master class in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

The final three performances of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof take place this weekend in the Joan Jenks Auditorium at Golden Gate Community Center. Included in the stellar Studio Players cast along with Rachel Borwein, Victor Caroli, Nancy Scanlan, Danielle Channell and Matt Flynn is Kevin Hendricks. He plays the part of Brick Pollitt.

Hendricks gives tour de force performance in this role, but what makes his achievement all the more praiseworthy is that much of the meaning, emotion and nuance he evinces as the dark and brooding son of a terminally ill wealthy plantation owner must be conveyed in long sequences during which he utters not a single line or word. As Brick, Hendricks gives a master class in how to express anger, hatred, loathing, disgust, depression and despair through a look or mere glance. He amplifies on this theme through body language and bearing, a process exacerbated by the fact that Brick has turned his ankle and is hobbling around with a crutch. Through these devices, he builds an eye wall of tension that bursts like a Cat 5 hurricane when Tennessee Williams finally allows him to cathart with his father, Big Daddy.

Go here for the rest of this review.

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Spotlight on ‘Hot Tin Roof’ actor Kevin Hendricks

Kevin Hendricks is playing the part of Brick in The Studio Players’ production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Kevin is a local actor who was born, raised and educated right here in Naples (at Golden Gate Middle School and Naples High). Kevin’s first love was golf, and in addition to giving lessons and working in area pro shops, he even played on one of the mini-tours for a few years. One day, he decided to join a plant club at Golden Gate Community Center. Arriving early and looking for a way to kill some time, he stumbled into the auditorium where The Studio Players were rehearsing Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? As luck would have it, the actor playing Nick had just dropped out and Kevin jumped at the opportunity to take his place. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Go here for Kevin’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Hot Tin Roof’ actor Victor Caroli

Kevin Hendricks is playing the part of Brick in The Studio Players’ production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Since coming to Naples 15 years ago, Victor Caroli has played varied roles at local theatres. At The Naples Players, Vic played Herr Schultz in Cabaret, Ralph Bellini in The Last Romance, Hank Hadley in Regrets Only and Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. At the Lab Theater, he played Norman Thayer, Jr. in On Golden Pond. At the Marco Players he played Abie Muscovitz in The Interview. And at Gulfshore Playhouse, he was Erronius in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Go here for the rest of Vic’s stage and other credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Hot Tin Roof’ actor Danielle Channell

Danielle Channell is a talented actor living and working in Naples, Florida. She is appearing as Mae in The Studio Players’ production of the Pulitzer-winning Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by legendary Tennessee Williams. Past credits include trophy wife Kaitlyn Gordon, brainiac neurosurgeon Angela Saperstein-Koplan and caustic Bohemian author Brianna in Let Nothing You Dismay and Beatrice Pomeroy in Don’t Talk to the Actors for The Studio Players in Naples. Go here for the rest of Danielle’s stage credits.

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In ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ Danielle Channell reveals seriously devious side of Mae Flynn

On stage through May 1 in the Joan Jenks Auditorium at Golden Gate Community Center is The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee Williams’ classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In the role of Big Daddy and Big Mama’s daughter-in-law Mae is Danielle Channell.

Channell is wonderful in the role, throwing shade and creeping around the stately southern mansion in which the play takes place. But be careful what you say, even when you’re behind closed doors. The walls have ears. Or to be more precise, Mae and her male mirror image, Gooper, take peek-hole spying to an MI6 level. In fact, word on the street is that Billie Eilish is revving up another sparse-sounding, lushly arranged piano-driven track just for these surreptitious world-class eavesdroppers who try to fool Big Daddy once, fool Big Mama twice, then watch her cry ‘cause it’s Big Daddy’s time to die.

Go here for the rest of this piece.

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