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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news November 1-7, 2019

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

 

Florida Rep extends ‘Always … Patsy Cline” through December 1 (11-06-19)

Due to unprecedented demand for tickets, Florida Rep has extended its season opening Always Patsy Cline to December 1.

Playing to sold-out audiences in the ArtStage Studio Theatre, the heartfelt musical is a celebration of Patsy Cline’s life and music, and features all of her most beloved songs, including “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and the number one Jukebox hit of all time, “Crazy.” Written and originally directed by Ted Swindley, this compelling true story celebrates the most popular female country singer in recording history and is told through the eyes of her biggest fan and unlikely best friend, Louise Seger.

The Rep has already extended the musical’s run by two weeks, but demand has only increased since the shows’ opening in late September.

The response from audiences and critics alike has been overwhelmingly popular. Florida Weekly‘s Nancy Stetson called the production “spectacular,” saying it is “the best production of the jukebox musical I’ve ever seen!” Emily Yorgey of BroadwayWorld raved, saying she “enjoyed every moment!”

“Patsy’s music has struck a chord with Southwest Florida audiences, and we are so happy to be able to add another week to this popular run,” said Florida Rep Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “The ArtStage Studio Theatre is transformed, and when you walk in, you’re immersed in Patsy’s world. We’ve assembled a top-notch cast and a world-class band to bring this music to vivid life, so we don’t want anyone to miss this one. Call now while tickets are still available.”

Originally set to close on November 24, the added performances extend the show’s run into the holiday season during Thanksgiving week. The added performances are Tuesday, November 26 at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 27 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m., Friday, November 29 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, November 30 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 1 at 2:00 p.m. (There are no shows on Thanksgiving.)

Tickets start at $55. For this musical, onstage cafe table seating is available for $75 and includes two drinks per person and table service. Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488.

Always…Patsy Cline stars Becky Barta as Louise Seger and Bethany Gwen Perkins as Patsy Cline, and both New York actors have a history with the musical. Perkins reprises her role after a recent appearance at The Depot Theatre in Ithaca, New York, and Barta’s appearance at Florida Rep marks her 30th production of the musical as either Louise or Patsy.

Florida Rep Ensemble Member Maureen Heffernan directed the production after recently helming Florida Rep’s The Miracle Worker, Sylvia, and others. Heffernan is joined by Musical Director Alex Shields (Cabaret), Set Designer Tim Billman (Too Marvelous for Words), Costume Designer Kristina Tollefson (Florida Rep Debut), Lighting Designer Anne Carncross (Florida Rep debut), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Million Dollar Quartet) and ensemble Stage Manager Amy Massari (Native Gardens).

The band features Alex Shields (musical director/piano), Matthew Koller (drums), Roger Rettig (pedal steel), and David Sonneborn (bass).

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Based on interviews with Holocaust survivor, Good Jew to be performed on 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht (11-06-19)

On the eve of the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass, the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will present the play Good Jew, which is based on interviews from Holocaust survivor Henryk Changar, who was 15 when first assigned to the ghetto created for Jews in Warsaw. He was eventually shipped to Treblinka, but escaped, returning to the ghetto only to find that no one he knew remained among the ruins. So he got caught on purpose so that he could be with people he knew, not fully realizing that the Nazis were intent on exterminating all of Europe’s Jews and their culture.

Henryk escaped Treblinka again, this time via the undertaker who came to take away the ashes from the furnaces for fertilizer. Since Henryk could “pass for white,” he made his way through the war in work camps meant for non-Jews. He was transferred from camp to camp across Europe, ending up in Norway when the war ended. Returning to the submarine that brought him—how else could he get home?—he had to face one last choice between surviving or being good.

The spark for the play came from Henryk’s reply when his son, Murray, complimented him for being a good man and surviving the war. “No, son,” Henryk chided the boy. “I was not good. No one survives a war by being good.”

That candid comment led to a series of interviews and discussions, which Henryk recorded, and this anthology formed the basis for the play.

A first draft was presented with the permission of the Estate of Murray Scott Changar and the Changar Family at the AG Contemporary Art Gallery in downtown Manhattan and has since evolved to include the interviewer and camera operator, thereby providing a Greek chorus to the soliloquys of the character, Henryk Altman.

The evening begins at 7:30 on Friday, November 8, and also features four short comedy plays, including The Book Club Thief by Fort Myers’ own Renée Baillargeon. Meet the playwrights, actors and directors during our After-Show Talkback.
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Gardner, Obrien and Nazario are DAAS’ November featured artists (11-06-19)

Continuing a trend of out-of-the-box exhibitions and displays, DAAS CO-OP has invited three local artists to showcase their inspiring works during the month of November. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, November 1st from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. The reception party is in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk. The artists will be present for a meet and greet, during the event hours.

Jay Gardner is one of the featured artists in November. He is a professional tattoo artist, illustrator and designer by trade. Gardner incorporates dynamic facial expressions as well as unique objects to help sink his characters deeper into their own fantastical worlds. His photo-realistic works are full of fantasy and vibrancy, not to mention strikingly beautiful.

“My love for visual art and drawing began at a very early age when I became fascinated with the idea of capturing reality on paper,” Gardner divulges. “From my very first cave scribbles on my bedroom walls as a child, to pieces I work on today, I have always loved creating details and forms that convince the eye of depth and realness. That simple obsession led to a world of design and art theory. Since then my style is one that is moving and shifting swiftly as I learn and explore new possibilities. In no simple terms can I begin to explain what I represent as a fine artist. I just create art that I love.” –

Colin Obrien and John Nazario are joining Gardner in this exhibition. Their works complement each other in a cohesive and mesmerizing display.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, inside the Butterfly Estates of Fort Myers. Hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and first Sundays of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, event details and directions visit daascoop.com or call 239-590-8645.

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DAAS ‘Small Format Exhibit’ opens December 6 (11-06-19)

For the past several months, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts has been inviting artists from all over Southwest Florida to submit up to three artworks for their invitational Small Format exhibition. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, December 6 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. The reception party coincides with Fort Myers Art Walk.

Part of the appeal of a small works exhibition is the affordability of the pieces, which have a limit of twelve inches on any side. This format uniquely enables locally acclaimed artists to produce miniature examples of their genres, technique and mastery. In addition, December is the perfect month for gift-giving, and what better gift than art?

The display consists on a multitude of colorful, expressive and exquisite works in different mediums, ranging from canvas to sculpture and more. The participating artists are competing for a People’s Choice award. Guests will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite piece and at the same time, enter to win a signed print by founding artist David Acevedo.

Current DAAS members are participating in this event as well, adding to the already beautiful inventory, which characterizes the gallery’s monthly exhibitions. The gallery is also restocked with amazing holiday inspired art and gifts, perfect for the occasion. Gift wrapping is available, size permitting.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, inside the Butterfly Estates of Fort Myers. Hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and first Sundays of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, event details and directions visit daascoop.com or call 239-590-8645.

The exhibition will be on display through December 27, 2019.

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First ever Austrian exhibition of Jansen paintings opens at Vienna’s Galerie Amart tomorrow (11-06-19)

Work by local artist Marcus Jansen will be exhibited in a solo show by Galerie Amart in Vienna beginning November 7. It’s the first time Jansen’s work has ever been shown in Austria. The survey will include 29 works and run through January 25, 2020.

The Galerie Amart show is the latest in a series of international exhibitions which includes solo exhibitions at the La Triennale di Milano Museum (Milan, Italy), the Spandau Citadel (Berlin, Germany), and inclusions at the 12th annual International Biennial Print and Drawing competition at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. His work is also included in the permanent collections of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, New Britain Museum of American Art, The Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Housatonic Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Two time Documenta Kassel curator, Prof. Dr. Manfred Schneckenburger calls Jansen “One of the most important American Painters of his Generation.”

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University of Michigan Museum adds Jansen oil painting to its permanent collection (11-06-19)

The University of Michigan Museum of Art has added Marcus Jansen’s 84 x 72” oil on canvas The Hide Out to its permanent collection of modern and contemporary art. The UMMA collection covers the whole of the twentieth century and extends up to the present day. Early modern masters such as Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris introduce Cubism to viewers, and movements such as Surrealism, German Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism are also well represented.

UMMA’s holdings of art produced during the latter half of the twentieth century include masterpieces by Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn, and Larry Rivers. More recent work by artists such as Enrique Chagoya, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ann Hamilton, Sally Mann, and Carrie Mae Weems bring UMMA’s collections up to the present day.

Whether in painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, fiber, wood, metalworking, glass, or basketry, the modern and contemporary collections at UMMA demonstrate the brilliant and wide-ranging artistic output of the past 100 years.

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Jansen opens studio in South Bronx (11-06-19)

Marcus Jansen has opened a second studio in the emerging Mott Haven/Port Morris section of the South Bronx, not far from where his journey began 51 years ago. Jansen will join the South Bronx Independent Artist Coalition on E 132nd street starting in November.

While Jansen will continue to maintain his main headquarters in his 7,500-square-foot warehouse in Fort Myers, he has decided to return to his native South Bronx to contribute to the growth that is beginning to take place there.

“I think it’s exciting,” Jansen comments. “The South Bronx has always been a cradle for creativity. I hope my art can contribute just a bit to that. It’s the birthplace of Hip Hop and graffiti art culture that has changed the art world permanently and it’s nice going back to my roots.”

The studio will be directed by Sarah Sagarin, who is part of a group of artists and artisans who work in the South Bronx neighborhoods of Port Morris and Mott Haven.

It will be part of the South Bronx Independent Artists Coalition, which was founded in 2018 with the goal of broadening the artistic community by connecting, supporting, and promoting South Bronx artists with events and programming throughout the year.

Jansen and his family lived between Boynton and Story Ave in the Soundview area of the Bronx in the early 1970s and spent his first years there before moving to Queens and later Germany, where he was educated. After serving in the Armed Forces in Iraq during Desert Storm, Jansen returned to New York, selling his early work on street corners in lower Manhattan. He successfully presented his street-and-graffiti- influenced art in exhibitions at renowned international museums while pioneering urban landscape paintings in the late 1990s.

Today, Jansen is considered one of the most important painters of his generation according to critics and scholars. He is collected by the likes of Singer Nicole Scherzinger, NBA Superstar Carmelo Anthony, Hollywood actor John Ortiz, top 200 collector list members Amy and John Phelan and Collector Peggy Cooper Cafritz. His commissions include corporations such as Absolut Vodka, Warner Brothers, Illuminum, FIFA World Cup and Ford Motor Company. He is represented by galleries in London, Paris, Vienna, Dusseldorf, Shanghai and here in the United States. His first U.S. solo museum traveling exhibition starts in 2020.

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Sheldon Fine Art featuring impressionist work of Leslie Berenson (11-05-19)

From the time she was a little girl, Leslie Berenson always knew she was going to be an artist. As a matter of fact, she won her first art show by the age of seven.

Immediately after graduating high school, she entered the Art Institute of Boston and, in that time, she received awards and high praise for her work. After graduating, Berenson began working in the fashion industry. Over the ensuing two decades, she had the opportunity to direct photo shoots in some of the most beautiful places on earth – from Sedona to Hawaii to the Caribbean and Floridian Islands.

Her experiences traveling are where she draws much of her inspiration from today. As an accomplished and successful painter, Berenson’s work has been compared to the impressionistic style of some of the “old masters” imbued with a touch of magical realism. Leslie’s work has been featured in numerous art exhibitions in the U.S., from New England to Florida, where she has won many prestigious awards, included in prominent private and corporate collections.

Currently, Berenson paints from two studios, one of which looks out onto the islands, surrounding Boston Harbor; and the other in Vero Beach which features a clear view of South Florida’s beautiful waters. But you can admire and purchase her work locally at Sheldon Fine Art in Naples, which is located at 460 Fifth Avenue South. For more information, please telephone 239-649-6255 or email sheldonfinearts@aol.com.

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Shaw Gallery featuring work by Spanish hyper realist Marc Esteve (11-05-19)

Shaw Gallery on Naples Fifth Avenue South represents hyper realist Marc Esteve, who draws inspiration from the movement and the light of the sea.

“In truth, his is stupendous work that reflects the action of the sea – being stopped in the humility of a stone, of a puddle or a reflection in the coast,” writes art critic Horacio Obaya. “The process of hyper-realism is surpassed, by finding a special light that transcends the real thing to endow to the work of an image that itself does not remain in its simple transmission to the cloth if not that an intention, born of the esthetic talent of the artist.”

Esteve’s work can be found in private and national collections in Spain, Portugal, England and Russia. His work is also a part of the Royal collection at the palace in Saudi Arabia. Esteve has participated in many collective exhibitions in his native Spain.

In 1997, Esteve attended the Universidad de Bellas Artes in Altea (Spain). In 2001, after completing his studies on the university level, Esteve returned to his hometown of Alcoy (Alicante) where he now resides.

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53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition opens December 6 (11-05-19)

The 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition opens December 6 in the Naples Art Association’s ground floor galleries. It will include 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artwork by artists residing in the United States and run through January 9, 2020.

The show is being judged by FGCU Gallery Director John Loscuito, American University Professor R.W. Lovejoy and Associate Professor and Lourdes University Art Department Chair Erin Palmer Szavuly. (See below.)

$3,500 in cash awards will be presented to artists during a reception the evening Thursday, December 5, broken down as follows:

  • $1,000 Best of Show
  • $800 First Place
  • $600 Second Place
  • $400 Juror’s Choice Award
  • $200 Award of Merit (2 awards)
  • $100 Honorable Mention (3 awards)

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Spotlight on 53rd Founders Exhibition juror John Loscuito (11-05-19)

John Loscuito will be one of three jurors to judge the Naples Art Association’s 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. Loscuito is the Florida Gulf Coast University Art Gallery Director, overseeing both the Wasmer Art Gallery in the Arts Complex and the ArtLab in the Library. He also teaches Professional Practices, preparing students for a career after graduation.

Loscuito earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Master of Business Administration from Marquette University in Milwaukee. During his six years at FGCU he has curated over eighteen exhibitions featuring nationally recognized artists that explore a broad range of themes and materials.

Prior to coming to FGCU he taught a variety of studio courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He was the Registrar at the Haggerty Museum of Art for seven years as well as an independent curator and producer of art events. He currently serves as an Executive Committee Member on the United Arts Council of Collier County’s Board of Directors.

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Spotlight on NAA 53rd Founders Exhibition juror R.W. Lovejoy (11-05-19)

American University Professor R.W. Lovejoy will be one of three jurors to judge the Naples Art Association’s 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. At American University, Professor Lovejoy teaches courses on graphic design history. He has a Master of Arts degree in art history from the University of South Florida and a PhD in History from the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. He is a founding member of the History of Illustration project and a contributing author to the first textbook on the History of Illustration (2018), for which he wrote chapters on European eighteenth- and nineteenth-century print culture, the prints of José Guadalupe Posada, pulp magazine illustration, the art of alternative periodicals and newspapers, rock posters and underground comix. Dr. Lovejoy has also taught the history of illustration, sequential art, and the history of political art and persuasive imagery for Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

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Spotlight on NAA 53rd Founders Exhibition juror Erin Palmer Szavuly (11-05-19)

Erin Palmer Szavuly will be one of three jurors to judge the Naples Art Association’s 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. Szavuly is Associate Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. She studied at Bowling Green State University and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing. She has been on the faculty at Lourdes University since 1990.

In addition to teaching painting and drawing, she coordinates the annual Sr. Jane Mary Sorosiak Lecture Series, involving presentations on topics in the arts. “The Sights and Sounds of Judaism” with composer Dr. Samuel Adler and art historian Ruthy Behare Light was the 2019 series topic. Past presentations have included “Censorship in the Arts” with Dr. Brian Kennedy, “Cover Stories” with Thomas Allen, “Digital Photography in the Commercial Market” with Eric Eggly, “Painter and Muralist: Hubert Massey” and “Portrait of an Artist” with Leslie Adams, and “Celebration of Food, Ceramic Objects and Thoughtful Dialog” with Jeni Hansen Gard.

Erin Palmer Szavuly is on the community boards of the Toledo Area Cultural Leaders and The Toledo Federation of Art Societies (past President). She is a past President of the Medici Circle Advisory Council at Bowling Green State University and is a member of the Athena Art Society, the Toledo areas oldest women’s invitational art organization. She curates exhibitions at the Canticle Center Gallery at Lourdes University and has more than 15 year’s gallery experience working with the former Spectrum Gallery at Toledo Botanical Gardens and the Lourdes Gallery Loft.

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FGCU Reunion Series featuring Adriana Flores and Felipe Maldonado closes November 7 (11-04-19)

On view in the FGCU ArtLab through November 7 is the 2019 edition of the FGCU Reunion Series: Nosotros: Adriana Flores and Felipe Maldonado.

Adriana Flores is a member of the Class of 2017). Felipe Maldonado hails from the Class of 2016. And together, these two American artists of Latino descent explore their heritage in Nosotros and express an appreciation for one’s origins, character, values and personal accomplishments. Culturally-diverse, Flores and Maldonado also celebrate their lives as U.S. citizens while acknowledging the histories and traditions of their familial roots.

Adriana Flores currently lives in Southwest Florida, working in her studio and teaching art full-time. Her paintings are influenced by the chiaroscuro techniques of the old masters, such as Rembrandt, da Vinci and Caravaggio. She concentrates heavily on light and shadows to push the feelings and emotions in her work. Flores’ inspiration comes from the people she interacts with daily and the happenings of everyday life to keep her paintings as authentic as possible. Being a mother and working in a title one elementary school, Adriana has experienced and witnessed the strength and courage mothers go through every day to care for their child. Her paintings are wonderfully candid moments in everyday life.

Felipe Maldonado is currently the Department Head and Ceramics teacher at North Fort Myers High School Center for the Arts and Media. He references social and cultural influences to understand his role in society while struggling to understand a more authentic perception of himself in his own life. His ceramic work is an based upon an abstraction of ideas and are represented through the use of color, pattern, and texture. In creating work for Nosotros, Maldonado has returned to the platter as a canvas for his work.

This exhibition and series continues to demonstrate the contribution of FGCU’s Art Program to the region.

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First ever survey of Enrique Chagoya work exhibiting at FGCU Wasner Gallery (11-04-19)

Everyone is an Alienígeno: Enrique Chagoya is on view in FGCU’s Wasner Gallery through November 7.

Enrique Chagoya is world renowned as a political and social justice artist tackling issues of borders, immigration and cultural conflicts. This will be the first ever survey exhibition of Enrique Chagoya’s work in Florida covering his political and social activism through his innovative prints and paintings.

Using pop culture icons, current events and historical images, Chagoya creates layered narratives dealing with immigration and cultural identity as a basis for social reflection.

“I believe that everybody is an alien. I think that we all come from somewhere else,” Chogoya explains, who is a mix of ethnicities that include Native American, Iberian, Ashkenazi Jew and Middle Eastern Arab, among others. “Nobody is pure ethnically. Those times are gone.”

“Those who win the wars write history,” Chagoya expounds. “That includes the Aztecs who burnt books of cultures they conquered. History written by the victors is an ideological construction more than a science. So I decided that as an artist I have the right to make my own construction of history, not necessarily ideological but by using artistic license to construct a narrative, with humor and a more contemporary feel, that is different from the dominant history. I began to do my codices based on the history I learnt and I pretended to be an indigenous artist who traveled through time making codices and creating similar visual language.” Born in Mexico City, Chagoya immigrated to the United States in 1977, where he worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and became an American citizen in 2000.

He is currently Full Professor at Stanford University’s department of Art and Art History and his work can be found in many public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco among others. He has been the recipient of numerous awards such as two NEA artists fellowships, one more from the National Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, residencies at Giverny and Cite Internationale des Arts in France, and a Tiffany fellowship to mention a few.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous loans from Shark’s Ink. in Lyons, CO and George Adams Gallery in New York, and is sponsored by Gene and Lee Seidler, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and WGCU Public Media.

Image credit for first two photos, top to bottom:

  • Enrique Chagoya, Everyone is an Alienígeno, 2018. Color lithograph with collage, Ed. 30, 22 x 30 in. ©Enrique Chagoya 2018, Photo credit: Bud Shark
  • Enrique Chagoya, Aliens Sans Frontiéres, 2016, Color lithograph on handmade Amate paper, Ed. 30, 24 x 28 in. ©Enrique Chagoya 2016

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FSW celebrating 40th anniversary of art gallery with ‘Rauschenberg 40’ exhibition (11-04-19)

Florida SouthWestern State College is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery with a major solo exhibition of gallery namesake Bob Rauschenberg. Four decades since the founding of the Gallery in 1979, this celebratory show is drawn from several prominent local collections and includes a number of never-previously-exhibited original paintings from the Gluts, Urban Bourbon, Anagrams (A Pun) and Waterworks series.

Beginning chronologically with the portfolio edition of “XXXIV Drawings for Dante’s Inferno” (1965) that was illustrated on his first extended visit to the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast, Rauschenberg often joked that he had “gone through Hell to move to Florida.” Widely-acknowledged as one of the most important artists of the 20th Century, Rauschenberg is credited with pioneering the transition from European modernism to American pop art and has been the subject of recent retrospectives at the Tate Modern in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco MoMA. However, this is the first exhibition to exclusively survey works produced by the artist while living and working in Southwest Florida and to feature seldom or never-before-seen works that have remained in the community that he so proudly called home.

As RAUSCHENBERG 40: The Fortieth Anniversary of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW makes evident and Bob Rauschenberg often repeated: “Fort Myers is as small as your mind is. It can be just as large as the world is.”

When (then Edison State College) established an art gallery on its Lee campus in 1979, the school named it The Gallery of Fine Art. Over the ensuing decades, the Gallery worked closely with Rauschenberg to present world premiere exhibitions of his work, including multiple installations of the ¼ Mile or Two Furlong Piece. To commemorate its long-standing association and friendship with the artist, the College decided on June 4, 2004 to rename the gallery. The school originally proposed naming the space the Robert Rauschenberg Gallery, but the artist insisted on naming it the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery to better convey the intimate, informal relationship he maintained with both our local Southwest Florida community and FSW.

The exhibition is on view through December 14. Gallery Hours are Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For additional information, please call 239-489-9313 or visit www.RauschenbergGallery.com.

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TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on November 4 (11-03-19)

The Fort Myers Film Festival returns on November 4 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.

Go here for the rest of this announcement.

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Spotlight on November TGIM celebrity judge Mike Donlan (11-03-19)

Mike Donlan will be one of November’s celebrity TGIM judges. Mike is the Creative Services Manager at WGCU Public Media (a position he’s held since June of 2015) and an adjunct professor in media design and visual journalism at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he’s taught since 2010. As Graphics Editor at the Fort Myers News-Press from 2003 through 2016, Mike was responsible for spotting potential for, planning and promotion of visual storytelling. Donlan has a Master of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and a B.A. from California State University-Chico.

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Spotlight on November TGIM celebrity judge Kyle Cebull (11-03-19)

Kyle Cebull will be one of November’s celebrity TGIM judges. Kyle is the founder of Millennial Brewing, whose ambitious goal is to the create a one of a kind community of beer lovers. “Once I paired up with a skilled brewmaster, everything fell right into place,” says Kyle, who’s loved beer for as long as he can remember. “All of my previous experience with leadership and business lead me right into starting Millennial Brewing.”

Go here for the rest of Kyle’s profile.

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Spotlight on November TGIM celebrity judge Jade Alexa McClelland (11-03-19)

Jade Alexa McClelland will be one of November’s celebrity TGIM judges. A professional playlist maker, Jade is the music director at Fly 98.5 and the program director at 94.9 The City. So join Jade, hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa Tschari DeHaven and judges Mike Donlan and Kyle Cebull for a fresh new set of short indie films, music, comedy and fun.

The house opens for cocktails at 6:30. Screenings begin promptly at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students.

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Black Maria Film Festival returns to Edison Ford grounds on November 8 (11-03-19)

On November 8, at 6 p.m., Edison and Ford Winter Estates (EFWE) is hosting the annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival in partnership with Florida Southwestern State College. Several short documentaries, experimental, narrative, and animated films co-curated by Festival Director, Jane Steuerwald and Dr. Wendy Chase’s Honors Scholar Program students will be shown on the Ford estate lawn, along the Caloosahatchee River. The films focus on the human experience and include international selections from Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Canada and the United States.

The following ten films will be screened during the event:

  1. My Gossip is a 15-minute documentary by Kelly Gallagher of Chester Springs, Pa., that incorporates live-action, stop-motion and digital animation. This personal documentary colorfully explores the radical importance of women’s close friendships. The filmmaker examines her relationship with her own best friend, and how women’s friendships were historically weaponized against them.
  2. Voice is a 10-minute narrative by Takeshi Kushida, of Tokyo, Japan, about a lonely man who becomes fascinated with a shadow that appears on the wall of his apartment.
  3. Black Dog is a six-minute narrative by Wooseok Shin, of Seoul, South Korea. “Black dog syndrome” is the name for the phenomenon in which dark-coated dogs are overlooked in shelters in favor of lighter-colored dogs. The narrator advises not to overlook the dark-coated beauty waiting in the shadows because it could become someone’s best friend.
  4. Henrietta Bulkowski is a 15-minute animation by Rachel Johnson, of Los Angeles. The story is about a determined young woman, crippled with a severe hunchback, who will stop at nothing to fulfill her dream of seeing the world and how she finds happiness.
  5. Brainworm Billy is a three-minute animation by Emily Hubley of East Orange, New Jersey is about a young man who is haunted by a famous comedian.
  6. moT is a 21-minute narrative by Andrew Kastenmeier of Florianópolis, Brazil about an odd homeless boy with a mysterious past. He invades a stranger’s home, befriends him, and protects a goldfish with which he has a curiously powerful bond.
  7. The Velvet Underground Played at My High School is a seven-minute animation by Tony Jannelli, of Summit, New Jersey and Robert Pietri of Los Angeles. On December 11, 1965, an unknown four-piece rock-n-roll band took to the stage for the first time at Summit High School in Summit, NJ. “Nothing could have prepared the kids and parents for what they were about to experience that night,” wrote Rob Norris, a student at Summit at the time, in Kicks magazine. “Our only clue was the small crowd of strange-looking people hanging around in front of the stage.”
  8. Unsettled is a seven-minute experimental by Tara Knight, of Denver, CO. with multiple layers of archival and historically based images that appear and disappear as they reveal glimpses into the ecological and economic histories of the American landscape. This journey through American history includes the early lives of Indian peoples morphing into white settlements, industrial development, railroads and dense landscapes.
  9. Thanksgiving is Insane is a five-minute animation by Josh Raskin, of Toronto, Canada and Daniel Davis, of Washington, DC. As generally understood, the American holiday of Thanksgiving commemorates a neighborly feast that was shared by Pilgrims and Indians in 1621. However, Thanksgiving reveals the origins of a country forever fascinated, conflicted, and shaped by its fraught relationship with American Indians.
  10. What Aristotle Said is a four-minute documentary by David Gross, of Brooklyn, NY about the painter, art director, illustrator and teacher, Bill Curran of Hoboken, NJ.

Black Maria received more than 400 submissions for the 2019 festival tour from every continent around the globe except Antarctica. Following an extensive pre-screening by experts in the field of film curation, media studies and production, the highly regarded festival jurors, Margaret Parsons, Head Curator of Film at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and Henry Baker, Emmy award-winning filmmaker and former director of Synapse Video Center, chose 55 films for this year’s collection and awarded the top prizes.

In addition to the support provided for the 2019 tour by the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton, the film festival receives generous support from New Jersey State Council on the Arts; The Edison Innovation Foundation – Charles Edison Fund; the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and Tourism; the Hoboken Historical Museum; WithumSmith+Brown; Lowenstein Sandler, LLP; Adobe Systems, Inc.; and Microsoft through TechSoup.org.

The film festival is a project of the Thomas Edison Media Arts Consortium, which also showcases the Global Insights Collection, an archive of films focusing on the environment, people with disabilities, international issues, and films with themes of social justice. The festival is also a partnership with the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

Tickets for the general public are $10, or $5 for Edison Ford members, and can be purchased at the EFWE ticket office at 2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33901 the day of the event. Parking is free. Seating is limited; visitors should bring a folding chair. No coolers are permitted. Tickets for students are $5 with student identification and can be purchased at the estates. Tickets are free for FSW students but must be picked up in Dr. Chase’s office in L-101 on the Lee campus prior to the event.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund through Global Giving. Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter. The fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations in the Bahamas, the United States and the Caribbean.

To learn more about the Black Maria Film Festival and Thomas Edison Media Arts Consortium, visit blackmariafilmfestival.org. To learn more about the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund – Global Giving, visit https://www.globalgiving.org. For additional information about EFWE, visit the website at www.edisonford.org or call 239-334-7419.

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Art in the Park returns to downtown Naples today (11-02-19)

Art in the Park returns to downtown Naples today. Now celebrating 62 years as Naples’ oldest art fair, Art in the Park features Naples Art Association members showcasing a variety of original paintings, photographs, unique décor, wearables, collectibles and gifts. Nestled on Park Street just west of the Naples Art Association, this juried art fair is held the first Saturday of the month November through April. Each art fair features hands-on-art experiences and live demonstrations from skilled artists.

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Naples Art District studio and gallery tours resume on Wednesday, November 6 (11-02-19)

On Wednesday, November 6, the 1st Wednesday Studio and Gallery Tour returns to the Naples Art District with its full complement of two dozen plus galleries and artist studios for a 5:00-8:00 p.m. drive-and-park event that affords casual, curious art lovers and serious art collectors alike an unparalleled opportunity to not only visit some of Southwest Florida’s most interesting galleries, but immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of the studios of more than 45 emerging and mid-career artists working in a broad cross-section of genres and media. Just look for the magenta-and-white art flags.

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Hot Works accepting applications for Naples Fine Art Show through November 13 (11-02-19)

Hot Works LLC is now accepting submissions for the 3rd Naples Fine Art Show. It will take place on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 & 29, 2020 at the Naples Italian-American Foundation Club at the corner of Airport Pulling and Orange Blossom Roads. The show features original work in a wide array of disciplines, including painting, clay, glass, fiber, sculpture, wood, photography, jewelry and more.

The application deadline is midnight of November 13, 2019. Applications can be found online at https://www.zapplication.org/event-info.php?ID=7719. For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at patty@hotworks.org or 248-684-2613.

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Naples Art accepting applications for Naples Downtown Art Show through December 8 (11-02-18)

Crowd Shot 01 (4)The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show, Naples National Art Festival and The Naples Downtown Art Show.

The 31st Annual Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts is one of the last major art festivals of the winter season and a favorite festival for artists, art enthusiasts and collectors. This festival was rated #34 by Sunshine Artist’s Magazine 2018 ARTIST 200 Best Shows in America.

If you would like to exhibit in this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 21-224, 2020
  • Festival Hours: Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 02/07/20; 50% refund: 02/21/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m., early morning set up only;
  • On street set up in quads: No electrical
  • Application deadline: 12/08/19
  • Jury Process begins: 12/13/19
  • Status Notification: 12/27/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 01/18/20
  • Artist Info Emailed: 02/26/20
  • Wait List Acceptance: 01/18/20
  • Application available online at http://www.zapplication.org/ beginning June 1, 2018

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‘5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche’ closes Sunday with 2:00 p.m. matinee (11-01-19)

Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder’s 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche closes its brief two-weekend run with a closing matinee on Sunday (November 3). Originating in Chicago and winner of the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival as Best Overall Production, 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche is a tasty recipe of hysterical laughs, sexual innuendoes, unsuccessful repressions, and delicious discoveries. Remaining performances are tonight at 7:30, Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday’s 2:00 p.m. matinee. However, you only have two chances to see the show, as the Sunday matinee is already sold out!

Read the remainder of this advance here.

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

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Whether you prefer your quiche with or without meat, ‘5 Lesbians’ will have you laughing your asses off (11-01-19)

When Bill Taylor and the Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance selection committee booked 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, they couldn’t have known that the Supreme Court would hear oral arguments just a short week prior to the dark comedy’s opening on whether the civil rights laws barring workplace discrimination based on gender also apply to gender identity and sexual orientation. Lest you labor under the misconception that being in the closet (or in the case of 5 Lesbians, a nuclear bomb fallout shelter) is a phenomenon relegated to the past, 46% of LGBTQ Americans remain closeted in the workplace according to a 2018 Human Rights Campaign Foundation report.

In the scenario depicted by playwrights Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood (yes, ironically, they’re both dudes), the ladies in this ensemble piece euphemistically refer to themselves as “widows” and display an almost obsessive interest in quiche (also code) and eggs. They’ve assembled for a breakfast meeting of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein and if the reference to these suffragettes isn’t direct enough, each member of the audience (including the men) is issued a name tag with a female name. After all, the Society’s motto is “No men. No meat. All manners.”

Please go here for the rest of this review.

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Dena Galyean (11-01-19)

Dena Galyean will star in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Since relocating to Southwest Florida from Chicagoland, Dena Galyean seems to have a penchant for landing fascinating roles. Among her most recent – and memorable – are Susan B. Anthony in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of The Agitators, Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House (also for Theatre Conspiracy) and Stella Kowalski in The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the Golden Gate Community Center.

Read the rest of Dena’s resume here. And you can read here how for this rising star, acting feeds the soul.

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Karen Goldberg (11-01-19)

Included in Director Stephanie Davis’ cast for 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is Karen Goldberg. Goldberg is a graduate of FSU’s School of Theatre and a founding member of Theatre Conspiracy. Among her favorite roles are Kristine Linde in A Doll’s House, Anna Berniers in Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic, Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Jean in Good People. She has also enjoyed roles in Women in Jeopardy, The Bad Seed, Invasion of Privacy and See How They Run. For more on Karen, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Lucy Sundby (11-01-19)

Lucy Sundby is part of Director Stephanie Davis’ cast for 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Lucy is a local actor whose stage credits include “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” in The Vagina Monologues, Lenny in Crimes of the Heart, Nicky in Michele Lowe’s murderously funny tragi-comedy, The Smell of the Kill, Cabaret, The Altruists, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play, Picasso at The Lapine Agile, Mame, Nunsense, Steel Magnolias and many others as a member of the cast of The Naples Players. Go here for more.

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Anna Grilli (11-01-19)

Anna Grilli is part of Director Stephanie Davis’ 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche cast. Anna’s other stage credits include Much the Miller’s Son in Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood, Bianca in The Taming, Matilda Cartwright in Guys and Dolls, Cecily Pigeon in The Odd Couple, and being part of the ensemble in Chicago. Anna actually started out learning to play the piano at the age of six, but it would be some two decades later before she took voice lessons and began to perform on stage.

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Madison Mitchell (11-01-19)

Meet Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein Historian Dale Prist. Attired in powder blue, Madison Mitchell is charming and endearing, particularly during the sequence in which she recounts her somewhat twisted past. She’s a scene stealer who commands the stage, even after a 3 year hiatus since her last role. Go here for more on Madison.

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ director Stephanie Davis (11-01-19)

Stephanie Davis directs 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Stephanie made her directorial debut at Lab Theater in 2012 with Extremities, but local audiences are still talking about the 2016 production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, in which Davis directed Stella Ruiz, Matt DeNoncour, Kate Dirrigl and Daniel Cancio. She also had the pleasure of directing Theatre Conspiracy’s production of the Lillian Hellman classic, Toys in the Attic, starring Rachel Burttram, Karen Goldberg, Jason Drew and Ashley Kellam.

For more on Stephanie’s theatrical credits on both sides of the footlights, go here.

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Alliance Youth Theatre bringing Pippin to the stage in November (11-01-19)

The Alliance Youth Theatre has an evolving reputation for ambitious musicals for both its older and younger actors. Continuing in that tradition, it will tackle Stephen Schwartz’s iconic and unforgettable musical masterpiece Pippin November 16 through 24.

There’s magic to do when a prince learns the true meaning of glory, love and war. Pippin is a hip, tongue-in-check fairy tale that captivates diverse audiences. With an infectiously unforgettable score from four-time Grammy winner, three-time Oscar winner and musical theatre giant, Pippin is the story of one young man’s journey to be extraordinary

Performances are November 16, November 22 and November 23 at 7:30 p.m. and November 17, November 23 and November 24 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 presale, $20 adults or $15 students/seniors. And reserved seating is now available! Purchase online today or call 239-939-2787.

PG-13: Parental discretion is advised.

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The Alliance Youth Theatre will produce Children of Eden JR. December 6-8 (11-01-19)

Adam, Eve, Noah and the “Father” who created them deal with the headstrong, cataclysmic actions of their respective children. As generations pass, faith and loyalty are tested, but the bonds of family and love remain strong. Based on the story of Genesis, the age-old conflict of parents and children takes the stage in a new adaptation of Stephen Schwartz’s epic and heartfelt musical.

Performances will be December 6 & 7 at 7:30 p.m. and December 7 & 8 at 2:00 p.m.

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Artist applications for inaugural Fringe Fort Myers open until November 15 (11-01-19)

Artist applications for the inaugural Fringe Fort Myers Festival are open at ArtInLee.org/Fringe. Applications must be submitted no later than Thursday, November 15, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Emerging and experienced artists in all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Categories include, but are not limited to, theatre, dance, magic, film, music, stand-up comedy, puppetry, performance art and more. Whether you are an accomplished singer, hilarious clown, emotive mime, or just want to stand up in front of a bunch of people with complaints about the weather, Fringe Fort Myers is your perfect venue.

One of the great things about Fringe is its accessibility. Toward that end, the selection process for Fringe Fort Myers will occur via a lottery on November 22, when all of the applications that have been timely submitted are placed in a hat with the lucky ones that are pulled from the hat that night getting into the festival.

Each performer or performing group is guaranteed 3 performances in the same venue and are given a 3 hour tech rehearsal before opening.

Artists applying to Fringe Fort Myers are encouraged to hit the Florida fringe trifecta. Tampa International Fringe runs April 30 through May 10, 2020, with Orlando International Fringe running May 12 through May 25, 2020. This is your chance for over a month of performances in sunny paradise!

For housing and performance details or for more information, visit ArtInLee.org/Fringe. For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit ArtInLee.org/Fringe.

And for more on Fringe Fort Myers and the fringe movement in general, read the next post.

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Alliance, Broadway Palm bringing Fringe to Fort Myers (11-01-19)

In partnership with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, the Alliance for the Arts will present the first ever Fringe Fort Myers festival April 22–26, 2020. Festival tickets go on sale January 2020.

What’s Fringe?

Fringe traces it origins to Edinburgh, Scotland. At the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival, actors, musicians and the like who were not invited to participate in the festival performed at various alternative venues in and about Edinburgh. The following year, local journalist Robert Kemp wrote that “round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before…” The term caught on and thus fringe was born.

Fringe performing arts festivals can now be found all over the world. Dozens thrive in the United States. Among the most notable are the Tampa Fringe, Orlando International Fringe, Atlanta Fringe Festival, Capital Fringe, Minnesota Fringe Festival, PortFringe, Hollywood Fringe and the San Diego Fringe Festival.

As the newest Fringe festival in the United States, Fringe Fort Myers will maintain long-standing Fringe traditions of being 100 percent uncensored, 100 percent unjuried and 100 percent inclusive. Even better, 100 percent of ticket sales go directly to the artists.

Fringe Fort Myers kicks off on April 22, 2020 with the fun and frenetic Teaser Show. The Teaser Show is a great opportunity for audiences to learn what the shows in the festival are about. Each performance group gets 2 minutes to sell their show to the audience. How they do it is up to them – as long as they don’t go over 2 minutes.

Over the next four days, Fringe will play host to 48 performances on 4 different stages at the Alliance for the Arts and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. After the final curtain, Fringe Fort Myers will host its first Fringe awards ceremony celebrating the artists that made Fringe an incredible experience.

Florida Rep Education will also offer Kids Fringe, which will operate a family-friendly festival within Fringe Fort Myers.

“Fringe offers an incredible diversity of high quality work with the goal of being as affordable and accessible as possible to all members of the community,” says Bill Taylor, the Producing Artistic Director of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance. “This event will enhance our area both culturally and economically.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available at ArtInLee.org/Fringe or by contacting Jessica Wisdom at Jessica@ArtInLee.org. For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit ArtInLee.org/Fringe.

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‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ to be performed as Fringe Fort Myers fundraiser (11-01-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts will be producing Vampire Lesbians of Sodom as a fundraiser for Fringe Fort Myers. Vampire Lesbians of Sodom is one of the longest running Off-Broadway shows ever. The show tells the saga of two fatally seductive vampiresses whose paths first collide in ancient Sodom. Their bitter rivalry as bloodsuckers but more importantly, as actresses, endures for two thousand years with stops along the way in 1920s’ silent movie Hollywood and contemporary Las Vegas.

The characters in this saucy play include:

  • Hujar, a hunky guard on the make for pretty much anything.
  • Zack, a big guy on the chorus line, and the bitch’s bitchy nemesis.
  • Etienne, a really high-strung butler.
  • Danny, the bitchiest boy at the chorus call.
  • King Carslile, a big-time (and don’t you damn well forget it) movie star with an equally big-time secret.
  • Madeleine Astarte, a male in drag in the role that made Charles Busch famous (but equally dazzling when taken over by other actors); she begins as a naïve (but growing wiser by the second) virgin sacrifice.
  • Oatsie Carewe, a Hollywood gossip columnist who turns out to be Van Helsing/Otto Preminger in drag to destroy “the ladies.”
  • Ali, a hunky, but naive, slave guard.
  • PJ,the “new kid chorus boy.”
  • La Condesa, a cold yet likable succubus.
  • Renee Vein/Tracy, the ingénue, a starlet who longs for success and fortune at any cost.

The show will run February 21 – March 1 at the Alliance for the Arts.

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‘Finding Neverland’ on stage at Broadway Palm through November 16 (11-01-19)

The enchanting Broadway musical, Finding Neverland, is on stage at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre through November 16, 2019. The winner of Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical, this breathtaking smash is “a spirited, tuneful, nimbly staged delight!” says TIME Magazine. Based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan – one of the most beloved stories of all time.

Finding Neverland tells the incredible story of how playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Mesmerized by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers. With a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of faith, Barrie takes this monumental leap, leaving his old world behind for Neverland, where nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever.

The magic of Barrie’s classic tale springs spectacularly to life in this heartwarming theatrical event. Critics raved that Finding Neverland is “far and away the best musical of the year!” (NPR) and Vogue cheered, “It’s a must-see you’ll remember for years to come!”

Diane Paulus’ Finding Neverland will have her direction recreated by Tour Director Mia Walker and Associate Choreographer Camden Loeser. The musical has a book by Olivier Award®-nominee James Graham, music and lyrics by Gary Barlow (Take That) and Grammy Award®- winner Eliot Kennedy, and original choreography by Emmy Award®-winner Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance, Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium). Finding Neverland is packed with spellbinding visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs making it a timeless story about the power of imagination … and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.

Finding Neverland plays October 3 through November 16. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73 with children and group prices 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.

Following its run in Fort Myers, Finding Neverland will head out on the road for a national tour throughout the U.S. and Canada. The tour is produced by APEX Touring, who is in their fourth national tour season with the international tour of The Wizard of Oz which just ended a run in China and is currently touring in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Past tours include 2019 tour of The Wizard of Oz, the 2018 tour of Cabaret and 2017 tour of Pippin.

 

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Off Broadway Palm’s tap-happy musical ‘Dames at Sea’ closes tomorrow (11-01-19)

Dames at Sea plays now through November 2 in the Off Broadway Palm. This is the campy long-running Off Broadway production that brought stardom to Bernadette Peters. Fueled by the nostalgia of 1930s Hollywood musicals, Dames at Sea is a tap dance-filled musical parody of the golden era of Hollywood musicals that The New York Times called “A Winner! A gem of a musical!” and NBC New York says “[is] delightful, and doesn’t take itself seriously for a minute…”

Ruby heads to New York to become the next Broadway star, but after landing a job in the chorus, her dreams are almost shattered when the theatre is set for demolition. With the help of two sailors, the show is moved to their ship and when the leading lady becomes sick, Ruby has the chance to jump in and save the day! Hear Broadway Baby, Choo-Choo Honeymoon, Dames at Sea and more!

Directing Dames at Sea is the Off Broadway Palm’s Artistic Director Paul Bernier, with Amy Marie McCleary providing the choreography. The cast includes Broadway Palm favorites Sami Doherty as Joan, Amy Marie McCleary as Mona and Victor Legarreta as Hennessey/Captain. Also in the performance are Shannon Conboy, AJ Foggiano and Collin Yates.

If you’re looking for a boatful of laughs tap on over to the Off Broadway Palm Theatre for Dames at Sea. The Off Broadway Palm is an intimate 100-seat theatre located just off the main lobby of Broadway Palm. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $42 to $62 with group discounts available for parties 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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Still time to catch Broadway Palm Children’s Theatre production of ‘Charlotte’s Web’ (11-01-19)

Everyone’s favorite pig is in the spotlight at Broadway Palm where their Children’s Theatre is presenting Charlotte’s Web, which tells the loveable story about a young pig named Wilbur who is saved from the breakfast table by a crafty spider named Charlotte and a little girl named Fern. Though small in size, Charlotte’s big heart helps Wilbur understand and accept his place in the world.

This musical version is full of great songs, dancing and a barnyard full of lively farm animals. Bring the entire family for a barnyard of fun and a cast full of friendly farm animals. Remaining performances are November 1*, 3, 5*, 7*, 9, 12* and 15.* For dates denoted by an asterisk, lunch is at noon and the show is at 1 p.m. All other performances begin with a buffet at 10:30 a.m. and show time at 11:30 a.m. The chef’s special buffet includes children’s favorites like pizza, chicken fingers, french fries, pasta and more.

Ticket prices for the buffet and the show are only $19 for all ages. Group rates are available for parties of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting www.BroadwayPalm.com, or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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Future ‘Funny Shorts Live’ and related auditions (11-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting more Funny Shorts Live at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 13 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center. Auditions for this show will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at theaterfilm@artsbonita.org.

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Center for Performing Arts presenting staged readings of ‘Good Jew” and ‘Book Club Thief’ (11-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita is presenting staged readings of Good Jew and The Book Club Thief at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8. Watch the transformative power of acting as directors and actors introduce us to works that illuminate the Center’s mainstage work or introduce us to future programming possibilities. After readings, you’re invited to meet the cast and discuss the play with director and actors. This lively and informative discussion brings new insight to the art of theater.

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Upcoming staged readings auditions at Center for Performing Arts Bonita (11-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting staged readings at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 10, 2020. It will conduct auditions for them at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17 and 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at theaterfilm@artsbonita.org.

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Cultural Park’s ‘On Golden Pond’ closes Sunday with matinee (11-01-19)

Cape Coral’s Cultural Park Theatre closes its short, tw0-week run of Ernest Thompson’s On Golden Pond this weekend with three evening performances followed by Sunday’s closing matinee.

This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond in Maine for the forty-eighth year. He is a curmudgeonly nearly-80-year-old retired professor with heart palpitations and a failing memory, but he’s still as tart-tongued, observant and eager for life as ever. She is ten years his junior and delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. But this year, their delightful summer routine–fishing, picking strawberries, enjoying old mementoes, listening to the loons call–is given a bitterly comedic edge by Norman’s unreliable memory and cantankerously morbid statements.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for ‘On Golden Pond’s play dates, times and ticket info.

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Cultural Park’s ‘Golden Pond’ remarkably crafted character study (11-01-19)

On stage for a final weekend at Cultural Park Theatre is Ernest Thompson’s On Golden Pond. It’s a remarkably crafted character study thanks in large measure not only to Ernest Thompson’s script, but to Gwen Salata’s direction and the amazingly capable performances rendered by her entire cast.

On Golden Pond was originally written for the stage. First performed in 1979, it earned two Tony nominations, including one for Frances Sternhagen as Norman’s wife Ethel, the Oscar-winning role played by Katherine Hepburn in the movie. The show was again produced on Broadway in 2005. This time, James Earl Jones played Norman Thayer; Leslie Uggams played Ethel. Jones earned a Tony nomination as did the play for Best Revival.

You will find the rest of this review here.

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Spotlight on ‘Golden Pond’ actor Greg Wojciechowski (11-01-19)

Greg Wojciechowski plays Norman Thayer in Cultural Park Theatre’s production of On Golden Pond. Wojciechowski was exceedingly believable as conniving lawyer Ken in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Rumors last season. Of course, he should have been, having practiced law in Chicago, where he acted in court and tapped danced around the facts in front of juries for more than 25 years. He’s even better as Norma Thayer, where he gets his curmudgeon on!

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Spotlight on ‘Golden Pond’ actor Gerrie Benzing (11-01-19)

Gerrie Benzing plays the part of Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond. Gerrie Benzing is a local stage and film actor, director, musical theatre instructor and the owner and creative director of Monologues4kids.com. She 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. Go here for Gerrie’s full profile.

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Spectacular Christmas Revue coming to Cultural Park Theatre December 11-15 (11-01-19)

Cultural Park Theatre’s 2019 holiday show is one of its most anticipated productions. Once again this year, the theatre is taking the season’s favorite holiday songs, adding some pop music and sprinkling in a cast of children, adults and Santa Claus. It’s the tried and true recipe for a most “spectacular” Christmas show! It runs December 11 through the 15, so save the dates.

Cultural Park Theatre is located at 528 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral, FL 33990. for more information, please visit http://www.culturalparktheater.com or telephone 239-772-5862.

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FGCU TheatreLab presenting ‘Mystery Cycles’ October 25 through November 3 (11-01-19)

The FGCU TheatreLab is presenting Mystery Cycles again this weekend.

After having banned theater from much of Europe for centuries, the Christian church brought it back during the Middle Ages in the form of popular street entertainment. Actors, working with local trade guilds, produced bible stories on wagons and presented them to an audience desperate for a distraction from the various threats of living in a newly forming urban society. Some of the plays were funny, some frightening, but all were fully secular and very much a part of the human condition.

Barry Cavin adapts and directs a contemporary retelling of three ancient cycle plays in a production that promises to capture the spirit and fun of the original work while making the event relevant and interesting to today’s audiences.

Remaining performances are November 1 & 2 at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on November 2 & 3 at 2:00 p.m. There will be a discussion with the cast and crew following the November 2 matinee performance.

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

TheatreLab is the black box performance space for the productions of the FGCU Theatre Program. The theatre is located in the Arts Complex on the FGCU campus, seats up to 90, and the configuration often changes depending on the production, so every play has a unique feel.

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‘Always … Patsy Cline’ in Florida Rep ArtStage Theatre through November 24 (11-01-19)

Always … Patsy Cline is on stage in the Florida Repertory Theatre ArtStage Studio Theatre now through November 24. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. matinees on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

This heartfelt and compelling true story celebrates the most popular female country singer in recording history and is told through the eyes of her biggest fan and unlikely best friend, Louise Seger. Patsy Cline’s legendary voice and rise to stardom took America by storm, and from her early performances in dusty Texas honky-tonks to sell-out concerts at the Grand Ole Opry, Patsy’s music left an indelible mark on country music and American culture. This musical tribute features all of her most beloved songs, including “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” the number one Jukebox hit of all time, “Crazy,” and many more!

“What a delight to open our new season with a musical salute to one of the greatest female recording artists in American music history,” said Florida Rep Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “This musical premiered Off-Broadway over 30 years ago, and it remains one of the most popular and most beloved – not only because it’s packed with all of Patsy’s greatest hits, but because it is filled with humor, hope, and is a love letter to the power of friendship. We’ve also assembled an all-star cast, including one of the original cast members, Becky Barta, who’s performed both roles extensively across the country since its original New York run. You are in for a treat…if you can get a ticket.”

Always … Patsy Cline stars Becky Barta (2nd photo) as Louise Seger and Bethany Gwen Perkins (3rd photo) as Patsy Cline. Both New York actors have a history with the musical. Perkins reprises her role after a recent appearance at The Depot Theatre in Ithaca, New York, and Barta’s appearance at Florida Rep marks her 30th production of the musical. Barta has played both Patsy and Louise in productions across the country since her appearance in the original Off-Broadway production.

Florida Rep Ensemble Member Maureen Heffernan (4th photo) directs the production after recently helming Florida Rep’s The Miracle Worker, Sylvia and others. Heffernan is joined by Musical Director Alex Shields (Cabaret), Set Designer Tim Billman (Too Marvelous for Words), Costume Designer Kristina Tollefson (Florida Rep Debut), Lighting Designer Anne Carncross (Florida Rep debut), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Million Dollar Quartet), and ensemble Stage Manager Amy Massari (Native Gardens).

Created and originally directed by Ted Swindley, Always … Patsy Cline is generously sponsored by Sam Galloway Ford Lincoln, Kearns Restaurant Group, Alexandra Bremner, and Martin & Mary Ann McLaughlin.

Tickets start at $55 for regular performances and $35 for discounted previews. For this musical, onstage cafe table seating is available for $75, and includes two drinks per person and table service. Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488.

Subscriptions are also on sale now and offer the best seats at the biggest discount. Packages for 9, 8, 7, and 6 shows are now on sale and start as low as $174 for six plays. The popular Six-Show Arcade Theatre Rush Pass is now on sale for $175 and offers the best available seats in the Historic Arcade Theatre 90-minutes before any performance. Subscriptions are available through the box office at 239-332-4488 or toll-free at 877-787-8053.

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‘A Fox in the Fairway’ opens in Florida Rep Arcade Theatre today (11-01-19)

A Fox on the Fairway opens in Florida Rep’s historic Arcade Theatre today (November 1 after preview performances October 29-31. It’s a zany and hilarious farce that turns a stuffy country club on its head. Mistaken identity, slamming doors, and romantic escapades keep audiences in stitches in this madcap adventure about love, life, and man’s eternal love affair with golf.

A Fox in the Fairway comes from the renowned comic author of previous Florida Rep hits Lend Me a Tenor (2012) and Moon Over Buffalo (2006). This is a signature Ken Ludwig farce where Marx Brother’s hilarity meets country club politics.

“A farce is the best way to kick off our season in the Historic Arcade Theatre, and this is one of the best of Ken Ludwig’s farces,” says Florida Rep Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “Our 22nd season is off to a running start with a salute to a country icon running in the ArtStage and now a madcap farce about to open in the Arcade. We’ve assembled an all-star cast of returning ensemble members and some comic powerhouses making their Florida Rep debuts, and I promise this production will keep you in stitches.”

The Fox on the Fairway cast is led by Florida Rep Ensemble Members David Breitbarth, Kate Hampton, Patricia Idlette and William McNulty alongside New York actors Matthew Goodrich (Florida Rep newcomer) and Betsy Helmer (who returns after appearing in last season’s Steel Magnolias).

David Breitbarth returns to the Arcade stage after star turns in previous farces, Rumors, Social Security, and Florida Rep’s last outing with Ken Ludwig, Lend Me a Tenor.

Kate Hampton was seen most recently in The Miracle Worker and How the Other Half Loves, and made her Florida Rep debut in Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor.

Patricia Idlette is a fixture at Florida Rep and stages across Southwest Florida, and appeared in last season’s Steel Magnolias. William McNulty returns after appearances in The Miracle Worker, Twelve Angry Men, and as Mark Rothko in Red, among others.

Florida Rep Ensemble Member Chris Clavelli directs the production after recently helming Florida Rep’s Becoming Dr. Ruth, Outside Mullingar, and Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor in 2012. Joining Clavelli are Ensemble Set Designer Jim Hunter (Steel Magnolias), Costume Designer Alice Neff (A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge), Ensemble Lighting Designer Todd O. Wren (August Wilson’s Fences), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Million Dollar Quartet), and ensemble Stage Manager Janine Wochna (Hay Fever).

A Fox on the Fairway plays through November 20. Tickets start at $55/$49 for regular performances and $35/$29 for previews. Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

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

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FSW Black Box Theatre tackling Chekhov’s ‘Seagull’ in November (11-01-19)

Florida SouthWestern State College’s Black Box Theatre is bringing the community Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull in November.

The Seagull is a slice-of-life drama set in the Russian countryside at the end of the 19th century. The cast of characters is dissatisfied with their lives. Some desire love. Others desire success. A few desire artistic genius. As these goals, desires and worthwhile pursuits clash and conflict, no one ever seems to attain happiness. But while they may be vain and often miserable, the folks who populate The Seagull are philosophically aware of the tragi-comical aspects of their existence.

Go here for the rest of this advance.
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‘Seagull” cast features Kiana Raine-Pinder (11-01-19)

Kiana Raine Pinder will appear in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. She is an actor, singer, dancer, stage manager and an Education Intern at Florida Repertory Theatre. Her credits include I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, (in which she portrays seven different characters; FSW Theatre Program), Tilly in She Kills Monsters (FSW Theatre Program), the Assistant Choreographer Lara in A Chorus Line (Florida Rep Conservancy) and Claire in This Random World (FSW Theatre Program). She was also a shadow dancer in Florida Rep’s Spring Awakening and stage manager for FSW’s production of Wellesley Girl.

Go here for more.

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‘Seagull” cast features Chance Cintron (11-01-19)

Chance Cintron will appear in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Cintron is a Fort Myers television and stage actor. He has booked a role as a principal in the new television series Go Iguanas. His stage credits include Mr. Wormwood in Florida Repertory Theatre Education’s conservancy production of Matilda, Florida Rep’s production of Native Gardens (landscape laborer), Florida Repertory Theatre Education’s conservancy production of A Chorus Line, Qui Nguyen’s fantasy romp She Kills Monsters (Miles) …  Go here for the rest of this profile.

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‘Seagull” cast features Lexie Anne Cole (11-01-19)

Lexie Anne Cole will appear in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. She is a theater student who is enrolled at Florida SouthWestern State College. Among her previous acting credits are Joe DePietro’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (various roles), Brandan Pelsue’s Wellesley Girl (Supreme Court Chief Justice Donna Landesman), A Chorus Line (Tricia, for Florida Rep), Heathers: The Musical (Ensemble/Principal Gowan, Florida Rep), Lab Theater’s production of the 1997 Tony-winning comedy/drama The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Lala Levy) and Lab Theater’s production of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (political candidate William Russell’s smitten campaign aide Catherine).

Go here for Lexie’s full profile.

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‘Seagull” cast features Jorge Cabal (11-01-19)

Jorge Cabal will appear in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The SeagullCabal’s stage credits include multiple roles in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Max in Wellesley Girl, Chuck the Dungeon Master in She Kills Monsters all for Florida SouthWestern State College. He’s also appeared in Cultural Park’s production of Neil Simon’s Fools. In high school, he not only performed in a number of productions, he also wrote, directed and starred in a play of his own.

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‘Seagull” cast features Danica Murray (11-01-19)

Danica Murray will appear in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Danica is a theater student at Florida SouthWestern State College. Murray characterizes herself as a comedic actor, but she fully embraces dramatic parts, such as Barblin in Lab Theater’s production of Max Frisch’s Andorra and Marie in FSW’s production of Brendan Pelsue’s futuristic dystopian drama Wellesley Girl. She has already amassed an impressive resume, thanks in large measure to her participation in Florida Repertory Theatre’s Conservancy program. Go here for her full resume.

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Ghostbird Theatre Company brings ‘October House’ to Langford-Kington Home (11-01-19)

This Halloween, join Ghostbird Theatre Company at the historic Langford-Kingston Home in downtown Fort Myers for a unique immersive experience. It’s called October House, and will feature performances of Jet of Blood by Antonin Artaud and Breath, Not I and Rockaby by Samuel Beckett in separate rooms, plus a video of Heiner Muller’s Nightpiece

Not able to ditch the kiddos and trick-or-treating? No worries. October House runs October 31 through November 9.

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With ‘October House,’ Ghostbird continues work to perfect immersive experience for its audiences (11-01-19)

Ghostbird Theatre Company’s current site-specific performance piece is October House, which runs through November 9 in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in downtown Fort Myers. Four separate pieces are being performed in various rooms in the house, with the audience moving from one to the next to view Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby, Breath and Not I, along with Antonin Artaud’s Jet of Blood. The evening also starts with a pre-recorded video of Heiner Muller’s Nightpiece.

This is not the first immersive affair that Ghostbird has performed in the Langford-Kingston Home. Barry Cavin’s original work Writing Shadows also followed this same bold, jarring promenade theater experience that had audience members climbing up and down Walter Langford’s grand stairwell and filing through various rooms in the rambling Craftsman home.

Ghostbird is known nationwide for its cutting edge, experimental site specific productions that shatter theater’s traditional fourth wall. Over just the past handful of seasons, the Company has staged immersive walk-along shows at both the Happehatchee Center (The Chicken Play) and Koreshan State Park (ORBS!). But while it may be working hard to perfect the art of site-specific immersive theater, it didn’t invent the genre. To the contrary, interactive plays like these have been exploding in popularity since Deborah Warner’s Manhattan-based Angel Project was chosen as the opening event for the Lincoln Center Festival’s 2003 season.

Go here for the rest of this post.

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Samuel Beckett’s ‘Not I’ may be best work Stella Zuri has ever done (11-01-19)

Anyone who’s ever seen Stella Zuri perform can’t help but be impressed. She executes the roles she undertakes with the precision of a surgeon – not with the delicacy of a Christian Bernard, but rather with the ferocity of Jack the Ripper. So it’s somewhat incongruous to cast her as Mouth in Not I because Samuel Beckett’s most emphatic stage direction for his knife-edge play is “Don’t act.”

Not I is part of Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of October House, an aggregation of four live and one pre-recorded play on video that explores our confusion, disembodiment and helplessness in the face of an uncaring and often punitive natural world. It comes at the mid-point of the evening, in a second floor bedroom in the historic Langford Kingston Home, following a looped introductory video of Heiner Muller’s Nightpiece, and jarring performances of Beckett’s Rockaby and Breath. Each is designed to immerse the Ghostbird audience in short, disorienting pieces that, quite frankly, play on the audience’s jangled nerves.

For Not I, the audience enters a darkened bedroom and gathers at the foot and along the side of a bed in which Zuri lies presumably strapped down under a black sheet or bedspread. It’s impossible to tell because the only thing visible in the narrow beam cast by the spotlight mounted over her right shoulder is Zuri’s mouth and the underside of her flared nostrils. It’s completely disconcerting even if you don’t suffer from claustrophobia.

The tension in the room is palatable. It’s virtually suffocating.

Go here for more.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Terry Tincher (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Jet of Blood by Antonin Artaud and the cast for this show includes Scott Michael as Huge Voice, Joshua Needle as Young Man, Dana Lynn Raulerson as Young Girl, Hanny Zuniga as Knight, Jim Brock as Wet Nurse and Shelbie Tyndall as Bawd. Terry Tincher plays the part of the Priest. Jet of Blood represents Terry Tincher’s third Ghostbird production. He previously appeared in Barry Cavin’s Boxes Are for What We Keep and Jim Brock’s Everyone on this Train. For more on Terry, go here.

October House will be performed through November 9. In addition to Jet of Blood, Ghostbird will also present three plays by Samuel Beckett: Breath, Not I and Rockaby. Each play will take place in a separate room of the house, and the audience will carefully proceed from room to room. Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 student. The run time of the show is just over an hour and is not suitable for children or pets.

Tickets and more information are available on-line at www.GhostbirdTheatreCompany.org.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Dr. Scott Michael (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District, and FGCU virologist Dr. Scott Michael will play Huge Voice in Antonin Artaud’s Jet of Blood.

Dr. Scott Michael is Professor of Biological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. A long-time patron of the arts, Michael spent time on the boards in both high school and college. He last appeared for Ghostbird in Boxes Are for What We Keep.

“We are pretty sure we are the only theatre company in the United States to have an actor who is a nationally-recognized expert in virology,” Brock quipped in advance of Boxes Are for What We Keep. “He can answer your questions about certain Wolbachia strains and how that, once populated in mosquito cells, they can inhibit, even block, the replication of Zika virus – which can disrupt the transmission of this disease. Oh, and don’t get him started talking about Dengue Fever!”

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Focus on October House actor Hanny Zuniga (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Jet of Blood by Antonin Artaud and the cast for this show includes Terry Tincher as the Priest, Dr. Scott Michael as Huge Voice, Joshua Needle as Young Man, Dana Lynn Raulerson as Young Girls, Jim Brock as Wet Nurse, Shelbie Tyndall as Bawd and Hanny Zuniga as Knight. Go here for Hanny’s acting and playwrighting credits.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor and Ghostbird co-founder Jim Brock (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Jet of Blood by Antonin Artaud and the cast for this show includes Terry Tincher as the Priest, Dr. Scott Michael as Huge Voice, Joshua Needle as Young Man, Dana Lynn Raulerson as Young Girls, Hanny Zuniga as Knight, Shelbie Tyndall as Bawd and Jim Brock as Wet Nurse. Go here for all of Jim Brock’s stage, playwriting and other credits. 

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Josh Needle (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Jet of Blood by Antonin Artaud and the cast for this show includes Joshua Needle in the role of Young Man. Joshua last appeared for Ghostbird in Everyone on this Train, where he portrayed a luckless Manhattan commuter by the name of Sam who is contemplating his imminent firing and unemployment. He also played the part off Officer Barrel in the TheatreZone/FGCU TheatreLab collaborative production of Urinetown the Musical.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor and filmmaker Shelbie Tyndall (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Jet of Blood by Antonin Artaud and the cast for this show includes Shelbie Tyndall as Bawd. An FGCU English major, Tyndall is a screenwriter, producer, playwright and actor. Read here about her considerable achievements to date.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Dana Lynn Raulerson (10-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but three separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Jet of Blood by Antonin Artaud and the cast for this show includes Dana Lynn Raulerson, who previously performed in the Langford-Kingston Home in the role of the impatient, obnoxiously officious Director in Ghostbird’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Stella Zuri (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Samuel Beckett’s Not I, starring Stella Zuri. Stella has a reputation for playing smart, surly and somewhat mercurial female characters. One of her most memorable was that of the acerbic Daphna in Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews (for Lab Theater). Another was the brutally judgmental Eva in Robert Caisley’s Happy (also for Lab). Go here to see all of Stella’s impressive theatrical resume.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Sharon Isern (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but four separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby, and playing the role of The Rocker is Sharon Isern. She made her debut in January 0f 2019 in Ghostbird Theatre’s production of Everyone on this Train, excelling in the role of a mother fleeing the Chechen war with her daughter. And she recently turned in a tearfully painful portrayal of a doting daughter caring for her terminally ill mother who is also afflicted with dementia in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Shadow Box. For more on Sharon’s acting accomplishments and chops, read here.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Violet Shindler (11-01-19)

Colorful leaves and pumpkin spice are nice this time of year. But as summer begins its long painfully slow demise here, the taste at Ghostbird Theatre Company runs toward a more absurd kind of treat. During October House, Ghostbird will perform not one, but three separate short plays in the historic Langford-Kingston Home in the downtown Fort Myers River District. One of those plays is Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby, and playing the role of Woman in Chair is Violet Shindler. If you’re not familiar with Shindler’s body of work, go here.

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‘Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man’ at Lab Theater through November 16(11-01-19)

After its wildly successful run off Broadway, Lab Theater will present the first licensed U.S. production of Matt Murphy’s Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man through November 16.

The play is set at Lab Community College’s auditorium where the Contemporary Literature Department holds its monthly Meet the Authors series. Things take a turn towards hilarity when the originating professor dies just before curtain, and her replacement is more than a tad uncomfortable with the subject matter of the book titled “Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man.” What ensues is a book club talkback meets bachelorette party event that is perfect for date night fun.

You can read the rest of this advance here.

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

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‘Sex Tips for Straight Women’ gives couples freedom to talk about what they need in the bedroom (11-01-19)

Matt Murphy’s Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man runs through November 16 at Laboratory Theater. Loosely based on Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman’s popular sex manual by the same name, the production promises the most fun you’ll have outside of the bedroom.

The hype’s true.

The premise is fairly straightforward (yes, pun intended). The Contemporary Literature Department of Laboratory Community College hosts a book forum for its student body called Rendezvous with Alternative Authors of the Modern Era. On this particular night, RAAME (descriptively pronounced “ram me”) is featuring a salacious sex manual titled Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. The Department Chair is scheduled to interview the book’s author, sexpert Dan Anderson, but Professor Marilyn van Wyndenschmear suffers such a severe case of food poisoning prior to the event that she keels over dead, leaving her assistant to take her place. But Robyn not only is a book talk virgin, she has no idea how to go about interviewing Anderson about the material he covers in the book. No worries. In Robyn, Anderson finds the perfect foil. And rather than talk the talk, Dan decides to make over the uptight straight-laced (I know, I know) bespectacled school marm with the help of the RAAME audience.

Go here for the rest of this review.

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Spotlight on ‘Sex Tips’ playwright Matt Murphy (11-01-19)

The first U.S. licensed production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man opens at Lab Theater in Fort Myers with a half-price preview on Thursday, October 23. It is the creative product of New York playwright Matt Murphy, who will be in town for Friday night’s official opening.

Off-Broadway’s longest-running comedy, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man is now an internationally-recognized brand with productions opening all over the world, a North American tour, and an open-ended production at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Go here for more on Matt’s playwrighting and other credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Sex Tips’ director Randall Kenneth Jones (11-01-19)

The incomparable Randall Kenneth Jones is a respected actor, author, podcaster, marketing/PR consultant and motivational speaker. Highly intelligent, deeply introspective and ridiculously well-connected (among a legion of notable actors, athletes and celebs, he counts Erin Brockovich and Peggy Post as close personal friends), Jones is directing Sex Tips for Married Women from a Gay Man for Laboratory Theater of Florida. Go here for more on Jones’ stage and other credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Sex Tips’ Madelaine Weymouth (11-01-19)

Madelaine Weymouth stars in the first licensed U.S. production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Weymouth is a local actor and director. Her acting credits include Vandy Jordan in Venus in Fur (for The Studio Players), Forgive Me; I Put You in a Play, Boberg’s Timer and Dash in the Middle in Lab Theater’s inaugural Festival of Tens, Serenity in And the Winner Is, The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s and Stage Kiss, as well as a number of staged readings at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Go here for the rest of her profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Sex Tips’ Steven Michael Kennedy (11-01-19)

Steven Michael Kennedy burst on the Southwest Florida community theater scene with his portrayal of Casey in The Legend of Georgia McBride. His other credits include 35mm: A Musical Exhibition, Larry in Burn This and the titular role in Pippin. He appears next in the first licensed U.S. production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man by Lab Theater.

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Spotlight on ‘Sex Tips’ Michael Andrew (11-01-19)

Michael Andrew stars in the first licensed U.S. production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. He plays Stefan, a hunky tech who has no idea how attractive women find him. Andrew made his acting debut at the age of eight and hasn’t looked back. Since then he has appeared in more than twenty theater productions and has also worked in two of the well-known Bring It On films as a stunt/tumbler performer. Local credits include Stephan in the first licensed U.S. production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, Kyle Morgan in And the Winner Is … and Gulf Coast Symphony’s production of Barber of Seville (Ambrogio).

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‘Escanaba in Da Moonlight’ in Tobye Studio Theatre through November 17 (11-01-19)

The hysterical Tony Award-Nominated comedy Escanaba in Da Moonlight is on stage now through November 17 in the Tobye Studio Theatre at the Naples Players.

Written by Tony Award and Oscar-nominated actor Jeff Daniels, Escanaba in Da Moonlight is set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the beer flows freely and pasties are a staple of the local diet. It’s the best day of da’ year – the opening of deer season, and forty-five-year-old Reuben Soady is still (as they say in the U.P) “without venison,” leaving him bound and determined to finally bag his buck this year. Escanaba in da Moonlight is a hilarious tale of humor and heart as Reuben goes to any and all lengths to remove himself from the wrong end of the family record book.

“You will fall in love with the Soadys and you will laugh the entire evening,” says director Jessica Walck, “My hope is that everyone learns a little bit about this corner of the country and walks away a little lighter having had the laugh of a lifetime.”

Escanaba in Da Moonlight performances run Wednesdays – Sundays, October 23 – November 17, 2019 in the Tobye Studio Theatre.

A Red Carpet Party kicks-off at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, on The Baker Stage for Opening Night before the 7:30 p.m. performance with music and complimentary refreshments from The Naples Players Red Carpet Partners: Truluck’s, Riptide Brewery, and The Spice & Tea Exchange of Naples.

Tickets are $40 and available at the Box Office in-person at 701 5th Avenue South 10 am – 4 pm, or by calling (239) 263-7990, or online at NaplesPlayers.org.

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Studio Players performing one-act comedies between November 15 and December 1 (11-01-19)

The Studio Players will be performing three one-act comedies between November 15 and December 1. Two come from long-time Naples resident and award-winning one-act playwright Natalie King: Saved by The Bell and Where is Man – directed by Annie Rosemond and performed fully staged. The other is Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, a one-act dark comedy directed by Scott Lilly.

The Players for these performances will be:

  • Kristen Voit
  • Matt Flynn
  • Sharon Isern (2nd photo)
  • Tina Cedras
  • Danny Cancio
  • Ellen Erikson Cooper

Performances are at 7:30, with matinees at 3:00 p.m. For more information, please visit http://www.thestudioplayers.org or telephone 239-398-9192.

 

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