subscribe: Posts | Comments

Visual & Performing Artists and their events in the news November 1-7, 2023


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


1     ACTORS


Alexandra Adams makes Ghostbird debut in ‘No Single Body to Follow Me’

Alexandra Adams makes her Ghostbird Theatre Company debut in James Brock’s No Single Body to Follow Me, which plays November 9, 10 & 11 in the home studio of local textile designer, filmmaker and visual artist Mariapia Malerba. The FGCU senior theatre major’s was just seen as Veronica in Heathers the Musical for TheatreZone/FGCU. Her other stage credits include Horatio in Hamlet, Martha in The Secret Garden and Spiker in James and the Giant PeachRead the rest of this Spotlight here.



Haley Adkins joins cast of ‘Snowbird Follies’

Haley Adkins appears next in Gulf Coast Symphony’s holiday musical review Snowbird Follies. A senior theater major with a minor in Religious Studies, Haley’s previous credits include Heather Chandler (The Red Queen) for FGCU-TheatreZone’s collaboration for Heathers, Nicola in Kinky Boots (Weathervane Theatre), Lady Lucile in Once Upon a Mattress (Weathervane Theatre), and Billing in An Enemy of the People (Florida Gulf Coast University).



Tatum Bates making Ghostbird stage debut in ‘No Single Body for Me to Follow’

Tatum Baylee Bates is an aspiring film and theater actor. A theater major at Florida Gulf Coast University now in her third year, Tatum is poised to make her Ghostbird Theatre Company stage debut in Jim Brock’s No Single Body for Me to Follow. Tatum’s stage credits include Thorton Wilder’s Our Town for the Centers for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs Community Players, Hamlet in FGCU TheatreLab’s Hamlet, Katherine Stockmann in FGCU TheatreLab’s Enemy of the People, Livvy in Mountain Mamas in Florida Repertory Theatre’s Play Lab, Player #7 in The Wolves and Linda in Evil Dead: The Musical in Lab Theater Education’s summer intensive camp and Dr. Knef in Radium Girls. Read the rest of Tatum’s profile here.



Gerrie Benzing is Mother Superior in ‘Drinking Habits’ at Belle Theatre

A local stage and film actor, director, musical theatre instructor and the founder and creative director of, Gerrie Benzing plays Mother Superior in Drinking Habits for The Belle Theatre. Gerrie’s credits include Gertrude in Save Hamlet (for Lab Theater), Raven in Trouble (at the Vista View Mobile Home Estates) for Florida Rep, Brooke in Other Desert Cities for The Studio Players and Florence Ungar The Odd Couple: Female Version (Belle Theatre, 2022). Read Gerrie’s extensive theatrical credits here.



Gregg Birr in the role of Kiril in ‘Superior Donuts’

Gregg Birr appears in the role of Kiril in Tracy Lett’s Superior Donuts. Gregg’s previous credits include Bill in Hollywood Arms for Arts Center Theatre, Beer for Breakfast for The Studio Players, the delivery man in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park (which he also stage managed), The Same Time Next Year, An Evening of Ten-Minute Plays, Emotional Baggage and High Noon in Boom and How They Talk in South Boston. Birr is a familiar face on Marco Island. He had been a frequent participant in the Marco Players Reader’s Theater, including roles in Words, Words, Words, Silver Alert, What the Dickens, Buford and Leroy, Biff and Blanche, The Story of a Very Good Catch, and Matterhorn and the Wedding Story.



Steven Coe channels inner Humphrey Bogart to reprise role of Happy in ‘Clown Bar’

Actor Steven Coe channels his inner Humphrey Bogart to reprise the role of Happy for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance in Clown Bar. This represents the first time in Steven’s storied career that he’s ever returned to a role he previously performed. Among Steven’s most recent credits are Freddy in Noises Off, Hamlet in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Save Hamlet, David in The Foreigner for Players Circle Theatre, Happy Mahoney in Clown Bar for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Mitch Brenner in The Birds: A Parody, the impudent, bitingly witty rake Vicomte de Valmont in Lab Theater’s production of Dangerous Liaisons and Chris in Killer Joe. You will find Steven’s full profile here.



Grant Cothren reprises role of Shotgun in ‘Clown Bar’

Grant Cothren reprises the part of Shotgun for the Alliance for the Arts in Adam Szymkowicz’s Clown Bar. Grant’s previous community theater credits include Hujar/Zack in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Joe in The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre, Little John in Marian: The True Tale of Robin Hood for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, George in Don’t Dress for Dinner at Cultural Park Theatre and the husband in a SoCo play produced by Theatre Conspiracy.



Ryan Porter Craig is Father Chenille in ‘Drinking Habits’ at Belle Theatre

Ryan Porter Craig appears as Father Chenille in Drinking Habits at Belle Theatre. Previous credits include the Wolf and Prince Charming Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (at new Phoenix Theatre), the voice of Audrey II for Belle Theatre in Little Shop of Horrors, multiple roles for Gulf Coast Symphony in their holiday revue, Snowbird Follies and the dual roles of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical.



Mike Dinko is Arthur Przybyszewski in Tracy Letts’ ‘Superior Donuts’

Mike Dinko plays the part of down-and-out donut shop owner Arthur Przysyszewski in The Studio Players production of Tracy Letts’ dramedy Superior Donuts. Among Mike other stage credits are the roles of Roy in Lab Theater/LabTV’s hybrid production of Nancy Stetson’s Rest Stops of America, Customers 1 and 8 in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s D.M.V., a guardian angel in Boberg’s Timer and a buddy in Junk in the Trunk in Lab’s inaugural Festival of Tens  and one of the Castilian brothers in The Odd Couple, Female Version. You will find more on Mikes theatrical credits here.



Chloe Elliott-Chan appears for Ghostbird in Brock’s ‘No Single Body for Me to Follow’

Chloe Elliott-Chan appears for Ghostbird Theatre Company in Jim Brock’s poem-play No Single Body for Me to Follow. A theatre major at Florida Gulf Coast University, Chloe has performed in a number of productions in FGCU’s TheatreLab, including Hamlet, An Enemy of the People, Antigone and On Baile’s Strand. Chloe is also an alumni of FSW’s theatre department, which she credits as being the foundation of her theatre education. There she participated in their productions of This Random World, She Kills Monsters and Sonnets for an Old Century, among others. At Lab Theater, Chloe has played Bernadette in Lab’s summer spoof Save Hamlet and Madam de Tourvel in Les Liaisons Dangereuses.



Marilyn Hilbert is Lady Boyle in ‘Superior Donuts’

Marilyn Hilbert plays the part of Lady Boyle for The Studio Players in Tracy Lett’s Superior Donuts. Marilyn’s prior stage credits include Doris in Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club, Laugh, Cry, Pee, Repeat! for The Marco Players, the role of retired lawyer, Greenwich Village activist and art gallery proprietor Gladys Green in The Studio Players’ production of The Waverly Gallery, Over the River, Sonja in the Marco Players’ production of Tango at 2:30, Ethyl in On Golden Pond, Daisy in Driving Miss DaisyRose’s Dilemma, Take Five, Plaza Suite, The Last Romance, Sunset Park and Love Loss and What I Wore. There’s more. Read here.



Cicero McCarter reprises role of Giggles in ‘Clown Bar’

Cicero McCarter reprises the role of Giggles for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in Adam Szymkowicz’s Clown Bar. He originally appeared in the role in August of 2022. Cicero was just seen at the Alliance for the Arts as Elder Joseph (“Old Joe”) Barlow in August Wilson’s Radio Golf. McCarter has also appeared as Trevor Neese in Rancho Mirage and Henry Simpson in Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic. For more on Cicero, read here.



Todd Miller plays Officer James for Studio Players in Tracy Letts’ ‘Superior Donuts’

Todd Miller currently appears in the role of Officer James in The Studio Players’ production of the Tracy Letts’ dramedy Superior Donuts. He was last seen at The Studio Players in the role of Mitchell in Murder at the Howard Johnson’s. Todd’s local credits include a father whose daughter has been radicalized by ISIS in Faceless for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts and Jimbo in Fairview at the Laboratory Theater of Florida, a role that Miller’s Southwest Florida theater debut and return to the live theater after a 13-year hiatus. Go here to see Todd’s extensive television and film credits.



John Repa tackles role of clown crime boss Bobo in ‘Clown Bar’

John Repa is an actor, comedian, playwright and author. He tackles the role of clown crime boss, Bobo, for Theatre Conspiracy in Adam Szymkowicz’s noir comedy Clown Bar. Many Southwest Florida residents and visitors have seen him perform at Lab Theater, Florida Rep, Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts and regularly on the Seminole Gulf Railway Murder Mystery Dinner Train. His local stage credits include Graham in A Lovely Day to Kill Your Spouse for the CFABS Community Players (2022), The Last Night of Ballyhoo, political candidate William Russell in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Go here for more.



Tom Rex appears as Russian entrepreneur Max Tarasov in ‘Superior Donuts’

Tom Rex plays the role of brusque Russian entrepreneur Max Tarasov in The Studio Players’ production of the Tracy Letts’ dramedy Superior Donuts. Rex was also seen with The Studio Players in Nuts, Don’t Talk to the Actors, and as Schultz in Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation. Tom also performs virtually in short films and locally with The Naples Players, where he not only trained extensively, but worked backstage on multiple TNP productions. Go here to see what TV shows and feature films he’s also been in.



Donna Richman is Sister Augusta in ‘Drinking Habits’ at Belle Theatre

After acting for many years in New York, Donna Richman made her Florida debut at New Phoenix Theatre in the role of Norma in Deborah Laufer’s The Last Schwartz. She next appears in the role of Sister Augusta in Drinking Habits at The Belle Theatre. Favorite past roles include Katherine in Welcome Home (Billboard Players), Renee in After-Play (Theatre Box), Karen in Plaza Suite (Herricks Players), Molly in The Front Page (Hofstra/USA), Claudia in Nuts and Felicity in The Shadow Box (Thursday Night Theatre).



Kelly Rivadulla rocks the ‘Clown Bar’ as femme fatale Blinky Fatale

Kelly Rivadulla rocks Bill Taylor’s Prohibition-style speakeasy as Blinky Fatale, the clown that gumshoe dick Happy left behind for the world of beige in Adam Szymkowic’s Clown Bar. In the role, Rivadulla conjures the mystique, danger and coquettishness of the archetype, which dates back to silent movie era actresses Theda Bara and Helen Gardner or, in more modern times, Denise Richards’ seductive portrayal of Kelly Van Ryan in Wild Things. Go here for the rest of this spotlight.



Cassie Sampson is Sister Mary Catherine in ‘Drinking Habits’ at Belle Theatre

Cassie Sampson plays Sister Mary Catherine in Drinking Habits for Fort Myers Theatre. Prior credits include Sleeping Beauty for The Belle Theatre in Disenchanted the Musical, the Witch in Into the Woods for New Phoenix Theatre, Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors, Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods for Belle Theatre, and work in the ensemble of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical and Queen Gynecia in Heed over Heels the Musical for New Phoenix Theatre.  Go here to view all of Cassie’s theatrical credits.



Shelley Sanders dusts off roller skates to reprise role of Petunia in ‘Clown Bar’

The incomparable Shelley Sanders has dusted off her roller skates to reprise the role of Petunia in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Adam Szymkowicz’s Clown Bar. Although Sanders refers to her character as “the town bicycle,” the role is performed by Sanders on roller skates throughout the show. That alone is worth the price of admission! But re-learning how to skate was child’s play. To play the part of Bitsy Mae Harling in Sordid Lives, she taught herself how to play the guitar and she played the part of John Wesley Powell in Men in Boats with one arm tied behind her back. So be sure to see this consummate thespian in Clown Bar during its run at the Alliance for the Arts November 9-26. You will find her full profile here.



Alicia Schwartz is Officer Randi in ‘Superior Donuts’

Alicia Schwartz appears in the role of Officer Randi in The Studio Players’ production of the Tracy Letts’ dramedy Superior Donuts. Alicia last performed for The Studio Players as Estella in Clark Gable Slept Here. She previously played Kate Dillon in Good People for The Marco Players and was understudy for Where is Vera Stark at The Naples Players.



Stacy Stauffer goes undercover as Sally in ‘Drinking Habits’ at Belle Theatre

Stacy Stauffer is a talented character actor who lives and performs in Fort Myers. She appears in the role of Sally for The Belle Theatre in Drinking Habits. Her previous stage credits include the President’s press secretary for Lab Theater in POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive and Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods at New Phoenix Theatre. You will find all of Stacy’s credits here.



Crooner Scott Thomson reprises role of sad sack emcee Dusty in ‘Clown Bar’

Scott Thomson is a veteran Southwest Florida actor. He reprises the role of sad sack crooner and Clown Bar emcee, Dusty, in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Clown Bar. Scott’s other credits include David Mamet’s The Duck Variations, Dr. Chumley in the Alliance’s production of Mary Chase’s Harvey and Players Circle Theatre’s production of Laughter on the 23rd Floor. For more on Scott, please read here.



Tracy Weaver is Sister Philamena in ‘Drinking Habits’ at Belle Theatre

Originally from Pennsylvania, Tracy Weaver has performed at many community theater venues in Pennsylvania and Florida. Tracy next appears as Sister Philamena in Drinking Habits at The Belle Theatre. The actor/singer’s stage credits include Madame, Ella’s cruel and demeaning stepmother in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at The Belle Theatre and Rosemonde in Dangerous Liaisons. Go here for the rest of Tracy’s stage credits.



Madelaine Weymouth plays Popo in ‘Clown Bar’

Madelaine Weymouth is a local freelance actor and director. She takes up the role of Popo in Adam Szymkowicz’s noir comedy Clown Bar. This time around, Weymouth’s character, Popo, really is Nuts – a Cheshire Cat Clown with a killer’s stare and hair-trigger homicidal streak that unnerves even the most hardboiled of clowns. Weymouth’s acting credits include Belinda in Noises Off at Lab Theater, Voice in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Lauren Yee’s The Hatmaker’s Wife, Jen in Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake for the Alliance for the Arts, and Claudia Faith Draper in Nuts for The Studio Players. You will find the rest of Madelaine’s extensive and impressive theatrical credits here.





Clyde Butcher exhibition at Arts Bonita

On view at both the Center for the Arts and the Center for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs through December 29 is AMERICA’S EVERGLADES: Through the Lens of Clyde Butcher.  This remarkable collaboration underscores the commitment of Clyde Butcher, Arts Bonita and local non-profit Captain for Clean Water to environmental conservation and preserving Florida’s precious water resources.

Clyde Butcher’s evocative photography captures the serene majesty of the Everglades, making it the perfect backdrop to shed light on the urgent need for water conservation efforts in Florida. Arts Bonita is proud to support this vital cause and hopes that the exhibition will not only inspire artistic appreciation, but also serve as a catalyst for environmental awareness and action. Through this collaboration, the voices of Clyde Butcher, Arts Bonita, and Captains for Clean Water unite in a harmonious call to preserve and safeguard the natural wonders that make Florida unique.

Arts Bonita and Captains for Clean Water have organized two special events on Wednesday, October 25, 2023: A VIP Champagne Reception (by invitation only) from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. and a public reception and book signing from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

The VIP Champagne Reception is an exclusive invitation-only event, and it will offer a unique opportunity for select guests to engage with Clyde Butcher himself and gain insights into his artistic process. Later in the day, the public reception and book signing will allow art enthusiasts and the general public to meet the acclaimed photographer and have copies of his books personally signed.

Clyde Butcher is widely recognized for his extraordinary photography and has been aptly described as “the next Ansel Adams” by Popular Photography magazine. Not only is he an immensely talented artist, but he is also a devoted humanitarian, tirelessly working for the betterment of his community. His role as a respected conservationist has seen him use his art to bring crucial environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness—facts that make this collaboration with Captains for Clean Water a perfect union!

Arts Bonita is committed to enriching the lives of the community by providing artistic expression, education, and appreciation opportunities. With two locations dedicated to the visual and performing arts (26100 Old 41 Road and 10150 Bonita Beach Road), visitors enjoy year-round programming including live concerts, theatre, comedy, film, lectures, and classes for artists of all ages and levels. Plus, Arts Bonita offers 3 art festivals in Downtown Bonita Springs each year in January, February, and March.



DAAS exhibiting macrame art of Macramedelrey in November & December

During the months of November and December, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts will exhibit the macrame art of social media star Reiniery Mariani, A.K.A. Macramedelrey.

Macrame is the art of creating handmade items through a process of decorative knots in a pattern. Macramedelrey learned the technique at a very young age from his Italian grandmother. Together, they’d make all sorts of macramé creations, from table runners to curtains.

“I instantly felt a connection with this art form, and it became a hobby that I really love and enjoy doing to this day,” says Mariani, who decided to follow his heart and turn his passion into a business that enables him to share his artwork with the world.

“I decided to call myself Macramedelrey [Macrame del Rey] for the simple fact that my nickname is Rey and I make macrame art,” the artist humorously adds. In fact, his fans affectionately refer to him as Macrame King, as his name, Rey, means king in Spanish and in recognition that he wears a macrame crown on his head in his social media posts.

During the COVID pandemic, Mariani found himself home and unemployed. It was then that he decided to spend time working on his art and posting on social media platforms. Little by little, he amassed a tremendous following and started receiving requests from customers all over the world. His popularity grew so much that he decided to open an online shop.

Some of his most popular items are plant hangers, curtains and flags. He uses a variety of knots to execute his masterpieces. The collection presented at DAAS Gallery consists of multiple styles and decorative-yet-functional pieces. Most importantly, the exhibition is another example of DAAS’ out-of-the-box approach – introducing new and exciting art forms to our Southwest Florida community.

There will be two opening receptions for this exhibition. The first will take place on Friday, November 3, and the other on Friday, December 1. Both will run from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk events. The artist will be present during the events for a meet & greet.

A macrame workshop with Macramedelrey will also soon be announced by DAAS CO-OP. The information will be available at and the gallery’s social media pages.

The exhibition will be on display through December 31st, 2023.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is located at 1815 Fowler Street in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s business hours are Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.





‘The 39 Steps’ at Arts Center Theatre pairs Matt Flynn and Sharon Isern

On stage in the Arts Center Theatre in Marco Island through November 12 is The 39 Steps, a thrilling production that boasts a stellar local cast featuring the dynamic duo of Matt Flynn and Sharon Isern, with remarkable support from Melissa Hennig and Olivia Rodriguez.

Seasoned local theater veteran Matt Flynn assumes the role of Hanney. Matt has graced local stages in various productions with The Studio Players and Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. However, what makes this production of The 39 Steps even more special is that it marks Matt’s sixth onstage pairing with his beautiful fiancée, Sharon Isern. As Matt humorously puts it, “You gotta love show business!”

The rest of this advance is here.



Tim Smith ‘Drinking Habits’ farce at Belle Theatre closes November 2-5

Tim Smith’s farce, Drinking Habits, at Belle Theatre closes with a weekend of performances November 2-5. The story follows two nuns at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing who have been secretly making wine to keep the convent’s doors open. But two reporters who are former fiancees are hot on their trail. They go undercover as a nun and priest, but their presence, combined with the addition of a new nun, spurs paranoia throughout the convent that spies have been sent from Rome to shut them down. Wine and secrets are inevitably spilled as everyone tries to preserve the convent and reconnect with lost loves. Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



2-actor farce ‘Popcorn Falls’ in Off Broadway Palm through November 18

Popcorn Falls is playing in the Off Broadway Palm Theatre now through November 18. Written by James Hindman, Popcorn Falls is a mile-a-minute two-man show that proves art can save the world.

Popcorn Falls is a sleepy American town that is forced into bankruptcy when their only claim to fame, their namesake waterfall, dries up. Their only hope is a grant to open a theater and put on a play!

Just two actors play over twenty roles in this farce that BroadwayWorld called “laugh-out-loud comedic genius.”

Paul Bernier directs a cast that includes Jenny Smith and Michael Weaver.

Smith has appeared at the Off-Broadway Palm in Funny Money, Caught in the Net, Farce of Nature, Doublewide, Texas and Always a Bridesmaid. Other theatres in which Jen has performed include The Schoolhouse Theatre, Theatre Conspiracy, St. Louis Actors’ Studio and Fort Peck Summer Theatre.

Weaver has appeared at the Off Broadway Palm Theatre in Over the River …, Social Security, Farce of Nature, Greater Tuna, Unnecessary Farce, and many others. He toured over 2 years in the International Company of the Wizard of Oz, playing the lower 48, China, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. His film work includes the cult classic horror movie, Tiki.

The Off Broadway Palm is an intimate theatre, located off of the main lobby at Broadway Palm. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $55 to $70 with discounts available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Ghostbird producing Jim Brock poem-play ‘No Single Bode for Me to Follow’

Ghostbird Theatre Company kicks off its eleventh year with its production of Fort Myers playwright James Brock’s original new play No Single Body for Me to Follow on November 9, 10 & 11 at the home studio of local artist Mariapia Malerba. Brock wrote the play as a set of bittersweet sketches using the British novelist Virginia Woolf and her siblings as characters, at least at the start.

Read the rest of this advance here.



Art Southwest Florida’s review of ‘Superior Donuts’

In North Naples, The Studio Players is performing an interesting two-act dramedy that comes from the mind of Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts (August-Osage Country). While the play is clearly a commentary on the power of friendship, community and second chances, at its core Superior Donuts is an affectionate examination of the magic that can transpire when people from different generations, demographics, races and ethnicities make the effort to get to know and understand each other.

Read the rest of the review here.

Go here for play dates, times and a full cast list.

Comments are closed.