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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news November 15-21, 2018


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


TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on December 3 (11-21-18)

The Fort Myers Film Festival returns to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s grand atrium for more Season 9 screenings on December 3.

New to the term? Well, the acronym stands for “Thank God for Indie Mondays,” and it symbolizes the anticipation and excitement that area indie film lovers feel as the first Monday of the month draws near between August and February each season. That’s when hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven screen a number of the indie short (typically no longer than 15 minutes) and short short (as brief as just a minute or two) films that have been submitted for inclusion in the Fort Myers Film Festival.

You will find the rest of this advance here.



Gary Alan Hall exhibiting in Arts for ACT’s main gallery in December (11-21-18)

Gary Alan Hall is one of two artists exhibiting work at Arts for ACT Gallery in December.

Gary has worked with various mediums over the years and currently favors acrylic painting. Drawing inspiration from illustrators, Gary’s work contrasts bold human and animal figures against simple or abstract backgrounds, often producing a unique “poster-like” quality.

Hall learned to draw as a child by watching his father. He continued his artistic interests by working in the graphic arts industry, where he learned graphic design and illustration.

Gary has shown his work in galleries and has also has participated in several juried exhibits such as Dark Arts 2018, 2D/3D and Art in Public Places at RSW airport.

From 2006 until 2012, Gary worked for Art of the Olympians as artist liaison and acting curator.

The exhibition opens with a 6:00-10:00 p.m. reception for the artist during Art Walk on Friday, December 7.



Yvonne Krystman exhibiting in Arts for ACT White Gallery in December (11-20-18)

Yvonne Krystman is one of two artists exhibiting work in the White Gallery at Arts for ACT Gallery in December.

Krystman is a Cape Coral based mixed media artist, potter and photographer. “One of the most impressive aspects of Krystman’s work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of inquiring into the liminal area where the abstract and the figurative find an unexpected yet consistent point of convergence,” state Peripheral ARTeries Contemporary Art Review critics Josh Ryders and Melissa C. Hilborn. “Her works convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. What has at once captured our attention of her artistic inquiry is the way she provided the visual results of her analysis with autonomous aesthetics.”

The works Krystman is bringing to Arts for ACT for this exhibit include an array of multi-disciplinary pieces (including mixed media, raku and traditional pottery) inspired by Florida’s unique natural elements – sunshine, wind, ocean waves and hurricanes. Also available, for the first time, will be samples of wearable art from, wearable art by Yvonne.

In addition to a previous solo show at Arts for ACT Gallery, Krystman’s work has been included in group shows at prestigious venues including Aqua Miami (a satellite show to Miami Basel) and Orlando Museum of Art.

The opening reception will take place between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. during Art Walk on Friday, December 7. A closing reception will also be held during Music Walk on December 21, with the artist present from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., with the artist present. However, the exhibit will remain on display until Monday, December 31.



Clemente Mimun returning to Sweet Art with new work in December (11-21-18)

New work by artist Clemente Mimun with be on display in December at The Sweet Art Gallery together with important paintings documenting his extensive career.

Mimun credits existentialism and an abiding sense of self-responsibility as motivation for his work. A self-proclaimed observer, his work evolves as a synergy between memory and imagination. He uses no models or muses, no pictures, no still life arrangements. Rather, he communicates not through the complexity of words, but through the simplicity of symbolism. His universal language is spoken through art.

Clemente sees what he’s doing as a progression from classical representational painting through Impressionism to abstraction. In so doing, he is reacting to the age of digital photography which, in his estimation, renders realism obsolete.

“If you need something perfect, take a picture,” he reiterates in his richly palatable French accent. Hence, Clemente strives to produce works that supply a seamless connection of traditional motif and contemporary style.

The opening reception for this show takes place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5. Sweet Art Gallery is located at 2100-A Trade Center Way, Naples, FL 34109. For more information, please telephone 239-597-2110 or visit



‘The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’ opens at Florida Rep at month’s end (11-20-18)

The world premiere of A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge opens at Florida Repertory Theatre on November 30, with four nearly-sold-out previews on November 27-29. The show runs through December 19.

Written and directed by Mark Shanahan, A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is a thrilling and fast-paced retelling of the Dickens classic. Audiences will join Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim on a ghostly epic journey through Christmases past, present, and future. With time running out, will Scrooge see the error of his ways before it’s too late to save his soul? Funny, heartwarming, and suspenseful, Florida Rep’s brand-new production is perfect for families and theatergoers of all ages.

The production features a 24-person cast consisting of Florida Rep ensemble actors, guest artists from across the country and original music played live onstage. The production stars Florida Rep ensemble members Viki Boyle (Outside Mullingar), Greg Longenhagen (Around the world in 80 Days) and Brendan Powers (How the Other Half Loves) in multiple roles and Peter Thomasson (The Miracle Worker) as Ebenezer Scrooge. They are joined by frequent Florida Rep guest artists Joe Delafield (The Dingdong), Faith Sandberg (How the Other Half Loves) and Bruce Warren (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), as well as, Jake Berne, Patrick Mounce, Mikey Reichert, Eric Shorey, Sydney Torres, Genevieve Takosich, and Tova Volcheck.

The production also showcases ten young performers from across Southwest Florida, many of whom have been seen recently in Florida Rep’s Education Department camp and conservatory productions, including Lane Free (Evangelical Christian School), Annabelle Grasmeier (St. Francis Xavier), Keehnon Jackson (Veterans Park Academy for the Arts), Liza Jayne Longenhagen (Cypress Lake Middle), Carson R. Maschmeier (Fort Myers High), Christian Miller (Canterbury School), Sebastian Moore (Riverhall Elementary), Matteo Occhino (Cypress Lake High), Grace Layne Ryan (The Alva School), and Cadence Bambrey-Zedd (homeschool). Mr. Jackson, Miss Longenhagen, Miss Ryan, and Miss Bambrey-Zedd return to the Arcade stage after appearing in Florida Rep’s The Miracle Worker last February.

Mark Shanahan returns to Florida Rep as both adapter and director after directing last season’s How the Other Half Loves and adapting The Dingdong from Feydeau’s original Le Dindon in 2016, among others.

“When we set out to produce this play, we set out to give Southwest Florida audiences something thrilling and new, and a chance to experience this classic story as it can only be seen onstage,” says Associate Artistic Director Jason Parrish. “This version is an incredibly fresh, funny, and thrilling ghost story, and will leave you wanting more.”

Performances are Tuesday – Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. New this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open 2 hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

Tickets are at $55 and $49 for regular performances, and $35 and $29 for previews. Single tickets can be purchased online at or through the box office at 239-332-4488. To buy a $99 Family Package for two adults and two children, plus concessions, please contact the box office.

The theatre is pleased to offer a $99 Family Package that includes admissions for two adults, two children, and four concession items. In addition to the family packages, Florida Rep is also offering a $5 discount to any audience member who donates a canned good or non-perishable food item in partnership with Community Cooperative.



Playwright/director Mark Shanahan dishes about Dickens adaptation (11-20-18)

Mark Shanahan is an actor, director and playwright. And he’s written an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s being produced by Florida Rep, and Shanahan’s directing the show himself.

“Although A Christmas Carol is a Dickens of a tale which has been told many times and many ways, I was thrilled to be asked to write a brand new version to make its world premiere at Florida Rep.,” Shanahan notes. “The adaptation was crafted specifically for the Rep, taking the literary masterpiece and transforming it into a magical celebration of live theatre.”

Magical indeed.

“[W]e are mounting something you’ve never seen before on the Rep stage,” chips in Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “24 actors, musicians and singers will bring you to your feet with the latest, most dynamic, original, all new Christmas ghost story ….”

“Like Scrooge, we are all changed by our experience with this story,” Shanahan expounds. “Whether you know the story by heart or find yourself coming to it for the first time, it’s my great hope that this brand new, lovingly-crafted production will be the perfect Christmas present to you and your family from all of us at Florida Rep.”



Lab brings zany 3-actor mash-up to the stage for the holidays (11-20-18)

Lab Theater is known for campy parodies and edgy satires, so it should come as no surprise that it plans to observe the holidays with classical irreverence by bringing Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) to the stage. In what can best be called a holiday mashup, actors take beloved stories and traditions from around the world and turn them upside-down in this family-friendly show.

“This show is fun for the whole family,” states Lab Artistic Director Annette Trossbach, who is delighted to present this zany comedy to Southwest Florida theater-goers. “Three actors playing dozens of roles while changing characters and costumes onstage? It’s madness and hilarious, full of belly laughs.”

You’ll find the rest of this advancement here.

‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’ play dates, times and ticket info



Spotlight on ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’ actor Dave Matthew Chesebro (11-20-18)

Dave Matthew Chesebro is an actor and aspiring playwright.

Dave’s acting credits include It’s Only a Play, in which he synchronously played the part of playwright Peter Austin, The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s and a lovesick chef by the name of Gaston in Michael Hollinger’s one-act farcical tragicomedy An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf. Dave has also played Mr. Mushnik in Little House of Horrors and has worked on a number of other productions in set construction and props management.

The rest of Dave’s profile is here.



Spotlight on ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told actor Kayleigh O’Connell (11-20-18)

Kayleigh O’Connell is an aspiring actor who is currently majoring in theatre studies at Florida SouthWestern State College.

Among her acting credits are the Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s, condescending cousin Chick Boyle in Crimes of the Heart, and Elvira in the campy cult classic, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane – a Parody of the Horror.

In Baby Jane, Kayleigh enjoyed many memorable show-stopping scenes. There was an early sequence, for example, in which Elvira arrives for work and proceeds to square off around the living room divan with Baby Jane Paso-Doble-style to the strains of the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Even better, though, was the one in which she reacts rather strongly to some suggestive language Baby Jane writes on a manila envelope. It was not quite as suggestive as Meg Ryan’s When Harry Met Sally fake orgasm scene ….

Want more? Read here.



Del Shores looking for a play for six characters on December 2 (11-19-18)

Del Shores’ cult classic Sordid Lives enjoyed an extremely popular run in September of 2017, with both straight and LGBTQ audience members reveling in the playwright’s droll and snarky dialogue, deeply relatable characters and profound and universal theme. Well, Del Shores returns to the Lab Theater for a limited engagement with his new one-man show, Six Characters in Search of a Play on December 2.

In this hilarious and provocative study, Shores riffs on Pirandello’s classic play to bring audiences six characters inspired by his real-life encounters that haven’t quite made it into one of his plays, films or TV shows. Over the course of the play’s 90-minute run time, the audience will come to know

  • Yvonne, a vegetarian-hating Texas waitress;
  • Sarah, an elderly actress who is determined to drink and smoke herself to death if Trump is elected;
  • Jimmy Ray, the evolving Georgia redneck;
  • Loraine, the once brilliant drama teacher who has lost her damn mind and is now obsessed with porn;
  • Aunt Bobbie Sue, the loud-mouth racist Republican with a heart of gold; and
  • Marsha, the monkey-hating lesbian with COPD.

Shores’ longtime collaborator and native Texan, Emerson Collins, who was a regular on the DFW theater scene before finding success in Los Angeles, will direct.

Six Characters in Search of a Play has only two Fort Myers performances, at 2:oo and 8:00 p.m. on December 2. There will also be a Dinner with Del at The Twisted Vine Bistro in downtown Fort Myers at 5:45 p.m. in advance of the evening performance. For tickets and more information on that price-fixed menu, please contact The Lab at 239-218-0481.

Seating is limited.

Tickets are available to purchase on or by calling the box office at 239-218-0481.



Candice Sanzari’s ‘Thanksgiving is for Nutters’ is Critics’ Choice winner (11-18-18)

Last night, playwright Candice Sanzari won the Critics’ Choice Award at Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting project. Her one-act play, “Thanksgiving is for Nutters,” bristled with biting banter by and between a caustic, condescending landlady, a prickly pill-popping pixie and a cross-dresser prone to whole body paroxysms each time he hears a grammatical mistake such as “irregardless” or “these ones” (substitute your own). Heather McLemore Johnson directed the play, which featured Justin Larsche, Kaleigh O’Connell and Stacy Stauffer.

“Thanksgiving is for Nutters” opened with Larsche dancing around his condominium unit dressed in an ankle length green—and-black plaid dress while breaking into a spirited rendition of “I Feel Pretty” from Westside Story. The choice of song and opening scene was serendipitous as 24-Hour Playwriting Project Coordinator Char Loomis also incorporated the song into the one-act play with which she won the Critic’s Choice Award four years earlier.

For more, read here.



Dave Chesebro’s ‘Sunny with a Chance of Social Anxiety’ is Audience Choice (11-18-18)

Last night, playwright Dave Chesebro won the coveted Audience Choice Award at Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting project. His one-act play, “Sunny with a Chance of Social Anxiety,” was filled with funny one-liners, hilarious situational comedy and a sunny, upbeat character who suffered from social anxiety disorder. Maddy Hayes directed the play, which starred Isaac Osin (Anna in the Tropics), Cantrella Canady (A Raisin in the Sun) and socially anxious Misha Ritter.

For more, read here.



NAACP and American Legion commemorate monument’s 20th anniversary (11-18-18)

On Monday, November 12, 2018, the Fort Myers Chapter of the NAACP in conjunction with the Robert H.L. Dabney American Legion Post 192 commemorated the 20th anniversary of the dedication of Don D.J. Wilkins’ USCT 2nd Regiment Monument in Centennial Park East together with its recent conservation. The ceremony was attended by roughly a dozen and a half people, including Andrea Grady and Stephanie House, who placed a wreath on an easel next to the heroic-sized statue of a composite of one of the 168 black Union soldiers who were garrisoned in Fort Myers during the final eighteen months of the Civil War. Grady is a 26-year Naval veteran and Commander of the Robert H.L. Dabney American Legion Post 192. House is the Chair of the Veteran Affairs Committee of the Lee County NAACP.

It surprises many to learn that Fort Myers was a Union outpost and that the African-American soldiers stationed there repelled an attack on February 20, 1865 that was initiated by Major William Footman and 275 members of the Florida Special Cavalry, 1st Battalion, popularly known as the “Cow Cavalry.” Footman and the Cow Cavalry had orders to burn Fort Myers to the ground. Had they succeeded, it’s likely that the settlers who arrived a year later would have gone elsewhere to build their homes. So in a very real sense, the town of Fort Myers owes its existence to the men of companies D & I of the USCT 2d Regiment. [It is worth noting that slave labor was used during the fort’s construction between 1852 and 1855 and that 40 black laborers working for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in October of 1903 helped save the town from total destruction during the Great Fire of 1903.]

According to a story in the News-Press, the Robert H.L. Dabney American Legion Post #192 contributed $5,000 of the amount the City expended commission the installation back in 1998. Post 192 also participated in the monument’s dedication on November 11, 1998.

“This statue helps to educate the community that African-American people have been fighting for their freedom for decades and as a people will continue to fight for equality, freedom and justice for all,” House said during the commemoration.



This year’s playwrights talk about their handicaps for this year’s one-act plays (11-17-18)

The premise underlying Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project is fairly straightforward. Take four playwrights, lock them in the theater overnight, and challenge them to each create a 17-20 minute one-act play that will be performed on stage the very next evening. The participating playwrights must each use the same set and incorporate certain sounds and lines into their scripts. They also get to choose in rotation (with the order being determined by lot) a number of props and costumes. And there’s one more feature that differentiates each play from the others – a handicap that’s unique to each playwright.

One of this year’s playwrights is Candice Sanzari, a talented young writer whose genres include prose, poetry and scriptwriting. For her handicap, she must have one of the character experience a physical spastic episode triggered by a grammatical error, which is hilarious once you discover that Candice’s Bachelor Degree from FAU is in English. “I’m going to have a lot of fun with that,” laughs Candice, who has been taking a plethora of playwriting classes from Louise Wigglesworth throughout the year. But she expects to draw from a virtual archive of life experiences to craft the characters in her one-act play. It’s just that they probably won’t be her own.

Read here for the rest of this story.



Alliance’s ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit runs through December 29 (11-17-18)

On view now in the main gallery, the Alliance’s Off the Wall holiday exhibition runs through December 29 – but as works sell, they come off the wall, so you better get there soon.

Each year, the Alliance for the Arts invites 100 members to submit two original 2D or 3D artworks for exhibition in the gallery beginning with the onset of the holiday shopping season. Called Off the Wall, this non-traditional art show features works of all mediums priced at $200 or less. All sales are “cash and carry,” meaning purchasers will get to take the piece with them when they buy it, rather than waiting until the end of the exhibit.

So make supporting local arts tops on your list this year by giving a gift that gives back. Make plans to do your Christmas shopping at the Alliance for the Arts this year. Betcha there’s 100 member-artists who would be delighted to have their art under your tree.

For more information, please visit or telephone 239-939-2787.



Alliance accepting submissions for 33rd Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit (11-17-18)

The Alliance’s annual All Florida Juried Exhibition features pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media from all over the 65,000 square miles that make up Florida. The juried entries come together for an award-winning and exciting exhibition representing today’s contemporary Florida artists. The Alliance is accepting submissions online now through Monday, January 28, 2019. The show will exhibit March 8-29, with an opening reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 8. A conversational walk and talk through the gallery with the artists and juror will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 9.

Please visit for a prospectus or telephone 239-939-2787 for more information.



Naples Art ‘Celebrating Light’ through December 1 (11-17-18)

Bright sunlight, multicolored carnival lights, chiaroscuro and control of lighting effects have produced some of the most spectacular images in art. With this in mind, the Naples Art Association is exhibiting Celebrating Light now through December 1, 2018. The exhibition features work by artists in a variety of media that explores and reveals how dramatic and other light effects impact the viewer.



Naples Art looking for artists for its immigration-themed 2019 show (11-17-18)

Immigration affects many areas such as work-force demographics, entitlement programs and finances. Artists have a lot to share on this important topic. And so the Naples Art Association is bringing Immigration: Does it Matter? to the Collier community January 12 – February 24, 2019. Artists who are interested in participating in this social-themed show should bring one exhibition ready artwork to Gallery 104 on January 3, 2019 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.



Bonita Bay Invitational takes place at the Promenade November 17 & 18 (11-16-18)

The Bonita Bay Invitational at The Promenade will be held November 17 & 18 at the Promenade at Bonita Springs. Visitors to this Boulderbrook Productions event will stroll the pathways and sidewalks of the Promenade where dozens of artists from near and far will line the walkways displaying a variety of artworks. With some of the finest retail stores, unique boutiques, high-end salons, and delectable restaurants, The Promenade at Bonita Bay attracts both locals in Southwest Florida and visitors from around the world. This open-air shopping center is a shopping, dining, and entertainment destination!



3rd Saturday studio and gallery tour takes place in Naples Art District on Nov 17 (11-16-18)

Taking place on November 17 is 3rd Saturday Naples Art District Studio and Gallery Tours. This event features more than 40 artists, who will be showcasing their recent works of art and demonstrating their medium. The Naples Art District is located north of Pine Ridge Road and west of Airport Road. Participating galleries and studios are open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.



App deadline for 31st Annual Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts is Dec. 9 (11-16-18)

Crowd Shot 01 (4)The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in two of its outstanding outdoor art festivals, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts. (The app deadline for The Downtown Naples New Year’s Weekend Art Fair is now closed.)

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. If you would like to Tents 03exhibit in this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, 2019
  • Festival Hours: Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Premier Crowd Shot 01Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 02/04/18; 50% refund: 02/25/18
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m., early morning set up only;
  • On street set up in quads: No electrical
  • Application deadline: 12/09/18
  • Jury Process begins: 12/14/18
  • Crowd Shot 11Status Notification: 12/28/18
  • Booth Fee Due: 01/18/19
  • Artist Info Sent: 02/26/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 01/18/19
  • Application available online at beginning June 1, 2018

The Naples Downtown Art Show was voted one of the top five favorite events by local businesses and residents. It was also rated in the top 15 by Sunshine Artist’s survey of all artists in the country.



Hot Works’ Naples Fine Art Shows promise to be intimate, boutique affairs (11-16-18)

Hot Works LLC has announced that it will be holding two weekend art shows in Naples during the upcoming season. Both will be held at the Galleria Shoppes on Vanderbilt. The 1st Bi-Annual Naples Fine Art Show will take place on Saturday and Sunday, December 15 and 16, with the second returning to the Galleria Shoppes on Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31, 2019.

The shows will be organized and conducted as intimate, boutique affairs that feature original work by no more than 150 nationally and internationally acclaimed artists in painting (oil, acrylic and watercolor), drawing (pastels, colored pencil and pen-and-ink), photography, digital imagery, sculpture (metal and stone), clay, ceramics, wood working and carving, glass, fiber art (including batik and tapestry), art jewelry and more.

The size and arrangement of these shows encourages art lovers and collectors to engage the artists about their inspiration, process and what makes them unique within the highly-competitive realm of fine arts and fine crafts. But Executive Director Patty Narozny employs a number of other time-honored techniques to make Hot Works’ shows a positive experience both for participating artists and patrons.


First and foremost, she enlists a team of art professionals with more than 120 years of combined experience to judge the work of the hundreds of applicants who wish to participate in Hot Works’ shows. Narozny is choosey, and her interest goes well beyond digital images and paper applications. She visits many of her artists in their homes and studios to make sure that their work makes a contribution to the quality of her shows and a statement in the collections of the people who patronize them.

But Narozny also understands that most of the folks who come to her shows are far from experienced collectors. In fact, many are newbies – or have yet to take the plunge and buy their first artwork. They are still in the process of defining their tastes and have yet to figure out what they like and why is speaks to them. With that in mind, she builds variety into every Hot Works show.

Further, she and her team strive to ensure that the work presented covers a wide range of price points. There is art for every budget.

Last but not least, purchasers can buy with confidence. Because Narozny does her homework so meticulously, they know they’re not only getting an original work of art from a credentialed artist, they are getting value as well.

While the business side of the equation is serious work, attending a Hot Works show is a relaxing, casual experience. It’s like taking a leisurely stroll through a park filled with artwork. There’s no pressure to do anything more than look and envision what that great painting, photograph or sculpture might look like in your home or office. And if you need a little help in the latter category, all of the exhibiting artists are only too happy to bring one or more artworks to your house after hours so that you can see exactly what it looks like on your bookcase, floor or wall.

If you haven’t been to a Hot Works fine art show before, it’s a treat you deserve. For more information, please visit or email And don’t forget Hot Works’ other Southwest Florida fine art show at Jet Blue Park. The Estero Fine Art Show will take place on January 5 & 6, 2019.



Broadway Palm’s ’42nd Street’ closes November 17 (11-15-18)

Broadway Palm’s musical extravaganza, 42nd Street, closes November 17.

Here’s the storyline: Aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer heads to New York City and quickly lands her first big gig in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. Just before opening night, the leading lady breaks her ankle, and her misfortune just might provide Peggy with her own big break – a chance to step in and become a star!

42nd Street sparkles with some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history including We’re In The Money, Lullaby of Broadway, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, Dames, I Only Have Eyes For You and the title song 42nd Street. During its Broadway run, 42nd Street received eight Tony Award nominations and was the winner of Best Musical in 1981.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $45 to $70 with group and children’s prices available. 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.



Whitworth and Banning headline cast of Off Broadway’s ‘Winter Wonderettes’ (11-15-18)

Melissa Whitworth and Sarah Mae Banning headline a cast that includes newcomers Sarah Hinrichsen and Lexie Wolf in Off Broadway Palm’s holiday production, Winter Wonderettes, which is playing now through Christmas Day. Whitworth was last seen at Broadway Palm as Grace in Annie and Mary Poppins in the eponymous musical. Banning starred as Roxie Hart in last season’s production of Chicago.

Winter Wonderettes is an energetic and glittering holiday revue that’s the perfect treat to help you groove into the spirit of the season. Set in 1968, the Marvelous Wonderettes are the entertainers at Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. The girls have their holiday harmonies ready and have transformed the hardware store into a winter wonderland. Like every year, Mr. Harper is scheduled to appear as Santa Claus and pass out the employee bonuses, but trouble ensues when “Santa” turns up missing. The girls keep the party going with lots of laughs and fun at every turn and a few lucky audience members get to be part of the excitement! The holiday songs include many favorites such as Santa Baby, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jingle Bell Rock, Winter Wonderland and more.

Amy McCleary directs and choreographs the show. McCleary’s recent work with Broadway Palm includes Annie, Mamma Mia and Chicago. Her choreography can also be seen throughout the country in the current national tour of The Wizard of Oz.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $39 to $59 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 or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Spotlight on ‘Winter Wonderettes’ co-star Sarah Mae Banning (11-15-18)

Sarah Mae Banning is a singer, actor and dancer who occasionally performs at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and associated Off-Broadway Palm.

She is best known locally for her portrayal of Roxie Hart in Broadway Palm’s production of Chicago. Some of Sarah Mae’s other acting credits include Cindy Lou in Winter Wonderettes, Marty in Grease, Millie in Thoroughly Modern Mille, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Amber von Tussle in Hairspray, Pauline in Saturday Night Fever, Minnie in West Side Story and Mrs. Pinkerton in the national tour of Pinkalicious as well as Mrs. Clancy in the national tour of Fancy Nancy: Spendiferious Christmas.

Here’s the rest of Ms. Banning’s profile.



Spotlight on ‘Winter Wonderettes’ co-star Melissa Whitworth (11-15-18)

Melissa Whitworth is a Florida-based actor, singer and director.

In the former capacity, Whitworth most often performs with Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, Broadway Palm Theatre in Fort Myers, and at the Universal Studios Orlando Resort. Her stage credits include [in reverse chronological order] Winter Wonderettes (for Off Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre), Grace Farrell in Annie (for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 2018), Henrietta Leavitt in Silent Sky (for Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, 2018), Vera in Odd Couple: Female Version (Off-Broadway Palm, 2017), Mary Poppins in the Disney musical of the same name (for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 2017), Olga in Chekhov’s Three Sisters (for Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando, 2017), Karol in Another Night Before Christmas (for Off Broadway Palm, 2016), Thomas Jefferson in 1776 (presented with an all-female cast by Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, 2016), Cindy in SUDS: The Musical (for Show Palace Dinner Theatre, Hudson, FL, 2015), Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein (for Entracte Theatrix , Delray, FL, 2015) and Princess Fiona in Shrek (for Theatre Winter Haven). Regional credits include How I Learned to Drive (as L’il Bit) and The Next Fairy Tale (as Glinda). Melissa also appeared in The Music Man, South Pacific and Anything Goes.

The rest of Melissa Whitworth’s profile is here.



CFABS Youth Players perform ‘Adventures of Stuart Little’ Nov. 16-18 (11-15-18)

The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs Youth Players will present four performances of The Adventures of Stuart Little in the Moe Auditorium this November 16, 17 & 18. Based on the award-winning book by E.B. White and adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette, Stuart Little is a charming tale about an adventuresome boy from New York City who is normal in every way – except that he is only four inches high and looks exactly like a mouse. Tickets to this classic allegory about “a modest mouse” who finds himself facing the dangers of the great big world are $20 for reserved seating and $15 for general admission, with a 10% discount for current CFABS members. Shows are Friday & Saturday, November 16 & 17, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday, November 17 & 18. The Moe Auditorium is located 10150 Bonita Beach Road.



Center for Performing Arts producing ‘The Waverly Gallery’ in April (11-15-18)

The Center for Performing Arts held auditions yesterday for The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonegan. The story revolves around Gladys, the elder matriarch of the Green family who has run an art gallery for many years. She’s whip smart and sassy but often demurs to her family. Now becoming deaf and losing her memory, Gladys is a cause for concern to her loved ones. Catalina Monterrosa Smith will direct the play, which will be performed in the Moe Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 11-13, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 & 14, 2019.



CFABS to perform breast cancer odyssey staged reading in January (11-15-18)

The Center for Performing Arts held auditions yesterday for a staged reading of Dancing with Breast Cancer by Janay Cosner. The play encompasses narration and a series of poems that provide a snapshot of the breast cancer odyssey and shed light on what it means to be a survivor. From diagnosis and surgery to chemotherapy, radiation and the new normal, Dancing with Breast Cancer is raw and real, funny and honest, and deeply, deeply personal. You’ll find no pink ribbons here. The author bares her soul, giving the audience a glimpse into the pain, trauma, uncertainty, drudgery, panic and fear that most breast cancer patients experience. Directed by Catalina Monterrosa Smith, the staged reading will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2019 in the Moe Auditorium.



Submissions for ‘Stage It!’ 3 now open (11-15-18)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs is now accepting submissions for its next STAGE IT! 10-MINUTE PLAYS challenge. The deadline for submissions is January 20, 2019. Interested playwrights may submit up to three 10-minute plays. The submission fee for the first entry is $15 and $10 for each additional entry up to three. Plays should be in generally-accepted script format and must be emailed to or mailed to the Center for Performing Arts, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135, c/o: STAGE IT.

Submissions will be reviewed by at least two theatre professionals on a blind jury basis (so do not place your name on the script itself). The judges’ critique forms will be available to the playwrights after the competition, by request.

Ten plays will be selected for live performances at the Moe Auditorium and Film Center on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts, and will be published by the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs in their third collection of STAGE IT! Ten-Minute Plays. The Center will most likely invite more plays for publication in the book as well as future performances in its Funny Shorts LIVE! shows that are featured three times a year. Set, lighting and sound requirements should be minimal as the Center for Performing Arts does not have a limitless production budget and will cut for cost.

An “Audience Favorite” will be named following the performances, with the winner receiving a $100 cash prize.

For additional information, please email or call 239-495-8989.

For information on last year’s Stage It! Ten-Minute Play Festival and Book Release, read here.



‘Damascus’ on stage at Florida Rep through December 9 (11-15-18)

Damascus by Bennett Fisher is on stage at Florida Rep through December 9. The play stars Jeremiah Clapp as Lloyd, Darian Dauchan as Hassan and Laura Shatkus playing multiple roles. The play is an electrifying psychological thriller that challenges conventional stereotypes while investigating the fine line between caution and paranoia. The action takes place late one night at the Minneapolis airport when a stranded teenager pleads with a Somali-American shuttle driver to rush him to Chicago. Chosen from Florida Rep’s 2017 PlayLab, Damascus is being performed in the ArtStage Studio Theatre.



Last weekend to catch FSW Theatre Program’s ‘Wellesley Girl’ (11-15-18)

Only four more performances of FSW’s Wellesley Girl remain. Directed by Stuart Brown, the futuristic Brendan Pelsue political drama is being performed in the FSW Black Box Theatre.

The action takes place 447 years in the future. It’s 2465, and as a result of a massive environmental catastrophe, the United States’ population has been reduced to 435 people, all of whom now live in a walled citadel in what used to be a wealthy suburb of Boston.

In this new state, the Constitution still functions as the governing document, with everyone now serving as a member of Congress and the only checks and balances against tyrannical majority rule are a levelheaded chief executive named Garth and a thoughtful woman named Donna, who serves as the entire Supreme Court (Ruth Bader Ginsburg finally getting her wish for an all-female high court).

For all the details, follow these links:




Spotlight on ‘Wellesley Girl’ title role actor Danica Murray (11-15-18)

On stage at FSW’s Black Box Theatre for one more weekend is Brendan Pelsue’s Wellesley Girl. It is an insanely intense political drama set 447 years in the future, where a small contingent of New Englanders tries to honor the spirit and letter of the U.S. Constitution after an environmental apocalypse kills off all save small pockets of refugees in America and across the globe.

Dual enrollment theater student Danica Murray is the Wellesley girl – the sole remaining survivor of the Massachusetts college town, which was decimated by an algal bloom that poisoned the town’s water. Now the walled settlement to which she fled is under attack by an army of Texans and must decide to either surrender and become slave laborers or flee their walled city and take their chances in the wilderness.

After what she witnessed in Wellesley, Murray’s character, Marie, insists that the enclave must find a different solution since the water in the surrounding countryside is still not safe to drink. Unfortunately, hers is a minority position that not even her own husband (played by Jorge Cabal) supports. As the missiles begin to fly and the residents prepare to leave, Marie must choose between joining them or killing herself and her children.

Murray characterizes herself as a comedic actor. But her part in Wellesley Girl has given her a chance to develop dramatic skills. Every role requires an actor to stretch and grow, but Danica has found the part of Marie particularly challenging.

You will find the rest of this profile here.



Spotlight on ‘Wellesley Girl’ husband Jorge Cabal (11-15-18)

On stage at FSW’s Black Box Theatre for one more weekend is Brendan Pelsue’s Wellesley Girl. It is an insanely intense political drama set 447 years in the future, where a small contingent of New Englanders tries to honor the spirit and letter of the U.S. Constitution after an environmental apocalypse kills off all save small pockets of refugees in America and across the globe.

Jorge Cabal plays Max, a father of two who’s married to the sole remaining survivor of the Massachusetts college town of Wellesley, which was decimated by an algal bloom that poisoned the town’s water after it ceded from the Union and decided to go it alone. Now the Union is under attack by an army of Texans and must decide to either surrender and become slave laborers or flee their walled city and take their own chances in the wilderness.

Max’s wife, Marie, the Wellesley Girl, knows the horrible, macabre death that awaits them if the water outside the walls is still unsafe. So much so that she would rather kill herself and their children than subject them to that risk. But he’s simply unable to make a decision pro or con without concrete evidence that the water is subject to more lethal algal blooms. So by his indecision, he goes along with the majority’s plan to fire their stockpile of missiles at the Texans and destroy their walled cities as they leave, hoping that the scorched earth will prevent the Texans from hunting them down in the wilderness.

The rest of this profile is here.



Kiana Pinder draws many lessons from stint as ‘Wellesley Girl’ stage manager (11-15-18)

Florida SouthWestern State College student Kiana Pinder has her sights set on a career in theater. But there’s more involved in that career path than just acting, and that’s why Theatre Professor Stuart Brown tapped Ms. Pinder for stage management duties in connection with FSW’s production of Brendan Pelsue’s disturbing futuristic political drama Wellesley Girl.

“There will be times when you don’t have a role to play but you still need to earn money,” Pinder sagely observes. “So it’s good to have tech skills. ‘If you don’t want me for this part, I can also do lights, sound, stage management or X, Y and Z,’” she says, conjuring an audition interview with some future director/producer.

Whereas lights and sound are narrowly-defined specialties, stage management places a premium on organizational abilities and people skills. Stage managers not only provide practical and organizational support to the director, actors, designers, stage crew and technicians throughout the production process, they are also the director’s representative during rehearsals and performances, making sure that both run smoothly.

“You have to be really organized, which I am. I think that’s why [Professor Brown] asked me to take this on,” Pinder says candidly. “But more, the stage manager is the communication hub between the director and the cast and crew, including tech, costumes, props and set design. Everyone contributes their patches to the quilt, and the stage manager puts them together in the way the director wants.”

But Brown is a man of ulterior motives, with an agenda for Pinder that stretches far beyond the skill set he needs for the success of just this production. There are lessons he hopes Pinder will draw from her stint as Wellesley Girl stage manager.

Pinder does not disappoint.

Read here for the rest of this story.



‘Boxes Are for What We Keep’ much more than mere fish story (11-15-18)

Boxes are for what we keep. But delve into playwright Barry Cavin’s new offering by the same name, and you’ll discover that boxes are also repositories into which we place ourselves and others. Escaping their confines is never easy. Abandoning the protection of their familiar boundaries is characteristically disquieting. For some, it may be downright unwelcome.

These are just some of the themes involved in Ghostbird Theatre Company’s current production of Cavin’s Boxes Are for What We Keep in the screened-in Peace Pavilion at the Happehatchee Center off Corkscrew Road in Estero. Boxes consists of three short plays which enact different versions of the same fable, a simple story about two fish that are caught, held captive, and then released. One returns to the sea, but the other chooses to remain in her cage.

“The versions of this story, as with the Gospels, have their own turns, twists, distortions, amplifications and truths,” says Ghostbird in A Note in their playbill. “Boxes, certainly, contain our most precious items, but they also can be prisons, comfortable coffins, hermetic enclosures, all of our own making.”

As a playwright, Cavin’s productions are deep, multi-layered, enigmatic affairs. His love of aphorisms is surpassed only by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Cavin’s own role, as he sees it, is to provide food for thought. Some is savory, sumptuous and thoroughly delectable. But most of the thoughts invoked by Cavin’s plays are tart, acerbic, and hard to digest.

And then there’s that inevitable aftertaste. Cavin’s stories stay with you long after find your way home.

The first fish story of Boxes Are for What We Keep is a case in point. It depicts two hillbilly fisherman by the name of Earl and Otmer, convincingly played by Terry Tincher and Jim Brock.

Read here for the rest of this review.




Spotlight on ‘Boxes Are for What We Keep’ actor Jim Brock (11-15-18)

There are only two more chances (November 17 & 18) to see Ghostbird Theatre Company’s latest production, Boxes Are for What We Keep. Staged in the Peace Pavilion at the Happehatchee Center in Estero, the play introduces Terry Tincher, Dr. Scott Michael and FGCU theater major Gabrielle Lansden and welcomes back FGCU alum Daniel De La Rosa. But it stars Ghostbird co-founders Jim Brock and Katelyn Gravel as well as Ghostbird mainstay Stella Ruiz. For more about Jim Brock, read here.



Spotlight on ‘Boxes Are for What We Keep’ actor Katelyn Gravel (11-15-18)

There are only two more chances (November 17 & 18) to see Ghostbird Theatre Company’s latest production, Boxes Are for What We Keep. Staged in the Peace Pavilion at the Happehatchee Center in Estero, the play  introduces Terry Tincher, Dr. Scott Michael and FGCU theater major Gabrielle Lansden and welcomes back FGCU alum Daniel De La Rosa. But the stars of Boxes are Ghostbird co-founders Jim Brock and Katelyn Gravel along with Ghostbird mainstay Stella Ruiz. For more on Katelyn Gravel, read here.



Spotlight on ‘Boxes Are for What We Keep’ actor Stella Ruiz (11-15-18)

There are only two more chances (November 17 & 18) to see Ghostbird Theatre Company’s latest production, Boxes Are for What We Keep. Staged in the Peace Pavilion at the Happehatchee Center in Estero, the play introduces Terry Tincher, Dr. Scott Michael and FGCU theater major Gabrielle Lansden and welcomes back FGCU alum Daniel De La Rosa. But the stars of Boxes are Ghostbird co-founders Jim Brock and Katelyn Gravel as well as Ghostbird mainstay Stella Ruiz. For more on Stella Ruiz, read here.



Spotlight on ‘Boxes Are for What We Keep’ newcomer Terry Tincher (11-15-18)

There are only two more chances (November 17 & 18) to see Ghostbird Theatre Company’s latest production, Boxes Are for What We Keep. Staged in the Peace Pavilion at the Happehatchee Center in Estero, the play introduces Terry Tincher, Dr. Scott Michael and FGCU theater major Gabrielle Lansden and welcomes back FGCU alum Daniel De La Rosa. But the stars of Boxes are Ghostbird co-founders Jim Brock and Katelyn Gravel as well as Ghostbird mainstay Stella Ruiz. For more on Terry Tincher, read here.



Lab’s popular 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge is November 17 (11-15-18)

The 24-hour Playwriting Project returns to Lab Theater at 8:00 p.m. on November 17. It’s the culmination of 1,440 minutes of highly-caffeinated fun-filled jeopardy as four playwrights spend the night in the theater producing typically-hilarious, always distinctive 15-minute one-act plays. After breakfast, a table read, and very little time for tweaks, the scripts go to the copy center. When they come back, the directors assigned to each playwright get the scripts and a cast of volunteer actors who are ready, willing and eager to learn and rehearse their lines in the seven or so hours remaining before the curtain goes up …..

Read here for the rest of this advance.



Coordinator Char Loomis thrilled by this year’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project (11-15-18)

The premise is simple – take four playwrights, lock them the theater overnight to create a show that will be performed on stage the very next evening. They are given a series of items, costumes, sounds and lines that must be included, all before learning the overarching theme of the play. Following a sleepless night of writing, they meet their directors after breakfast for some edits and then their scripts are whisked away to be printed. At lunch they meet the actors who will be performing their work. A few hours later, the curtain rises. The winner is determined by both the audience and a panel of professional judges.

The project is coordinated again this year by past winner Char Loomis who says, “we are extremely thrilled for this year’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project.

For more, read here.



Meet 24-Hour Playwriting Project participant Laura Lorusso (11-15-18)

Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project returns November 17. This year, four playwrights are participating in the overnight playwriting challenge: Candice Sanzari, Darlyne Franklin, David Matthew Chesebro and Laura Lorusso.

Lorusso has been active in the local theater community for the past fifteen years, and has long aspired to be an accomplished playwright. She appears to have achieved that milestone with June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce, whose world premiere opened in the Sugden Community Theatre’s Tobye Theatre on October 24. Sitting in the audience and hearing how viewers laughed and reacted to her work filled Lorusso with a mix of awe and pride. “As a writer, it’s the best thing in the world,” she’s said.

Her journey into the realm of playwriting started with Afterlife of the Rich and Famous, a dark comedy that was produced by Let’s Put on a Show at Golden Gate Community Center in the Fall of 2013. That same year, Laura won Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge with a one-act, 12-minute vignette titled “The Hall: Last Sunday” that sparkled with snappy dialogue, rib-splitting one-liners and a little song-and-dance number that brought down the house.

Her reward?

For more, go here.



Meet 24-Hour Playwriting Project participant Dave Matthew Chesebro (11-15-18)

Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project returns November 17. This year, four playwrights are participating in the overnight playwriting challenge: Laura Lorusso, Candice Sanzari, Darlyne Franklin and David Matthew Chesebro.

Lab Theater audiences know Chesebro as an actor, but he is also an aspiring writer. He was one of the playwrights who worked on The Rauschenberg Project Play (in which he also played a number of characters). Dave also participated in the 2016 Lab Theater 24-Hour Playwriting Project.

You will find the rest of Dave’s profile here.



Meet 24-Hour Playwriting Project participant Darlyne Franklin (11-15-18)

Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project returns November 17. This year, four playwrights are participating in the overnight playwriting challenge: Laura Lorusso, Dave Matthew Chesebro, Candice Sanzari and Darlyne Franklin.

Darlyne Franklin was born and raised in East Boston. She came to visit Naples 14 years ago – after being a snowbird, she decided to stay and become a resident.

Read here for the rest of Ms. Franklin’s profile.



Meet 24-Hour Playwriting Project participant Candice Sanzari (11-15-18)

Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project returns November 17. This year, four playwrights are participating in the overnight playwriting challenge: Laura Lorusso, Dave Matthew Chesebro, Darlyne Franklin and Candice Sanzari.

Candice Sanzari is a talented young writer whose genres include prose, poetry, and scripts. While her passion for constructing stories places her mostly behind the curtain, she sometimes ventures out onto the stage. For example, she has been an actor in two previous 24 Hour Playwriting Projects, along with some staged readings.

But Candice also has some experience on the writing side of play festivals, having produced both a monologue and a one-act play for the FAU Theatre Lab New Play Festival three years ago. The monologue featured a single mother begging a police officer following a traffic violation to let her off with a warning as she’s just scraping by with her many jobs to feed and shelter her child, who suffers from terrible night terrors. The play, titled Dead Weight, depicted two friends bickering over the murder of their neighbor, who had previously had minor altercations with them. While the male freaks out over what his friend has done, she morbidly plans to hide the body by cooking it in a casserole to feed to their other neighbors.

You will find the rest of this profile here.



Rich Orloff wins Theatre Conspiracy new play contest with ‘Engagement Rules’ (11-15-18)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts held its 20th Annual New Play Contest Fundraiser on Saturday, November 3. Playwright Rich Orloff won the contest with his entry, Engagement Rules. Theatre Conspiracy will produce the full play during its 2019-2020 season. Orloff also received the Janet & Bruce Bunch New Play Contest Award.

The three finalists for the 2018-2019 New Play Contest were selected from over 600 entries across the United States, Canada, Israel, Thailand and England. The other two finalists were Flying by Sheila Cowley and America’s Sexiest Couple by Ken Levine.

A staged reading of an excerpt from each play was presented at the fundraiser without costumes and props. At the conclusion of the final reading, the audience voted on which play they wanted to see next season.

Engagement Rules is a four-character comedy with bite. The play follows the intertwined lives of two couples who advise and support each other on challenges of love, sex and the soul. The younger couple (early 30s) is recently engaged, while the older (in their 70s) has been married over fifty years.

“Processing over 600 entries is a daunting task, but the impact of a good script will be felt immediately. I think the audience would agree all three play finalists are worthy of production,” says Artistic Producing Director Bill Taylor. “Unfortunately we only pick one winner and we look forward to the production of Engagement Rules.”

Orloff, is one of the most popular unknown playwrights in the country. His plays have received over two thousand productions, numerous awards, and oodles of laughter. Author of over a dozen one-acts and 80 short plays, Rich’s short works have had over 1,800 productions on six of the seven continents… and a staged reading in Antarctica! Born and raised in Chicago, and a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio, Rich currently lives in New York City. He likes to get out of town frequently to remind himself what the rest of the world is like.


  1. Rich Orloff
  2. Rich Orloff
  3. Cicero and Sonya McCarter, Carolyn England and Jim Yarnes performed an excerpt from the contest winner, Engagement Rules.
  4. Chance Cintron, Lauren Drexler, Bill Taylor and Cantrella Canady performed an excerpt of Ken Levine’s America’s Sexiest Couple.
  5. Patrick Day, Jordan Wilson, Dena Galyean, Anna Grilli and Anne Dodd performed an outtake of Flying by Sheila Cowley.



Thomas Marsh undertaking challenging role of ‘Elephant Man’ Joe Merrick (11-15-18)

Local actor Tom Marsh is undertaking his most challenging role to date. He’ll be portraying Joseph Merrick in Theatre Conspiracy’s upcoming production of Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man. Rick Sebastian directs, with Scott Carpenter, Joann Haley, Stephen Hooper, Rob Green, David Pimentel, Anna Grilli and Scott Thomson rounding out the cast.

The play could not be more timely, as it underscores the pitfalls of judging people on their outward appearance and the emotional damage inflicted on people who don’t measure up to our Hollywood-Madison-Avenue-imposed concept of beauty, ability and intelligence.

It’s no secret that slim, good-looking men and women have a decided advantage over more-qualified but less attractive candidates when it comes to job applications, promotions and political office. Shaming people over their weight or appearance is commonplace.

We would all like to believe that we’ve evolved in temperament and tolerance over the past 100 years, when opponents of women’s suffrage reviled suffragettes as snaggle-tooth hags too ugly to land husbands. But after the women’s march on the day after President Trump’s inauguration in 2016, one federal judge posted on Facebook that “after just one day in office, Trump managed to achieve something that no one else has been able to do: he got a million fat women out walking,” with a Nebraska state senator retweeting an image of three participants holding signs that objected to the President’s Accent Hollywood remarks along with the words, “Ladies, I think you’re safe.”

Read here for the rest of this advance.



Scott Carpenter tackling role of Dr. Frederick Treves in ‘The Elephant Man’ (11-15-18)

Scott Carpenter’s is Dr. Frederick Treves in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of The Elephant Man. You can read about Scott’s prior theater appearances here. Carpenter was recently honored with the Cape Coral Community Foundation ENPY award for “2018 Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year Award” for his work with Lab Theater.



Spotlight on ‘Elephant Man’ actor Stephen Hooper (11-15-18)

One of the members of the cast of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of The Elephant Man is local actor, director and playwright Stephen Hooper. For more on his resume, please read here.



Spotlight on ‘Elephant Man’ actor Joann Haley (11-15-18)

One of the members of the cast of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of The Elephant Man is local actor Joann Haley, who was just on stage in the Foulds Theatre in Repossessed. For more on her resume, please read here.



TNP’s ‘June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce’ closes November 25 (11-15-18)

Time’s running out to see June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce. The dystopian comedy runs closes November 25 (yes, it’s been extended by popular demand).

Reminiscent of great sitcom humor, this quick-witted farce introduces an unforgettable collection of zany neighbors and friends who try to save June and Jason from a looming divorce. In a clever combination of The Dick Van Dyke Show meets Friends meets Will and Grace, this fresh and modern comedy places marriage and its trials and tribulations front and center with a fun and modern twist.

June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce was written by Naples playwright Laura Lorusso and is directed by Naples Players Associate Artistic Director Jessica Walck. Walck also directed a staged reading of the play last November at the Laboratory Theater of Florida.

Cole Butcher stars as Jason Cooney and Caitlynn Crawford plays June. Local audiences may recall her from TNP’s sold-out run of Love, Loss and What I Wore.

Ellen Cooper stars as Josephine Rossi, the classic Italian grandmother, who inspired the playwright from her portrayal of Momma Nonna in Joey & Maria’s Comedy Italian Wedding. Alexandra Holmes is a newcomer to the TNP stage and plays the always-ready-to-party Lacy Brock.

Read here for more.




Stage 2 Improv Family Fun Night returns to TNP on December 1 (11-15-18)

Every month, The Naples Players schedules the best family friendly comedy in Southwest Florida. Featuring Stage 2 Improv, each show consists of improvisational comedy games and songs from topics suggested by the audience. Frequently including special guest appearances by local celebrities, each month is an exciting new theme!

There will be two improve shows in December, both at 8:00 p.m. The first takes place on Saturday, December 1 and the other on December 29, both in Tobye Studio Theatre, which is located at 701 5th Ave. S, Naples FL 34102. Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 for students with student ID.

For more information or tickets, please visit or call the Box Office at (239) 263-2990.



Naples Players holding auditions for ‘Guys & Dolls’ on December 15 (11-15-18)

The Naples Players is holding auditions of Guys & Dolls between noon and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 15, 2018. Auditions are free and walk-ins are always welcome. Audition sides will be available at two weeks before the audition. Final Casting Calls will be made starting Wednesday, December 19th. For questions please contact Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, 239-434-7340 ext. 125 or at

TNP is casting: 2 Women (20’s-30’s), 8 Men (30’s-60’s) with additional singing & dancing ensemble with multiple featured roles. Rehearsals begin Monday, January 14 @ 7:00p.m. Performances will be Wednesdays through Sundays between March 6 and April 7.

For more details and to register online, please visit



Erica Sample making transition from Roxie Hart to Judy Haynes (11-15-18)

The Naples Players (TNP) has announced the cast for their upcoming classic musical production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and Erica Sample is making the transition from Chicago’s Roxie Hart to Judy Haynes. Tina Maroni will portray Judy’s devoted sister Betty Haynes, with fan favorite James Littleplays as Bob Wallace and newcomer Jimmy Flannery as Phil Davis.

The musical is based on the beloved and timeless film of the same name, and features the Irving Berlin classics White Christmas and Blue Skies. The story revolves around two WWII buddies with a successful song-and-dance act who follow two beautiful singing sisters en route to a Christmas gig in a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by their former army commander.

Stage veteran Paul Graffy plays General Waverly, Alyssia Pellegrini is his daughter, Susan, and Naples favorite Debi Guthery plays Martha Watson. Amanda Telebrco and Lisa Kuchinski play the Oxydol girls, Rita and Rhonda.

Scott Davis plays Ralph Sheldrake and last season’s favorite Jerry Rannow is Ezekiel/Mr. Snoring. The ensemble includes KidzAct graduates Gaby Biagi, Abby Ciabaton, Frankie Federico, Elizabeth Fincher, Jeremy Giovinazzo, Weifta Jean, Jack Norkeliunas, Lila Prince, Hunter Reum, Eileen Reynolds, Thomas Richardson, Brooke Rosenbluth, Megan Ruhl and Eifta Jean.

Sample received rave reviews for her portrayal of Roxie Hart in The Naples Players production of Chicago this summer.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

And read here for play dates and ticket information.



Stage vet Paul Graffy to play General Thomas Waverly in TNP’s ‘White Christmas’ (11-15-18)

Stage veteran Paul Graffy has been cast in the role of Major General Thomas Waverly in The Naples Players’ upcoming production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Dean Jagger played the general in the eponymous movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. If you’re not familiar with Graffy’s stage work here in Southwest Florida, then read here to see the impressive resume of this Naples thespian.



Lisa Kuchinski to play Oxidol girl Rhonda in TNP’s ‘White Christmas” (11-15-18)

Cultural Park Theater Marquee Outstanding Featured Actress Lisa Kuchinski will be taking on the role of Oxidol girl Rhonda in The Naples Players’ upcoming production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. The perky Cape Coral actor couldn’t be more perfect for the part. But don’t expect Lisa to have an answer when Doris asks Ms. Rhonda, “Well how do you like that? Not so much as a ‘kiss my foot’ or ‘have an apple.’” She’s still finding her place in Southwest Florida’s active community theater. For more on Lisa, read here.



December 11th performance of ‘White Christmas’ to be sensory screening (11-15-18)

The Naples Players will provide a sensory screening of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas on December 11. Special pricing of $20 for adult tickets and $10 for student/educator tickets makes Sensory Friendly performances affordable for families. As sensory-friendly screenings become more common in local movie theatres and even on Broadway, The Naples Players is proud to participate in this national shift towards making it possible for individuals with special needs and their families to experience the same quality theatre as everyone else.


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