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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news November 15-21, 2019

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

 

Gardner, Obrien and Nazario are DAAS’ November featured artists (11-20-19)

Continuing a trend of out-of-the-box exhibitions and displays, DAAS CO-OP is showcasing the work of three local artists during the month of November. 

The first is Jay Gardner. He’s 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.” –

The other two artists are Colin Obrien and John Nazario. 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 (11-20-19)

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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53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition opens December 6 (11-20-19)

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 (11-20-19)

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 (11-20-19)

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 (11-20-19)

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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Recalling ‘Moon Museum’ on 50th anniversary of Apollo 12 landing (11-19-19)

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 12 lunar landing. The mission was organized to collect seismologic, scientific and technical data from the moon, and deepen seleonologic observation. Although they did not know it at the time, Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad, Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean, and Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon also became the first museum curators in space. That’s because unbeknownst to them, they had just transported artwork to the lunar surface created by Forrest “Frosty” Myers, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, David Novros, John Chamberlain and Claes Oldenburg. The sixsome called their unique collection “The Moon Museum.”

The Moon Museum was Myers’ bright idea. “My idea was to get six great artists together and make a tiny little museum that would be [left behind] on the moon,” Myers later explained.

Each artist created a drawing. The collection was then printed on a thin ceramic wafer roughly the size of a thumbnail using thin film lithographic photo reduction similar to the micro-circuitry used in phones at Bell Labs at the time.

As many as 20 chips were imprinted with these drawings, and with the assistance of an unnamed Grumman employee, one of them was surreptitiously attached to one of the Apollo 12′s LEM-6 landing legs and sent to the moon. When the Intrepid landed in the Ocean of Storms on November 19, 1969, the lunar module established an ersatz art museum on the surface of the moon.

“Going to the moon was the biggest thing for our generation,” Myers said at the time. “We had stepped off the planet,” and Myers, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Chamberlain and Oldenburg intended to part of the mission.

So here’s how their plan unfolded.

Myers gave the drawings to two Bell Labs engineers he was working with at the time. They promptly shrunk and etched the drawings onto between 16 and 40 ceramic chips. Then they secretly passed one of these chips to a Grumman employee known enigmatically as “John F.” While Apollo 12 was still sitting on the launch pad, John F sent a telegram to Myers stating, “You’re on. A O.K. All systems are go.”

But is this fact, fiction or some type of urban legend that the “Moon Museum 6” concocted and perpetuated as an elaborate hoax or marketing campaign?

Bob Rauschenberg Gallery Director Jade Dellinger thinks that The Moon Museum is completely factual.

In fact, Dellinger avers, it’s just the type of techno-heavy clandestine affair that would have appealed to Bob Rauschenberg during his self-proclaimed “dude period.”

One of his pet projects in the late 1960s, Dellinger points out, was the short-lived Experiments in Art and Technology (subsequently referred to as E.A.T.). That’s where Bob met and forged a strategic relationship with Billy Kluver, an imaginative engineer with a penchant for the avant-garde. With backing from IBM, E.A.T. hosted nine evenings of theatre and engineering at the Armory on Lexington Avenue and 25th Street in lower Manhattan. Ten artists (including Rauschenberg), 30 engineers (including Kluver) and 500 volunteers took part.

It was a raucous affair.

“Frank Stella played tennis using a racket equipped with a tiny transmitter that amplified the noises and turned floodlights on and off,” wrote John Richardson about the event for Vanity Fair in September of 1997. “A piece called Spring Training involved 30 rented turtles … which crawled about the stage with flash lights strapped to their backs. But after Rauschenberg’s Mud Muse – a huge vat of industrial drilling mud which bubbled and burped in response to auditory signals – set off a frenzy of mud throwing and smearing at the opening of an E.A.T. show in Los Angeles, support evaporated.

Nevertheless, E.A.T. attracted a coterie of inspired engineers who came to share Rauschenberg’s conviction that technological innovation could – and in time would – advance art. Kluver was far from alone in joining Rauschenberg in that belief. One of his contemporaries, Fred Waldhauer, shared this conviction. A lunar module engineer at Grumman Aerospace, Waldhauer appears to have been the mysterious John F.

Lending credence to this supposition is the fact that Waldhauer wound up with a copy of The Moon Museum chip, which his wife, Ruth, donated to New York’s Museum of Modern Art following her husband’s death. Today, at 9/16 x 3/4 of an inch, The Moon Museum chip is the smallest item in MoMA’s permanent collection (MoMA Number 124.1993).

Columbia University historian Gwendolyn Wright interviewed astronaut Alan Bean in 2010 for a segment on The Moon Museum chip produced by the History Detectives, but Bean claimed to know nothing about it. However, another Grumman employee who served as launch pad foreman during the Apollo missions told Wright that launch pad crew members regularly hid objects aboard the Apollo spacecraft as a way of connecting themselves personally to the race with the Soviets and the cachet of being represented on the moon.

While it may be impossible short of a return trip to ever definitively prove that The Moon Museum chip actually sits on the lunar surface, it is similarly impossible to prove that it doesn’t- which adds to the aura of the remaining chips.

But one thing is certain. The Moon Museum chips actually exist. And you don’t have to travel to MoMA to see one. Bob Rauschenberg Gallery Director Jade Dellinger has one!

“One of the chips surfaced on eBay one day,” Dellinger discloses. “I’d heard rumors of Bob Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol being the first artists in space, so I sent a quick email to the seller, who turned out to be a descendant of one of the engineers on the Apollo 12 mission and we consummated the sale.”

Dellinger displayed his chip in a “rather beautiful blue illminated vitrine display case” that he designed for the Moon Museum Exhibition by Georgian artist Konstantin Mindadze in Georgia to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 12 moon landing, an exhibition that later landed at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in the auspices of The Moon Museum (1969): Apollo XII’s Secret Art Mission from August 22-September 27, 2014.

The Moon Museum is not the only art on the moon. Less than two years after Intrepid landed in the Ocean of Storms, Apollo 15 Commander David Scott placed a 3½-inch-tall aluminum sculpture in a crater near his parked lunar rover in moon’s Hadley-Apennine region, between a meandering gulley and a range of steep mountains. Cast by Belgian sculptor Paul van Hoeydonck, Fallen Astronaut pays tribute to all the astronauts and cosmonauts who lost their lives during the space race between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

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

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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Jansen Austrian exhibition on view in Vienna’s Galerie Amart through January 25, 2020 (11-19-19)

A solo show of 29 works by local artist Marcus Jansen is on view in Vienna’s Galerie Amart 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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‘Confessions of a Cuban Artist: Ciro Quintana’ features imaginative and colorful collages (11-18-19)

Step into a world like no other – where real and surreal blend into imaginative and colorful collages that both parody and realistically combine comic strips, art history, pulp art, scenes from old movies and icons from pop culture. It’s Confessions of a Cuban Artist: Ciro Quintana, and it is on display at the Alliance for the Arts through November 30.

The Alliance invites the public to its closing reception on November 30 at 10 a.m. Join Ciro Quintana in the gallery for a conversational tour of his artwork.

Complimentary coffee and pastries will be provided.

Born in Havana and a resident of Miami, Ciro Quintana is considered one of the most iconic Cuban artists of the ‘80s generation, which is often referred to as the Cuban Renaissance or New Cuban Art. He has had solo and group exhibitions in Cuba, the United States, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela, Switzerland, France, Germany and Russia and his work is part of major collections including the National Museum of Fine Art in Havana, Pori Taiden Museum in Finland, Lowe Art Museum in Miami, Museum of Modern Art in Santo Domingo, the Nina Menocal Collection in Mexico and at the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Germany.

Michele DiRocco will exhibit in the Alliance member gallery. As an abstract fluid artist, she works mainly on canvas with acrylic and resin.

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

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

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Ciro Quintana provides insight into the art of making art about art and life (11-18-19)

For is solo show in the main gallery of the Alliance for the Arts, Confessions of a Cuban Artist, Ciro Quintana wants viewers to know how he evolved his system for “into which I could fit everything with a language apt to express what I wanted to say while including the viewer in the whole process.

“This might sound like a statement by any artist, but in my case it becomes quite a specific statement,” says Quintana in his Artist Statement for the show.

“My images use the comic strip, that art history, pulp art, scenes from old movies, icons from pop culture, parody and use of traditional realistic representations which in some cases are just an instrument to blind and trap the viewer into the narrative language of the painting. At the same time, my works are sophisticated visual collages as capricious frames extended from the most disparate films.”

Quintana emphasizes that his artistic production – paintings on canvas, drawings, collages and installations – are designed as hypnosis by images in which reality becomes an unreachable fiction forever controlled by images. “Art is a pretext for the spectacular (re)production of effects, images, and signs.”

In other words, Ciro Quintana and the Leading Player from Pippin share a commonality of purpose and approach.

And this underscores the thought and deliberation that the Alliance brings to bear in its programming pairings.

For the past five years, Quintana has been at work on his Chronicles of a Cuban Artist series, one of the most prolific in his investigation and creation as a visual artist.

“With this series, I try to guide the viewer behind the stage, showing the swings of contemporary Cuban art as a diasporic entity,” Quintana expounds in his Artist Statement for the show.

“For this I use the most dissimilar symbols: Greco-Latin mythology, Renaissance painting, Flemish, Baroque, Pop Art, American comics, and well-rooted icons in Cuban culture such as the bear, caiman, flamingo, wolf, snake, deer and the image of the Republic summarized in the Phrygian cap, among many others. My paintings in this period emphasize the effect of theatricality (representation, artifice, parody and unreality) to the point of incorporating the proscenium and draperies as an essential part of the scenario where the action takes place.”

For more on the artist and the show, read the advance posted above.

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Youth artwork being sought for Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Art Exhibition (11-18-19)

The Alliance for the Arts is partnering with the Dunbar Festival Committee and The Black History Society to sponsor a youth art show celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is open to Lee County students in grades K through 12 and will be displayed on January 20, 2020 at Centennial Park, 2000 W First St, Fort Myers, FL 33901.

Students must select one of three themes that characterize Dr. King’s life and work: love, peace or unity. All entries must be submitted by Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Students must complete the entry form and drop it off along with their artwork to Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd, Ft. Myers 33919 (open Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) or Lee County Black History Society, 1936 Henderson Ave, Ft. Myers 33916 (open Wednesday- Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). Prizes will be given for each division (K through 6 grade and 7 through 12 grade), including $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place.

This exhibit is sponsored by Attorney Joe North, North Law Firm, P.A.

For more information or to download the submissions form, visit ArtInLee.org/MLKContest or call 239-939-2787.

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Alliance’s ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit runs December 6 through 28 (11-18-19)

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 in 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.

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.

This year’s show runs from December 6 through December 28. The opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6. For more information, please visit www.artinlee.org or telephone 239-939-2787.

 

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Alliance accepting submissions for 34th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit (11-18-19)

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 27, 2020. The show will exhibit March 6-28, with an opening reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 6. A conversational walk and talk through the gallery with the artists and juror will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 7. Please visit ArtinLee.org for a prospectus or telephone 239-939-2787 for more information.

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Gallery 221 Director and Hillsborough Public Art Administrator to judge 2020 All Florida Show (11-18-19)

The Alliance for the Arts 34th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition runs March 6 through 27, 2020, and Amanda Poss has been tapped to serve as juror for the show. Poss currently holds the position of Gallery Director at Gallery221@Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry campus, where she also manages the Public Art Program, Grounds4Art@HCC, and oversees a growing Permanent Art Collection. She is the former Gallery Director at Blake High School, where she organized and curated exhibits from 2015–2017. Poss also has also held positions at the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery at the University of Tampa as a Gallery Assistant, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampa, and Adjunct Professor at Hillsborough Community College.

Amanda received her MA in Art History from the University of South Florida in 2015 specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art, and a BA from the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2011.

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TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on December 2 (11-17-19)

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

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

While there will be celebrity judges on hand to start the discussion after each screening, Eric and Melissa want to hear from you. What was your take on the film? What worked or didn’t, what did you like or hate, and should the film be included in the film festival?

Go here for the balance of this advance.

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Focus on December TGIM celebrity judge Rachel Burttram (11-15-19)

Rachel Burttram will be on hand as a celebrity judge at December’s TGIM screenings. While Southwest Florida theater-goers know Burttram from performances spanning a period of sixteen years as a Florida Repertory Theatre ensemble member, her name has popped up recently for being cast to play Betty Lavonne Grissom in National Geographic’s upcoming series The Right Stuff, which tells the story of U.S. fighter pilots recruited to test experimental aircraft and later become the first Mercury astronauts.

Go here for the rest of this story.

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Focus on December TGIM celebrity judge Stephanie Davis (11-15-19)

Stephanie Davis will be one of the celebrity judges at December’s TGIM screenings. Known by many as the Downtown Diva, Stephanie is social commentator and event photographer at Florida Weekly, where her column, “The Diva Diaries,” can be found along with her society photos. (Both are also available online at www.floridaweekly.com.) She established, developed and perfected her Downtown Diva persona while at the Fort Myers News-Press, where she kept her finger on the pulse of the Fort Myers social scene since her column debuted in 2000.

You will find the rest of this post here.

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Pippin opens in Foulds Theatre at the Alliance tomorrow (11-15-19)

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.

Yuliana Garcia (Esmeralda in Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ms. Andrew in Mary Poppin) is brilliant in the role of the Leading Player, Giselle Meyer (Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot the Musical, Legally Blond Jr., Xanadu, Peter Pan Jr. and Heathers the Musical) is superb beyond measure as scheming stepmom Fastrada and Elijah Grantshines in the title role.

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 (11-15-19)

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 close today (11-15-19)

Artist applications for the inaugural Fringe Fort Myers Festival close at 5:00 p.m. EST today, November 15. 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.

To foster accessibility, the selection process for Fringe Fort Myers will occur via a lottery on November 22. On that date, all timely-submitted applications will be placed in a hat with the lucky ones pulled 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.

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‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ to be performed as Fringe Fort Myers fundraiser (11-15-19)

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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Theatre Conspiracy’s 20th Annual New Play Contest is December 14 (11-15-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts will hold its 2st Annual New Play Contest on Saturday, December 14. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception in the gallery with food, wine and drink. At 7:30, Theatre Conspiracy will conduct readings from its top three finalists. Following the last reading, the audience chooses the winner. That play will receive the Janet & Bruce Bunch New Play Contest Award and be produced during the company’s 2019-2020 season.

The New Play Contest provides opportunity for audiences to get involved with the production process itself, rather than the end result. The last three winners were Engagement Rules by Rick Orloff, Repossessed by Greg Lam, and Noli Timeri by Jared Michael Delaney.

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‘Mountaintop’ two-person drama set in Lorraine Hotel night before Dr. King’s assassination (11-08-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is bringing The Mountaintop to the Foulds Theatre boards January 16-26. Written by Katori Hall and directed by Rick Sebastian, The Mountaintop is a two-person drama about the last day of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The entire play is set in the Lorraine Hotel room, the evening before his assassination. King is alone, trying to create yet another powerful speech. When he orders a cup of coffee from room service, a mysterious woman arrives, bringing much more than a late-night beverage. What follows is a reflective, often funny, often touching conversation in which Dr. King examines his achievements, his failures and his unfinished dreams.

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He was Frederick Douglass, now Derek Lively will portray Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in ‘Mountaintop’ (11-015-19)

Since relocating to Fort Myers from New York City in 2015, Lively has starred as Walter Lee Younger in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Lorraine Hanberry’s A Raisin in the Sun following a strong performance as Canewell in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. But perhaps his most memorable role was that of Frederick Douglass in The Agitators. Now he will portray Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in The Mountaintop, a loving, touching humorous portrayal of the man behind the legend.

For more on Derek’s staged credits, go here. And to learn more about Derek’s process and intentionality, read Derek’s May, 2018 interview.

 

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Sonya McCarter to play Camae opposite Derek Lively in Katori Hall’s ‘Mountaintop’ (11-15-19)

Sonya McCarter is an actor, director, an instructor in the Alliance for the Arts’ CHANGE (Communities Harnessing the Arts to Nurture and Grow Equity) program, and the Alliance’s Community Engagement Coordinator. Her acting credits include the part of Corryn Fell in Gideon’s Knot, Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, appearances in two episodes of the television show Burn Notice and the film The Florida Project. And in her next role, she’ll play Camae opposite Derek Lively in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop.

For more on Sonya’s theatrical credits, read here.

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‘Finding Neverland’ closes tomorrow (11-15-19)

The enchanting Broadway musical, Finding Neverland, closes tomorrow night at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. 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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CFABS Youth Players to perform ‘Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr.’ (11-15-19)

Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. will be performed by the CFABS Youth Players in the Hinman Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, December 19 – 21, with a 2:00 p.m. matinuee on Saturday, December 21.

Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. is an adaptation of book #44 of Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning fantasy adventure books from the Magic Tree House book series. The magic tree house whisks Jack and Annie back in time to the foggy streets of Victorian London, where they meet the famous well-off author, Charles Dickens, who has a severe case of writer’s block. Jack and Annie also witness the hardships faced by the poor, and their efforts to help only land them in prison. Mr. Dickens rescues Jack and Annie, and they, in turn, help him escape the sad memories that haunt him. In the process, they inspire Mr. Dickens to write one of the greatest holiday stories of all time.

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Upcoming staged readings auditions at Center for Performing Arts Bonita (11-15-19)

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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Spectacular Christmas Revue coming to Cultural Park Theatre December 11-15 (11-08-19)

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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Florida Rep extends ‘Always … Patsy Cline” through December 1 (11-15-19)

Due to unprecedented demand for tickets, Florida Rep has extended 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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Florida Rep’s ‘A Fox in the Fairway’ closes November 20 (11-15-19)

A Fox on the Fairway is on stage in Florida Rep’s historic Arcade Theatre through November 20. 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 … 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).

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’s production of Chekhov’s ‘Seagull’ closes tomorrow night (11-15-19)

Florida SouthWestern State College’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull closes November 16 with an 8:00 p.m. performance in the Black Box Theatre. 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.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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Kiana Raine-Pinder shows subtle command of wide array of dichotomous emotion in ‘Seagull’ (11-15-19)

Kiana Raine Pinder plays Nina Mikhailovna Zarechnaya in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. It’s an interesting, highly nuanced character. Her dad and stepmother frown on her associating with the boy next door, a young man named Konstantin. That’s because his family is disconcertingly artsy, with his mother being renowned Russian actress Irina Arkadina. But The Seagull is not the Russian version of Romeo & Juliet. Nina’s interest in Konstantin is not about forbidden love, but the access Konstantin provides the wide-eyed aspiring stage actor to his famous mother and her circle of contacts in the performing arts. To Konstantin’s regret and chagrin, Nina’s romantic tastes run more to the man in Irina’s life, Boris Alexeyevich Trigorin, an esteemed Russian writer and member of the elite Russian intelligentsia. But, spurned by Trigorin, Nina spurns Konstantin, leading to disastrous results for them both.

Go here for the rest of this article.

Go here for all of Kiana’s stage credits and more.

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‘Seagull” cast features Chance Cintron (11-15-19)

Chance Cintron is Konstantin 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) and Florida Repertory Theatre Education’s conservancy production of A Chorus Line. Go here for the rest of this profile.

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‘Seagull” cast features Lexie Anne Cole (11-15-19)

Lexie Anne Cole appears in the role of Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina 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 (11-15-19)

Jorge Cabal plays Dr. Yevgeny Sergeyevhich Dorn 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 (11-15-19)

Danica Murray is Paulina Andryevna 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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Now playing The Seagull’s Paulina, actor Danica Murray no longer sweats the small stuff (11-15-19)

Danica Murray is appearing this weekend in Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull in the FSW Black Box Theatre. She plays a 40-something mother by the name of Paulina Andryevna. She’s married to the custodian of the Sorin Estate, a lakeside Russian cottage. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she longs for the attention of a local doctor (played by Jorge Cabal), but he’s a distant and aloof ladies’ man who callously toys with her affections. Paulina sees her own misery in her daughter, Masha, who has similarly settled for a dissatisfying and compromising marriage rather than hold out for the love of the man she truly desires.

The Seagull is a meaningful production for Murray for a couple of reasons.

“My mother is a Russian immigrant,” Danica shares.

She not only has family in Russia, she honors her Russian heritage. In fact, she was fluent in Russian as a small child, although she’s lost most of those language skills now.

Go here for the rest of this story.

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FSW freshman Scotty Wells up to the challenge of playing a 65-year-old in ‘The Seagull’ (11-15-19)

Scotty Wells is an FSW freshman majoring in theater. He plays Sorin in FSW’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull.

Sorin is the landowner of the estate where the play takes place. He spent his life working for a government office and retired to his country farm. His sister is Arkadina, a renowned Russian actress. Her son is Nikolai Treplev, an aspiring playwright with unpopular avant garde modernist views. During the course of the play, Sorin functions as a confidant and a compassionate admirer of both his nephew and sister’s talents. He once wished to be a successful writer, but never acquired either wish. Wistful, nostalgic and wise, Sorin sees himself in the young Treplev and asks his sister Arkadina to be easier on Treplev’s vulnerable confidence.

Here’s the catch. Sorin is 65, more than 40 years Wells’ senior.

“Playing age is one of the hardest things an actor can be asked to do,” Scotty readily concedes. “And since this play is written in classical realism, it’s a challenge making him real, older and infirm.”

Go here for more.

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‘Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man’ closes Saturday with two shows (11-15-19)

Matt Murphy’s Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man closes on November 16 with two performances, a 2:00 p.m. matinee and the 8:00 p.m. finale.

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 (11-15-19)

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 (11-15-19)

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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Frank talk about ‘Sex Tips’ with playwright Matt Murphy (11-15-19)

Lab Theater has enjoyed the honor and pleasure of performing the first licensed production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Crafted to emulate a university seminar and book talk, the show provides frank and insightful tips and recommendations for the boudoir and beyond that you’ve always been curious about but a little afraid to discuss in private, never lone in public. And playwright Matt Murphy credits his wife with providing the structure for the play.

“I got the idea to do a faux sex tips seminar to break the taboo of talking about sex in a group setting,” Murphy relates. “But I had no idea where to come up with the tips. When I shared the idea with my wife, she told me about a book she and her friends has passed around in college called Sex Tips … from a Gay Man. So I googled it and there it was, the best title I’d seen since Menopause the Musical. You can’t say it without making people laugh. The title evokes laughter and immediate interest.”

The rest of this interview is here.

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Spotlight on ‘Sex Tips’ director Randall Kenneth Jones (11-15-19)

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 (11-15-19)

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 (11-15-19)

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 (11-15-19)

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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Lab’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project is November 23 (11-15-19)

The Laboratory Theater 24-Hour Playwriting Project is back! It happens November 23rd.

A perennial favorite, 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.

Go here for the rest of this announcement.

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Spotlight on Lab 2019 24-Hour playwright Candice Sanzari (11-15-19)

The Laboratory Theater 24-Hour Playwriting Project is back! It happens November 23rd.A perennial favorite, 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. Then they have until breakfast to deliver a 10-12 minute script.

This year’s playwrights are Aricka Shuck, Kayleigh O’Connell, Darlyne Franklin, and Candice Sanzari.

Go here for more.

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Spotlight on Lab 2019 24-Hour playwright Aricka Shuck (11-15-19)

The Laboratory Theater 24-Hour Playwriting Project is back. This year’s playwrights are Aricka Shuck, Kayleigh O’Connell, Darlyne Franklin, and Candice Sanzari. Aricka Shuck is a local actor and aspiring playwright. In 2015, she participated in The Lab’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project, penning a one-act play titled INNdiffernet is a mere matter of hours. She returns to the Playwriting Project in 2019.

Go here for the rest of Aricka’s theatrical resume.

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Spotlight on Lab’s 2019 24-Hour playwright Darlyne Franklin (11-15-19)

The Laboratory Theater 24-Hour Playwriting Project is back. This year’s playwrights are Aricka Shuck, Kayleigh O’Connell, Candice Sanzari and Darlyne Franklin. Franklin participated in  Laboratory Theater 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge in 2018 and is participating in the Project again in 2019. When asked about this year’s competition, Darlyne said, “I love the challenge of writing a short play with prompts and limits and in 24 hours seeing it come to life on the stage.”

Go here for the balance of Darlyne’s impressive credentials.

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Spotlight on Lab 2019 24-Hour playwright Kayleigh O’Connell (11-15-19)

The Laboratory Theater 24-Hour Playwriting Project is back. This year’s playwrights are Aricka Shuck, Kayleigh O’Connell, Candice Sanzari and Darlyne Franklin. Kayleigh O’Connell has been working in theater for twenty years. Over that span, she had done everything from performing, stage management, set design and playwriting. “Storytelling is the thread that connects us with our past, ourselves and most vitally with each other,” notes Kayleigh. “It is the first language we shared before mathematics and science. It is so crucial to honor the oral tradition and theater has allowed me to be a part of that legacy. The 24 Hour Playwriting Project presents a fascinating challenge as well as a truly communal experience with my fellow playwrights. Having been on the other side of this process as an actor, I truly value the collaboration and look forward to forging the work with my director and actors.”

Go here for Kayleigh’s full profile.

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Florida premiere of ‘Let Nothing You Dismay’ opens at Lab Theater on December 6 (11-15-19)

The Florida premiere of Let Nothing You Dismay opens December 6 at The Laboratory Theater of Florida.

Set during Christmas in a hospital waiting room, this fast-paced comedy focuses on a couple about to adopt their first child… and then the entire extended family decides to make a surprise visit.

Eight talented comedic actors portray 22 different roles. The play features Amanda Collins, David Cooley, Danielle Channell, Scott Davis, Kristen Wilson, Todd Lyman, Holly Zammerilla and Ken Johnson.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Danielle Channell (11-15-19)

Talented comedic actor Danielle Channell is part of the Let Nothing You Dismay cast. Past credits include Sheri Steinberg-Johnes in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …., producer Julia Budder in It’s Only a Play, Broadway producer Elsa Von Grossenkneuten in The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s and the beautiful, charming and talented Meg McGrath in Beth Henley’s Southern Gothic tragi-comedy, Crimes of the Heart.

Go here for Danielle’s full profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Todd Lyman (11-15-19)

Todd Lyman is part of the cast of Let Nothing You Dismay. Todd’s credits credits include Thomas Putnam in The Crucible, multiple roles (Customers 3, 6 and 9) in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V., Teddy in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …, theater critic Ira Drew in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (which marked Todd’s Lab Theater debut), Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Enoch Snow in Carousel, Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ivan in Anton Chekhov’s The Marriage Proposal.

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Spotlight on ‘Nothing You Dismay’ actor Kenneth Bradley Johnson (11-15-19)

Ken Johnson is part of the Let Nothing You Dismay cast. Born in Puerto Rico one month before the Cuban missile crisis, Ken Johnson got his start in community theater performing with his dad at the tender age of 8. He attended the John Houseman’s Conservatory of Acting program at the University of Southern California and went on to a wild career in acting that was denoted by four national tours, two European tours, and more than 3,000 hours performing in the lead in Me and My Girl, 14 productions of West Side Story and 9 productions of The Will Rogers Follies.

Go here for Ken’s full profile.

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‘Inspecting Carol’ opening at New Phoenix on December 6 (11-15-19)

Inspecting Carol opens at New Phoenix Theatre on December 6. What’s it about? Well, think A Christmas Carol meets The Government Inspector meets Noises Off.

To be more precise, Inspecting Carol is a behind-the-scenes farce about a financially-strapped third-rate theater company struggling to put on its annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The costumes reek and don’t fit. And the self-absorbed actor playing Scrooge is trying to rewrite the play. (The audacity!) But worst of all, the company is on the verge of collapse. The company only managed to secure half their expected subscribers and is dangerously close to losing its NEA funding.

And as the show opens, Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head. (That is, anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time.) An out-of-town actor by the name of Wayne Wellacre shows up to audition. Mistaking Wellacre for an NEA auditor in disguise, the company’s Artistic Director, Zorah Bloch, not only allows him to join the cast, but lets him start making ridiculous changes to Dickens’ script. Eventually the real NEA evaluator appears to watch the disaster unfold. Hilarity ensues.

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‘Escanaba in Da Moonlight’ in Tobye Studio Theatre closes November 17 (11-15-19)

The hysterical Tony Award-Nominated comedy Escanaba in Da Moonlight closes November 17. It’s on stage 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 through December 1 (11-15-19)

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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