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

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

 

Art After Dark makes its annual return to Crayton Cove on October 12 (10-07-19)

Art After Dark makes its annual return to Crayton Cove on Saturday, October 12. It’s an Art-Walk-type evening that gives art enthusiasts and collectors an exceptional opportunity to combine fine art with fine dining alongside picturesque Naples Bay. Participating galleries include Phil Fisher Gallery & Studio, Guess-Fisher Gallery, Tianna Fisher Studio and Random Acts of Art, who band together from 6:00-9:00 p.m. to present an evening of art receptions, refreshments and live music which serve as companionable backdrop for viewing the newest works in the Crayton Cove galleries.

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Naples Artcrafters show returns to Cambier Park October 19 (10-07-19)

On Saturday, October 19, the Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show returns to Cambier Park. The Naples Artcrafters is an established fine art and craft organization with more than 45 years of history in Naples, Florida, and this Saturday art fair places a spotlight on a wide array of artistic genres, styles and media, including paintings (in oil, acrylics and watercolors), drawings (in pen and ink, pencil, and pastels), scissors art, multi-media and collage, photography, ceramics, jewelry (including metalsmithing, metal clays, lapidary and beading), sculpture, pottery, clay, stained glass and fused glass, wood turning and carving, and basket weaving. The show features work by 90 juried artists.

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Youth artwork being sought for Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Art Exhibition (10-07-19)

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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Shake off traditional ‘look-but-don’t-touch’ gallery experience with ‘Touchable Art’ (10-07-18)

Exhibiting through October 30 in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery on the ground floor of the Naples Art Association is Touchable Art: A Multi-Experiential Exhibition, an exhibition of artwork by sighted, visually-impaired and blind artists. As the title implies, visitors will be invited to shake off the traditional gallery experience and use their sense of touch to explore the exhibit.

“Art is generally considered to be a visual experience,” notes NAA in the prospectus for the show. “But our appreciation of art does not need to come purely from sight. Touching is a basic instinct and a way to experience objects, gather information and build awareness.”

This is a juried exhibition, with Lauren Huff serving as juror. Huff is the Programs Coordinator and Gallery Manager at BIG ARTS. She has overseen the BIG ARTS galleries and select programs for the past six years.

Huff started her career while still in college as a gallery docent at the Savannah College of Art and Design galleries, Gutstein Gallery and Pei Ling Chan Gallery. After graduation, she returned to Southwest Florida, working for various local artists. She interned for Marcus Jansen at Unit A Contemporary Art Space in 2011. She then worked as gallery assistant to Veron Ennis and VEMA from 2012 to 2015. In 2013, she began interning at BIG ARTS and has been a part of the BIG ARTS family ever since. Besides creating art of her own, Lauren does freelance work for artists in data and inventory management, as well as photographing artwork.

Huff studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art History, with minors in Photography and Printmaking. She is part of the Young Professionals of Sanibel-Captiva and frequently attends openings and art events throughout Southwest Florida.

For more information, please telephone 239-262-6517 or visit http://www.NaplesArt.org.

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NAA bringing ‘Scene to be Seen” back on November 1 (10-07-19)

In 2017, Naples Art Association introduced Scene to be Seen: A Runway Art Show. The popular event returns on Friday, November 1 at the prestigious Flexjet private terminal hangar. Artwear in all media and styles including garments, ensembles, hats and handbags for both men and women will be featured.

“This extraordinary event elevates haute couture to spectacular works of art in a classic luxury runway fashion format,” touts NAA, “all while fundraising for significant children’s programs offered exclusively by the Naples Art Association.”

The welcome reception with appetizing hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and music begins at 6:30 and will be followed by the extraordinary fashion show and auction. After the show, stay for a fabulous after-party with music and a full cash bar.

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Deadline for 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition submissions is today (10-07-19)

The 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition will be installed in the Naples Art Association’s ground floor galleries from December 6, 2019 through January 9, 2020. The exhibition is open to 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artwork in any style or medium by artists residing in the United States. It will be 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.) But the deadline for submissions is today.

$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)

Use CaFÉ to enter the 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. Accounts are free, easy to set up and do not expire. After setting up an account, artists may enter national competitions hosted by the Naples Art Association (Founders Juried Awards exhibitions, National Art Encounter exhibitions and the annual Camera USA® photography competition) as well as competitions hosted by other organizations around the country and the world.

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Spotlight on 53rd Founders Exhibition juror John Loscuito (10-07-19)

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 (10-07-19)

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 (10-07-19)

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

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

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

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FGCU Reunion Series features Adriana Flores and Felipe Maldonado (10-07-19)

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

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

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

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

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

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FSW celebrating 40th anniversary of art gallery with ‘Rauschenberg 40’ exhibition (10-07-19)

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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‘Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit’ on exhibit at Alliance through November 2 (10-07-19)

Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit is on view at the Alliance for the Arts through November 2. The show features traditional Mexican sugar skulls in a variety of media ranging from painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage to photography, prints, drawing and sculpture.

What exactly is Day of the Dead? In many parts of Mexico, South America and the United States, Dia de los Muertos is a time to remember and celebrate the lives of family and friends. More about reveling in life than remembering death, this unique day encourages us to connect with loved ones while reflecting on the ties that bind the past to present.

Exhibiting artists include Cesar Aguilera, Jacqueline Barr, Mina Bobel, Della Boynton, Eric Brown, Donna Chase, Diane Chernow, Steve Conley, Elodie Cotton, Jan Cox, Meghan Cuthbertson, David Del Rio, Linda Finlan, Melissa Flaugher, Stephanie Flis, Anne Friedman, Janice Heligman, Bradford Hermann, Mal Hope, Krista Johnson, Jay Lana, Susan Maas, Mariapia Malerba, Spyter Marie, Sonya McCarter, Lourdes Mora-Shay, Julie Obney, Jeff & Dale Ocasio, Nancy Polomski, Cynthia Porter, Tanya Ragbeer, Gregory Read, Sharon Rodgers, Laura Rucoba, Mary Beth Scott, Terry Lynn Spry, Paul Stackpole, Brandy Stark, Madeline Sugerman, Diana Talavera, Nancy Terrell, Pamela Volz, Roseline Young, Holly Zammerilla and Amanda Zirzow.

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

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Alliance announces dates for ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit (10-07-19)

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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Solo show of Jansen work on view in Paris’ Danysz Galerie through October 12 (19-07-19)

Fort Myers artist Marcus Jansen solo show Stop, Look and Listen is on view at the Danysz Galerie in Paris through October 12.

The Press Release announcing the show draws a parallel between Jansen’s formative experiences and those of Jackson Pollock. In Pollock’s case, he learned to throw sand to make pictures from the Hopi Indians. Back in New York City from Desert Storm, Jansen was influenced by the graffiti he saw on the sides of subway trains when he traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan to sell his work on Prince Street in Soho in order to survive.

Described alternately as urban expressionism and post-urban cataclysmic surrealism, his unique blend of abstract and the figurative belies the influences of the Iraqi war and the intensity of his post-conflict urban environment. He got his big break when his work drew the attention of Jerome A. Donson, who organized exhibitions of such prestigious artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline as Director of MOMA’s American Vanguard Exhibitions in Europe.

Danysz Galerie is located at 78 rue Amelot. For more information, you may email the gallery at clemence@danyszgallery.com or Unit A Space at unitaspaceinfo@gmail.com.

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Jansen’s ‘Bedroom 2’ picks up honorable mention at Art Olympia 2019 (10-07-19)

“Art Olympia” is a Bienniale international art exhibition of works from the public that aims to discover talented artists from around the world and support their activities. Based in Tokyo, the competition selects 160 artworks – 80 from Japan and 80 more worldwide. Although Marcus Jansen did not win the $120,000 first prize, his painting Bedroom #2 did receive an honorable mention from the international judging panel.

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TGIM returns to Davis Art Center tomorrow night (10-06-19)

TGIM returns on October 7 to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s grand atrium. So join host Eric Raddatz, co-host Melissa Tschari DeHaven and judges Annette Trossbach (Lab Theater founder and Artistic Director), Bob Bevile (NBC2) and Brittany Gonzalez (105.5) for a fresh new set of short indie films, music, comedy and fun. The house opens for cocktails at 6:30. Screenings begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. in the Grand Atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, located at 2301 First St., Fort Myers. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. The after party is at Blu. For more.

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Spotlight on October TGIM celebrity judge Annette Trossbach (10-06-19)

Annette Trossbach joins NBC2’s Bob Beville and 105.5 Freakshow co-host Brittany Gonzalez on the celebrity judging panel at October 7th’s TGIM. Trossbach is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Laboratory Theater of Florida. She is currently directing Lab’s season-opening and 100th overall production, Arthur Miller’s timeless classic The Crucible.

Go here for more about Annette.

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Spotlight on October TGIM celebrity judge Brittany Gonzalez (10-06-19)

Brittany Gonzalez will be one of the celebrity judges at the October screenings at T.G.I.M. Brittany wows listeners every morning as co-host of 105.5 The Beat’s Freakshow (6:00-10:00 a.m. and middays 10:00-2:00 p.m.), where she’s a rookie and a vet – to quote Drake, her fav rapper/singer/songwriter.

From Immokalee (home of the best tacos in the world), she made Fort Myers home while attending Florida Gulf Coast University. For more, read here.

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Deadline for Boca Grande and Bonita Springs Masters art festivals is October 14 (10-05-19)

The Boca Grande Art Festival takes place March 7 & 8, 2020. The Bonita Springs Masters Art Festival runs March 28 & 29. The deadline for applying to Boulderbrooks Productions for inclusion in these boutique outdoor art festivals is October 14.

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Naples Art accepting applications for Naples National Art Show through October 28 (10-05-19)

Crowd Shot BestThe Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts.

Naples National is consistently voted among the top 25 art festivals in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine and was ranked #24 last year. As one of the oldest festivals in Collier County, Naples National is counted by the local community as among its premiere, must–see events, thanks to the high quality of art, the engaging personalities of the artists and the festive atmosphere. The show is held in scenic Cambier Park and along 8th Street South, one block from downtown Naples’ premier shopping and dining district.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the 41st Naples National Art Festival, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday & Sunday, February 22-23, 2020
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Accept 194 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $625 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 01/10/20; 50% refund: 01/31/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: Friday set up on 2/21,
  • Park and street setting
  • Application deadline: 10/28/19
  • Jury Process begins: 11/01/19
  • Status Notification: 11/25/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 12/16/19
  • Artist Info Emailed: 01/20/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 12/16/19
  • Application available online at http://www.zapplication.org/ beginning June 1, 2019

To improve the quality of the show and to provide more sales opportunities for our artists, NAA has reduced the number of booths available from 270 to 194. “This will allow artists greater exposure and less competition,” states NAA in its prospectus for the show. “Additionally, the park layout, will consist of one loop making it easier for customers to view all artist’s booths. However, there is a corresponding increase in booth fees.”

This is the only Naples Art Association show that offers cash awards for Best of Show, Best 2D, Best 3D and Awards of Distinction in 2D and 3D. The amounts are:

  • Best of Show – $2,000
  • Best 2D – $500
  • Best 3D – $500
  • Awards of Distinction 2D – 5 awards at $200 each
  • Awards of Distinction 3D – 5 awards at $200 each

Awards will be presented at the band shell in Cambier Park at 3:00 pm on Saturday. NAA staff or volunteers will notify an artist if they need to be present at the awards ceremony on Saturday. Awards are given based on the same criteria used for the jury process. The winning artists are invited to participate in the following year’s show and receive jury exempt status but must still pay his/her booth fee.

The mission of the Naples Art Association is to expand cultural opportunities, broaden education and enrich SWF through the visual arts. Proceeds from the Naples National Art Show support educational programming at The Naples Art Association.

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Hot Works accepting applications for Naples Fine Art Show through November 13 (10-05-19)

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

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

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Naples Art accepting applications for Naples Downtown Art Show through December 8 (10-05-18)

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

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

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

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

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Naples Art accepting submissions for next season’s Art in the Park (09-22-19)

Art in the Park LogoAre you ready for the 2019-2020 season of Art in the Park? The Naples Art Association (NAA) proudly connects artists with art shoppers in another terrific season of Art in the Park.

Since 1957, Art in the Park has showcased paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed Art in the Park 01media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass art, jewelry and wood-working created by members in good standing of the Naples Art Association. For art lovers, it’s a casual, fun-filled venue for meeting local artists and becoming acquainted with their work. It is believed to be the first outdoor art show held in Naples. And the tradition continues for the 2019-2020 art fair and festival season.

Art in the Park 04Art in the Park is held between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month from November through April. Because of its long tradition, prestige and the interest and number of people who routinely turn out for the show, many NAA members seek admission to the show. Applicants go through a jury process.

“Art in the Park is a membership opportunity, providing artists a venue to sell and market their Art in the Park 05work while broadening their customer base,” notes the Naples Art Association in its call to artists for the 2019-2020 season. “It also provides a setting for artists to interact with other artists sharing ideas, industry changes and the camaraderie of creative people. It is an opportunity for both artists and the public to engage in enlightening conversations about art.”

Make and Take Art 01The one-day fair takes place on Park Street adjacent to The Naples Art Association in the northwest corner of Cambier Park. Located just a block and a half from historic Fifth Avenue South, Art in the Park is within walking distance of trendy European boutiques, sidewalk cafes and iconic art galleries such as Sheldon Fine Art, Call of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery of Fine Art Demo Booth 01Art. The show is also just three minutes by car from fabled Gallery Row and the Third Street South Gallery District. The January show is also held in conjunction with the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair, which will be held next season on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2020.

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Terry Tincher (10-04-19)

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

October House will be performed October 31 through November 9. In addition to Jet of Blood, Ghostbird will also present two plays by Samuel Beckett: Breath, Not I and Rockaby. Each play will take place in a separate room of the house, and the audience will carefully proceed from room to room. Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 student. The run time of the show is just over an hour and is not suitable for children or pets.

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

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Dr. Scott Michael (10-04-19)

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

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

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

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Focus on October House actor Hanny Zuniga (10-04-19)

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

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor and Ghostbird co-founder Jim Brock (10-04-19)

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

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Josh Needle (10-04-19)

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

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor and filmmaker Shelbie Tyndall (10-04-19)

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

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Dana Lynn Raulerson (10-04-19)

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

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Stella Zuir (10-04-19)

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

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Focus on ‘October House’ actor Sharon Isern (10-04-19)

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

Isern is currently playing the part of Alex Klein in The Studio Players’ October production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Although new to acting, Sharon has already made a mark in the Southwest Florida theater community. She made her debut in January 0f 2019 in Ghostbird Theatre’s production of Everyone on this Train, excelling in the role of a mother fleeing the Chechen war with her daughter. And she recently turned in a tearfully painful portrayal of a doting daughter caring for her terminally ill mother who is also afflicted with dementia in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Shadow Box. For more on Sharon’s acting accomplishments and chops, read here.

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‘5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche’ egg-ceptional combo of hysterical laughs and delicious sexual innuendo (10-04-19)

Next up at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder’s 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. Originating in Chicago and winner of the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival as Best Overall Production, 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche is a tasty recipe of hysterical laughs, sexual innuendoes, unsuccessful repressions, and delicious discoveries.

Read the remainder of this advance here.

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

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Dena Galyean (10-04-19)

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

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

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Karen Goldberg (10-04-19)

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

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Lucy Sundby (10-04-19)

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

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ actor Anna Grilli (10-04-19)

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

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Spotlight on ‘5 Lesbians’ director Stephanie Davis (10-04-19)

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

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

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Next Fort Myers Art Walk is Friday/Saturday (10-03-19)

The River District will come alive tomorrow night when Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers on Friday, October 4. Now a two-day event, Art Walk will continue Saturday (October 5) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With exciting new exhibits and live art demonstrations, rain or shine, this is a “must attend event.”

New exhibits include exceptional art in a variety of mediums done by a bevy of local artists and some national and international artists as well.  You can meet the artists and talk art at the self-guided Friday night event, which brings together art enthusiasts, collectors and community friends who celebrate the arts each month. The Friday night Art Walk sees First Street closed to traffic. Local artists set up in the street selling their art, and face painting is offered at several locations along First Street. And at the Broadway and First Street intersection, the Fort Myers Art League will be hosting a “Make It/Take It” table for children of all ages.

Saturday Art Walk is a quieter affair with most of the galleries open for examining the art at more leisurely pace. This new and improved version of Art Walk includes 14 galleries and art stops, including:

  • American Legion Veterans Gallery showing Art done by Veterans
  • Art League of Fort Myers – new exhibits each month
  • Arts for ACT Gallery – features three or more art exhibits every month plus co-op members art
  • Bootlegger Alley Gallery – outdoor gallery open only during Art Walk in The Patio de Leon
  • Grand Illusion Gallery – art, tee shirts and more
  • Marc Harris Wildlife Photography – on Jackson Street
  • Miville Art Gallery – art and photography in the Franklin Shops
  • Ollie Mack Gentry Photography – photography  at 2180 West First Street
  • Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center – Main Gallery Exhibit and Capitol Exhibit on the 3rd Floor
  • The Barrel Room – Jazz art – on Bay Street
  • Timeless Gallery – gallery and gift shop featuring steampunk art and more
  • Two Newts Gallery – co-op gallery located off West First Street at 2064 Bayside Parkway
  • Unit A – urban contemporary gallery of internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen located in Gardener’s Park

As this survey of participating galleries reveals, Fort Myers Art Walk spans the core of downtown Fort Myers and includes the Gardener’s Park area and West First Street. Most of the action is located on First Street, but you can obtain a Fort Myers Art Walk map at any of the galleries that will lead you to all the art venues and Art Walk partners.  “Enjoy cultural venues, restaurants, bars and businesses, plus live music,” touts the River District Alliance. “Watch live art demos on First Street, eat amazing food, shop the unique local boutiques or just enjoy the atmosphere.”

So whether you prefer the energy of night or the calm of day, there’s something for everyone during this new-and-improved weekend of art that Fort Myers still calls Art Walk. There is free street parking and $5.00 at any of the parking garages.  In season ride the free River District Trolley. Fort Myers Art Walk is a Pet and Family Friendly free event! Fort Myers Art Walk is hosted by The River District Alliance, a non-profit organization. For more information, please visit www.fortmyersriverdistrictalliance.com.

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‘Dark Art 2019’ opens tomorrow night at Davis Art Center during Art Walk (10-03-19)

Dark Art 2019 opens tomorrow night (October 4) in the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Presented by the Syzygy Collaborative Art Project, this juried exhibition consists of a collection of works by a wide variety of local painters, sculptors, photographers and mixed media artists who have all met the challenge of exploring the darkest themes in art in the spirit of Halloween and the macabre. The opening reception takes place in the main gallery in conjunction with Art Walk from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and will include special performances throughout the evening. Costumes are highly encouraged!”

The show runs through October 18.

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‘Shock Rocked: Punk Subculture’ opens in Davis Art Center Capitol Gallery tomorrow night (10-03-19)

Shock Rocked: Punk Subculture opens tomorrow night (October 4) in the Capitol Gallery at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Participating artists include Shelby Elmore, Jeremy Nemeth, Alexis Dunford, Spencer Duke Elles, Willow Cada, Mully and Johnathan Nazario.

The Punk subculture from album covers to zines, the aesthetic of punk rock has always existed to shock and intrigue its viewers. Widely considered to have been born in New York City, punk music and the art scene have overlapped from as early as the 1970s. With artistic influences from the likes of John Holmstrom and Jimmy De Sana, artists have used various outlets and media to document the prime time of the punk rock music scene. With years of representation under its belt, punk rock aesthetic continues to influence and inspire the youth of today. With deep roots in the subject of rebellion and political injustice, the backbone of punk art runs deeper than its edgy aesthetic. Challenging the mainstream idea of what art should look like, punk art exists to push the boundaries of what a larger society expects from the high-end art scene.

The show runs through October 18.

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Franklin Shops featuring Ocasiocasa monster marshmellows in display windows for Art Walk (10-03-19)

The window display at the Franklin Shops at First will feature The Bonfires of the Monster Marshmellows for tomorrow night’s Art Walk. It’s a display created especially for October by Jeff and Dale Ocasio. These award-winning local favs design and make “happy art for odd people.” Bonfires of the Monster Marshmellows includes a wooded campfire scene of skeleton-clad trick-or-treaters roasting terrified marshmellows. “If Ocasiacasa was its own little world,” Dale explains, “then the inhabitants in this exhibit are from the shadows of that realm.” While October is a time of the year for fun and playful mayhem, she elaborates, “it’s also when Jeff and I like to create from the shadier and more obscure places of our imaginations.”

The couple will be on hand in front of the Franklin Shops for a meet-and-greet, where they’ll demonstrate and talk about their unique sculpting process, which involves molding, modelling, crafting and forming sculptures through the successive application of layers of masking tape over old vinyl dolls and other found objects that are recycled, upcycled, modified, customized and re-purposed into other-worldly creatures that spring from the fertile imaginations of Jeff and Dale Ocasio.

The Franklin Shops on First is located at 2200 First Street in the downtown Fort Myers River District right next to the historic termite-ridden old building that was torn down last night.

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DAAS exhibiting Brignoni’s ‘It Is What It Is’ in October (10-03-19)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts will feature the work of visual artist and co-owner Xavier Brignoni during the month of October. Entitled It Is What It Is, this show is a collection of bold, vibrant and edgy works created within the last two years.

Brignoni moved to Southwest Florida almost two decades ago. Since then, he has immersed himself in the area’s vibrant art scene. Alongside other prominent artists and gallerists, he participated in the establishment of Fort Myers Art Walk in 2008, co-founded the Union Artist Studios in 2012 and the new DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts in 2016. He is the recipient of the 2017 FACE Award for his diversity and inclusive work within the artistic community.

In June of 2018, Brignoni presented an over-the-top, symbolic and emotionally charged exhibition at DAAS CO-OP entitled The Balancing Act. Inspired by a very personal phase of his life, the show cemented Brignoni’s reputation as one of the area’s most popular creatives.

For It Is What It Is, Xavier’s focus shifts to current affairs and his views on the world and other experiences. In this body of work, Brignoni experiments with new techniques, including spray painting, gold leaf application, stencils, and more. In addition to his renowned fine-art decoupage technique, he adds vibrancy with a 70’s inspired color palette in his minimalistic/pop-style execution.

The opening reception run contemporaneously with Fort Myers Art Walk from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4, 2019. The exhibition will be on display through October 26, 2019.

DAAS CO-OP is located in Unit 3 at 1815 Fowler Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Business hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The gallery opens to the public on the first Sunday of every month from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. More information can be found at daascoop.com or by calling 239-590-8645.

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‘DC vs. AC’ opening in Edison Ford Caretaker’s House on October 4 (10-03-19)

The public is invited to an exhibit opening in the Edison Caretaker’s House at Edison and Ford Winter Estates at 6:00 p.m. on October 4. DC vs. AC: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify America explores the differences and similarities of the genius inventors, as well as the differences between alternating and direct current. Chief Curator Brent Newman will give a gallery talk on these relationships in the context of 19th century history and science.

The event coincides with the opening of The Current War, a movie about how Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla disagreed on which type of electric current was best. Edison believed his direct current was superior to Tesla’s alternating current; however, Tesla ultimately won that war, as alternating current is used around the world today.

Opening attendees to the exhibit will receive a complimentary glass of beer or champagne, light hors d’oeuvres will be provided and a pianist will play period music. A cash bar will be available. Admission is free for Edison Ford members; $10 for non-members (does not include admission to the museum, laboratory or tours of the homes).

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‘Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit’ returns to Alliance on October 4 (10-03-19)

Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit returns to the Alliance for the Arts on October 4. It’s a show that features traditional Mexican sugar skulls in a variety of media ranging from painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage to photography, prints, drawing and sculpture.

What exactly is Day of the Dead? In many parts of Mexico, South America and the United States, Dia de los Muertos is a time to remember and celebrate the lives of family and friends. More about reveling in life than remembering death, this unique day encourages us to connect with loved ones while reflecting on the ties that bind the past to present.

Exhibiting artists include Cesar Aguilera, Jacqueline Barr, Mina Bobel, Della Boynton, Eric Brown, Donna Chase, Diane Chernow, Steve Conley, Elodie Cotton, Jan Cox, Meghan Cuthbertson, David Del Rio, Linda Finlan, Melissa Flaugher, Stephanie Flis, Anne Friedman, Janice Heligman, Bradford Hermann, Mal Hope, Krista Johnson, Jay Lana, Susan Maas, Mariapia Malerba, Spyter Marie, Sonya McCarter, Lourdes Mora-Shay, Julie Obney, Jeff & Dale Ocasio, Nancy Polomski, Cynthia Porter, Tanya Ragbeer, Gregory Read, Sharon Rodgers, Laura Rucoba, Mary Beth Scott, Terry Lynn Spry, Paul Stackpole, Brandy Stark, Madeline Sugerman, Diana Talavera, Nancy Terrell, Pamela Volz, Roseline Young, Holly Zammerilla and Amanda Zirzow.

The show’s opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on October 4, with awards being announced at 6:00. There will be a $250 prize for Best in Show, $125 for 2nd place and $75 for 3rd place. The exhibition runs through November 2. And there will be a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (which celebrated the 44th anniversary of its U.S. release yesterday) on October 12 (see next post).

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

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ED:  ‘RICHARD O’BRIEN’S ROCKY HORROR SHOW’ OPENS AT NEW PHOENIX THEATRE TOMORROW (THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3). SO IN HONOR OF THE SHOW TODAY’S POSTS ARE ABOUT WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE MOVIE THIS OCTOBER:

 

Centers for Performing Arts to screen ‘Rocky Horror’ on October 12 (10-02-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting an interactive screening of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show – where people are encouraged to yell back lines at the screen, dress in costume and act out the film. Attendance includes a bag of ‘essential’ Rocky Horror viewing items! Come dressed in costume a la Rocky Horror and receive a raffle ticket to win terrific Rocky Horror memorabilia.

The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 in the Moe Auditorium at 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135.

For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

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Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Alliance on October 12 (10-02-19)

Guaranteed to thrill you, chill you and fulfill you, the Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to the Alliance on October 12th! Hike up your fishnets and unleash your inner Sweet Transvestite as the mother of all cult classics hits the big screen replete with audience participation and local shadow cast The Forbidden Triffids pantomiming the film (see next post).

A beloved, rowdy, nocturnal tradition, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been tantalizing audiences for over 40 years. Rocky Horror is meant to be experienced: be part of a decades-long tradition of crowd participation as guests are encouraged to dance along to the Time Warp, yell obscenities, and throw props in time with the action on screen.

Compete against fellow creatures of the night in a costume contest; give yourself over to absolute pleasure with food trucks and drinks; enter a Rocky raffle; pick up your official prop bags; and enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite Transylvanians.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show film is Rated R – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian, contains some adult material. This screening involves audience participation and many lines or jokes shouted by audience members or the shadow cast may be offensive beyond the film’s R rating. Viewer discretion is advised.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SHOWING IS ALREADY SOLD OUT!

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Forbidden Triffids to pantomime ‘Rocky Horror’ at Alliance’s Oct. 12 screening (10-02-19)

The Forbidden Triffids will be pantomiming the already sold-out Rocky Horror Picture Show when it returns October 12 to the Alliance for the Arts. The Forbidden Triffids is a Lee County shadow cast who help audiences relive the cult classic movie.

The troupe formed in 2013, starting as street performers after the previous Fort Myers cast split. They are notable for combining other kinds of performers with the show such as fursuiters and fire performers. At the moment they perform in the Halloween season on stage and perform at art shows off season.

In addition to the Alliance of the Arts, The Forbidden Triffids has appeared at the AMC movie theater, Red Headed Witches, Peace Day in the Park, Mystery Walk, CGA show and Zombicon.

2019 Show Cast, which may change depending on availability and understudies, consists of:

  • Dr. Frank-N-Furter (A Scientist): TBA
  • Janet Weiss (A Heroine):               Chandler Burwell
  • Brad Majors (A Hero):                    Caitlin Karcher
  • Riff Raff (A Handyman):                Takua Lockwood
  • Magenta (A Domestic):                   Kimberly Reichenbecher
  • Columbia (A Groupie):                    Kathi Reichenbecher
  • Dr. Everett V. Scott:                         Bjorn Ugland
  • Rocky Horror (A Creation):            Mike Heidenreich
  • Eddie (Ex Delivery Boy):                 Bjorn Ugland
  • The Criminologist (An Expert):     David Condoluci
  • Trixie (The Lips):                              Takua Lockwood

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Poignant, profound, ‘Engagement Rules’ contains plenty of dry wit (10-01-19)

Playwright Rich Orloff bills his play Engagement Rules as a comedy with bite. While the play definitely contains acerbic one-liners, plenty of dry wit and a great deal of situational comedy, the play sensitively probes the abiding paradox of love: “Two beings become one yet remain two.”

The first couple is Tom and Donna, superbly played by Lemec Bernard and Cantrella Canady. The play opens with the two of them in bed, sharing some post-coital pillow talk that ends unceremoniously in an awkward, impromptu marriage proposal. While not the grand gesture that she’d always fantasized about, Donna agrees. But planning a wedding only adds to the demands on her overcrowded schedule. You see, Donna has just started law school and is on the fast track to a career as a civic and social activist.

Go here for the full review.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Cantrella Canady (10-01-19)

Cantrella Canady plays Donna in Engagement Rules, the Theatre Conspiracy New Play Contest winner by Rich Orloff that runs through October 6 at the Alliance for the Arts. The play is billed as a comedy with bite, and comedies, of course, are Cantrella’s jam – although it’s been awhile since this talented actor has laughed and giggled this much during rehearsals. Cantrella has been in an incredible number of shows all over Southwest Florida, but Engagement Rules represents the first time she’s worked with Theatre Con Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor. For more on the girl who just likes to act, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Lemec Bernard (10-01-19)

Lemec Bernard is an imposing figure. He made his presence known in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. But as Tom in Engagement Rules, we get to see a much softer, sentimental side of this talented young actor who clearly has the acting chops to convincingly play both dramatic and comedic roles.

Fun fact, too: Lemec was Cantrella Canady’s on-stage husband in Joe Turner. This time his character is engaged to Ms. Trella’s, although whether they’ll make it to the altar is anybody’s guess.

Engagement Rules plays in the Foulds Theatre through October 6.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Jim Yarnes (10-01-19)

Jim Yarnes was last seen on the Foulds Theatre boards in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. He’s made a triumphant return to the Alliance for the Arts in the role of Phil in New Play Contest winner Engagement Rules. After his buddy makes an off-hand comment about merging spiritually with his partner during sex, Phil will do anything and everything to touch his wife’s soul when they make love – including gobbling Viagra like they’re Skittles, reading the Kama Sutra to her in bed and even going to church if that’s what it takes to set the mood. Possessed of Cabernet-dry humor and impeccable split-second timing, Jim will have you laughing your ass off at his expense. Engagement Rules resumes on Thursday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Go here for the rest of Jim’s credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Carolyn England (10-01-19)

In Engagement Rules Carolyn England plays Rose, a woman who’s been married to a guy named Phil (Jim Yarnes) for over half a century. Theater Conspiracy audiences will remember England from Murderers, a comedy in which she portrayed Lucy Stickler, the long-suffering wife of a septuagenarian with a roving eye. But that play was no laughing matter for Carolyn, who was injured in a car wreck prior to opening night. But ever the gamer, Carolyn soldiered on with a walker in order to play her part! Fortunately for all, Carolyn is the picture of health in Engagement Rules.

In addition to Murderers, Carolyn’s recent credits include Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club and Jack Neary’s The Porch, both for Cape Coral Cultural Park.

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Artist applications for inaugural Fringe Fort Myers now open (10-01-19)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Alliance, Broadway Palm bringing Fringe to Fort Myers (10-01-19)

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

What’s Fringe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Theater Conspiracy auditioning for Fringe-bound ‘Vampire Lesbians of Sodom’ (10-01-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts will be holding auditions for its upcoming production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom on Saturday, October 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. The show will be performed 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 1920’s silent movie Hollywood and contemporary Las Vegas.

You can reserve a time to audition by emailing theatre@artinlee.org. Roles include:

  • Male: Hujar and Zack. Hujar is a hunky guard on the make for pretty much anything, and Zack is the big-guy on the chorus line, the bitch’s bitchy nemesis.
  • Male: Etienne and Danny Etienne is a butler, a really high-strung butler; Danny is the bitchiest boy at the chorus call, you know him.
  • Male: King Carslile is a big-time (and don’t you damn well forget it) movie star with an equally big-time secret.
  • Madeleine Astarte Male in drag: The role that made Charles Busch famous, but equally dazzling when taken over by other actors begins as a naïve (but growing wiser by the second) virgin sacrifice, through Rosalind Russell to Lauren Bacall in her 90th “final engagement” nightclub act.
  • Male: Oatsie Carewe a Hollywood gossip columnist, who turns out to be Van Helsing/Otto Preminger in drag to destroy “the ladies.” Bad move.
  • Male: Ali and PJ Ali is a hunky, but naive, slave guard, then PJ is the “new kid chorus boy.’ Note: Must be comfortable with momentary faked nudity; g-string or “nude” dance belt during “chase scene.”
  • Female: La Condesa/Succubus to play female, a succubus, cold yet likable, must posses superb comedic timing skills and excel at camp.
  • Female: Renee Vein/Tracy the ingénue, a starlet who longs for success and fortune at any cost.

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

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‘Finding Neverland’ opens at Broadway Palm October 3 (10-01-19)

The enchanting Broadway musical, Finding Neverland, soars onto the Broadway Palm stage from October 3 through November 16, 2019. The winner of Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical, this breathtaking smash is “a spirited, tuneful, nimbly staged delight!” says TIME Magazine. Based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan – one of the most beloved stories of all time.

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

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

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

Finding Neverland plays October 3 through November 16. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73 with children and group prices available. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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

 

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Off Broadway Palm presenting tap-happy musical parody ‘Dames at Sea’ (10-01-19)

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

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

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

If you’re looking for a boatful of laughs tap on over to the Off Broadway Palm Theatre for Dames at Sea. The Off Broadway Palm is an intimate 100-seat theatre located just off the main lobby of Broadway Palm. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $42 to $62 with group discounts available for parties of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

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Future ‘Funny Shorts Live’ and related auditions (10-01-19)

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

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‘Cause and Affection’ to incorporate video component into live action on stage (10-01-19)

The Center for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be performing the world premiere of Cause and Affection, an original multi-media comedic play.

Cause and Affection follows an aging soap star by the name of Preston whose evening plans are ruined when his elderly neighbor gets locked out of her apartment and his best friend, Barry, shows up needing marital advice. While trying to help them solve their problems, a bombshell drops, leaving Preston with a problem of his own to solve.

One of the distinguishing aspects of this production is the incorporation of three videos into the action taking place on stage. As you may suspect, the videos are episodes or outtakes from the soap opera, in which Preston stars as a handsome politician. Although CFABS cast actors especially for the soap opera videos, only the actor playing the part of Preston appears both on stage and in the soap opera videos!

Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, October 24 – 26, 2019 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday, October 26 & 27 in the Center for Performing Arts – Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135. For more information or tickets, please call 239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

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Center for Performing Arts presenting staged readings of ‘Good Jews” and ‘Book Club Thief’ (10-01-19)

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

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Upcoming staged readings & auditions at Center for Performing Arts Bonita (10-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting staged readings at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 10, 2020. It will conduct auditions for the November staged readings at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16 and at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 19 and for the January staged readings at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17 and 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at theaterfilm@artsbonita.org.

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Cultural Park’s creepy thriller ‘Ghost in the Meadow’ closes this weekend (10-01-19)

Cultural Park Theatre’s production of The Ghost in the Meadow closes October 6. If you like ghost stories, don’t miss this show. Playwright Joe Simonelli wrote built plenty of chills into this atmospheric piece.

Sprinkled with humor, this creepy thriller follows two sisters who relocate from Manhattan to an old farm house in upstate New York. They quickly realize that they may not be alone in the house. An old boyfriend drops in to visit and when the strange occurrences continue, he calls on the services of a psychic colleague to try to quell the restless spirits.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $19 for seniors and $16 for students. To reserve your seats or for more information, please call 239-772-5862 or visit http://www.culturalparktheater.com.

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Spotlight on ‘Ghost in the Meadow’ actor Stacy Stauffer (10-01-19)

Stacy Stauffer will appear in the role of Sheila in Cultural Park Theatre’s production of Joe Simonelli’s The Ghost in the Meadow. Stauffer’s credits include Lab Theater’s world premiere production of Zalman Velvel’s DMV (various roles, including the mayor), The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s, Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, Laura Lorusso’s Scrooge TV: A Modern Christmas Carol, Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays (Stacy was Hannah in “This Flight Tonight” and Cate in “A Traditional Wedding”), Rumors and the Vagina Monologues.

Go here to see the rest of Stacy’s theatrical profile.

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‘Ghost in the Meadow’ playwright Joe Simonelli to attend October 6 performance (10-01-19)

The Ghost in the Meadow closes this weekend at Cultural Park Theatre. Playwright Joe Simonelli will attend the 3:00 p.m. closing matinee on Sunday, October 6.

Joseph Simonelli is an American playwright. Although known for his popular comedies such as Men are Dogs and Old Ringers (which get performed regularly around the United States and Canada), Simonelli also writes across theatrical genres. He has written a popular musical about internet dating titled Romance.com and his ghost story thriller, The Ghost in the Meadow (which he based on a Civil War-era story tale that originated in Pennsylvania) has had many professional and amateur performances (most notably an extended run at The State Theatre of Virginia, (The Barter), an old line LORT venue). Other works include Ladies in Lingerie, Heaven Help Me, A Rainbow Holiday, The Haunting of Billop House, Sicilians in the Basement, A Christmas Tail, Stocks and Blonds, Injustice for All, Out at Third, Rommates, Wretched Asylum, Where There’s a Will, With this Ring and Wake Me at Midnight.

Simonelli grew up in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, New York, where his father, Phillip, was a local orchestra leader. Joe was exposed to Broadway at an early age as his parents encouraged him and his four siblings to attend the theater. From the age of seven he saw such stars as Danny Kaye in Two by Two and Katharine Hepburn in Coco.

Simonelli appeared on stage as early as the second grade, beginning with elementary school productions at St. Patrick’s Grammar School. In his senior year at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, he was featured as one of the jets in West Side Story. But Joe didn’t get serious about theater and writing until the age of forty when he tried out for a local community theater production in New Jersey. Shortly thereafter he started writing plays and submitting them in New York City and Los Angeles.

Simonelli is a full member of the Dramatist Guild of America and is represented by Brian Sherman and Ipex theatricals. His legal representative in Los Angeles is Gary DaSilva, who once commented that he finds Simonelli in good company with such notable playwrights as Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart and Mart Crowley, whom DiSilva also represents.

Joe has three children and currently resides in New York City, but is planning to relocate to the Southwest Florida. He is proud to be associated with Cultural Park Theatre in Cape Coral, which has presented many of his plays. For more information about Joe, please visit http://joesimonelli.com/.

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‘Always … Patsy Cline’ in Florida Rep ArtStage Theatre through November 24 (10-01-19)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Florida Rep kicks off touring theater program (10-01-19)

Florida Rep kicked off its 2019-2020 Touring Theatre program on September 28 with Junie B. Jones the Musical and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Junie B. Jones the Musical is based on the bestselling book series by Barbara Park. The musical adaptation features book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich. Florida Rep Education Director Kody C Jones directs.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a loving retelling of C.S. Lewis’ timeless story of courage and hope. It has been adapted to the stage by Don Quinn. Florida Rep’s Associate Artistic Director, Jason Parrish directs.

“We couldn’t be more excited for this lineup of professional TYA tours that will be visiting schools all over SW Florida,” said Education Director Kody C. Jones.

“This year’s titles will take students on a wild ride through magical realms of Narnia and the everyday hardships at the Elementary School of Junie B. Jones. These wonderful tales have important messages to bring our area students that are not only educational but entertaining and fun!”

Florida Rep’s popular Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) program is designed s to make live professional theatre accessible to young people across Southwest Florida by touring its productions to schools and venues in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and the surrounding counties. The TYA series takes the arts directly into the schools or invites students into the theatre to view specifically designed productions paired with study guides tailored to meet Sunshine State Standards of Learning.

Both productions star Florida Rep’s 2019-2020 Acting Intern Company, Hunter Clarke (3rd photo), Thomas Hadzeriga, Kylie Mask (4th photo), Bethany Mansfield, Bailey Tyler and Asher Van Meter (5th photo), all of whom are beginning their professional careers with Florida Rep this season. The productions also feature a professional design team, including Scenic Designer Jordan Moore (Million Dollar Quartet), Costume Designer Jacquelyn Loy (Hay Fever), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Native Gardens), and Stage Manager CayceLynn Hoggard (Spring Awakening). Rosalind Metcalf (Spring Awakening) served as musical director and Kayley Stevens (A Chorus Line) as choreographer for the musical adaptation of Junie B. Jones.

Both productions are available for tour bookings through May of 2020, and information is available online or by calling the Tour Manager at 239-219-1551.

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Ghostbird Theatre Company bringing ‘October House’ to Langford-Kington Home (10-01-19)

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

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

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Lab’s ‘Crucible’ product of savvy direction, inspired production and break-out performances (10-01-19)

Arthur Miller’s allegorical play The Crucible opened this past weekend at Lab Theater. The play featured predictably powerful portrayals by Steven Coe, TJ Albertson and Paul Graffy, but the audiences who caught these shows witnessed break-out performances by two relative newcomers, Kinley Gomez and Imani Lee Williams.

Gomez plays Abigail Williams, the 17-year-old niece of Salem’s pastor, Reverend Samuel Parris (played by Casey Davis). Before the timeline of the play, Abigail worked in the home of John and Elizabeth Proctor (portrayed by Steven Coe and Imani Lee Williams). But Elizabeth Proctor insisted that she be dismissed after discovering that her husband and Abigail had an affair right under her nose.

Whether she seduced him or John stole her innocence, Abigail’s sexual experience and liberation has made her the “it” girl among her peers – in a Regina George (Rachel McAdams, Mean Girls), Heather Chandler (Kim Walker, Heathers), Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Cruel Intentions) sort of way. Living once again in her uncle’s house, she leads a group of young girls that includes her cousin, Betty (marvelously portrayed by Isabel Isenhower), the Right Reverend’s slave Tituba (mystically played by Melanie Payne), and her friends, Mercy Lewis (Emmie Spiller) and Mary Warren (Ruthgena Augustin) in a “lascivious dance to wanton ditties” around a campfire in the forest.

You may access the balance of this review here.

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Could ‘The Crucible’ happen again in 2019? (10-01-19)

All theater companies assay to include socially and politically relevant plays in their programming each season. Lab Theater especially takes this responsibility seriously, but who could have predicted that The Crucible would resonate so strongly in today’s socio-political climate or that the same factors that gave rise to the Salem witch trials would exist today?

Arthur Miller wrote the play to satirize the so-called McCarthy Trials – proceedings brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in which Senator Joseph McCarthy ruined the careers of scores of people through the artifice of making unfounded and supported accusations that they were either Communists or Communist sympathizers. The trials occurred during a period known as the Red Scare, when ordinary American citizens were in a panic over the possibility that Soviet spies (“the reds”) were living among us with nefarious plans to overthrow our democracy.

McCarthy claimed to have a piece of paper with the names of 205 Communist party members. Thousands were investigated by the Committee and FBI. Those found guilty were blacklisted, fined, jailed and deported.

Go here for the rest of this post.

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Focus on Crucible’s Steven Coe (10-01-19)

Fort Myers actor Steven Coe is so much in demand, that although he was starring opposite Madelaine Weymouth in The Studio Players’ production of Venus in Fur, he was rehearsing for Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible, in which he plays farmer John Proctor, a flawed man whose wife is accused of witchcraft by the Proctors’ former maid with whom John has maintained an adulterous affair.

Steven has a reputation for placing himself in challenging roles and situations that build confidence. Besides Venus in Fur, his evolving body of work includes starring roles as Andri in Andorra, The Boy in Veronica’s Room, and Doug in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, as well as memorable supporting and ensemble appearances in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror, Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Rick Abbot’s Play On!, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.

Go here to read Steven’s full profile.

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Focus on Crucible’s Imani Lee Williams (10-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Imani Lee Williams. She plays the part of Elizabeth Proctor, an aggrieved wife accused of witchcraft by her ex-housekeeper and husband’s former mistress.

Lab Theater audiences are still raving about her performance in the role of Jo in the Southwest Florida premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride. After participating in the Alliance for the Arts’ inaugural CHANGE course, she also had the distinction of performing a monologue in George Wolfe’s edgy The Color Museum. To read Imani’s full profile, go here.

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Focus on Crucible’s Paul Graffy (10-01-19)

Paul Graffy is part of the large and talented cast of The Crucible, opening September 20 at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. He turns in a chilling performance as the Salem witch trials’ chief inquisitor, Deputy Governor Danforth. Over the past 15 years, Paul has appeared in more than 25 productions and directed over a dozen others at such theaters as The Naples Players, Artis Naples, TheatreZone, The Studio Players, The Naples Dinner Theater and the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Among his acting credits are General Thomas F. Waverly in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (The Naples Players), Pale in Burn This! (for The Lab), Senator Joe Cantwell in The Best Man (also for Lab), Frank Sr. in Catch Me if You Can, Johnny Lowell in Stage Kiss, Alan in God of Carnage and George in Moon Over Buffalo, both at The Naples Players in 2014. He’s been great in all these shows, but his performance in The Crucible is really special!

Go here for the rest of Paul’s prodigious profile.

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Focus on Crucible’s TJ Albertson (10-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (running through October 12) is TJ Albertson, fresh from his tour de force, raised fist in a sequined glove performance as Rexy Nervosa in The Legend of Georgia McBride. In addition to Georgia McBride, TJ has turned in outstanding performances in just the last year as The Soldier in Andorra, Tyler Johnes in And the Winner Is … and Timmy in Hand to God. For more on this Fairfax, Virginia transplant, go here.

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Focus on Crucible’s Kinley Gomez (10-01-19)

Based on her performance as Abigail Williams in Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible, Kinley Gomez is an emerging star in the Southwest Florida theater scene. She first appeared at The Lab in the Vagina Monologues (“Ask a 6 Year Old”), as well as the 24-hour playwriting challenge. She has also performed in the ensemble of Willy Wonka and Big River for Florida Repertory Theatre, Alice in Wonderland Jr. (Rose) for Creative Theater Workshop (CTW) and numerous shows at Canterbury School.

Go here for the rest of Kinley’s resume.

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Focus on Crucible’s Isabel Esenhower (10-01-19)

Isabel Isenhower is a young actor, singer and dancer who is lives and goes to school in Fort Myers.

Musical theater is currently her forte. In that regard, she has appeared in numerous musicals in the Fort Myers area, including Canterbury School and the Creative Theater Workshop (CTW), where she performed in Alice in Wonderland JR (Cheshire Cat 1) in 2019 and Willy Wonka JR (Mrs. Beauregarde) in 2018.

But she recently demonstrated talent in drama in the role of Betty Parris in Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible.

Go here for all of Isabel’s credits and accomplishments.

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Focus on Crucible’s Ruthgena Augustin (10-01-19)

Ruthgena Augustin is a Fort Myers based actor, singer and dancer. She is currently portraying Mary Warren in Lab Theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Her acting credits include Molly Cunningham in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance), Lorraine in All Shook Up (Cultural Park Theatre), Kala in Tarzan (Cultural Park), Brenda in The Pajama Game (Cultural Park), Featured Nun in Sister Act: The Musical (Cultural Park), Vanessa in In the Heights (Lab Theater) and A Motown Christmas (West Coast Black Theatre).

Go here for the rest of Ruthgena’s resume.

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Focus on Crucible’s Todd Lyman (10-01-19)

Todd Lyman plays the part of Thomas Putnam in Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (on stage through October 12). Todd’s credits include multiple roles 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. To get inside Todd’s very busy brain, go here.

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Focus on Crucible’s Lauren Miller (10-01-19)

Lauren Miller plays the part of Ann Putnam in “The Crucible,” which is one of her bucket list shows. Her character is a tragic figure. Having suffered multiple stillbirths, she accuses her midwife of being a witch in despair and to avenge her loss. Lab Theater audiences will remember Lauren as Kit Kat Girl Texas in Brenda Kensler’s blockbuster production of Cabaret in 2015. She is a seasoned stage performer, with appearances as Mazeppa in Gypsy, Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense, and Henrietta in All Shook Up. She also performed with The Naples Players in Chicago (Matron Mama Morton), Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors, Smokey Joe’s Café and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Go here for the rest of Miller’s theatrical credits.

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Focus on Crucible’s Heather Johnson (10-01-19)

In “The Crucible,” Heather Johnson plays Rebecca Nurse, a midwife who had the misfortune of assisting Ann Putnam in multiple stillbirth deliveries. Women who practiced midwifery, herbal healing and other “pagan practices” were often accused of witchcraft and devil worship in Puritan Massachusetts (though their real crime was violating religious and societal norms by failing to conform to their expected roles in a patriarchal society). In Rebecca Nurse’s case, what sealed her fate was her ability to calm a distraught and inconsolable Betty Parris by a simple touch. Under principles set forth in the Malleus Maleficarum or Witches Hammer (a book that prescribed tests for identifying witches and warlocks), a person could only calm a person in throws of a fit by a simple touch by reabsorbing the evil causing the fit, thereby proving that they were indeed a witch.

Heather is a recent theatrical transplant from Starkville, Mississippi. After arriving in Southwest Florida, Heather made her Lab Theater debut as the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte.

Go here for the rest of Heather’s theatrical credits.

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Focus on Crucible’s Art Keen (10-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible is Art Keen, who plays Judge Hawthorne. Originally from Long Island, Art has come to the Southwest Florida theater community by way of retirement. A certified theater arts and social studies teacher with a B.S. in Theater Arts from SUNY Oneonta, Art’s theater resume is wide and varied. His most recent work includes portraying Jimmy Rogers in Lab Theater’s world premiere of Zalman Velvel’s D.M.V. and playing Manolo Costazuela in Del Tura Repertory Company’s production of The Odd Couple: Female Version. 

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Focus on Crucible’s Tamicka Armstrong (10-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Tamicka Armstrong. Tamicka is a former “choir kid” and karaoke aficionado with a decade’s worth of experience in ensemble and solo work. In 2017, she relocated to Southwest Florida from Wyoming and after taking improv classes at the Alliance for the Arts, she decided to take a chance and audition at Theatre Conspiracy, landing the role of Cindy in 2017 New Play Contest winner Repossessed. The Crucible marks her Lab Theater debut.

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Focus on Crucible’s Emmie Spiller (10-01-19)

Returning to the boards at Lab Theater in The Crucible is Emmie Spiller. She is one of the girls caught dancing in the woods and becomes a staunch and unflinching ally of Accuser in Chief, Abigail Williams. Emmie was last seen as the captain (#25) of the Wolves indoor soccer team in the summer intern production of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves. She was previously seen as Cheryl in Lab’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical last summer.

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Focus on Crucible’s Melanie Payne (10-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Melanie Payne. Hers is a fascinating character as Tituba is a slave from the Caribbean island of Barbados where singing, dancing and casting spells were considered spiritual as they derived from her African roots. “Devil, him be pleasure-man in Barbados, him be singin and dancing,” she says as the play winds down. “It’s you folks—you riles him up ’round here… He freeze his soul in Massachusetts, but in Barbados he just sweet.” We never really find out what happens to Tituba, and that’s by design. The lack of clarity about her fate serves to further underscore that whether or she or any of the other women who’ve been accused are in fact witches is totally beside the point. It’s a great role for Melanie, who’s new to the stage. Read about her background here.

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Focus on Crucible’s Mike Dinko (10-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible is Mike Dinko. He plays a farmer by the name of Francis Nurse, whose wife is accused of witchcraft. Its a role that gives Mike a rare opportunity to display a softer side, exploring emotions such as sorrow, sentimentality and grief. It’s something of a departure from some of his most recent roles, and he does a really good job with the character. Mike stays busy with both stage and film acting. Go here for the rest of Mike’s credits.

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Richard O’Brien’s ‘Rocky Horror Show’ coming to New Phoenix October 3 (10-01-19)

New Phoenix Theatre will perform Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show live in October. If you have never experienced Rocky Horror, this is yours chance. If you have, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to do the time warp again. Audience participation is encouraged, but not necessary, so feel free to dress up as your favorite character. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

Performances are October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 31 at 8:00 p.m. and October 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 3:00 p.m.

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Spotlight on ‘Rocky Horror’ narrator Brian Linthicum (10-01-19)

Brian Linthicum will be the Narrator in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Southwest Florida theater-goers are still raving about his performance in the title role of the isolated, crazed denizen of Sam Hollis’ antebellum Louisiana mansion in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Brian has been performing in various theaters in Ohio, Michigan and Texas for nearly 40 years.

You will find all of Brian’s stage credits here.

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Spotlight on actor Cameron Rogers, who plays Brad Majors (10-01-19)

Cameron Rogers will appear in the role of Brad Majors in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show … assuming, that is, that he doesn’t get a flat tire on the way to the show. Cameron’s acting credits include Lab Theater’s production of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (Gus P. Head, an aspiring actor who’s on the scene to take and return the coats of the guests attending the opening night after-party for the Golden Egg), Evil Dead, the Musical (Ash) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime at Cypress Lake High School.

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Spotlight on actor Gabrielle Lansden, who plays good girl Janet Weiss (09-23-19)

Gabrielle Lansden is an FGCU theatre major and has also worked as a self-employed voice actor for the past two and a half years.

She plays the part of Janet Weiss in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Her acting credits include Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of Barry Cavin’s Boxes Are for What We Keep (Tina from Trilla), and three shows under Stuart Brown’s direction at Florida SouthWestern State College, Paragon Springs, Sonnets for an Old Century and She Kills Monsters (in which she played Agnes Evans, the lead).

Go here for more on Gabrielle.

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Spotlight on actor Joey Bostic, who plays Frank N Furter (10-01-19)

Joey Bostic is a Fort Myers based actor and aspiring director. His stage credits include Frank N Furter in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Jacob in La Cage Aux Folles, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Christopher Wren in The Mousetrap and Pablo in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays for Lab Theater.

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Spotlight on actor Sam Bostic, who plays Riff Raff (10-01-19)

Sam Bostic plays the role of Riff Raff in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. In a galaxy far, far away is Riff Raff’s home planet, a rock called Transexual. On Earth, Riff is Frank N Furter’s servant. But we cannot exactly call him faithful or loyal, as you’ll see as the plot unfolds. It’s a fun role for Bostic, who was last on stage at New Phoenix in the role of Lenny in Neil Simon’s Rumors. But go here for all of Sam’s acting credits.

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Spotlight on actor Shelley Sanders, who plays Columbia (10-01-19)

Shelley Sanders has been tapped by Director Brenda Kensler for the role of Columbia in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Based on her performances as Lulu in Cabaret (which Kensler directed) and Marjorie in Hand to God, she’s the perfect choice to play the tap-dancing degenerate with mad crazy burlesque skills who rooms with Magenta and is involved with both Frank and quintessential bad boy Eddie.

As Columbia, Shelley gets to dress down Frank, “My God! I can’t stand any more of this! First you spurn me for Eddie, and then you throw him off like an old overcoat for Rocky! You chew people up and then spit them out again. I loved you. Do you hear me? I loved you! And what did it get me? Yeah, I’ll tell you: a big nothing. You’re like a sponge. You take, take, take and drain others of their love and emotion. Yeah, well, I’ve had enough.”

For more on Shelley’s acting credits, go here. And to see how she continually re-invents herself wit the roles she plays, read this interview.

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Spotlight on ‘Rocky Horror’ actor Nikki Hagel, who plays Magenta (10-01-19)

Nikki Hagel plays Riff Raff’s sister Magenta in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Prior to being cast in the role, she played Columbia and Eddie in the Rocky Horror Shadowcast. She was a Priscilla girl in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Nikki is a Paul Mitchell educator and has a local business called Nerdyknitz.

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Spotlight on ‘Rocky Horror’ actor Lisa Kuchinski (10-01-19)

Lisa Kuchinski plays one of the Phantoms in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Lisa Kuchinski is a local actor who performs at a variety of Southwest Florida venues, including Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Cultural Park Theater (where she is also Director of Fundraising), TheatreZone and Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance. Some of her most memorable local roles include Roxy in Chicago (for which she won a Cultural Park Theatre Marquee Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical) and Sister Mary Theresa in Sister Act (for which she received a Cultural Park Theater Marquee Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play or Musical). Go here for all of Lisa’s credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Rocky Horror’ actor Eren Sisk (10-01-19)

Eren Sisk plays an Usherette and one of the Phantoms in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Her credits include the babysitter in Rancho Mirage for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance, Barblin in Andorra (taking over on less than four hours’ notice when Danica Murray fell ill and had to be hospitalized for the remainder of the show’s run), Helene in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, Annie in Evil Dead the Musical,  and young Blanche Hudson and next-door-neighbor Abby Bates in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror. Go here for all of Eren’s stage credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Rocky Horror’ actor Sage Meyers (10-01-19)

Sage Meyers will play one of the Phantoms in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. Among Sage’s stage credits are Dora Peterson in Deborah Lake Fortson’s Body & Sold (for Lab Theater), Louise in the farcical tragicomedy An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Beouf and multiple roles in The Rauschenberg Project Play, which drew attention to the adversities faced by 12-24 year old members of our LGBTQ community. Other credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Smokey Joe’s Café, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Cole Porter’s classic musical Anything Goes. She has also appeared in Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge.

Behind the scenes, Meyers has also worked at The Lab as a hair stylist and makeup artist.

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‘Great Gatsby’ opening at The Naples Players on October 2 with red carpet party (10-01-19)

The Naples Players is bringing The Great Gatsby to the stage. The play is a contemporary adaptation by Simon Levy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, and features much of his language along with the legendary decadence of the 1920s.

The story, of course, follows Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island and a distant cousin of Daisy, is drawn into their world of obsession, self-absorption, and greed. The dominant themes of love, desire, and obsession wash over Fitzgerald’s characters rich with hope and dreams positioned within an Art Deco stage design that artfully sets the stage for their decadent world in the Jazz Era. From the moment the curtain goes up, you’ve stepped inside a time machine rewinding back to 1920s Long Island. Simon Levy has lovingly taken F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel to the stage while remaining true to the original material.

Bryce Alexander directs a cast that consists of Bo Popoola as Jay Gatsby, Sydney Mixon as Daisy Buchanan, Nathan Eichhorn as Nick Carraway, Paul LoPresti plays Tom Buchanan, Brooke Rosenbluth is Jordan Baker, Bernardo Santana is George Wilson, Victoria Diebler is Myrtle Wilson, Shelley Gothard plays Mrs. McKee, Robin Gray is Mrs. Michaelis, Joe Loiacono is Meyer Wolfsheim, Perry Ventro is Chester McKee, and Len Becker is the Policeman.

The Great Gatsby ensemble includes Rebecca Borchardt, Lucas Bueno, Ariana Da Frota, Austin Estremera, Kenneth Hardcastle, Gianna Koprowski, Brad Kielty, Harvey Millar, Mary Mitchell, and Paula Shute.

Performances run Wednesdays – Sundays, October 2 through 27 in Blackburn Hall. A special Red Carpet Party will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2 on The Baker Stage before the 7:30 Opening Night performance with live music and complimentary refreshments. Tickets are $40 and are available to the public on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at the Box Office or NaplesPlayers.org.

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‘Church & State’ fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and ‘The Twitter’ (10-01-19)

It is three days before Charles Whitmore’s Senate re-election and he’s decided to finally tell the public exactly what’s on his mind, no filter. What could possibly go wrong? Church & State is a fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and “The Twitter.” Directed by Brett Marston, it will be performed by The Studio Players October 4-20.

Keith Gahagan plays Senator Charles Whitmore, with Suzanne Sole portraying his wife, Sara Whitmore. Sharon Isern is Alex Klein and Danny Cancio tackles multiple roles, playing Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor.

Church & State playwright Jason Odell Williams is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer (Brain Games). He has also received an Ovation Award nomination.

Church & State is his latest play and was originally produced as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at The Skylight Theatre in L.A. and JCC CenterStage in Rochester, NY.

Please go here for the remainder of this advance.

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Spotlight on actor Keith Gahagan (10-01-19)

Keith Gahagan will play the role of Senator Charles Whitmore in The Studio Players’ upcoming production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Keith has performed in community theater productions in Marco Island, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers since 2007. Among his stage credits are Curt in Don’t Talk to the Actors (The Studio Players) Eddie the bar owner in The Legend of Georgia McBride (Lab Theater, June 2019), Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire (The Studio Players, January 2018), August Osage County, Things Being What They Are and A Clockwork Orange a decade ago. Most recently, Keith took part in Stage It Playwrights Festival in Bonita Springs, which followed his performance in  the Waverly Gallery at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita.

Go here for the rest of Keith’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ actor Suzanne Sole (10-01-19)

Suzanne Sole is an actor, singer and comedian. Now a Naples resident, she is currently working on a number of original creative projects.

She is currently portraying Sara Whitmore in The Studio Players’ production of Church & State. Her previous theater credits include Muriel Eubanks in the National Tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Woman 2 in Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World (at American Theatre of Actors) EB Janet in the North American tour of SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody, and Dolly Tate in a staged production of Annie Get Your Gun starring Patti LuPone. Most recently, Sole portrayed the Eastern European, beehive donning, young Italian stud loving, stage mother extraordinaire, Ivana Trump, in the irreverent, hilarious satire The First Annual Trump Family Special starring Gina Gershon.

Go here for the rest of Suzanne’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ actor Sharon Isern (10-01-19)

Sharon Isern will be playing the part of Alex Klein in The Studio Players’ October production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Sharon Isern is an actor, artist (steampunkphage.com) and recovering academic (@profpathogen) who spends her days teaching and doing virus research with undergraduate students as a Professor of Biology at FGCU. Although new to acting, Sharon has made a mark already in the Southwest Florida theater community. She made her debut in January 0f 2019 in Ghostbird Theatre’s production of Everyone on this Train, excelling in the role of a mother fleeing the Chechen war with her daughter. And she recently turned in a tearfully painful portrayal of a doting daughter caring for her terminally ill mother who is also afflicted with dementia in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Shadow Box. For more on Sharon’s acting accomplishments and chops, read here.

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Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ cast member Daniel Cancio (10-01-19)

Daniel Cancio plays multiple roles (Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor) in The Studio Players’ production of Church & State. An FGCU theatre grad, Daniel is an emerging talent in the local theater scene. While at FGCU, he appeared in productions of The Tempest, Mr. Perfect, 12 Angry Men and The Zoo. His credits also include Jerry in The Studio Players’ production of Don’t Talk to the Actors, Bear in Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of Orbs! and Laboratory Theater’ss 2016 production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews. He additionally took part in a staged reading of Robert Caisley’s The Open Hand. You can read Daniel’s full profile here.

 

 

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