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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news September 15-21, 2021


Grouped under headings that include art openings, film, outdoor art fairs and festivals and theater are advances, announcements and articles about the actors, artists, filmmakers and events making news in Southwest Florida this week:


1      ACTORS


Ruthgena Faraco playing the lead, Celie, in Lab’s production of ‘The Color Purple’

Ruthgena Faraco was brilliant in the role of Mary Warren in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, but her performance in the lead (as Celie) in Lab Theater’s production of The Color Purple is nothing short of groundbreaking. Add powerful, resonating vocals to superb acting and commanding stage presence, and a star is born!

In addition to The Crucible and The Color Purple, Ruthgena played Molly Cunningham in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance), Lorraine in All Shook Up (Cultural Park Theatre) and Kala in Tarzan (for which she garnered a 2018 Cultural Park Theatre Marquee Awards nomination for Lead Actress in a Musical). Go here to see all of Ruthgena’s theatrical credits.



Tijuanna Clemons plays Doris in ‘Color Purple’

Tijuanna Clemons appears in the role of Doris in the Southwest Florida premiere of The Color Purple for Lab Theater. She has appeared previously as Diana Dahner in Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage, Bertha Holly in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Louise in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, and Ruby in August Wilson’s King Hedley II, all for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.



Cantrella Canady is Sofia in Lab Theatre’s ‘Color Purple’

Hell yes! Cantrella Canady is Sophia in The Color Purple and, as expected, she is stupendous in the role. But what you’ll especially appreciate in her portrayal is the uncanny ability to be both tough and vulnerable, brash then humbled, street smart yet politically naive. Her performance is another example of why I’d crawl a thousand miles on broken glass to see Cantrella Canady.

Canady was seen most recently in Bulletproof Backpack for Florida Repertory Theatre and at Lab Theater in David Mamet’s Race. She has an ambitious 2020-2021 schedule, with performances going forward in West Side Story for Florida Rep November 23-December 15), The Colored Museum for the Alliance for the Arts (January 8-22) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre (February 16-March 6). Go here to access Canady’s full profile.



Kim Hardin is Shug Avery in Lab’s ‘The Color Purple’

The Color Purple plays for two more weeks at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. The production is denoted by tremendous vocals, terrific acting and an inspired story by Marsha Norman. It’s small wonder that the final two weekends are already sold out.

There are many stand-outs in the cast, including Kim Hardin who plays the part of Shug Avery. She is an absolute joy to watch. Her interactions with Celie anchor the plot and storyline. Her soulful duets with Ruthgena Faraco linger long after their final notes.

A native of Fort Myers, Hardin is a Christian music artist and has been an assistant choir director and teacher for the past 20 years. Kim was a finalist in the 2007 America’s Got Talent auditions and makes her Lab Theater debut in The Color Purple.



Cadrick Smith’s Harpo wins the audience’s favor and affection over the course of the play

Cadrick Smith plays the part of Harpo in Lab Theater’s production of The Color Purple. The role calls for Smith to be sensitive and buoyant, traits that are (mis)interpreted as effeminate in the male-dominated world in which Harpo struggles to fit in. Clever and an inveterate survivor, Harpo makes his own niche by opening a successful juke joint in the home he once shared with his wife, Sophia (brilliantly played by Cantrella Canady) after he tries to bend her to his will by beating her, taking a whipping at her hands instead. Smith negotiates his character’s emotional ups and downs, trials and tribulations, with aplomb , winning the audience’s favor and affection over the course of the play.

A native of Lee County, Cadrick has performed all across the country, including world-renowned Carnegie Hall. Cadrick comes to Lab Theater with an extensive background in performing arts and arts education. From teaching public school music and performing to music therapy, he remains an advocate for the arts and the progression of arts education in the community, school system, and around the world.



Robert Barner terrific in the role of Mister in Lab’s ‘Color Purple’

Robert Barner makes his theatrical debut as Mister in the Southwest Florida premiere of Marsha Norman’s The Color Purple, on stage now through October 2 at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. It’s a tough part even for a veteran actor. Physically and emotionally abusive, Mister only married to have someone cook, clean and look after his children (by multiple women) while he philanders, primarily with a lounge singer by the name of Shug Avery. But after both Shug and Celie leave him, Mister realizes how much he depended on them and how cruelly he acted toward Celie in particular, to whom he apologizes after finding religion toward the end of the story. Barner is terrific in the part, and the role won’t be his last at Lab. Robert is scheduled to appear in at least two more Laboratory Theater productions during the 2021-2022 season.



Julissa Jean-Bart is Nettie in Lab’s ‘Color Purple’

Julissa Jean-Bart appears in the role of Nettie in Lab Theater’s production of Marsha Norman’s The Color Purple. (She’s also in the ensemble. The role marks her Lab Theater debut, but she is no stranger to theater. As a Lehigh Senior High School alum, she started her musical theatre journey as a speed typist in George Hill’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. Ensuing roles included Rizzo in Grease and the lead in Aida. After completing Santa Fe College, Julissa continued her studies toward a career in medical services at Independence University online.



Jade Lashay Green plays Squeak for Lab in ‘The Color Purple’

Jade Lashay Green plays the part of Squeak for Lab Theater in The Color Purple. She enjoys some of the more memorable scenes in the show, which include bitch-slapping Cantrella Canady’s character, Sophia, and then being laid out by a wicked right cross – not to mention a saucy, flirtatious dance sequence in Harpo’s juke joint in which she sizzles. But audiences will remember her most for her fast-talking riffs and the sound she makes that gives rise to her character’s name.

Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, Jade started singing at age six in her grandfather’s church where she was known as “the little girl with the big voice.” She graduated from Riverdale in 2007 and then had the privilege of singing with the “The Young Americans.” After high school, she was accepted into the music program at Full Sail University. Currently, you can find her singing live all over Lee County.



Hoyt Goodine plays Grady for Lab in ‘Color Purple’

The Color Purple plays for two more weeks at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. The production is denoted by tremendous vocals, terrific acting and an inspired story by Marsha Norman. It’s small wonder that the final two weekends are already sold out.

Hoyt Goodine plays the part of Grady (and is in the ensemble, as well). Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Hoyt was active in drama club and did many plays in high school. Last year, you may have seen him in The Full Monty at the New Phoenix Theater, where his lawnmower dance moves took on legendary proportions. Hoyt wants the ladies to know that he is “currently single and dangerously good looking from certain angles.” We’ll be looking forward to seeing the modest-to-a-fault Hoyt in more shows in the future.



Greg Wojciechowski goes from Max to Monster in ‘Young Frankenstein’

Greg Wojciechowski goes form Max von Mayerling in Lab’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard to the Monster in Young Frankenstein for New Phoenix Theatre. Greg’s other stage credits include Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond for Cultural Park Theater, Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, Ken Gorman in Rumors at New Phoenix Theatre, and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest for Cultural Park Theater.



Kenneth Bradley Johnson eyes the role of Igor in ‘Young Frankenstein’

When New Phoenix patrons last saw Kenneth Bradley Johnson, he was reprising the role of Jerry Lukowski in The Full Monty. He returns to the New Phoenix stage in the role of happy hunchback Igor in Young Frankenstein, which runs September 30 through October 24. His local acting credits include the roles of editor Richard Ehrlich in Time Stands Still, Milford, Ivan and Oscar Saperstein in Topher Payne’s Let Nothing You Dismay, Phaedra (the enigma) in La Cage aux Folles for New Phoenix Theatre, Paster Greg in  Hand to God, Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram in Sordid Lives for Lab Theater and Noli Timeri (Don’t Be Afraid) for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance. Ken has also appeared at Florida Repertory Theatre, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and The Cape Playhouse. You can access Ken’s full theater resume here.



Tricia Hennessy cast as leggy lab assistant Inga in ‘Young Frankenstein’

Tricia Hennessy last appeared on stage in the title role in The Drowsy Chaperone, which she’ll follow as the leggy lab assistant in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Young Frankenstein, opening September 30. Hennessy has been in the dance and theatre world for the last 30 years. Over that span, Tricia has performed in numerous community and regional theater productions. In addition to her acting credits, Tricia has choreographed three productions, served as an assistant director in another and performed in a number of operas. But she take the most pride as an accomplished dance instructor and supporting dancers through Empower Dance and Athletic Wear in Cape Coral.

Go here to access all of Tricia’s theatrical and related credits.



Emilie Baartman plays TWA stewardess Gloria in Naples Players’ ‘Boeing Boeing’

Emilie Baartman appears in the role of TWA airline stewardess (they were still called that back in the 1960s) Gloria in Boeing Boeing for The Naples Players. A Naples actor, singer, dancer and costume designer, Emilie impressed as Pam Lukowski in The Full Monty for New Phoenix Theatre in March of 2020. Go here to see all of her theatrical credits:…/baartman-emilie/emilie-baartman.



Scott Davis appears as Ed in Studio Players’ ‘Torch Song’

Scott Davis will appears in the role of Ed in The Studio Players’ production of Torch Song. Scott Davis a local actor who was active in theater in Michigan before locating to Southwest Florida. His area stage credits include Vicomte de Nanjac/Phipps in An Ideal Husband for The Naples Players, Girolamo Savonarola in Botticelli in the Fire, Michael in the Florida premiere of How to Transcend a Happy Marriage (directed by Steven Ditmyer), and the roles of Dennis Gordon, Jerry and Rich in the Florida premiere of Topher Payne’s comedic farce Let Nothing You Dismay for Lab Theater; and Ralph Sheldrake in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Ewart Dunlop in The Music Man, Tammany O’Holleran in Miracle on 34th Street and Freddy Evnsford-Hill in My Fair Lady for The Naples Players. The rest of Scott’s profile is here.



Daniel Sabiston appears as Alan in Studio Players’ ‘Torch Song’

Daniel Sabiston appears in the role of Alan in The Studio Players’ production of Torch Song, opening September 10. Daniel’s stage credits include various roles in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard, Poggio di Chullu in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire for Lab Theater, an oh-so-mean bully (not bunny) rabbit by the name of Serling Hunter in Kayleigh O’Connell’s Projekt Grotesquerie, Ezekiel Cheever in The Crucible and the Journeyman in Andorra, all for the Laboratory Theater of Florida.

Go here to see Daniel’s full theatrical profile.



Michael Francisco Cherbini appears as David Beckoff in ‘Torch Song’

Michael Francisco Cherbini appears in the role of David Beckoff in The Studio Players’ production of Torch Song, opening September 10. His prior theater credits include Frederic in Pirates of Penzance, Baby John in West Side Story, Koko in The Mikado and Ralphie Parker in The Christmas Story. Cherbini is a Cypress Lake High School Senior who is also enrolled in the Accelerated Collegiate Experience (ACE) Program at FGCU. He has been acting and singing in Southwest Florida for the past eight years. He belongs to the renowned TAG (The Acapella Group).

Go here for the rest of this profile.



Harvey Evans lands lead in Les Miserables for Melody Lane Theatre

Harvey Evans will play the lead for Director Dana Alvarez when Melody Lane Theatre brings Les Miserables to the stage. Evans is a young Southwest Florida actor whose stage credits include Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre, Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the Alliance Youth Theatre, the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz and Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird for Florida Repertory Theatre. As a theatre major at North Fort Myers High School, he also performed as Robert in Boeing Boeing and Billy Lawlor in 42nd Street.





Sonya McCarter directing ‘The Color Purple’

Sonya McCarter is directing The Color Purple for Lab Theater. McCarter is an actor, director and an instructor in the Alliance for the Arts’ CHANGE (Communities Harnessing the Arts to Nurture and Grow Equity) program. In addition to The Color Purple, her directing credits include Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, August Wilson’s King Hedley IISeven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Lydia Diamond’s The Bluest Eye and George C. Wolff’s The Colored Museum.

Go here to see Sonya’s full theatrical profile.



Bianca ‘JustBee’ Russell choreography in ‘The Color Purple’ another tour de force

An all-around artist, Bianca “JustBee” Russell dances, sings and paints. And she is also a pre-eminent choreographer, as her work for Lab Theater in The Color Purple amply demonstrates. Kind and humble, Bianca is known as a vocal advocate of her culture and heritage and proponent of traditional West African dance. Besides Color Purple, her choreography credits already include such noteworthy productions as Subzero, The MAAFA, Ophelia, Thesis, Raw Impulse, Legends Who Rock and Inspire and The Soul Train Experience. Judges Laurieann Gibson, Chriss Judd and Mia Michaels gave her high marks and a performance scholarship for her choreography on So You Can Think You Can Dance, and she was also awarded a performance scholarship from Americas Best Dance Crew. Her work in The Color Purple is another tour de force. For more on Ms. Russell, please go here.



Dana Alvarez directing ‘Les Miserables’ for Melody Lane Theatre

Dana Alvarez is directing Les Miserables for Melody Lane Theatre, for which she serves as Artistic Director. A storied theater veteran, Alvarez is intimately familiar with both sides of the footlights. As a performer, she has appeared in the roles of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Gertrude in Seussical, Marian in Music Man, Emma in Jekyll and Hyde and Nellie in South Pacific, all at Cultural Park Theater. On the other side of the boards, she has directed more than 25 major musicals, including three Disney pilot productions.



Choreography for Melody Lane’s ‘Les Mis’ comes compliments of Sami Doherty

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables comes to the Melody Lane Theatre stage in October with choreography compliments of Sami Doherty.

“As a choreographer who is a musical theater performer herself, Sami always challenges her students to dive deep and understand the motivation for each character’s movement,” observes Melody Lane Theatre Department Director Dana Alvarez. But Doherty’s legacy extends far beyond work ethic, motivation and technique.

“The lessons they learn from Sami are life lessons,” Ginger Lynn remarks. “Even if they choose not to pursue a career in theater or dance, they’ll carry those lessons with them into adulthood. She’s teaching them the importance of education, how to apply for a job, handle an interview, navigate the pitfalls of social media. Sami does a whole lot more than just teach dance.”

Most know Doherty through her work on stage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Her skills as an actor, singer and dancer make her the consummate triple threat.

Her stage credits are extensive and include Lila Dixon in Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, Mamma Mia,  Kinky Boots (she was Charlie’s materialistic girlfriend, Nicola), Sounds of Christmas (where she rocked “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”), Dames at Sea (in the Off Broadway Palm), Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Babette), Guys & Dolls (not only was she in the ensemble, she served as dance captain as well), Saturday Night Fever (Connie/Ensemble), Elf, the Musical (Matthews) Clue the Musical (where she performed a dramatic Spanish two-step that would have the ten paddles coming out on Dancing with the Stars), and 42nd Street (for which she received a Broadway World Best Actress in a Musical (Professional) Award for her portrayal of Anytime Annie).

But whether she’s performing herself or providing dance instruction or choreography for Melody Lane Theatre, what distinguishes Doherty is her dedication and commitment to conscientiously and lovingly pass along her talents and special skills to the young singers, dancers and actors who will become tomorrow’s standard bearers in local, regional and national theater.





‘A Night on Broadway’ at Broadway Palm through October 2

Broadway Palm opened its 29th season on September 9 with A Night On Broadway, playing through October 2, 2021. This original concert style musical revue will feature the best of Broadway, combining favorites from the past along with the most recent musical hit sensations.

The bright lights of Broadway will shine on the Broadway Palm stage with this all-new musical revue that showcases some of the greatest Broadway songs of all time. The talented cast will sing their way through decades of Broadway favorites from shows such as Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, CATS, Oklahoma, Wicked, 42nd Street and more! You’ll treasure the nostalgia of over a century of entertainment and magnificent music.

Directing A Night On Broadway is Victor Legarreta. Legarreta has directed and appeared in numerous Broadway Palm productions. In addition, he created Yesterday’s: The 50s and 60s Musical, Groovin’: The 60s and 70s Musical, Let’s Go To The Movies, Dino and Friends, Til Theft Do Us Part, and No Claus For Alarm, to name a few.

Broadway Palm is offering a Season Opener Special and all tickets are just $55 for dinner and the show. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



‘Footloose the Musical’ at Fort Myers Theatre through September 19

Footloose the Musical is on stage at Fort Myers Theatre through September 19. You know the story: Moving in from Chicago, newcomer Ren McCormack (Theo Ross0) is in shock when he discovers the small Midwestern town he now calls home has made dancing and rock music illegal. As he struggles to fit in, Ren faces an uphill battle to change things. With the help of his new friend, Willard Hewitt (Ben Herrera), and defiant teen Ariel Moore (Nayda Baez), he might loosen up this conservative town. But Ariel’s influential father, Reverend Shaw Moore (Parrish Danesh), stands in the way. Robin Dawn Lynn directs and choreographs. Go here for play dates, times and to see who’s in this large and energetic cast.



Lab Theater produces Southwest Florida premiere of ‘The Color Purple’

On stage now through October 2 at the Laboratory Theater of Florida is The Color Purple starring Ruthgena Faraco as Celie and Cantrella Canady as Sophia, with direction by Sonya McCarter and choreography by Bianca Russell.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Alice Walker and adapted for the stage as a musical by Marsha Norman, Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, The Color Purple is an inspirational story of strength, hope, and determination. It is the tale of African-American women finding their independence in the first half of the 20th century. The songs are a powerful fusion of ragtime, jazz, gospel, and blues that will transport the audience to journey alongside Celie and Nettie’s heart-touching story of deliverance.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘The Color Purple’ shifts paradigm of what it means to be a black woman

On stage at Lab Theater through October 2 is The Color Purple. Nearly four decades after the movie’s 1985 Los Angeles premiere, The Color Purple connects with African American women in much the same way that Sex in the City resonated with single white 30-something female urbanites. Why? Both gave their female audiences permission to be who they are rather than the codification of what society expects them to be.

“Black women identify with the characters,” agrees Director Sonya McCarter wholeheartedly. “’Oh I see myself as Celie.’ ‘My grandmother was that person.’ ‘My aunt is that person.’ ‘Oh, I’ve experienced that.’ There’s a visceral connection to this story and these characters that is so precious; so much so in our community that we quote the film. It’s that ingrained.”

McCarter bemusedly references actor, director, producer and screenwriter Tyler Perry as someone who regularly quotes from the film. But he’s far from alone. Beyonce’ included a line from The Color Purple in her very first solo album.



No rehearsals, sealed script, ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’ promises to be transformative

In association with Aurora Nova Productions and Boat Rocker Entertainment, the Laboratory Theater of Florida will present the Southwest Florida premiere of White Rabbit Red Rabbit from October 14 through October 23. With no rehearsal, no director, a different actor each night, and a script waiting in a sealed envelope on stage, this show is a theatrical experience that reminds us of the transformative power of theater.

Go here for the full advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Melody Lane Theatre opening 2021-22 season with Young Adult musical ‘Les Miserables’

Melody Lane Theatre is opening its 2021-2022 season with the Young Adult Musical Les Miserables. Seen by more than 70 million people and performed in over 40 countries and 22 languages, Les Mis brings Victor Hugo’s revolutionary novel blazingly to life. With a lush, swelling score that features such famed songs as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own” and “Bring Him Home,” Les Miserables is one of the world’s most iconic and longest-running musicals.

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.



‘Young Frankenstein’ an unforgettably hilarious Transylvanian adventure

Opening on September 30 at New Phoenix Theatre is Young Frankenstein, the musical in which Mel Brooks’ madcap comedy collides with Mary Shelley’s classic monster tale.

The mad scientist of legend, Victor Frankenstein, has died and bequeathed everything to his grandson, but young Frederick wants no part of his family’s notorious legacy. Still, a castle is a castle and Fred travels to Transylvania to settle granddad’s estate.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for cast members, play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Boeing Boeing’ takes flight at The Naples Players beginning September 29

Get ready to take a trip to the 1960’s, an era when air travel was still a glamorous affair.  Sponsored locally by The Inn on Fifth, Boeing Boeing runs from September 29th to October 24th in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players. This crowd pleasing comedic farce, directed by Jessica Walck, was written by the French playwright Marc Camoletti and translated by Beverley Cross & Francis Evans.

Playboy Bernard (Bernardo Santana) lives in Paris with his fiancé, TWA airline stewardess Gloria (Emilie Baartman) – and his fiancé Lufthansa stewardess Gretchen (Sarah DeLeonibus) – and his fiancé Alitalia stewardess Gabriella (Erica Jones). You guessed it – none of the women know about the other two.

Bernard’s trusty live-in maid, Berthe (Pamela Austin), is able to keep up the ruse by remembering each woman’s food preferences, clothing, and even changes out their photographs. All is going well until Bernard’s friend, Robert (Luke Lauchle) comes for a visit.  Due to a faster Boeing jet, all three women arrive at Bernard’s apartment on the same day! Will he be able to keep up his scheme. Better yet, will he even survive the day?!

“We couldn’t be more excited to give our community an important chance to come together, have a good laugh, and enjoy the amazing artists that SWFL has to offer,” remarks CEO/Artistic Director Bryce Alexander.

“The arts are open – and these community events are more important now than ever. It’s a hilarious show!”

A Red Carpet event open to the public is slated for 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29, and features local vendors, food, drinks, and live music from the band Chariot.

Performances are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. from September 29 through October 24. Both general public and season tickets are on sale at the TNP Box Office.  Those interested can visit anytime or call the TNP Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



‘Torch Song’ on Joan Jenks stage at Studio Players through September 26

The Studio Players kicks off its Ninth Season on September 10 with the Southwest Florida premiere of the two-act revival of Harvey Fierstein’s award-winning 1983 Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy.

Its title abbreviated to Torch Song, the revival follows a torch song-singing, Jewish drag queen by the name of Arnold Beckoff (Perry Ventro). The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Studio Players casting for ‘Barefoot in the Park’

The Studio Players is casting for Barefoot in the Park from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 21.

One of Neil Simon’s most beloved comedies, the story follows newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter, who are over the moon to begin their life together in their new apartment in Manhattan. It may be small and a six-flight climb, the heating may be busted and snow may be falling through the skylight, but nothing can quash their newlywed bliss. When Corie decides to set her conservative widowed mother up with their eccentric, bohemian neighbor, a wild night ensues – one that highlights just how different Corie and Paul are. The young couple must learn how to accept and embrace their differences as they learn that marriage is no easy walk in the park.

Paula Keenan directs.

The Studio Players is casting:

  • Corie Bratter, a newlywed, married only six days at the beginning of the play. She is young, pretty, and full of enthusiasm for the future. Impulsive and fun-loving, she considers herself a doer, not a watcher. Her impetuosity is not shared, at first, by her mother or husband, and they are aghast when she cheers the crazy antics of Victor, a neighbor. Corie eventually learns to appreciate dependability and quiet strength.
  • Paul Bratter: is a young lawyer who marries Corie and is far more concerned with practical matters than she is. He does not like their uncomfortable, small apartment in a bohemian section of New York City and would prefer a more staid lifestyle than his wife.
  • Ethel Banks (Mother): is Corie’s widowed mother. She lives a placid, boring life in New Jersey and can not really stomach Corie’s lifestyle. She can barely even get up to Corie’s apartment, and she tends to complain a great deal about anything new and about her bodily ailments until she finds Corie’s adventurous neighbor, Victor Velasco.
  • Victor Velasco: is Corie and Paul’s eccentric, womanizing neighbor who is a gourmet cook and who shares Corie’s sense of fun and adventure. A middle-aged man, he lives in the attic above Corie and Paul’s small apartment. He eventually winds up in a couple with Ethel after Corie sets them up on a blind date.
  • Telephone repairman: he goes up, huffing and puffing, to Corie and Paul’s new apartment in an attempt to fix the phone, and he witnesses their marital discord.

For more information or questions please email director Paula Keenan.




Arsenault Studio & Banyan Arts closing on September 27 after 30 years in Old Naples

Naples artist Paul Arsenault has announced the closing of his gallery on Third Street South. Arsenault Studio & Banyan Arts Gallery will close on September 27, 2021. Arsenault has owned and operated art galleries in various Old Naples locations for more than 30 years. Arsenault will celebrate 50 years of painting in Florida in 2023 and 50 years in Naples in 2024, and a half-century retrospective is in the works. After September 27, Judith Liegeois Designs will take over the gallery space and continue to exhibit and sell selected original Paul Arsenault paintings and giclees.



Sheldon Fine Art featuring work of Leslie Berenson

Sheldon Fine Art on Naples Fifth Ave. So. is featuring the art of Leslie Berenson. An accomplished Leslie’s work has been compared to the impressionistic style of some of the old masters imbued with a touch of fantasy.

These days Leslie paints from her two studios, one of which looks out onto the islands surrounding Boston Harbor and the other which features a clear view of South Florida’s beautiful waters. Leslie’s work has been featured in numerous art shows and exhibits from New England to Florida, where she has won many prestigious awards and received great acclaim for her work. Much of Leslie’s work today is currently displayed in the homes and offices of many prominent and well respected art collectors and families.

After successfully graduating from the Art Institute Boston, Leslie went to work not as a visual artist, but in the fashion industry. During the ensuring 20 years, she rose to the role of Creative Director. In that position, Leslie had the opportunity to work and direct photo shoots in some of the most beautiful places on earth. She draws much of her inspiration from her experiences traveling from Sedona to Hawaii, from the Caribbean to Florida.

Sheldon Fine Art is located at 460 5th Ave S in Naples. For more information, please visit or telephone 239-649-6255.




Work by China’s leading contemporary artist at Naples’ Sheldon Fine Art

Sheldon Fine Art on Naples Fifth Ave. So. is featuring the art of Zu Sheng Yu. Recognized by his colleagues as one of China’s leading contemporary artists, he was recently featured in a Chinese television special, “Zu Sheng Yu: Diverse Art Interests.”

Since his arrival in the United States nearly a decade ago, Zu Sheng has won numerous awards. His talents were recognized by the New York Art Exposition on four occasions. He was the featured artist all three times.

Born in Hu Bei, China, Zu Sheng Yu received his Bachelor’s degree from the Guang Zhou Academy of Fine Arts. He earned his Professorship of Art at Zhong Kai University. Zu Sheng  also invented “Method for Representing Musical Compositions Using Variable Colors and Shades Thereof,” for which he holds a patent.

Sheldon Fine Art is located at 460 5th Ave S in Naples. For more information, please visit or telephone 239-649-6255.





‘Dia de los Muertos’ returns to Alliance in October by popular demand

By popular demand, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is returning to the Alliance for the Arts.

Contrary to what the title might suggest, Day of the Dead is a celebration of both life and death – a time to remember and commemorate the lives of family and friends who have passed from this world into the next realm. The holiday springs from the observation that death is a natural and inevitable part of the human experience – the end point on a continuum that begins with birth, progresses through childhood and culminates with the process of becoming a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead take their place among the living as part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones. And believing that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased (children on Day 1 and adults on Day 2) with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life.

During Dia de los Muertos, families decorate altars, or ofrendas, with candles, photographs, toys, food, and bright colors to honor their loved ones and lead their visiting spirits home. The most familiar symbols of Dia de los Muertos are calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday – in candied sweets, as parade masks and as dolls. But rather than somber or macabre, calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed in a positive, uplifting manner, frequently dressed in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.

In fact, calaverita de azucar, or sugar skulls, are a prominent symbol in the Dia de los Muertos tradition. These brightly decorated sugar skulls are placed on the altars of the deceased, especially children, as a whimsical reminder of precious life. The monarch butterfly is also commonly associated with Dia de los Muertos as they are thought to bring with them the spirits of deceased loved ones during their migration to Mexico. Another common symbol includes the use of cempasuchil, a brightly colored Mexican marigold, whose smell is believed to attract spirits to visit their families during Dia de los Muertos.

This, then, is the context for the art that exhibitors bring to the Alliance for the Arts to display in its Dia de los Muertos exhibition. As the family and community play integral roles in this cultural celebration, the congregation of local art to honor the deceased maintains the power of community in the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Each artist explores their own interpretation of this rich holiday, and brings to light not only the honor associated with death in Mexican culture, but remind us of the vivacity and significance of the lives of our loved ones who have passed.

The show exhibits October 1-30, 2021, and opens with a 5:00-7:00 p.m. in-person reception in the main gallery. Awards will be given of $250 for Best in Show, $125 for 2nd Place and $75 for 3rd Place. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 17.



Alliance ‘Arts on Tap’ fundraiser set for November 12 & 13

The annual Alliance for the Arts fundraiser, Arts On Tap, returns November 12 & 13 with an exciting mash-up of Southwest Florida’s burgeoning craft beer and vibrant arts scenes and a performance by two-time Grammy-nominated hip hop group the Nappy Roots.

On Friday, November 12, guests will mingle, play, sip and savor as local craft brewers pour award-winning, rare and brand new artisan brews, play twisted pub games, rub elbows with craft brewers and Grammy-nominated hip hop group the Nappy Roots, bid on silent auction items and enjoy live music. Participating crafters include Bone Hook Brewing, Coastal Dayz Brewery, Crazy Dingo Brewing,  Eight Foot Brewing, Fort Myers Brewing, Hopsized Brewing, LaBelle Brewing, Millennial Brewing Company, Palm City Brewing, Point Ybel Brewing and Riptide Brewing. Restaurant partners include The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen and The Standard.

The celebration continues on Saturday, November 13 with a night of food trucks, beer, art, VIP lounge experiences and a once-in-a-lifetime performance by the Nappy Roots.

Tickets go on sale in September. Sponsorships and visibility opportunities are available at or by contacting Jessica Wisdom at or calling 239-939-2787.

Arts On Tap is a fundraising event for the Alliance for the Arts, a nonprofit visual and performing arts center located in the heart of Fort Myers. Since 1975, the Alliance has been transforming lives and improving community through the arts. Event proceeds support a creative hub that spurs self-expression, imagination and individuality. The event is sponsored by GMA Architects, Nice Guys Pizza, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and Priority Business Solutions.

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit



Wegman & Massing ‘Two Clever by Half’ at Rauschenberg Gallery through December 4

Florida Southwestern State College is exhibiting William WEGMAN & Jack MASSING: TWO CLEVER BY HALF – A Call & Response Project at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery from September 2 through December 4, 2021.  Described by the artists as “an experimental visual discussion in a studio setting within the Gallery,” this site-specific exhibition will premiere newly-commissioned collaborative works in a frequently evolving installation.

With the artists-in-residence often creating work in “full-view” during regular/public Gallery hours, this exhibition will provide an unprecedented opportunity to experience the “work-in-progress” of internationally-renowned (yet, first-time) collaborators, Jack Massing and William Wegman.

Go here for the rest of this summary.



DAAS’ September show features work of David Martin

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is showcasing the artwork of art educator David Martin during the month of September. Using watercolor and colored pencils, David creates hyper-realistic work, in hopes to open a dialogue about issues in the LGBTQ+ community.

David’s inspiration comes from a place of struggle as a gay male, navigating a heteronormative world. With his work, Martin intends to express the difficulties of the bias against the LGBTQ+ community, as created by men and women and even its own members.  For the artist, it is important to help break down barriers through visual narratives.

Born in Hicksville, Ohio and currently residing in Naples, Florida, Martin attended the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids Michigan where he received his BFA in Art Education.

The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, September 3, 2021, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk event. All Southwest Florida art collectors, supporters and enthusiasts are encouraged to join DAAS for the opening reception and to meet the artist.

The exhibition will be on display through September 26, 2021.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s temporary business hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 3pm. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.



DAAS featuring female figurative paintings of Cecilia Valadez in October

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery will showcase the artwork of Mexican artist Cecilia Valadez during the month of October. Valadez’s art is influenced by her homeland of Mexico, and the Southwest Florida environment. Her paintings provide an extraordinary insight into human nature, especially women, who have been the central theme of hers.

As the main figure, the woman is the centerpiece of Valadez’s works and is expressed in integrated textures and monochromatic tones. In these forms of expression, she evokes extraordinary visions and transitions of life as the main inspiration, influenced and touched by the new life that she chose to live. Her female figurative paintings symbolize the artistic essence of life and explore the spontaneity and drama of the Spanish language. The visual intensity and psychological drama in these magnificent paintings reveal a timeless perspective and capture the passion, emotion and visceral mystique of the female figure. Her passionate creative strokes capture a unique artistic vision.

Valadez’ easel art has been included in important exhibitions such as SWFL History Museum, Naples Depot, Baker Artis Museum Naples, International Art Fair and Biennial in Miami, Gulf Coast University, Hodges University and others in New York and Mexico. In addition, several of her works are part of private European collections.

The opening reception is scheduled for 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Friday, October 1, 2021 in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk event. The exhibition will be on display through October 31, 2021.





Deadlines loom for Boulderbrook art festivals

Boulderbrook Productions hosts a number of boutique art festivals in Southwest Florida each season. It is currently accepting submissions for:

  • Bonita Springs Art Walk at the Promenade at Bonita Bay (January 15 & 16, 2022); application deadline September 30, 2021;
  • Sanibel Invitational Art Fest at the Sanibel Community House (January 21 & 22, 2022); application deadline: September 30, 2021;
  • Art Festival at Mercato (January 29 & 30, 2022); deadline September 30, 2021;
  • The Art Festival at University Village Shops located by Miromar Lakes Country Club on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway (date in February to be determined); application deadline not given;
  • Bonita Springs Fine Arts at The Promenade (February 26 & 27); application deadline September 30, 2021;
  • Boca Grande Art Festival (March 5 & 6); application deadline October 30, 2021;
  • Sanibel Captiva Lions Club Art Festival (March 11 & 12); application deadline October 30, 2021;
  • Peace River National Art Festival in Laishley Park (March 19 & 20, 2022); application deadline October 30, 2021; and
  • Bonita Springs Masters Art Festival in The Promenade at Bonita Bay (March 26 & 27, 2022); application deadline October 30, 2021.

You must register and apply online at

N.B.: The application deadline has closed for the Bonita Springs Fall Art Festival (October 23 & 24, 2021), the Bonita Springs Invitational Art Festival (November 20 & 21, 2021), Sanibel Masters Art Festival (November 26 & 27, 2021) and Peace River National Art Festival (December 4 & 5, 2021).



Deadline for Hot Works’ January Estero Fine Art Show is September 25

Hot Works LLC is accepting submissions for the 28th Estero Fine Art Show until September 25. The show, which features original work in a wide array of disciplines, including painting, clay, glass, fiber, sculpture, wood, photography, jewelry and more, will take place on Saturday and Sunday, January 29 & 30, 2022 at JetBlue Park.

Voted a top 100 art show, the Estero Fine Art show is recognized as one of America’s highest quality and most respected art shows in the country. Winter home of the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue Park affords both exhibitors and attendees with numerous benefits, including a location that draws from and is easily accessible from everywhere in Southwest Florida, as well as plenty of convenient, on-site parking.

Artist applications are accepted electronically at or manually at For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at or 248-684-2613.



Deadline for Hot Works’ 2022 Naples Fine Art Show is November 1

Hot Works LLC is accepting submissions through November 1 for its 6th Naples Fine Art Show scheduled for March 26 & 27, 2022 outdoors at the Naples Italian-American 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 cost of a 10 x 10′ booth is $425; $635 for a 10 x 15′ space; and $850 for a 10 x 20′ booth. But add $75 for a corner booth location and $50 for electric. Notifications will be sent out by November 5.

There are also opportunities to participate in a number of upcoming Sarasota Open Air Fine Art Shows, vis:

  • 6th Sarasota Open Air Fine Art Show, January 15 & 16, 2022, Phillippi Estate Park; app deadline: September 20, 2021
  • 7th Sarasota Open Air Fine Art Show, February 12 & 13, 2022, Phillippi Estate Park; app deadline: not provided.
  • 8th Sarasota Open Air Fine Art Show, March 12 & 13, 2022, Phillippi Estate Park; app deadline:  October 20, 2021.

Artist applications are accepted electronically at or manually at For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at or 248-684-2613.



Naples National Art Show application deadline is October 29

The deadline for artists to apply for admission into Naples Art Association’s 43rd Annual Naples National Art Festival is October 29, 2021. Naples National is consistently voted among the top 100 art festivals in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine and was ranked #24 in 2019. In addition, Naples National was named one of Art Fair SourceBook Blue Chip 100 Fine Art Events for 2019 and’s America’s Best Art Fairs. 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 19-20, 2022
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Accepts 190 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $650 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 01/07/22 (subject to $50 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: Friday set up on 2/18/22
  • Park and street setting
  • Application deadline: 10/29/21
  • Jury Process begins: 11/05/21
  • Status Notification: 11/19/21
  • Booth Fee Deposit Due: 12/17/21
  • Artist Info Emailed: 01/28/22
  • Wait List Acceptance: 12/18/21
  • No Refund Deadline: 01/29/22
  • Application available online at

To improve the quality of the show and to provide more sales opportunities for our artists, NAA has limited the number of booths to 221, with 190 selected by the jury and 31 who are specially invited to participate in the show. “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.



Deadline for Naples Downtown Art Show is December 10

Crowd Shot 01 (4)The deadline for artist applications for Naples Art Association’s Naples Downtown Art Show is December 10, 2021. Now in its 34th year, the Naples Downtown Art Show 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 Magazine 2018.

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

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 19 & 20, 2022
  • Festival Hours:  10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $540 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: TBA
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m., early morning set up only;
  • On street set up in quads: No electrical
  • Application deadline: December 10, 2021
  • Jury Process begins: December 17, 2021
  • Status Notification: December 29, 2021
  • Booth Fee Due: January 21, 2022
  • Artist Info Emailed: March 4, 2022
  • Wait List Acceptance: January 22, 2022
  • Full Refund Deadline:  February 4, 2022 (subject to $50 processing fee)
  • No Refund Deadline:  February 18, 2022

There are openings for 250 artists.



Naples Art accepting submissions for next season’s Art in the Park

Artists wishing to exhibit this season in Naples’ Art in the Park will have two opportunities to gain admission into the show this season. The jury process will begin virtually on:

  • October 14, 2021 and
  • January 13, 2022.

You must register for the jury process by 5:00 p.m. one day before the jury date in which you wish to participate. If you want to exhibit multiple mediums, you must be separately juried for each one.

Since 1957, Art in the Park has showcased paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, 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 2021-2022 art fair and festival season.

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 work while broadening their customer base,” notes the Naples Art Association. “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.”

The one-day fair takes place on Park Street adjacent to The Naples Art Association in the northwest corner of Cambier Park on five dates this season:

  • November 6, 2021
  • December 4, 2021
  • February 5, 2022
  • March 5, 2022
  • April 2, 2022

N.B. The January show date has been pre-empted this year by the

. 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 ArtCall of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery of Fine Art. 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 Naples New Year’s Art Show, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, January 8 & 9, 2022.




Art Committee, CRA seeking artists for $100,000 Dunbar gateway artwork

A new gateway artwork is coming to the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevards. Planned for installation in the Spring of 2022, the installation will commemorate local culture and express the concepts of Hope, Dreams and Civil Rights – ideals vigorously advanced by both luminaries during their storied lives. Artists who are interested in being considered for the project have until Friday, October 28 to submit their qualifications on Café.

The site for the artwork is an open, grassy area located to the south of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, one of the City’s main east-west thoroughfares, and between the north and southbound lanes of Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevard. The MLK-Veronica Shoemaker intersection is a critical gateway connecting the historic Dunbar Community (once referred to as Safety Hill) to downtown Fort Myers.

Go here for the rest of this announcement.

Go here for the Press Release announcing the RFQ.

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