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Performing and Visual Artists in the news April, 2024


This is who and what’s creating news in Southwest Florida’s visual and performing arts community during the month of April, 2024:


1     ACTORS


Isabella Andrews plays Carole King in ‘Beautiful’ 

Isabella Andrews is overjoyed to make her Broadway Palm debut in her #1 dream role, Carole King in Beautiful. Isabella originates from Chicago, where her regional credits include Inga in Young Frankenstein and Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act at the Mercury Theatre Chicago and Alice Murphy in Bright Star at Timber Lake Playhouse. Go here to see the rest of her credits.



Jordan Bunshaft is over the moon as Fester in ‘Addams Family’

Jordan Bunshaft is over the moon as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family musical at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. He originated the role at Prather Entertainment’s Dutch Apple Theatre location in Pennsylvania. You will find Jordan’s credits here.



Chloe Elliott-Chan plays Fianna Devlin

Chloe Elliott-Chan appears in the role of Fianna Devlin in Crocodile Fever at Lab Theater. Among Elliott-Chan’s most recent credits are Catherine in David Auburn’s drama {proof} (Players Circle Theater), Jim Brock’s poem-play No Single Body for Me to Follow (Ghostbird Theatre Company), Bernadette in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Save Hamlet and Madam de Tourvel in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (also for Lab Theater). You will find the rest of Chloe’s theatrical credits here.



Kiana Raine Cintron returns home in ensemble of ‘Addams Family’ musical

Kiana Raine Cintron appears in the ensemble of The Addams Family musical at Broadway Palm, where she is also understudy for the role of Wednesday Gomez. Among Cintron’s stage credits are Footloose, Sister Act, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, the seamstress and work in the ensemble of Irving Berlin’s White ChristmasA Chorus Line, dancing in the ensemble of Broadway Palm Thru the Decades and In the Heights (Prather Entertainment), Wanda in Escape to Margaritaville (Prather Entertainment), and Sonia in Godspell. You’ll find more credits here.



Ruthgena Faraco in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

Ruthgena Augustin Faraco is a Fort Myers based actor, singer and dancer. She appears in Godspell at Players Circle Theater. Faraco’s stage credits include featured singer in Southwest Florida Theatre’s holiday revue Snowbird Follies, Topsy in “The Party” in George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Celie in The Color Purple, Mary Warren in Lab Theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, 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) and Brenda in The Pajama Game (Cultural Park). Go here for the rest of Ruthgena’s credits.



Amy Fenicle in ensemble of ‘Addams Family’ at Broadway Palm

Amy Fenicle appears in the ensemble of The Addams Family at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre where she previously played Ariel’s confidant and companion, Flounder, in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a role she played for Prather Entertainment in 2022 at its Dutch Apple venue in Pennsylvania. Fenicle began dancing at an early age, but it wasn’t until she ventured into community theater that she fell in love with acting. View more of Amy’s credits here.



Whitney Grace a disciple in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theatre

Punta Gorda native Whitney Grace appears as one of Jesus’ disciples in Godspell, on stage at Players Circle Theatre April 16 through May 12. She was seen most recently as a featured singer in Southwest Florida Theatre’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s A Grand Night for Singing and Broadway Divas. Other credits include Sister Hubert in Nunsense alongside Gulfcoast Symphony.

Whitney Grace is not just a talented actress. She is also a gifted singer and entertainer. Her one-woman cabaret musicals, Showstopper: A Love Letter To Broadway and The Lullaby of Broadway: A Tribute to the City That Never Sleeps, have taken audiences on unforgettable journeys through the world of song.

Go here for more Whitney.



Lindsay Hoffpauir is sensational as Wednesday in ‘Addams Family’ at Broadway Palm

Lindsay Hoffpauir stars in the role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family musical on stage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, after having also played the part in Prather Entertainment’s Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre as well. She played Bugsy Who and worked in the ensemble of the national tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Other credits include Frenchy in Grease (Clear Space Theatre Company), Ensemble (and U/S for Roz and Missy) in 9 to 5 (Clear Space Theatre Company), and ensemble member/dancer (and U/S Apache) in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat (Clear Space Theatre Company). Go here for the rest of Lindsay’s credits.



Rachael Lord in ‘Day By Day’ soloist in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

A professional EMC actor, singer, dancer, poet and fantasy writer, Rachael Lord appears as the Day by Day soloist in Godspell at Players Circle Theater. Rachael’s stage credits include Blanche Barrow in TheatreZone’s production of Bonnie & Clyde The Musical, Larken Barken in A Doublewide, Texas Christmas (Off Broadway Palm, 2023)Greta Ohlsson in Ken Ludwig’s Murder on the Orient Express (Off Broadway Palm, 2023)Andrina/ensemble in Disney’s Little Mermaid for Broadway Palm (2023) and Kari in Always a Bridesmaid (Off Broadway Palm 2023). You will find the rest of Rachael’s credits here.



Peyton McCarthy steps up game for one-woman show, ‘Grounded’

Peyton McCarthy stars in The Belle Theatre’s production of George Brant’s Grounded, on stage now through April 7th. This one-woman show targets our assumptions about war, family, and the power of storytelling. Grounded is the story of an ace fighter pilot who becomes pregnant and gets reassigned to the “chair force,” where she operates drones 12 hours a day, seven days a week from a windowless trailer on an Air Force base in the desert outside Las Vegas. Hunting terrorists by day and coming home to her family by night, the boundaries between reality and the screen – between the desert where she lives and the desert where she fights – blur as the pilot struggles to navigate her dual identities. Read more here.



AJ Mendini in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

AJ Mendini is featured by Players Circle Theatre in Godspell. Recent credits include Rodgers & Hammerstein’s A Grand Night for Singing  (Southwest Florida Theater), Lightning Thief (Gypsy Playhouse), Snowbird Follies (Southwest Florida Theatre), Eddie in Dogfight, Claude in Hair, Jesus in Godspell (Fort Myers Theatre), Princeton in Avenue Q and Enjolras in Les Miserables.



Liv Pelton makes Broadway Palm debut as Morticia in Addams Family musical

Liv Pelton plays the part of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater. The role marks her Broadway Palm debut, but she also played Morticia for Prather Entertainment at its Dutch Apple Theater in Pennsylvania. Originally from Georgia, Liv is an actor and teaching artist now based in New York City. Go here to see Liv’s prior stage credits.



Darby Pumphrey one of Jesus’ disciples in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle

Darby Pumphrey is a Philadelphia-based equity actor who plays one of Jesus’ disciples in Players Circle Theatre’s production of Godspell. Among her special talents is speaking/singing in Southern dialect, which she employs to perfection in her spirited rendition of Stephen Schwartz’s twangy folk song “Learn Your Lessons Well.” Regional credits include Jenny in The Shape of Things (Eagle Theatre), Evelyn (U/S performed) in Ragtime (Eagle Theatre), Woman in My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra (Eagle Theatre), Crissy in Hair (Woodbury Sketch), Little Jesus in The Pillowman (Woodbury Sketch) and Lily St. Regis in Annie (Haddonfield Players). For more, go here.



Amanda Ross at Players Circle Theatre in ‘Godspell’

Amanda Ross is a New York City-based actor. You can see her beginning April 16 at Players Circle Theatre in Godspell. Amanda recently starred in the one-woman show The Azure Sky in Oz by Bill Leavengood at the United Solo Festival in New York City after a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Other recent credits include Woman #2 in Players Circle Theatre’s production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. For more, read here.



Kimberly Suskind in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

From Greater Philadelphia, Kimberly Suskind is an actor, singer, dancer and the Artistic Director of Robin Dawn Academy’s Gypsy Playhouse. Over the course of her career, Kimberly has worked at many professional regional theatres across the country, including Walnut Street Theatre (PA), Cape May Stage (NJ), Delaware Theatre Company (DE), The Theatre Barn (NY), Eagle Theatre (NJ), Bucks County Playhouse (PA), Nightcap Cabaret (PA), Metro Stage Company (MA) and Village Theatre & Civic Light Opera (WA). You can see her April 16-May 12 in Godspell at Players Circle Theater, for which she also did the choreography. For the rest of her credits, go here.



Madelaine Weymouth is Alannah Devlin in world premiere of ‘Crocodile Fever’

Madelaine Weymouth is a local freelance actor and director. She takes up the role of Alannah Devlin in the world premiere of Meghan Tyler’s dark comedy, Crocodile Fever. Weymouth’s acting credits include Popo in Adam Szymkowicz’s noir comedy Clown Bar, Belinda in Noises Off at Lab Theater and Claudia Faith Draper in Nuts for The Studio Players. But there’s more. Go here to see all of Madelaine’s theatrical credits.





Amy Marie McCleary directs/choreographs ‘Beautiful’

Amy Marie McCleary directs and choreographs the Carole King story, Beautiful, for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre with with Swing! and Addams Family to follow that.

McCleary just directed and choregographed Snowbird Follies and Rodgers & Hammerstein: A Grand Night for Singing for Southwest Florida Theatre. But  most Southwest Florida theater lovers know McCleary through her work as Prather Entertainment Group’s resident director and choreographer. In that capacity, she has staged more than 50 productions, including Elvis: A Musical Revolution, Elf the Musical, FootlooseThe Wizard of Oz (2022), Escape to Margaritaville (2022), Singin’ in the Rain (2022), Beehive the 60s Musical (Dutch Apple Theatre), Holly Jolly Christmas (which she created), The Sound of Music, Happy Days, Holiday Inn, Kinky Boots (choreography by Chris Kane), Beauty and the Beast, Momma Mia, Jesus Christ Superstar, Saturday Night Fever, Little Shop of Horrors, Memphis, Hairspray, Grease, CATS, Swing, Sister Act and Peter Pan, among others. As choreographer, Amy has staged dances for Evita, Cabaret, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, All Shook Up, The King and I, Les Miserables, Annie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and the 2009/2010 national tour of The Wedding Singer. She also did the choreography for Prather’s 2018 production of Chicago, for which she won a Broadway World Award for Best Choreography (Professional).



Ted Wioncek III directs ‘Godspell’ for Players Circle Theatre

Ted Wioncek III is an award-winning artist, actor and director. The Philly Review labeled him “a master in storytelling” in recognition of his vibrant work, and his efforts as an arts business builder coupled with the use of immersive mediums to advance technology in aid of experiential storytelling. Wioncek is the Associate Artistic Director at Players Circle Theatre, where he is currently directing the Stephen Schwartz musical Godspell.





‘Storm in the Barn’ a quintessentially American fable of courage in face of environmental disaster

The Alliance Youth Theatre brings The Storm in the Barn to the Foulds Theatre stage April 12-14. Like many fairy tales, The Storm in the Barn balances darkness and danger with a spirit of optimism and clear moral imperative. The story takes place in Kansas in 1937, during an environmental disaster known today as The Dust Bowl. It began in 1930 when a severe drought seized the Midwest and southern Great Plains. Massive dust storms began the ensuing year. A series of droughts followed. By 1934, an estimated 35 million acres of formerly cultivated land had been rendered useless for farming, while another 125 million acres—an area roughly three-quarters the size of Texas—was rapidly losing its topsoil.

Find the full advance here.

Go here for play dates and times.



One-woman show, ‘Grounded,’ on stage at Belle Theatre through April 7

George Brant’s one-actor drama, Grounded is on stage at The Belle Theatre in Cape Coral through April 7, 2024. It’s the story of an ace F16 fighter pilot. After becoming pregnant, she’s reassigned to the “chair force,” where she operates drones 12 hours a day, seven days a week from a windowless trailer on an Air Force base in the desert outside Las Vegas. Although she’s now insulated from the dangers of combat missions, she faces a much more insidious problem – keeping the emotional toll of hunting terrorists by day and killing them on command from infiltrating her family life. But as boundaries between the desert where she lives and the desert where she fights begin to blur, she finds herself slipping into the grip of PTSD. Belle Theatre Artistic Director Tyler Young chose Peyton McCarthy to play the role of the beleaguered fighter pilot, Jess.

Listen to the full story on WGCU.



‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ is more than just another jukebox musical

Beautiful is frequently labeled a jukebox musical because the show features more than a dozen songs from Carole King’s songwriting catalog.

Writer Douglas McGrath chose the songs he did not just because of their popularity.

Each serves as a milestone in King’s progression from a young girl who wrote for the Drifters, Shirelles, Righteous Brothers and Neil Sedaka to one of the most transformative pop-rock singer-songwriters of our times.

“The show itself really encapsulates her growth as a young girl who writes for others and she grows up and she begins to write for herself,” observes Amy Marie McCleary, who directed and choreographed the show for Broadway Palm.

Listen to the rest of this review on WGCU.



Broadway Palm’s ‘Addams Family’ embraces every family’s wackiness

The Addams Family takes over the Broadway Palm main stage April 12 through May 25. This comical feast embraces the wackiness in every family and features an original story about love, family, honesty and growing up.

You will find the full advance here.



‘Crocodile Fever’ a dark comedy and Director Frank Blocker couldn’t be more thrilled

The national premiere of Crocodile Fever opens at the Laboratory Theatre of Florida on April 12.  Meghan Tyler’s dark, bloody comedy revolves around two sisters facing off against their tyrannical father.

Alannah’s quiet life in 1989 Northern Ireland is disrupted when her rebellious IRA sister Fiannah comes home. The combative sisters are forced to confront their tyrannical father’s hideous legacy, and all hell breaks loose and the outcome is anything but happy.

“I love a dark comedy, and this one is definitely dark,” says Director Frank Blocker. “Funny. But dark.”

Find the rest of this advance here.

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



‘Godspell’ performs at Players Circle Theater April 16 through May 12

Godspell comes to Players Circle Theatre April 16 through May 12. Based on the Gospel according to Matthew, Godspell is the first musical theatre offering from composer Stephen Schwartz, who went on to write such well-known hits as Wicked, Pippin, and Children of Eden. The show features a comedic troupe of eccentric players who team up with Jesus to teach his lessons in a new age through parables, a wide variety of pop culture references, games, tomfoolery and fun audience interaction. Read the rest of this advance here.

Go here for play dates and times.



TheatreZone’s ‘Carrie’ a high-energy thrilled based on Stephen King classic

TheatreZone brings Carrie: the Musical to the stage April 25 through May 5. Set in the present in the small New England town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie is a multi-layered coming-of-age story dealing with feelings of isolation, bullying and religious fanaticism.

Carrie is a high-energy thriller based on an iconic book and film with all the horror and dark humor of Stephen King’s novel,” observes TheatreZone founder and artistic director, Mark Danni. “Audiences familiar with the book and film will be on the edges of their seats with our highly dramatic production about the plight of a misfit with a unique gift.”

Read the rest of this advance here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



4     THE ARTS


Fort Myers Public Art Committee announces 2024 Biennial Grant Show

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee will be exhibiting its Biennial Artist Grant Recipient Show during the month of May in the main gallery at the Alliance for the Arts.

Opening Friday, May 3, the exhibition showcases the work of visual artists Linda Benson, Stacey Brown, Martha De La Cruz, Lily Hatchett, Angela Page and Roland Ruocco. In addition, at 6:00 p.m. in the Alliance’s Foulds Theatre, Gulfshore Ballet will perform an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s renowned Sleeping Beauty ballet specially choreographed by Gulfshore Ballet Artistic Directors (and former Miami City Ballet principal dancers) Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero, followed by Lily Hatchett’s Paper Grotto featuring her fabled TechnoDogs.

Read the full announcement here.



Linda Benson among visual artists exhibiting work in Fort Myers Biennial Grant Recipient Show

Linda Benson will be one of five visual artists featured in the City of Fort Myers’ Biennial Artist Grant Recipient Show. Linda lives in Fort Myers and has been an active in the arts in Southwest Florida for 25 years. An Individual Artist Grant recipient for 2023, Linda will showcase her art at the reception at the Alliance on May 3rd. You will find more on Linda and her career here.



David Acevedo ‘Living Lands’ mural becomes River District’s first large-scale mosaic

Southwest Florida’s first large-scale mosaic is coming soon to the Fort Myers River District. It will be installed by Zimmer Development Company of Wilmington, North Carolina at The Ivy, a 274-unit apartment complex being constructed on the site previously owned the United Methodist Church. While the tiles that comprise the five-foot-tall by 25-foot-long mosaic are being fabricated by a company based in Wales, Zimmer engaged popular local artist David Acevedo to design the mural on which it is based. Hear the full story on WGCU.



The arts generate $135.3 million in economic impact in Lee County

The Americans for the Arts’ AEP6 (Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6) finds that Lee County’s nonprofit arts and culture sector generated more than $135 million in economic activity in 2022 and supported more than 2,500 full time jobs. We explore results of the study, and the case they make for more public support for the arts, in a conversation with Alliance for the Arts Executive Director Molly Rowan-Deckart, Florida Repertory Theatre Producing Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen, and local arts reporter and advocate Tom Hall. Listen to the broadcast here.

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