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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news January 22-31, 2022


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 (alphabetically)


Robert Armstrong plays neurotic waiter for Studio Players in ‘Slow Food’

Robert Armstrong stars as Stephen, an absurdly neurotic gay waiter, in Wendy MacLeod’s hilarious comedy, Slow Food. He is maddingly hilarious in the role. Prior stage credits include George in the Tim Sniffen parody Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf, Mary Sunshine in Chicago, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, Max in Lend Me a Tenor, Leo (and Maxine) in Leading Ladies and Freddy in Noises Off.



Gerrie Benzing plays Jinx in TNP’s ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

Gerrie Benzing is Jinx in The Naples Players’ January/February production of The Savannah Sipping Society. The manager of a beauty supply company, Jinx volunteers to play life coach for newfound friends Dot Haigler, Marlafaye Mosley and Randa Covington. She soon hatches a series of challenges that have the girls participating in a Medieval Fair, finding dates for Valentine’s Day and doing other activities that are way out of their comfort zone … and sampling a mixture of adult beverages from good old fashioned Kentucky bourbon to fine wines. Gerrie was last seen on the TNP stage as Ruth in Calendar Girls. She has extensive stage and film credits, which you can access here.



Natalie Brouwer in ‘Night and Day’ at Players Circle Theatre

Natalie Brouwer appears as Linda at Players Circle Theatre in Night and Day, a romance that features over thirty of Cole Porter’s most beloved and memorable songs. Natalie’s other credits include Lady in the Street in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeLaughter on the 23rd Floor and Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show for Players Circle Theatre; Bright Star, Marvelous Wonderettes, Sanders Family Christmas, Something’s Afoot and Working: The Musical for Appalachian Repertory Theatre; Common Enemy for Triad Stage; and The Wizard of Oz, Bridge to Terabithia, Winnie the Pooh and Sleeping Beauty for Barter Theatre.



Ken Bryant in ‘Quartet’ at New Phoenix

Audiences last enjoyed Ken Bryant as Francisco/Master in Shakespeare’s Tempest at Lab Theater. He appears now in Quartet at New Phoenix Theatre. Bryant has spent a lifetime acting, directing, designing and teaching theater in colleges across the country. He was the Artistic Director of Key West’s Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, stage managed for Miami City Ballet, and staged opera in Poland. In addition to his many other accomplishments, Ken holds a Master’s degree in Shakespeare and a Doctoral degree in Dramatic Criticism. Go here for all of Ken’s directing and acting credits.



Cantrella Canady in ‘Colored Museum’ and ‘Curious Incident’

Cantrella Canady is reprising the role of Lala Lamazing Grace in George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum (which she also performed at the conclusion of the Alliance’s inaugural CHANGE class). Her performance is astonishing, astounding, l’amazing. And be sure to catch Cantrella in February at Players Circle Theatre at the Shell Factory in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. If you’d like to survey Cantrella’s extensive stage credits, you’ll find them here.



Kristin Cassidy is Randa Covington in ‘Savannah Sipping Society’ at TNP

In The Naples Players’ production of The Savannah Sipping Society,  Kristin Cassidy portrays Randa Covington, an accomplished architect who loses her position at her firm after she loses it when her boss gives the promotion she covets to a man half her age and a fraction as talented. But Kristin’s involvement with The Naples Players dates back many years, in fact all the way to 1975, when she was in TNP’s production of The King and I at Gulfview Middle School. Go here for the rest of Kristin’s stage credits.



Chase Cintron plays Nick in ‘Over the River’ in Off Broadway Palm

Chance Cintron is a Fort Myers television and stage actor. He appears in the role of Nick in Over the River and Through the Woods at Off Broadway Palm through March 5, 2022. His stage credits include Bo in Grumpy Old Men for Broadway Palm, Konstantin Treplyov in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Mr. Wormwood in Florida Repertory Theatre Education’s conservancy production of Matilda and Georg in Florida Rep Education’s conservancy production of Spring Awakening. But there’s much more. Please go here to access Chance’s full profile.



Tijuanna Clemons to appear for Alliance in George Wolfe’s ‘Colored Museum’

Fresh from her performance for Lab Theater in The Color Purple, Tijuanna Clemons appears at the Alliance for the Arts in George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum, where she plays Lady in “Last Mama on Couch” and LaWanda in “The Hairpiece.” Tijuanna’s other credits include Diana Dahner in Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage, Ruby in August Wilson’s King Hedley II, Bertha Holly in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Louise in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, all for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.



Steven Coe plays drug dealer named Chris in ‘Killer Joe’ at Lab Theater

Steven Coe returns to the Lab Theater boards in January to play the role of a drug dealer named Chris in Killer Joe. Coe’s evolving body of work includes starring roles as Jim Fingal in Lifespan of a Fact for Players Circle Theatre, Joe Gillis in Lab’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard, Sandro Botticelli in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Thomas Novachek in David Ives’ Venus in Fur for The Studio Players and Andri in Andorra. Go here for Steven’s full profile.



Shannon Conboy tackles Kathy Seldon role in Broadway Palm’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Triple threat Equity membership candidate Shannon Conboy plays the part of no-nonsense aspiring actress for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Singin in the Rain. Shannon’s other Prather Entertainment stage credits include Ruby in Dames at Sea, a member of the ensemble in the regional premiere of A Bronx Tale, Hot Box Girl (and Sarah Brown understudy) in Guys and Dolls and the featured vocalist in Sounds of Christmas for Prather Entertainment. Born and raised in Southern California, Shannon has spent recent years based in New York City and performing throughout the country. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and Music Education from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Go here for more.



Elizabeth D’Aiuto plays Tilly in ‘Night and Day’ for Players Circle

Elizabeth D’Aiuto plays the role of Tilly for Players Circle Theatre in Night and Day, a romantic story pieced together from more than three dozen of Cole Porter’s most beloved and memorable songs. Elizabeth is an actor, singer and dancer who presently resides in Naples. She holds a BFA from The Boston Conservatory, and has trained with The Growing Studio, Broadway Artists Alliance, CAP 21, Stella Adler Conservatory and Circle in The Square Summer School. You will find the rest of her stage and related credits here.



As Lady in Green, ‘Singin’s Sami Doherty can stop a man just by holding up her leg

Sami Doherty plays the Lady in Green for Broadway Palm in Singin’ in the Rain. It’s the role that Cyd Charisse rocked in the movie. And like Charisse, Doherty can stop a man just by raising her leg. The local actor, singer and dance instructor is a Prather Entertainment mainstay. Some of her previous Broadway Palm roles are Lila Dixon in Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, Marty in GreaseCharlie’s materialistic girlfriend, Nicola, in Kinky Boots, Sounds of Christmas (where she rocked “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”), Joan in Dames at Sea (in Off Broadway Palm), Babette in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, Guys & Dolls (Ensemble), Connie in Saturday Night Fever, Matthews in Elf, the Musical and the detective in Clue the Musical, where she performed a dramatic Spanish two-step that would have the ten paddles coming out on Dancing with the Stars. Go here to see what else Sami’s been in.



Harvey Evans to reprise role of Christopher Boone in ‘Curious Incident’ in February

After completing weeks of rehearsal and weathering the rigors of tech week, Harvey Evans was deprived of playing the part of Christopher Boone for Players Circle in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by the shut-down that accompanied the COVID19 pandemic in March of 2020. He’ll finally get the opportunity to portray Christopher when Players Circle brings Curious Incident to the stage in February of 2022. To see what else Harvey has been in, please go here.



Stephanie Evans is Truvy in ‘Steel Magnolias’

Stephanie Evans plays the part of Truvy in Steel Magnolias for Fort Myers Theatre (on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 23rd). Interestingly, Stephanie has been a cosmetologist for twenty years. After thirty years of doing hair and makeup behind the stage, she decided to step in front of the curtain with the encouragement of her husband, Craig, and their two beautiful daughters.



Ruthgena Faraco plays Topsy in ‘The Colored Museum’

She brought the house down at Lab Theater for her portrayal of Celie in The Color Purple. Now, Ruthgena Faraco plays Topsy in “The Party,” which is the culminating exhibition in George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum, on stage at the Alliance for the Arts through January 30. Some of Ruthgena’s other stage credits include 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 to see everything Ms. Faraco has done.



Renee Freeman plays Hairpiece’s Janine in Wolfe’s ‘Colored Museum’

She was just Gonzala in Lab Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s Tempest. Now she’s Janine in “The Hairpiece,” one of the exhibitions in George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum, playing at the Alliance for the Arts through January 30. A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Renée Freeman made her Southwest Florida theatrical debut in the role of Madre Maria in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the FireYou can view Renee’s full theatrical profile here.



Mitch Frank plays Peter in Studio Players’ ‘Slow Food’

Mitch Frank is a recent transplant from New Jersey, where he performed in community theater for more than 30 years. He made his Florida debut and first appearance with The Studio Players in the role of Art Kirk in Nuts. He appears now in Slow Food at Golden Gate Community Center. Go here for the rest of Mitch’s stage credits.



Alex Fullerton is silent screen actor Don Lockwood in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Alex Fullerton portrays Don Lockwood for Broadway Palm in Singin’ in the Rain – a man who finds himself at a professional and personal crossroads as Hollywood segues from silent to talking films. He’s a natural in the role made famous by the immortal Gene Kelly. A regional actor based in New York City, Fullerton also played Lockwood for Alhambra Theater and Dining in Jacksonville. His other stage credits include Crazy for You, Peter Pan (also directed by Amy McCleary) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.



Karen Goldberg to play Rosemary Muldoon in ‘Outside Mullingar’

Karen Goldberg will play Rosemary Muldoon when Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts brings Outside Mullingar to the Foulds Theatre stage. Among Karen’s Among her favorite roles 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 (for which she won Florida Weekly‘s Best Actress Award) and Jean in Good People. She has also enjoyed roles in 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Women in Jeopardy, Little Shop of Horrors, Marat/Sade, The Bad Seed, Invasion of Privacy and See How They RunGo here for more on Karen.



Paul Graffy to play Ed for Players Circle in ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

Players Circle Artistic Director Bob Cacioppo cast Paul Graffy in the role of Christopher Boone’s father, Ed, back in 2020, but he only got to perform the role in a pre-opening preview on the night that theaters across the nation shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He gets another chance, though, in February of 2022 when Players Circle Theatre brings The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to its theater-in-the-round. Since 2001, Paul has appeared in more than 30 productions and directed over a dozen others at such theaters as The Naples Players, Artis Naples, TheatreZone, The Studio Players, The Naples Dinner Theater, the Laboratory Theater of Florida and The Players Circle. You can view his extensive theatrical profile here.



Betsy Greenblatt in hangry in Studio Players’ production of ‘Slow Food’

Betsy Greenblatt made her Southwest Florida premiere as Judge Murdoch in Nuts for The Studio Players. She is now appearing in the role of Irene for The Studio Players in of Slow Food. Betsy is a New Jersey community theater transplant. Prior to moving to Southwest Florida at the end of 2019, Betsy performed in community theatre in New Jersey for almost 40 years, where some of her favorite roles included Mama in A Shayna Maidel, Charlotte Hay in Moon Over Buffalo, Florence in Female Odd Couple, and Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest.



Joann Haley in cast of Players Circle Theatre’s ‘Curious Incident’

Joann Haley is part of a star-studded cast assembled by Players Circle Artistic Director Bob Cacioppo for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Joann Haley is an actor known for interesting character roles over the course of her 20-plus year career in local community theater. Her credits include the role of Martha in Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: a Parody for Lab Theater, Beverly in The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre, seductive Lady Shirley in Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood, and Mrs. Kendal in The Elephant Man. You can see what else Joann’s been in here.



Joanna Harmon will reprise the role of Teacher in ‘Curious Incident’

Joanna Harmon will reprise the role of the Teacher for Players Circle Theatre in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The word reprise refers to the fact that Joanna was part of the production in 2020 which closed after a single preview performance as a consequence of the shut-down necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. She was phenomenal in 2020 and promises to be even better when the show returns to the Players Circle stage in February of 2022. But there’s more! Go here to see what else Joanna’s been in.



Heather Johnson plays Sharla in Southwest Florida premiere of ‘Killer Joe’

Heather McLemore Johnson plays the part of Sharla in the Southwest Florida premiere of Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe. A recent theatrical transplant from Starkville, Mississippi, Heather’s stage credits include Jane in the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, Rebecca Nurse in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, an aggrieved soccer mom (and the only adult cast member) in The Wolves, Andre’s mother in Max Frisch’s Andorra, multiple roles in Every Christmas Story Ever Told and the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. Go here for Heather’s full theatrical credits.



Ruth Johnson plays Marlafaye in ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

Ruth Johnson plays the part of Marlafaye Mosely in TNP’s production of The Savannah Sipping Society. Marlafaye is a hard case whose husband has kicked her to the curb for a 23-year-old dental hygienist. She rails against and ridicules him mercilessly, but it’s a defense mechanism to disguise how much she really loved him and how deeply she was hurt by his desertion. Spoiler alert! Her prayers that he gets his come-uppance will be answered, but you’ll never believe how! As Marlafaye, Johnson has some of the best zingers and one-liners in the show. Ruth made her TNP debut this past summer as Rosie in The Wedding SingerPlease go here for Ruth’s full profile.



Justin Larsche plays detective who moonshines as killer for hire in ‘Killer Joe’

Justin Larsche goes from Caliban the monster in Shakespeare’s The Tempest to a detective who moonshines as an assassin for hire in Killer Joe, where he gives “bad” new meaning. Some of Justin’s other credits include Mark in The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre, Sheriff of Nottingham in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood and lovestruck lawyer Burnette Lloyd in another Southern Gothic, Beth Henley’s tragi-comedy Crimes of the Heart. Go here for all of Justin’s stage and film credits.



Anna Joy Lehman to play Shelbie in ‘Steel Magnolias’

Anna Joy Lehman sensitively and joyously plays Shelbie in Steel Magnolias for Fort Myers Theatre. She will follow this role with the part of Myrtle in The Great Gatsby, also for Fort Myers Theatre. Anna’s local credits include Greta Bell in Fame and Miep Gies in The Diary of Anne Frank for Fort Myers Theatre. You will find Anna’s full profile here.



Clifton Lewis plays the butler in ‘Night and Day’ at Players Circle Theatre

Clifton Lewis has performed leading roles in Oklahoma, Urinetown the Musical, Anything Goes, Lend Me A Tenor and Showboat. During a 20 year career in structured finance, he also performed opera, musical theater and cabaret.

In television, he has appeared in The Deuce (HBO), Shadow of Doubt and Six Degrees of Murder (Investigation Discovery Channel) and Mysteries At The Museum (Travel Channel). Clifton has Masters degrees in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory and Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

He plays the butler in Night and Day for Players Circle Theatre.



Derek Lively is Miss Roj in Colored Museum’s ‘Gospel According to Miss Roj’

Derek Lively portrays Miss Roj in “Gospel According ot Miss Roj,” one of the “exhibitions” included in George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum, on display at the Alliance for the Arts through January 30. Since relocating to Fort Myers from New York City in 2015, Lively has starred as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Katori Hall’s Mountaintop, Frederick Douglass in The Agitators, Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hanberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Canewell in August Wilson’s Seven GuitarsGo here for Derek’s full profile.



Thomas Marsh joins cast of ‘Curious Incident’ for Players Circle Theatre

Thomas Marsh has joined the cast of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for Players Circle Theatre. A local thespian who is building an impressive resume, he is best remembered for his portrayal of Joseph Carey Merrick in Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man. If you are curious to see what else he’s been in, please go here.



Trace Meier next appears in ‘Quartet’ at New Phoenix

On the heels of his appearance in multiple roles for New Phoenix Theatre in Young Frankenstein and as a Techno Dog in Lily Hatchett’s Paper Grotto Live!, Trace Meier will next appear in Quartet, in which four old-time opera singers try to decide whether or not to revive their old act. For more on Trace’s stage and other credits, please go here.



Peggy Monson plays Dot Haigler in Savannah Sipping Society

Peggy Monson plays the part of Dot Haigler for The Naples Players in The Savannah Sipping Society. Recently widowed, Haigler suddenly finds herself confronting the prospect of a future alone. Sweet and somewhat frail, she is facing a challenge even bigger than negotiating life without her beloved husband, Ross. She’s losing her vision and correlative ability to live on her own. And that is another reason Dot’s grateful for new old friends. Monson was last seen as Chris in Calendar Girls at TNP. Go here for the rest of Monson’s stage credits.



Elvis Mortley in ‘The Colored Museum’ in January

Elvis Mortley appears in the role of the son in “Last Mama on Couch” in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum. Mortley has been performing since the age 19. In the ensuing 40 years, he has performed in Trinidad, St. Lucia and New York before relocating to Fort Myers. Go here if you’d like to access his local stage credits.



Lisa Wynn Moss plays the part of M’Lynn in ‘Steel Magnolias’

Lisa Wynn Moss plays the part of M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias for Fort Myers Theatre. Lisa’s passion for theater started at North Fort Myers High School, where she was very involved in the drama department as a student, but this is her first role since then. She is a graduate of Samford University with a BS in Language Arts/Secondary Education and a Masters Degree in School Counseling from the University of Montevallo.



Danica Murray makes Broadway Palm debut in ‘Over the Woods’

Danica Murray makes her Broadway Palm debut in the role of Caitlin O’Hare in Over the River and Through the Woods, on stage in the Off Broadway Palm through March 5. Murray has already amassed an impressive resume, thanks in large measure to her participation in Florida Repertory Theatre’s Conservancy program. Her acting credits include The Woman in Woman in Black, Cloe in Bulletproof Backpack, Judy Turner in A Chorus Line and Paulina in FSW Black Box Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. You can view her full profile here.



Cassie Sampson reprise role of Sister Robert Anne in ‘Nunsense 2’

Cassie Sampson is reprising the role of Sister Robert Anne, this time in Nunsense 2: The Second Coming.  A local stage actor, Cassie has been involved in over 20 productions at Cultural Park Theater since making her CPT debut in Godspell in 1996. Among her recent credits are the roles of Leann in A Piece of My Heart, Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors, Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest, Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown and, of course, Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense.



Andrew Scoggin plays Charles in ‘Night and Day’ at Players Circle

Andrew Scoggin plays Charles in Night and Day at Players Circle Theatre. He is a Philadelphia actor and 2018 graduate of Desales University in Center Valley, PA. Andrew has appeared regionally at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, The Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, Maples Repertory Theater and more. Favorite credits include Jesus in Godspell, The Monster in  Young Frankenstein, and George in I Love A Piano.



Loren Stone sizzles as Cosmo Brown in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Loren Stone plays silent screen star Don Lockwood’s gleeful, fun-loving sidekick Cosmo Brown in Singin’ in the Rain, and he brings down the house with his Donald O’Connor-inspired antics in “Make ‘Em Laugh.” A genuine scene stealer, Stone also sizzles in such tap-heavy numbers as “Fit as a Fiddle” and “Good Mornin’.” Besides Singin’ in the Rain, Loren’s stage credits include Tommy Djilas in The Music ManDennis in Smoke on the Mountain, Ren in Footloose, Doody in Grease and work in the ensemble in Cinderella for Alhambra Theatre; Jesus in Godspell for Henegar Center; and the featured tapper in Crazy for YouGo here for more on Loren.



Angela Watson joins cast of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Last on stage at Players Circle Theatre playing multiple roles in The Dining Room, actor Angela Watson will take on the role of Christopher Boone’s mother in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this February. Most know Watson through her work over seven seasons as Karen Foster, Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy’s very vain and seemingly shallow, though good-hearted, teenage daughter in the sitcom Step by Step. But Angela is also a talented singer, as she’s proved in the delightful country Christmas video We Love Santa ClausFor more on Angela, please read here.



Jim Yarnes to play Tony Reilly for Alliance in ‘Outside Mullingar’

Actor Jim Yarnes will play Tony Reilly for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in Outside Mullingar. Yarnes has built a reputation for playing off-kilter and larger-than-life characters. Yarnes is enjoying his 42nd year on stage. He started with Gulf Coast Opera Company before going on to perform at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, Cultural Park Theater, Lab Theater and Theatre Conspiracy. For the latter, he has appeared in the roles of Etienne in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Phil in Rich Orloff’s Engagement Rules (Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance), August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ludwig van Beethoven in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations and two characters in The Book of Liz. You can access Jim’s full profile here.





Marcus Jansen ‘Victims and Victors’ opens in London

Since joining world-renowned Almine Rech Gallery in 2020, Jansen’s work has since been included in ten international shows. All have sold out. Included in this number are three solo exhibitions – Almine Rech Paris, Power Structures at Art Paris and Futute Fair with Richard Beavers Gallery in Brooklyn, New York – as well as Jansen’s retrospective, Two Decades of Relevance, at the Baker Museum of Art in Naples, Florida. Jansen’s latest show, Victims and Victors, opened January 13 in London at Almine Rech’s UK location. It runs through February 19.





Kevin Hendricks directs ‘Slow Food’ for Studio Players

Kevin Hendricks makes his directorial debut with Wendy MacLeod’s Slow Food. His stage credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, You Can’t Take It With You, Things Being What They Are, Clever Little Lies, A Streetcar Named Desire (he played Stanley Kowalski), Burn This and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. He also played Dasher for Lab Theater in their filmed production of The Eight: The Reindeer Monologues. When he’s not acting or directing, Kevin produces Studio Players shows, builds sets and sits on The Studio Players’ board.



Sonya McCarter directs ‘Colored Museum’ for Alliance

Sonya McCarter is directing George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum for the Alliance for the Arts. This is not her first go with The Colored Museum. She also directed the play at the end of the Alliance’s inaugural CHANGE class a few years ago. Besides The Colored Museum, McCarters directorial credits include David Mamet’s Race for Lab Theater, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, August Wilson’s King Hedley IISeven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Lydia Diamond’s The Bluest Eye all for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts. “Theatre,” Sonya observes, “equals transformative power – the power to enlighten, challenge and inspire; the power to connect us to our own humanity while encouraging us to recognize the humanity of others; the power to dispense laughter like medicine for the heart; to provoke consideration of ideas and concepts that are contrary to our own; to unify and speak truth to power.” Go here for all of Sonya’s theatrical and related credits.



Dream come true, McCleary directs and choreographs ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Amy Marie McCleary grew up watching Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse on Turner Classic Movies, so it’s a dream come true for her to direct and choreograph Singin’ in the Rain for Prather Entertainment. McCleary has helmed more than 50 productions for Prather, including Holly Jolly Christmas (which she created (see below)), The Sound of Music, Happy Days, Holiday Inn, Kinky Boots, Beauty and the Beast, Momma Mia, Jesus Christ Superstar, Saturday Night Fever, Memphis, Hairspray, Grease, CATS, 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. Among Amy’s favorite director/choreographer credits are Grease (Broadway Palm 2021), Beehive: The 60s Musical (Broadway Palm 2021), Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Broadway Palm), Yeston & Kopit’s Phantom (Broadway Palm), and the 2015 national tour of Memphis the Musical. Go here for the rest of McCleary acting, directing and other credits.



Betty Nordstrom directing ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

Betty Nordstrom is directing The Savannah Sipping Society for The Naples Players. She previously directed Agnes of God, Over the River and Through the Woods and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Nordstrom is a Southwest Florida based actor/director. She has been performing for forty years and has been a member of The Naples Players since 1980. Betty studied acting in Chicago, has a musical/dance background and has performed professionally both in Chicago and Florida, including some commercial and independent film projects.



Nykkie Rizley directs ‘Killer Joe’ for Lab Theater

Nykkie Rizley directs the Southwest Florida premiere of Killer Joe. Rizley is a founding member and Vice President of the Laboratory Theater of Florida. She has previously directed Hand to God, Veronica’s Room, Lab’s cumfuddled Shakespearean classic Twelfth Night, The House of Yes, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and BUG.





DAAS CO-OP’s small format show becomes invitational exhibition in January

Various artists are participating in DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery’s January small format exhibition Pequeño Formato, which is on display through January 29, 2022.

The Pequeño Formato group show concept began during the inception years of the first DAAS Gallery. However, this year the exhibition expands as an invitational show, limiting the size to twelve inches on any side. Artists from all over Southwest Florida were invited by DAAS CO-OP to submit size-limited pieces, showcasing the same skillset as a regular size artwork but celebrating the constrictions of the space.  Submissions were received and curated in an inviting display for all to enjoy during January.

One of the artists taking part in Pequeno Formato is Mike Dressler. Dressler’s style combines interesting subjects with patterns and contrasting monochromatic subjects. A professional dance instructor by day, Dressler has rekindled his relationship with his art production, becoming one of the newest members of the Union Artists Studios in Fort Myers.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is located at 1815 Fowler Street in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s temporary business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.

NB:  Images show work by Xavier Brignoni, Mike Dressler and Alex Wilkinson.



DAAS’ February show to feature figuratives of Russian artist Ilya Stolyar

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is showcasing the artwork of Russian artist Ilya Stolyar during the month of February. Stolyar is an expressionist artist who is known for culturally-influenced figurative subjects contrasted against abstract backdrops that really make them pop.

Where his earlier work was characterized by dark colors and self-conscious subjects affected by depression, his current oeuvre focus more on figures that express cultures, beliefs and traditions that have attracted Stolyar’s attention and study.

“My work progressed into bright and vibrant colors, with open-minded concepts, filled with love.”

Stolyar was born in a small Baltic town of Kaliningrad (formerly Koenigsberg prior to World War II when it was part of Germany). He moved to the United States in 2001. He lived in New Jersey for fifteen years before relocated to Southwest Florida seven years ago.

“I’ve changed a lot of addresses in 21 years of living in United States,” Stolyar concedes.

“I have met a lot of different people … [and] have done different types of work, while studying a variety of different subjects. All of those experiences shaped me into the person [and artist] I am right now.”

Some view art as the expression or application of creative imagination and skill in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, or music, literature and dance. Stolyar’s definition of Art is a bit different. “I create for the sake of living, for the sake of self-exploitation and an internal conversation with God.”

The opening reception is scheduled for 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Friday, February 4, 2022 in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk. The exhibition will be on display through February 27, 2022.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is located at the Butterfly Estates complex at 1815 Fowler Street, Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.





Selection Committee chooses Cecilia Lueza for MLK-VSSB gateway artwork

On Monday, January 24, a selection committee composed of members of Fort Myers’ Public Art Committee and representatives of the Community Redevelopment Agency, Lee County Black History Society and Dunbar community chose St. Petersburg, Florida sculptor Cecilia Lueza to design, fabricate and install a gateway art piece at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevards that expresses the themes of hope, dreams and civil rights. Tentatively titled Journey of Hope, the proposed artwork consists of a profile of an African American woman looking up with yearning and determination contrasted against a golden sunburst that symbolizes the arrival of a new day where justice, equality and freedom prevail.

“Our goal for this very special project is to capture not only the brightness of hope and the power of dreams, but also the achievement of justice, equality and freedom pursued by extraordinary individuals like Veronica Shoemaker,” said Lueza during her presentation to the selection committee.

The rest of this announcement is here.



Finalists chosen for Fire Station 17 artwork

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee has announced that Robert Barnum, Haijing Wu and James Lynxwiler are the finalists for the artwork that is to be installed at Fire Station 17, which is being constructed in Ward 6 on Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Each artist will receive a $500 honorarium to design a representational three-dimensional artwork of sufficient size, scale and composition to be visible to passing motorists and pedestrians. The winning design will ultimately be installed adjacent to the flagpole that will be erected in the parking area along Six Mile Cypress, where it will accommodate small groups that periodically gather for memorial event such as 9/11 commemorations and observances for fallen firefighters and police officers.

You can read about the finalists here.






‘Burnt Part Boys’ a resonating, reverberating musical theater treasure

Opening February 11, the Alliance Youth Theatre will perform The Burnt Part Boys, a riveting, coming-of-age musical that has mesmerized listeners, readers and watchers for years. Featuring a masterfully orchestrated and arranged bluegrass-and-pop-inspired score that will engross every generation of theatregoers, The Burnt Part Boys is a musical theater treasure that reverberates as resonantly in audiences’ souls as the acoustic instruments that provide the accompaniment. Go here for the rest of this advance.

And go here for play dates, times, cast and ticket information.



‘Colored Museum’ staged as traveling exhibition thru Alliance gallery and campus

Sonya McCarter and the Alliance for the Arts produced Emmy-winning George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum at the end of their inaugural 9-week CHANGE (Communities Harnessing the Arts to Nurture and Grow Equity) course that challenged eleven adults from minority communities to explore the fundamentals of acting, character development and scene work. In January, the Alliance brings back the vignette-based play that has electrified, discomforted and delighted audiences of all colors since 1986, undermining black stereotypes, old and new, and redefining our ideas of what it means to be black in contemporary America.

You can read the full advance here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Colored Museum’ a traveling theater experience showcased on WGCU

Directors’ Bill Taylor and Sonya McCarter’s tactical decision to stage The Colored Museum as a traveling exhibition is the focus of a WGCU Spotlight on the Arts. Listen here to discover how Taylor and McCarter are using the play’s eleven individual playettes to construct a highly-personal interactive experience that has audiences strolling through the Alliance gallery, classrooms and campus to visit each “exhibit” in The Colored Museum. This is a theatrical experience you don’t want to miss!



For Derek Lively, playing Miss Roj is a snap

He’s played such illustrious historical figures as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Mountaintop) and Frederick Douglass (The Agitators). He was Walter Lee Younger (although has ceded that role to Elvis Mortley, who is working the other room in the “Last Mama on the Couch”) in A Raisin in the Sun. But in The Colored Museum, Derek Lively plays perhaps his most intriguing role, a finger snapping extraterrestrial drag queen who’s come to Earth to point out the flaws of a society in decline.

The full story is here.



Hairpiece’s bickering wigs absolutely hilarious

One of the better known exhibitions in George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum is “The Hairpiece,” an absolutely hilarious bit in which a young woman (Delisa Smith) is preparing to meet her two-timing boyfriend to break up with him. On her dressing table are two anthropomorphic wigs. One’s an aggressive 1960s Afro. The other’s a straightened ‘do with a Marlo Thomas flip that symbolizes how African-American women have assayed over time to assimilate into white culture by taming their locks and tresses. The two wigs (played by Renee Freeman and Tijuanna Clemons) get in a spirited argument about which hair style will give her the most power during the impending confrontation.

You can read the rest of this story here.



Digging deep for meaning in guest list to party in Topsy Washington’s head

Artistic Director Bill Taylor and the show’s director Sonya McCarter have staged the Alliance’s current production of George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum as a walking tour of the eleven exhibitions found in Wolfe’s rogue’s gallery of black stereotypes and themes of appropriation and assimilation. Each exhibit is unapologetically satirical. Each exhibit excoriates black and white cultural “norms.” Each exhibit compels black, brown and white audience members to examine and overthrow their assumptions about what it’s like to be a person of color in present-day white society. But you have to dig beneath the surface to get at the heart of what Wolfe wants you to see.

Take the final vignette by way of example.

Go here for the full story.



Broadway Palm brings ‘Greatest Movie Musical of All Time’ to main stage

In time for the 70th anniversary of the iconic film, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre brings the “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” to the main stage. Hilarious situations, snappy dialogue, extraordinary dancing, a hit-parade of Hollywood standards and a well-spun tale about the golden age of movie musicals make Singin’ in the Rain the perfect entertainment for kicking off a brand spanking new year. Set in Hollywood in the late 1920’s, the story focuses on Don Lockwood, his sidekick Cosmo Brown, aspiring actress Kathy Selden, and Lockwood’s silent film leading lady Lina Lamont, who’s less-than-pleasant vocal tones make her an improbable contender for stardom in the new talking pictures.



‘Singin’ in the Rain’ showcased in WGCU’s ‘Spotlight on the Arts’

The forecast at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater is rain sprinkled with a little song and dance as Prather Entertainment brings Singin’ in the Rain to the stage in time for the 7oth anniversary of the iconic 1952 film. Listen here to the 3:47 spotlight that will not only tell you about the show, but describe how Broadway Palm’s technical wizards have rigged a sprinkler and rain deck to recreate the early morning rainstorm made famous by Gene Kelly live on stage.



‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ in Off Broadway Palm through March 5

On stage in the Off Broadway Palm Theatre through March 5 is Joe DiPietro’s hysterical, family comedy Over The River And Through The Woods. The story follows a single, Italian-American guy from New Jersey by the name of Nick who is offered his dream job in another state. His news doesn’t sit well with his beloved, but pesky, grandparents, with whom he has dinner every Sunday. In desperation, they hatch a series of schemes to keep Nick from leaving, including bringing the lovely—and single—Caitlin O’Hare to dinner as bait.

Off Broadway Palm’s artistic producer, Paul Bernier, directs.

Making her Broadway Palm debut is Danica Murray. The rest of the cast features all Broadway Palm alumni including Nancy Antonio, Chance Cintron, Kay Francis, Rob Summers and Michael Weaver.

The Off Broadway Palm is an intimate theater located off the main lobby of Broadway Palm. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $45 to $65 with discounts available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Cultural Park’s ‘Nunsense 2: The Second Coming’ closes Sunday with 3 p.m. matinee

Cultural Park Theater’s production of Nunsense 2: The Second Coming closes with a 3:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, January 23. The sequel takes place six weeks after the sisters have staged their first benefit, as the sisters are presenting a “thank-you” show for all the people who supported them in the past. But now, they’re a bit slicker, having been “bitten by the theater bug.” Things get to off to a rousing start as the sisters sing “Nunsense, the Magic Word” but before long. chaos erupts.

You will find the rest of this advance here.

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



FGCU TheatreLab performing Yeats’ Celtic myth ‘On Baile’s Strand’

FGCU’s TheatreLab will perform W.B. Yeats’ Celtic myth On Baile’s Strand from February 18 through 27. Barry Cavin directs. There will be a discussion with cast and crew following the 2:00 p.m. matinee on February 26. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $7 for students.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Fort Myers Theatre’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ closes with 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday

Fort Myers Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias closes with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, January 23. The action is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new “glamor technician” assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to patrons and a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together there. Included in the latter group are M’Lynn and her daughter Shelby, sour-tempered Ouiser Boudreaux and recently-widowed Clairee. Filled with humor and heartbreak, these “Steel Magnolias” make us laugh and cry as the realities of their lives in tiny Chiquapin Parish unfolds.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



SWFL premiere of ‘Killer Joe’ on stage at Lab Theater through February 5

The Southwest Florida premiere of Killer Joe by Tracy Letts is on stage at The Laboratory Theater of Florida through February 5. There’s no denying that every family has its secrets. But some family secrets are darker than others. With a plot that’s pure Pulp Fiction, this dark comedy follows a dysfunctional family that hires a hitman to kill a relative with a sizable life insurance policy.

Read the rest of this advance here.

‘Killer Joe’ play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Killer Joe’ at Lab Theater tests the boundaries of community theater

The dictionary defines unsettling as distressing, disturbing and upsetting. The Laboratory Theater of Florida invokes these very emotions with the Southwest Florida premiere of Killer Joe, on stage now through February 5th. Written by Tracy Letts, who is best known for August, Osage CountyKiller Joe is replete with beautifully written passages and incredible playwriting. For good or bad, that gets overshadowed by the play’s unseemly characters and pure pulp fiction plot. Characterized by profanity and expletives, full frontal nudity, simulated sex, sexual assault and gritty physical violence, the production tests the boundaries of community theater. Go here to either read or listen to the rest of this review on WGCU.



Laugh-out-loud musical ‘Avenue Q’ makes SWFL premiere at Lab Theater

The Southwest Florida premiere of Avenue Q by Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez, and Jeff Marx opens at The Laboratory Theater of Florida on February 25. Winner of the 2004 “Triple Crown” of Tonys for Best Book, Best Score, and Best Musical and featuring puppets and human actors, this is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the story of recent college graduate Princeton as he struggles to find his purpose. Though inspired by Sesame Street, these are R-Rated puppets with warnings for adult language and situations. The rest of this advance can be found here.



New Phoenix’s ‘Quartet’ closes January 23

New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Ken Harwood’s Quartet closes January 23.  The setting is a retirement home for musicians. Sitting on the terrace are three elderly former opera-singers who often worked together. Reginald is quietly reading a serious book. Jovial, priapic Wilfred is chuckling about sex as he regards Cissy lying back and listening to music through her headphones. They are joined by a newcomer ,Jean, who was a major star in her day. She has history with Reginald. The pair was once unhappily married. A gala concert is in the works at the retirement home to celebrate Verdi’s birthday. Three of the four singers are keen on recreating the third act quartet “Bella figlia dell’amore” from Rigoletto. One is not. Is there any chance that these four will ever sing together again?

The balance of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.



Players Circle’s ‘Night and Day’ sunsets January 23 with closing matinee

Players Circle’s Night and Day closes with 2:00 p.m. matinee on January 23. Created by Robert Cacioppo, Victoria Casella and Arthur D’Alessio for Players Circle’s Musical Theater Series, Night and Day follows the touching, sophisticated, funny, and emotional journey of four friends who fall out of love and back in love on a night and day that they, and you, will never forget. The show features over 30 of Cole Porter’s most memorable and beloved songs and stars Natalie Brouwer, Elizabeth D’Aiuto, Matt Michael and Andrew Scoggins.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Night and Day’ unfolds entirely through the lyrics of Cole Porter

On stage at Players Circle Theatre for five more shows is Night and Day.  It follows two couples who try to recapture the love they once shared before they embarked on improvident dalliances. But make no mistake. Night and Day is no juke box musical, an excuse to merely pay homage to one of America’s most beloved songwriters. Rather, co-creators Robert Cacioppo and Victoria Casella have woven together some 39 of Porter’s songs to tell a story that does not include a single line of spoken dialogue!

“The story unfolds entirely through the lyrics of Cole Porter,” reveals Casella. “It’s very sophisticated. It’s very clever. Very unique.”

And pure ‘30s – the era that Cole Porter so expertly encapsulated in his canon of Broadway standards.

The rest of this story is here.



Players Circle’s ‘Curious Incident’s long-awaited opening slated for February 16, 2022

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was set to open on March 20, 2020 (with discounted previews on March 17-19). But after months of rehearsals and untold hours spent logging the hundreds of complex lighting cues required for the production, Players Circle was forced to shutter its doors and illuminate its ghost light on an empty stage by the COVID-19 pandemic after a single preview performance. As Players Circle founder and Artistic Director Bob Cacioppo has proven on numerous occasions and under myriad circumstances, he’s resilient and determined when targeted by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. And so it is that Players Circle will finally bring The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to the stage February 16-27, 2022.

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Female friendships focus of TNP’s ‘Savannah Sipping Society’

The Savannah Sipping Society is on stage at The Naples Players through February 6. It’s a delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy featuring four unique Southern women in need of escaping their boring daily routines. At an unplanned happy hour, they resolve to turn their newfound sipping society into a weekly platform from which to break out of their ruts and renew the enthusiasm for life they’ve lost through the years. Their raucous humor and collective strength see them through a string of unexpected challenges. But over the ensuing six months, they discover lasting friendships and a renewed determination to live in the moment. In the best tradition of female friendship films like The Women (Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell), A League of Their Own (Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna), Steel Magnolias (Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton) and Sex and the City (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon), they also realize it’s never too late to make new old friends.

Go here for the full advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Savannah Sipping Society’ featured by WGCU on ‘Spotlight on the Arts’

The Savannah Sipping Society has been featured in a recent WGCU Spotlight on the Arts. You can listen to the segment here. On stage in the Sugden Theatre through February 6, the Southern Gothic comedy comes from the same writers who brought you The Hallelujah Girls, The Red Velvet Cake War, Always a Bridesmaid and Farce of Nature, namely Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. The play stars Gerrie Benzing as Jinx Jenkins, Kristin Cassidy as Randa Covington, Ruth Johnson as Marlafaye Moseley and Peggy Monson as Dot Haigler.



‘Slow Food’ the perfect comedy for anyone who’s ever been hangry

Slow Food plays at the Joan Jenks Auditorium at Golden Gate Community Center through January 30. Written by Wendy MacLeod, it’s the perfect comedy for anyone who’s ever been hangry.

Ever notice how when your tummy is rumbling, you’re more likely to lash out at unsuspecting family, friends, co-workers and even innocent bystanders? This sudden, irrational rage is often referred to as “hanger” (a combo of hunger and anger). It’s a thing. Just ask Peter and Irene.

Peter and Irene are out for a nice meal on their big anniversary in Palm Springs. But not only won’t their highly neurotic waiter bring them their food, Stephen has them examining everything from their menu choices to their very future together! The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.

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