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


Robert Barner plays Dayton in ‘Fairview’ for Lab Theater

Robert Barner appears in the role of Dayton in Fairview. His previous stage credits include the roles of Gary Coleman in Avenue Q, Adrian/Boatswain for Lab Theater in Shakespeare’s magical play, The Tempest, and Mister in the Southwest Florida premiere of Marsha Norman’s The Color Purple (which was a tough part for even a veteran actor because not only is Mister physically and emotionally abusive, he undergoes a dramatic character arc which can be difficult to properly portray).



Daniel Cancio in Studio Players’ production of ‘Art’

Daniel Cancio appears in The Studio Players’ production of Art. His other credits include attorney Aaron Levinsky in NutsThe Waverly Gallery, Jerry in The Zoo Story, the bartender in Speed Dating, the owl in Where is Man?, Senator Charles Whitmore’s campaign aide in Church & State, and Jerry in Don’t Talk to the Actors – all for The Studio Players in Naples, Bear in Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of Orbs! and Laboratory Theater of Florida’s 2016 production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad JewsGo here for Daniel’s full acting profile.



Sarah Cammarata spectacular as Dorothy in Broadway Palm’s ‘Wizard of Oz’

Sarah Cammarata stars as Dorothy in Broadway Pam Dinner Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz. This is not her first time playing the part. If you count before she started acting professionally following her graduation from college, she has been performing the role for more than half of her life, including six years ago at Broadway Palm and three years later in China in the show’s international tour. Go here to see Sarah’s other credits.



Tijuanna Clemons stars as Beverly for Lab Theater in ‘Fairview’

Tijuanna Clemons stars as Beverly for Lab Theater in the Southwest Florida premiere of Fairview. Clemons’ previous stage credits include Doris (and the ensemble) in The Color Purple at Lab Theater, and George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum, Ruby in August Wilson’s King Hedley II, 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 for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.



Steven Coe is gumshoe Happy in ‘Clown Bar’

Steven Coe portrays gumshoe detective Happy Mahoney in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Clown Bar. Coe’s evolving body of work includes Mitch Brenner in Lab Theater’s summer parody of The Birds,  the impudent, bitingly witty rake Vicomte de Valmont in Lab Theater’s production of Dangerous Liaisons, Chris in Killer Joe, Jim Fingal in Lifespan of a Fact for Players Circle Theatre, Joe Gillis in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Sunset SchmoulevardSandro 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. You can view Steven’s full profile here.



Grant Cothren is Shotgun in Alliance’s ‘Clown Bar’

Grant Cothren is Shotgun in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Clown Bar. Grant’s previous community theater credits include Hujar/Zack in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Joe in The Shadow Box for New Phoenix Theatre, Little John in Marian: The True Tale of Robin Hood for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, George in Don’t Dress for Dinner at Cultural Park Theatre and the husband in a SoCo play produced by Theatre Conspiracy.



Rylan Dingman plays firefighter Ephrain Salas for Lab Theater Ed in ‘Trap’

Rylan Dingman plays firefighter Ephrain Salas for Lab Theater Ed in its production of the Southwest Florida premiere of Trap. In addition to being a first responder, he’s also the guy who’s fighting hardest to save the 241 people who fell unconscious during a performance by the local high school of a play called Trap. What Rylan likes most about summer camp is that he gets “more time to have acting practice than I would at school, and all the people here are really nice.” Look for Rylan in future productions at area theaters.



Lauren Drexler is Tweetsie in Alliance’s ‘Clown Bar’

Lauren Drexler plays the unscripted part of Tweetsie in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Clown Bar. A gifted Fort Myers actor, Drexler is known for stellar performances as Mrs. Chumley in Harvey, melancholy teacher Heather Clark in Johnna Adams’ Gidion’s Knot, terminally-ill Dr. Katherine Brandt in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations and Annie Iversen in Jordan Hall’s KayakYou can see Lauren’s full theatrical profile here.



Rob Green is Bobo in Alliance’s ‘Clown Bar’

Rob Green is Bobo in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Clown Bar. Among Rob’s credits are roles in Confusions (which consisted of three one-act plays, The Still Alarm by George S. Kauffman and Alan Ayckbourn’s Between Mouthfuls and A Talk in the Park), emcee Randy Bowen in Lab Theater’s filmed theatrical production of The Realish Housewives of Fort Myers, Sherlock Holmes in Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery for the Alliance for the Arts, Dr. Sanderson in Harvey, Nick Dahner in Rancho Mirage, The Teacher, Cam, in Max Frisch’s Andorra and Gerald Halverson in Jeffrey Hatcher’s Murderers. Go here for the rest of Rob’s theatrical credits.



Lourdes Grimes plays four characters for Lab Ed in ‘Trap’

Lourdes Grimes plays a 911 operator, Columbian paranormal researcher Queta Maguruza, a teacher who falls unconscious during a high school production and Danalynn Morse. Luvie started performing at age 7. A year later, she talked her way into a theater camp for kids 14 and older. After her family relocated to Florida, Grimes got the part of Tinker Bell in her school’s production of Peter Pan. Now she’s in Trap. While she gets an adrenaline rush, she doesn’t really suffer from stage freight. A true pragmatist, she demurs, “Technically I can’t see the audience because of the lights so, to me, it’s an empty audience and nobody’s watching me except the people on stage.”



Thomas Marsh is Twinkles in Alliance’s ‘Clown Bar’

Thomas Marsh appears in the role of Twinkles for the Alliance in Clown Bar. His previous credits include various roles  for Players Circle Theatre in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, multiple roles in the Alliance’s production of Confusions (which consists of three one-act plays, The Still Alarm by George S. Kauffman and Alan Ayckbourn’s Between Mouthfuls and A Talk in the Park) and multiple roles in Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery directed by Rachael Endrizzi. Go here for all of Marsh’s stage credits.



Cicero McCarter is Giggles in Alliance’s ‘Clown Bar’

Cicero McCarter is Giggles in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Clown Bar. McCarter has appeared in a number of productions since 2015, including all four August Wilson American Century Cycle plays produced by Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts: King Hedley II (Canewell, otherwise known as Stool Pigeon), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Bynum Walker), Seven Guitars (Hedley) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Slow Drag). He also played the role of Trevor Neese in Rancho Mirage. He made his Southwest Florida theater debut in Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic (Henry Simpson). Go here to access McCarter’s full profile.



Brigid McManus is Detective Gwendolyn Heche in SWFL premiere of ‘Trap’

Brigid McManus is Detective Gwendolyn Heche in Lab Theater Ed’s Southwest Florida premiere of Trap. McManus loves medical, crime and forensic shows on television, so the role plays to her strengths. But what especially thrills McManus are all the twists and turns the plot has in store for audiences. “There’s multiple things that just really surprise you and at the end it’s definitely not something you’d necessarily see coming, which is interesting.”



Tera Nicole Miller plays Popo for Alliance in ‘Clown Bar’

Tera Nicole Miller returns to Fort Myers to play Popo in Clown Bar for the Alliance for the Arts. Prior to relocating, Tera’s local stage credits included Debra in The Smell of the Kill at Lab Theater, Squeamish in William Wycherley’s Victorian-era farce The Country Wife for Theatre Conspiracy, seven different characters in Jessica Dickey’s one woman show The Amish Project (also for Theatre Conspiracy) and a middle-aged wife in Happy at Lab Theater.  Go here to see what else Tera’s been in.



Danica Murray in ‘Our Town’ at CFABS Youth Theatre

Danica Murray is a local actor and stage manager. Murray characterizes herself as a comedic actor, but she fully embraces dramatic parts, such as Barblin in Lab Theater’s production of Max Frisch’s Andorra and Marie in FSW’s production of Brendan Pelsue’s futuristic dystopian drama Wellesley Girl. She appears next with CFABS Youth Theatre in a bold reimagining of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town. Go here to see all of Danica’s stage and other credits.



Jo Reed in Lab Theatre Ed’s Southwest Florida premiere of ‘Trap’

Jo Reed just played Kathy Brenner (and a bird) in the Laboratory Theater of Florida’s spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 iconic horror film The Birds. Now she’s in the Southwest Florida premiere of Trap, the summer stock show being produced this weekend by Lab Theater Ed. These are Jo’s first productions at the Lab, but expect to see her in more shows going forward. Reed is a student at Bonita Middle.



Cameron Rogers in CFABS Youth Theatre cast of ‘Our Town’

Cameron Rogers appears in the cast of Our Town for the CFABS Youth Theatre. Among his previous stage credits are Chevalier Raphael Danceny in Laboratory Theater’s production of Dangerous Liaisons, Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods at Florida Rep, the groom in The Wedding Story (one of three single-act plays comprising the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Auditions, Diners and Weddings), and Brad in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show for New Phoenix Theatre. Go here for Cameron’s full profile.



Megan Salerno in the ensemble of ‘Wizard of Oz’

Megan Salerno is in the ensemble at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in The Wizard of Oz. She has been involved in theater from the age of 4 years old and has appeared on the stages of the Alliance Youth Theatre, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Cultural Park Theater, Florida Repertory Theatre and North Fort Myers High School. You will find her stage credits here.



Shelley Sanders is bubbly Girl Friday clown Petunia in ‘Clown Bar’

Shelley Sanders is bubbly Petunia in Clown Bar, a full-service clown defined by sexual innuendo and a girl Friday sensibility. Some of Sanders’ previous roles include John Wesley Powell in Men in Boats, Amy Lee in the Alliance for the Arts’ outdoor production of Laundry and Bourbon, Brooke in the filmed theatrical production of Realish Housewives of Fort Myers for Lab Theater (during COVID pandemic), a variety of roles in Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Ken Ludwig, Columbia in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show (New Phoenix Theatre), and the lead in Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood (Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance). But wait! There’s more. Go here to see all of Shelley’s theatrical credits.



Kat Solis plays two parts in Lab Ed’s Southwest Florida premiere of ‘Trap’

Kat Solis plays forensic engineer Avashy Lensa and detective Sergeant Brock for Lab Ed in the Southwest Florida premiere of Trap. Kat is “nervousited” because it’s her first time performing in front of “a lot of people.” But she’s so pumped, she’s looking forward to more roles and more shows going forward. “I would actually love to do more of this. It’s frickin’ amazing. I love it. Putting like an entire play in front of people.”



John Strealy in the cast of Studio Players’ production of ‘Art’

John Strealy is in the cast of The Studio Players’ production of Yasmina Reza’s Art. John’s credits include Paul Bratter for The Studio Players in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, Ryan in Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch, Wayne Wellcare in Inspecting Carol for New Phoenix Theatre and klepto-director Sir Frank Finger in It’s Only a Play, Jason Shelburne in Body & Sold and Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Go here for more on John’s theatrical credits.



Scott Thomson is Dusty in Alliance’s ‘Clown Bar’

Scott Thomson has long-standing relationships with Artistic Directors Bill Taylor and Robert Cacioppo. He worked with Robert and Carrie Cacioppo in one of their first theatres on Captiva Island in I’m Not Rappaport, and has been collaborating with Bill Taylor for 30 or so years – from Vampire Lesbians of Sodom to Little Shop of Horrors, School for Wives and Relatively Speaking. He appears in the role of Dusty for Taylor in the Alliance’s production of Clown BarGo here for more on Thomson’s stage credits.



Melissa Whitworth is Wicked Witch of West in ‘Wizard of Oz’

Melissa Whitworth is an Olando-based actor, singer and director. In the former capacity, Whitworth most often performs with Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, Broadway Palm Theatre in Fort Myers, and at the Universal Studios Orlando Resort. She currently appears as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 2022). Go here to access her impressive and prodigious stage and related credits.





‘Wizard of Oz’ directed and choreographed by the incomparable Amy Marie McCleary

Most Southwest Florida theater lovers know McCleary more through her work as Prather Entertainment Group’s resident director/choreographer. In that capacity, she has staged more than 50 productions. The Wizard of Oz is her most recent project. Other shows that she’s directed and choreographed include Escape to Margaritaville (2022), Singin’ in the Rain (2022), Beehive the 60s Musical (Dutch Apple Theatre), Holly Jolly Christmas (which she created (see below)), The Sound of MusicHappy Days, Holiday Inn, Kinky Boots (choreography by Chris Kane), Beauty and the BeastMomma Mia, Jesus Christ Superstar, Saturday Night Fever, Little Shop of Horrors, Memphis, Hairspray, Grease, CATS, Swing, Sister Act and Peter Pan, among others. Go here for McCleary’s full profile.



Steven Michael Kennedy co-directs ‘Trap’ for Lab Theater Education

Most people know Steven Michael Kennedy through his work on stage. He currently plays Melanie Daniels in Lab Theater’s summer parody of The Birds. But Steven recently expanded his theatrical repertoire to include directing and screenwriting. In the former instance, he directed 13: The Musical and Almost Maine for the Alliance Youth Theatre and co-directed Failure: A Love Story with Madelaine Weymouth for Lab Theater’s summer camp last year. This year he is co-directing Trap for the Lab’s summer camp. Go here to see all of Steven’s theatrical credits.



Madelaine Weymouth co-directs ‘Trap’ for Lab Theater Education

Madelaine Weymouth is a talented local actor and director. Weymouth directed the regional premiere of Chiara Atik’s comedy Five Times in One Night. In her capacity as head of Lab’s winter camp, she co-directed the Lab’s summer camp shows, The Wolves (2019) and Evil Dead (2018). She also had the distinction of directing the Audience Choice winner in Lab Theater’s 2018 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge, Sunny with a Chance of Social Anxiety by Dave Matthew Chesebro. Please go here to see all of Madelaine’s theatrical and related credits.





SWFL arts organizations launch survey to quantify economic impact of the arts

On Wednesday, the Alliance for the Arts and dozens of local arts organizations launched the Arts & Economic Prosperity survey. It’s part of a nationwide study by Americans for the Arts of the contribution made by arts organizations to their local economies. This is the sixth such study and involves 387 participating communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Lee County, the Alliance for the Arts is spearheading the effort to collect the data needed for the study. Within the Alliance, Jennifer Falk functions as the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) Project Coordinator. Go here to hear why you should participate in the study if you are asked to complete a survey.



DAAS hosts black-and-white show in July

During the month of July, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is exhibiting Black and White, an open call show consisting of work in multiple mediums by Southwest Florida artists.

The magic of the exhibition inheres in its cohesiveness. Regardless of the themes or subjects, mediums and dimensions, the pieces’ monochromatic scheme collectively transform the gallery into a unified space. The exhibition has been curated by member artist and DAAS co-owner Xavier Brignoni, who is also participating in the exhibition.

“When the artwork is well finished and balanced, it is easy to display,” Brignoni observes. “When there are multiple strong pieces together, from various artists, it is important to find a connection and display them in a way that it makes sense for the viewer – even if these pieces were never meant to be next to each other.”

The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, July 1, 2022, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk event. The exhibition will be on display through July 31, 2022.

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



DAAS showcases textile artist Kasara Castell Whelan in August

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is showcasing work by textile artist Kasara Castell Whelan during the month of August.

Whelan is self-taught and most of her work results from hours of trial-and-error experimentation. “I’ve been fortunate to take lessons from great teachers throughout my life that have truly impacted my learning in a positive way and helped guide my development when life took sudden turns,” says Whelan, who also has an avid interest in reading and learning about old civilizations and their mystics ways. “Learning how [old civilizations] viewed life hundreds of years ago, the circumstances they faced and the knowledge they passed on to generations to come are topics that constantly inspire me to create new art that is normally concealed in my work.”

Whelan discovered her passion for tapestries after organizing Peru and India exhibitions back in her birth country of Argentina. From weaving to felting and recently paper, she prodded herself to find ways to express her emotions and love through this style of art. Her life wasn’t exactly a path of roses, as she explains; finding ways to learn new techniques wasn’t an easy task.

Kasara is a member of the NEFG (Northeast Feltmaker Guild) and has a background in art and sales. She has a degree in Etching (Aguafuerte) and Textile Design. She has been living and working in the United States for 22 years, finally settling in Southwest Florida.

On opening reception will be held from 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Friday, August 5 concurrently with Art Walk. DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is located at 1815 Fowler Street in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers. Business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information about the venue can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.



‘Reflections’ member show on view at Alliance for the Arts through July 31

On view at the Alliance for the Arts is its annual members exhibition. This year, the theme is Reflections, and the month-long show is on display in the main gallery through July 31.

Reflection can mean many things. It can be defined as the throwing back of light, an image in a mirror or reflecting surface, or a careful thought about something. The last few years have been a tumultuous time and have prompted many to reflect on their lives and experiences. This year, the artists participating in the Member Exhibition reflect upon and showcase their artistic style, literally interpreting this year’s theme through depictions of mirrors, windows, reflections on water, and metaphorically as well.

The Alliance strives to support and foster all styles and mediums ranging from traditional 2 and 3-dimensional mediums like painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber and mixed media to emerging and contemporary trends such as digital, installation, performance and experiential based works.  So there is a variety of styles, genre and mediums in this year’s Member Exhibition.



‘Colonial Contours’ opens at Alliance for the Arts’ on August 5

Colonial Contours opens at the Alliance for the Arts on August 5 with a reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The exhibition is a collection of works produced by two under-30 artists, Dimithry Victor and Martha De la Cruz. Victor’s paintings and De la Cruz’s installation and video pieces showcase the complicated relationship surrounding the Dominican Republic and Haiti, neighboring countries that share a single island in the Caribbean. The exhibition explores the long lingering symptoms of colonialism and coloniality/neocolonialism present in both countries to this day.

Dimithry Victor is a Haitian born and Miami-based visual artist. His work juxtaposes elements of portraiture, cartoons, and abstract to visually narrate non-physical emotional states. In collaging these elements with careful attention to detail, texture, and color, he intends to create a sense of visual empathy between viewers and painted figures. Victor has exhibited his work globally, including London, New York City, Los Angeles and more.

Martha De la Cruz is a Dominican-American artist who, through video, installations and sculpture, investigates issues of decolonization, identity, race, and power. Her practice is guided by her experiences as a U.S. transplant, her memories of the past, and her inherited colonialist wounds. She received her BFA in Sculpture from the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Her work has been part of many exhibitions in spaces across the U.S., including the Carolyn M. Wilson Gallery, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, BigArts Sanibel, and more. In 2021, she was awarded the City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grant in Fort Myers, FL in recognition of her work in the progression of the arts and culture of the city.

The exhibit will be on display through August 28, 2022. Receptions and gallery tours are open to the public and do not require tickets or reservations. While the gallery admission is free, a $5 suggested donation keeps the Alliance programming affordable and accessible.

While visiting the exhibit, please be sure to also partake in the Arts & Economic Prosperity survey. All answers are anonymous and help to measure the economic and social impact of arts and culture in our community. More information can be found at , on Art Southwest Florida and at WGCU.

For more information about this exhibit, visit or call 239-939-2787.



‘Age of the Titans’ in Davis Center grand atrium through July 29

The Age of the Titans owned on July 1 in the Grand Atrium and Conservatory of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. This exhibition has been centuries in the making, and is sure to be one of the epic highlights of the SBDAC’s Season of Giants.

The Titans were the twelve children of the primordial deities Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth) who preceded the Olympians – six gods and six goddesses – Cronus, Oceanus, Coeus, Hyperion, Crius, Apetus, Thea, Phoebe, Mnemosyne, Themis, Rhea and Tethys. For this group show, twelve local artists each selected a Titan as inspiration for Titanic, 8-by-9-foot canvases.

Hailing from disciplines that range from architecture to designer, tattoo artist, and more and working in varied mediums such as oils, spray paint, acrylic, and found objects, Mariapia Malerba, Reynier Llanes, Danielle Branchaud, Brian Weaver, Dharma Lefevre, Mully, Savannah Leslie, Cesar Aguilera, Samantha Taylor, Israel Alpizar, Dawn Webb and JC Franchevich have created unique and impressive large-scale works of art.

The Age of the Titans is on view now through July 29.



‘Pythonesque’ in Davis Center Capital Gallery through July 29

Pythonesque opened on July 1 in the Capitol Gallery of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. As the name implies, this group show explores works inspired by Monty Python.

For Pythonesque, artists were invited to produce works directly inspired by the very (very, very, very) many quips and punches from Monty Python’s comedies including Flying Circus, The Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life, and more. From dead parrots and rubber chickens to the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, the potential influences are indeed endless – and not the least limited to that of birds.

This most iconic and influential comedy series debuted over 50 years ago, and continues to inspire the arts, music, and film media to this day. Monty Python represents not just the finest in British comedy, but a symbol for the genius in the “anything goes” style of production.

Surrealism, stream-of-consciousness, and absolute absurdity are continually celebrated in this exhibition.

Artists and guests may ‘silly walk’ their way through the gallery. Fine art featuring man-eating rabbits, the blessed cheesemakers, Knights who say NI, and men dressed as women dressed as men may adorn the walls.

Above all, Pythonesque offers the community an opportunity to celebrate the true meaning of life (which is nothing very special really)!

Pythonesque is on view through July 29. Gallery Hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. most Wednesdays and Fridays. Please call the box office for more information 239.333.1933 or visit



‘Awkward Family Photos’ at Centers for Performing Arts Bonita through July 25

On exhibit at the Centers for Performing Arts Bonita Springs through July 25 is Awkward Family Photos, a traveling exhibition that features more than 200 awkward photos and some of their associated stories. This show celebrates all those deliciously awkward moments that come with the price of family membership.

Family—they’re the people we love, trust and confide in, but they can also be inelegant and clumsy. When a group of people with the same name and different personalities are forced to spend most of their lives together, plenty of uncomfortable moments are sure to follow. And when a camera is there to capture one of those moments, the awkward family photo is born.

Childhood friends Mike Bender and Doug Chernack started in 2009 after they saw their own goofy vacation photos hung in their parent’s home. Realizing there were likely other people out there with their own awkward family images, they decided to create a website where everyone could come together and share their uncomfortable family moments. They started by posting a few of their own childhood photos, and those of friends—then the site quickly took off and became an internet sensation—and an exhibition seemed like a natural progression—it opened in Wisconsin in 2012 and has been traveling ever since!

The Centers’ Art Galleries are free and open to the public Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Center for Performing Arts, Hinman Auditorium—Gallery in the Round is located at 10150 Bonita Beach Road. The Centers is home to the 400-seat Hinman Auditorium and the 200-seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center. At this diverse center, patrons can enjoy an ongoing array of live concerts, theatre, comedy, film, youth & adult classes and more.



‘Recent Acquisitions’ entices art lovers to visit newly renovated Baker Museum

Now that The Baker Museum is once again open, staff plans to entice folks off the couch and through its doors with two truly fantastic exhibitions staged back to front on the museum’s third floor. The first spotlights never-before-seen works that the museum acquired while it was shut down for renovations and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The works that you see [in this exhibit] have been acquired from 2019 to the present day. A lot of this was during the COVID era when we didn’t have a chance to put things out on view right away. So most of these items are out on view for the first time to the public, which we’re really excited about,” said McNeil. Go here to either listen or read about this show on WGCU.



Baker Museum’s ‘True Likeness’ exhibition is a real face off 

True Likeness invites viewers to re-examine why we are so mesmerized by the faces we encounter as we re-emerge from our homes in the wake of the pandemic. “Because of so many mask mandates I think all of us have had the experience of knowing somebody – a colleague or a neighbor or somebody you’ve known for many months – and then realize later oh, I haven’t seen their full face ‘till a week or so ago. So I think we’re looking at each other’s faces with different eyes now and we’re appreciating the type of information that can be communicated by the human face in whatever the artistic mode may be, whether it’s a photograph or a video or a painting,” says Baker Museum Director and Chief Curator Courtney McNeil. Every artist included in True Likeness has something important to contribute to this conversation. Go here to find out what.





Spotlight on Fort Myers’ Ward 1 art hub at Billy Bowlegs Park

The Fort Myers Public Art Committee has been establishing art hubs in each of the City’s six wards using in the 23 Edgardo Carmona sculptures that the City purchased in August of 2018. One such art hub is Billy Bowlegs Park and Sports Complex in Ward 1. This past November, it became the permanent home of Al Galope or The Horse at the request of Councilperson Teresa Watkins Brown.

The term art hub refers to a location that is already or which is intended to become either a cultural, business or residential destination. Billy Bowlegs Park and Sports Complex is unquestionably a residential destination. Go here for the rest of this story.



Spotlight on Fort Myers’ Ward 2 art hub at Urban Community Farm

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee has been establishing art hubs in each of the City’s six wards using the 23 Edgardo Carmona sculptures that the City purchased in August of 2018. One such art hub is the Urban Community Farm which is located in Ward 2 a block south of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between Barden and Flint Streets.

It may seem strange at first blush to establish an art hub at a farm, but Urban Community Farm is actually the perfect choice. The term art hub refers to a location that is already or which is intended to become either a cultural, business or residential destination. Urban Community Farm is all three.

Go here for the rest of this report.



Spotlight on Fort Myers’ Ward 4 art hub at the Collaboratory

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee has been establishing art hubs in each of the City’s six wards using the 23 Edgardo Carmona sculptures that the City purchased in August of 2018. One such art hub is the Collaboratory, which is located in Ward 4 at 2031 Jackson Street adjacent to the Fort Myers Fire Department’s main station. At the behest of City Councilman Liston Bochette and the request of the Collaboratory, the PAC relocated Carmona’s Ribbon Routine (Ena En La Plaza) to the plaza facing west toward the Lee Tran/Greyhound Bus Station. Go here to read more.



Spotlight on Fort Myers’ Ward 4 art hub at The Franklin Shops on First

The Fort Myers Public Art Committee has been establishing art hubs in each of the City’s six wards using in the 23 Edgardo Carmona sculptures that the City purchased in August of 2018. One such art hub is The Franklin Shops on First in Ward 4. On April 25th, the Committee moved Nagacion A Baco or Two Drunks on a Bench in front of The Franklin Shops on First, which is an ideal art hub partner. You will find the rest of this Spotlight here.



‘Fire Dance’ in need of a sponsor

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee is looking for a sponsor for Fire Dance.

Since its installation in Centennial Park West in March of 2011, the 25-foot-tall aluminum sculpture has been relatively maintenance free. But after baking in Southwest Florida’s searing sun for more than a decade, its signature Dupont red paint is finally fading even though Ohio sculptor David Black had the manufacturer’s include UV protection in the paint.

On top of that, Fire Dance has been tagged in several places. Because the paint has faded, painting over the graffiti is not a realistic option. Here’s the rest of this article.



‘Rachel at the Well’ in need of a sponsor

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee is looking for a sponsor for The Spirit of Fort Myers. Popularly known as Rachel at the Well, she’s the Grecian maiden pouring water from an urn who greets residents and visitors entering Edison Park from McGregor Boulevard. The maiden turned 96 this past April 8th.  While most, if not all other sculptures created a century ago were chiseled from a block of granite, marble or some other stone, Rachel is made of stone substitute applied in layers over a skeleton frame. You will find the rest of this story here.



Vote to deaccession Uncommon Friends water feature makes WINK News

“Many people will do anything to get the picture-perfect shot [of themselves with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone] including stepping on the surrounding sculptures resulting in damages costing the city thousands. The city wants to remove the water surrounding the sculpture and eliminate the soaring repair costs, but one important woman is very much against that.” This is the intro to a segment that aired on WINK News on July 18. Please go here to view the full story, which was filed by WINK TV Reporter Jolena Esperto and written by Jasmine Singletary.





Director Bill Taylor converting Foulds Theatre into a bar

Director Bill Taylor is converting the Foulds Theatre into a bar – a Clown Bar, to be more precise. With music and additional lyrics by Adam Overett, Clown Bar by Adam Szymkowic is a cunningly sharp clown noir-dramedy. While the ubiquitous clowns you’ll encounter in Szymkowic’s bar aren’t, Derry Derry, of the same ilk as Pennywise or Bubbles, Szymkowic’s hilarious-yet-frightening gangster clowns could very well give you a bout of coulrophobia. The rest of this preview is here.

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



‘Wizard of Oz’ at Broadway Palm July 1 through August 13

There’s no place like Broadway Palm this summer as The Wizard of Oz lands on the Broadway Palm stage through August 13, 2022. One of America’s most beloved films comes to life in a musical that will captivate the entire family.

Based on the book by Frank L. Baum and the world famous 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz chronicles the adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Toto, too!  Fly over the rainbow with Dorothy as she rides a twister into The Merry Old Land of Oz and learns that no matter how far our journeys take us, there’s no place like home. You’ll hear songs from the delightful score you know and love such as Follow the Yellow Brick Road , Somewhere Over the Rainbow and We’re Off to See the Wizard.

The Wizard of Oz is directed and choreographed by Amy Marie McCleary. The cast includes Broadway Palm veterans Sarah Cammarata as Dorothy and Victor Legarreta as the Cowardly Lion. Both were featured on the national and international tour in the same roles.

The ensemble features local teenagers including Evan Barrero, Hannah Cruz, Rilyn Dick, Caisson Dobson, Macy Magas and Jasmyn Sanchez.

Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $50 to $75 with group prices available. There is a summer special for children 18 and under, tickets are just $25 for the buffet and the show!

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.



Broadway Palm’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ injects number of surprising elements

Most reviews of The Wizard of Oz focus on its enchanting storyline. A Kansas tornado whisks a teenage girl and her little dog to a strange land, where she makes new friends, learns from mentors, overcomes threshold guardians and battles a powerful enemy in order to find her way home again. While Broadway Palm honors this timeless story and its iconic characters, its production is special for a number of other reasons.

The first is an exceptional cast, which includes Melissa Whitworth, who Broadway Palm audiences adored as Mary Poppins.

“Some of the performers … have played their roles before, some of them over 400 times,” notes Whitworth.

Read the rest of this story here.

Or listen to the story on the radio on WGCU.



Melissa Whitworth’s insights into Wicked Witch of the West

In a show characterized by extraordinary sets, colorful custom costumes, and the kind of dance sequences that are synonymous with McCleary’s signature choreography, what Broadway Palm audiences may remember most about this production of The Wizard of Oz are the show’s visuals – including Kate Stenzel’s Glinda the Good flying across the stage in her transparent bubble and Melissa Whitworth taking flight as the Wicked Witch of the West on her well-worn broom. Whitworth is the beneficiary of the show’s other stand-out techno-moments –the smoke and flashes that announce her entrances, the fireball she tosses at the Scarecrow, and her nifty disappearing act as she melts …. Go here to read the rest of this post.


‘Wizard of Oz’ cast and audiences wild about Leah and Fergus

The Wizard of Oz has many memorable characters. Dorothy and her friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion. Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. The all and powerful Oz. But animal lovers worldwide fall in love with Dorothy’s flower-bed-digging-doggie, Toto, who is played for Broadway Palm Dinner Theater by two cudley canines, Leah Weaver and Fergus Bigelow.

You’ll find the rest of this spotlight here.



CFABS Youth Theatre presents bold reimagining of Wilder’s ‘Our Town’

The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs Youth Theatre will present a bold reimagining of one of the most popular American plays in history—Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1938 masterpiece Our Town. It’s a metatheatrical 3-act play that tells the story of the fictional American town  of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire between 1900 and 1913 through the everyday lives of the townsfolk. Go here for the full advance.

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



Rock opera ‘Rent’ comes to Fort Myers Theatre

Rent is coming to Fort Myers Theatre. Based loosely on Puccini’s La Boheme, Jonathan Larson’s Rent follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

Read the full advance here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Lab’s summer camp show is Southwest Florida premiere of Stephen Gregg’s ‘Trap’

As part of its summer camp program, Lab Theater will present the Southwest Florida premiere of Trap by Stephen Gregg for a limited run of three performances on July 15-16.

Trap is a documentary-style thriller based on research into the strange happenings of Menachap, California, where every member of a 2019 middle school play fell unconscious. Using interviews with witnesses, first responders, and scientists involved in the strange case, the audience feels as if they’re living through the events themselves … whether they want to or not.

Steven Michael Kennedy and Madelaine Weymouth co-direct. Weymouth has long wondered what it would be like for campers to adapt their own play. Trap affords her the chance to finally answer that question.

“Based on interviews conducted through the Laboratory Theater, the campers tell a monologue play adapted from interviews taken with survivors of the Oak Box Incident of 2019 in Menachap, California,” Weymouth explains.

“Even though the students embody a variety of age ranges, from the Chief of Police to the students inside the Menachap school, the disbelief of the audience is quickly suspended as they’ll be sucked in, trying to figure out what exactly happened in the Oak Box Theater that night in 2019,” Weymouth continues. “We’ve only got one question: Can we tell you a secret?”

“As a professional teaching theater, I love that the education team continues to find fresh and creative plays, like Trap, for our campers,” remarks The Lab’s Director of Education Paula Sisk. “I am excited to watch our students master the complexities of this particular thriller.”

All proceeds from the production help support the Lab’s education program.

Performances are July 15 at 8:00 p.m. and July 16 at 2 and 8. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students with valid student ID. Seating is limited. For tickets, please call the box office at 239.218.0481 or visit

Lab Theater Education is supported by the Lee County School District, Art Zupko, Naomi Bloom, The Golf & Casual Shop, and theatergoers throughout southwest Florida.

The Laboratory Theater of Florida, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the promotion of the performing arts, through live performance, education, community outreach, experimentation, and the development of ensemble work. The company features ensemble productions, produces classic works, takes artistic risks, which both feature and challenge local performers. For more information, visit or the physical location at 1634 Woodford Avenue, in the Fort Myers River District.



Lab Theater’s docu-style thriller ‘Trap’ on WGCU

A quick survey of the landscape of summer theater camps across Southwest Florida reveals a heavy emphasis on musicals. So where does an aspiring young actor go to learn and develop the skills to perform drama? The clear and singular answer this summer is the Laboratory Theater of Florida, where campers are hard at work laying a ‘trap’ for the audiences who attend their summer stock performances July 15-16.

Lab Ed isn’t performing any run-of-the-mill drama. Under the direction of Steven Michael Kennedy and Madelaine Weymouth, they’re producing a documentary-style play that’s unlike anything local audiences have ever seen before.

Go here to listen to the story on WGCU.



Lab Theater producing Southwest Florida premiere of ‘Fairview’

The Laboratory Theater of Florida will present the Southwest Florida premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Fairview from August 3-20. Radical, conceptually bold, edgy and impactful, Fairview is not what it first appears to be. Fairview features a sitcom-style family preparing for a birthday party. An unwelcome group of observers co-opts the story, disrupting the action in this sometimes surreal, often humorous and profoundly thought-provoking play that takes a hard look at societal constructs regarding race. You will find the full advance here.

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



‘Something Rotten’ on stage in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players through July 24

Something Rotten is on stage in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players now through July 24. Sponsored locally by Stock Development, Something Rotten was hailed by The New York Times as “the funniest musical comedy in at least 400 years!”

Set in the 1590s, brothers Nick Bottom (Mark Vanagas) and his brother, Nigel (Eduardo Marin) are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. But amidst the scandalous excitement of opening night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self, and all that jazz.

Something Rotten has something for everyone” says Director/Choreographer Dawn Lebrecht-Fornara. “If you hate Shakespeare, you’ll love it. If you love Shakespeare, you’ll love it. If you hate musicals, you’ll love it. If you love musicals, you’ll love it.”

Lebrecht-Fornara is joined by Music Director Charles Fornara to lead an all-star ensemble cast of Naples favorites, many of whom have become regular staples of The Naples Players’ most popular shows. The cast includes (in alphabetical order): Brad Brenner, Jamielynn Bucci, Joe Byrne, Adam Fasano, Jeremy Giovinazzo, Ralph Krumins, Eduardo Marin, Erica Sample, Mark Vanagas and Jack Weld in the principal roles, with Gaby Alezard, Santiago Alezard, Leonard Allen, Brian Boland, Mckenna Cloud, Jillian Cossetta, Luke Danni, Maxine Danni, Frankie Federico, Jacob Feltman, Naphtailda Jean-Charles, Jillian Keith, Kelsey Lafrenais, Thomas Richardson, Sophia Rissi, Kenny Tran, Preslie True, Lorelai Vega, and Ciaran Welch in the ensemble.

Performances are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Both general public and season tickets are on sale for $47 at the TNP Box Office.  Those interested can visit anytime or call the TNP Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



The Studio Players produce Yasmina Reza’s ‘Art’ July 22 through August 7

The Studio Players’ production of Art by French playwright Yasmina Reza opens July 22 in the Joan Jenks Auditorium at Golden Gate Community Center.

This comic masterpiece revolves around three long-time friends whose seemingly inseparable bond is torn when one of them decides suddenly to purchase a 4×5 foot abstract painting, which is entirely white except for a few faint diagonal lines running through it.

Since it premiered in France in 1994, Art has been translated into numerous languages and has won many awards for best comedy, including the Olivier Award for its premiere production in London (starring Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott) and the Tony Award for its Broadway premiere (starring Alan Alda, Alfred Molina and Victor Garber).

Directed by John Kirman, The Studio Players cast includes Danny Cancio, John Strealy and Nathan Eichhorn, with stage management by Rosie DeLeon.

Art runs through August 7. For tickets, please visit or telephone 239-398-9192.

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