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Visual and Performing Artists and Their Events in the news July 22-31, 2023


This is who and what’s creating news in Southwest Florida’s visual and performing arts community this week:


1     ACTORS


Sophia Albrecht is Cassie in ‘A Chorus Line’ for Melody Lane Theatre

Sophia Elizabeth Albrecht is an aspiring Cape Coral actor, dancer and singer. She has trained at Robin Dawn Academy since she was three and has been performing musical theater roles for several years. She stars in the role of Cassie for Melody Lane Theatre in A Chorus Line Teen Edition. Her theatrical credits include Anita Bath in Rock of Ages High School Edition (Melody Lane Theatre Department), Logainne “Schwartz” Schwartzandgrubenierre in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (a role she split with Julia Styner), Silly Girl in Beauty and the Beast and Bet in the musical Oliver Twist. View Sophia’s full profile here.



Brycton Archer is Kurt in ‘Heathers the Musical’ at Belle Theatre

Brycton Archer has performed in a variety of shows in many different theaters. His local credits include Kurt in Heathers the Musical Teen Edition for The Belle Theatre, one of the disciples in Godspell at Fort Myers Theatre, Jekyll and Hyde in Jekyll and Hyde at the Centers for Performing Arts Bonita, Pippin in Pippin and Wick 3 in Seussical the Musical for Creative Theater Workshop. He also performed in a National Tour of the production of Finding Neverland with APEX Touring.



Grace Atherholt is Ariel in Broadway Palm’s ‘Little Mermaid’

Grace Atherholt returns the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in the role of Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a role she also performed at Prather Entertainment’s Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre venue. “From fairytales and children’s shows to plays and off-Broadway workshops, I’m in love with it all,” proclaims Grace, who made her theater debut in her local high school’s production of Legally Blonde. You will find the rest of Grace’s credits here.



Katae Boswell is Maggie Winslow in ‘A Chorus Line Teen Version’

Katae Boswell plays the part of Maggie Winslow for Melody Lane Theatre in A Chorus Line Teen Edition. Hers is a sweetheart of a character, a dreamer from California who can’t think of anything else she’d rather do besides dancing, but she senses that her “sell by” date is far approaching. You’ll really get o know Katae’s character during her monologue “At the Ballet.” You will find more on Katae here.



Sophia Brook is Cady Heron in ‘Mean Girls JR’ at Gulf Coast Symphony

Sophia Brook plays Cady Heron for Gulf Coast Symphony in Mean Girls JR., a musical adapted from Tina Fey’s 2004 blockbuster film and the Broadway smash hit. The show is packed with keen wit, an undeniably catchy score and sincere message that lands with everyone. Go here for more.



Joseph Bryne is Quasimodo in TNP’s ‘Hunchback’

Joseph C. Bryne plays Quasimodo for the Naples Players in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His appearance in the role is more than fortuitous. He visited Paris in 2018 and toured the historic cathedral, experiencing a sense of worldly love and renewal. Those emotions inform his portrayal of the lonely, kind-hearted bell-ringer who is seen by his uncle, Archdeacon Claude Frollo, and the outside world as a monster due to his physical deformities.

Go here for more on Byrne.



Jamielynn Bucci stars as Esmeralda in TNP’s ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Jamielynn Bucci stars in the role of the beautiful Romani street dancer named Esmeralda in The Naples Players’ powerhouse production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Drawing from the irrepressible spirit of her character, Bucci says that the musical’s timeless storyline reminds us that “we are strongest when we embrace our differences with compassion, lead with kindness and stand up for what is right.” You will find Jamielynn’s previous stage credits here.



Emily Feichthaler is Heather Duke in ‘Heathers the Musical’ at Belle Theatre

Emily Feichthaler plays Heather Duke (Green Heather) in The Belle Theatre’s production of Heathers the Musical Teen Edition. Emily’s other credits include work in the ensemble of A Chorus Line Teen Edition for Melody Lane Theatre (2023), Les Miserables for Melody Lane Theatre (2021) and Footloose for Fort Myers Theatre (2021). You will  find the rest of Emily’s stage credits here.



Amy Fenicle reprises role of Ariel confidante, Flounder’ in ‘Little Mermaid’

Amy Fenicle reprises role of Ariel’s confidant and companion, Flounder, in Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a role she played for Prather Entertainment in 2022 at its Dutch Apple venue in Pennsylvania. Flounder is not only Ariel’s bestie, she has a crush on her as well. Even though Ariel chooses Prince Eric over her, Flounder remains loyal to Ariel to the end and delivers the poignant, show-stopping Scene 6 Act One solo “She’s in Love” with back-up from Ariel’s Mersisters. You will find Amy’s stage credits here.



Austin Gardner is Dom Claude Frollo in ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Austin L. Gardner makes his Southwest Florida debut in the role of Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo in The Naples Players’ production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A religious zealot, Frollo uses his political office to wage war on the Romani, a fun-loving, Dionysian band of nomads that he and the people of Paris associate with the supernatural, witchcraft and the racist trope of kidnapping Parisian children to sacrifice in their Wiccan rituals. You can view the rest of Gardner’s profile here.



Yovanna Ignjatic plays Sheila Bryant in ‘Chorus Line Teen Version’

Yovanna Ignjatic appears in A Chorus Line Teen Version in the role of Sheila Bryant, a brassy dancer big on attitude. While the character has many moments in the story, one of her most memorable occurs in the tension between her and Val in “Dance: Ten, Looks: Three.” One of the oldest auditioners, Sheila reveals after Paul’s injury that it may be time for her to open a dance studio rather than pursuing performance opportunities.

Read Yovanna’s stage credits here.



Sharon Isern is President’s secretary in Lab’s ‘POTUS’

She appears in the role of the President’s hapless secretary, Stephanie, in POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive for Lab Theater. Her stage credits include Claire Fathi in Faceless for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Robyn in The Roommate and Dagmara in The Chechens for Theatre Conspiracy; bride-to-be Courtney in One Slight Hitch, a server in Saved by the Bell and the woman in Where is Man? (both part of The Studio Players’ 3 Plays) and exasperated campaign manager Alex Klein in Jason Odell Williams’ Church & State for The Studio Players. Go here for more of Sharon’s theatrical credits.



Jillian Keith plays Madam in ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Jillian Keith plays the part of Madam for The Naples Players in their production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as well as in the ensemble in various capacities. Jillian was seen most recently on stage as Anna Mae/Afua in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and in the ensemble of Something Rotten! Jillian recently joined the TNP family as their Marketing Coordinator and a Wellness, Theatre For All and KidzAct instructor and improv artist with Stage2.



Guinevere Kiniry plays Connie for Melody Lane in ‘A Chorus Line’

Guinevere Bortnicker Kiniry plays the part of Connie in Melody Lane Theatre’s production of A Chorus Line. This is Guin’s second go at Chorus Line. She previously played Maggie Winslow for Fort Myers Theatre. Guin’s other stage credits include Horatia in Save Hamlet for Lab Theater, Bakers Wife in Into the Woods Jr, and numerous roles in Anastasia (2022), multiple parts in Bible Herstory (2021). Go here to see what else Guin’s been in and where she’d headed in the Fall.



Gabrielle Lansden is mistress Dusty in Lab Theatre’s ‘POTUS’

Gabrielle Lansden is a multitalented creative. In addition to being a gifted actor, she is the owner of PeachyKeen Party Entertainment, a self-employed voice actor, Scenic Designer for Laboratory Theater of Florida, former prop master/artist for The Naples Players and promotional model and brand ambassador at Rockstar Harley-Davidson. She currently appears for Lab Theater in the role of Dusty in POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. Please go here for Gabrielle’s extensive theatrical credits.



Rachael Lord is Andrina and in the ensemble of ‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’

Rachael Lord is a professional EMC actor, singer, dancer, poet and fantasy writer. She appears in the role of Andrina and in the ensemble for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Rachael’s stage credits include Kari in Always a Bridesmaid (Off Broadway Palm), work in the ensemble of The Wizard of Oz, a Postulant in The Sound of Music, work in the ensemble of The Wizard of Oz, and a featured singer in Ha! Ha! Ho! The Holiday Show (Off Broadway Palm). Go here to view Rachael’s extensive stage credits.



Ethan MacKay portrays J.D. in ‘Heathers the Musical’

Ethan MacKay portrays the badly-damaged Westerberg High senior J.D. in Heathers the Musical at The Belle Theatre. Raised by his father after his mother committed suicide by stepping into a condemned library his father was about to bring down using explosive charges, his adolescence has been denoted by frequent moves and the absence of meaningful connections with either his dad or his classmates at any of the schools he attended. For more, go here.



Eduardo Marin plays Clopin, King of the Roma, in ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Eduardo Marin plays the part of the clever and charismatic King of the Roma, Clopin Trouillefou, for The Naples Players in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. As the master of ceremonies for the Feast of Fools, Clopin is witty and playful, but he boasts a darker, serious nature when not performing for the crowd. Marin presents an imposing presence in his scenes, anchoring the twirling, swirling, seeming chaos of the Festival of Fools and the Romani’s precarious presence on the streets of Paris.

The Bonita Springs native played Nigel Bottom last summer in Something Rotten. In 2020, Eduardo received his BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of West Florida.



Lila Mastro in ensemble of ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Lila Mastro appears in the ensemble of The Naples Players’ production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. As a member of the ensemble, she is not only a member of the Romani, but one of the gargoyles who help Quasimodo cope with his loneliness and isolation. A recent Gulf Coast High graduate, Lila will be attending Florida SouthWestern State College in the Fall. She has been seen at TNP in numerous KidzAct productions over the years.



Giselle Meyer serves as swing for Broadway Palm’s ‘Little Mermaid’

Giselle Meyer is Female Swing for Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in its production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She previously appeared at Broadway Palm in Sister Act. A legitimate triple threat, Meyer left quite an impression in the Southwest Florida theater community with two performances – first as the Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot the Musical followed by Fastrada in Pippin, both for Carmen Crussard and the Alliance Youth Theatre. Other credits include Legally Blonde Jr., Xanadu, Peter Pan Jr., Heathers the Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Naples Performing Arts Center), James and the Giant Peach (Alliance Youth Theatre) and Lynn Ahrens’ Once on this Island. Go here for more.



Ashlynn Richardson plays Bebe in ‘Chorus Line Teen Edition’

Ashlynn Richardson plays the part of funny girl Bebe Benzenheimer in A Chorus Line Teen Edition for Melody Lane Theatre. But don’t be deluded, she uses humor as a facade to cover up the deep insecurities she has about her looks. It’s Bebe who sings the middle harmony in “At the Ballet.” Ashlynn’s most recent credits include Liv in Chicago (The Belle Theatre, 2023), Victoria in Cats Young Actor Edition (The Belle Theatre, 2022), JoJo in Newsies (The Belle Theatre, 2022) and Belle in Beauty and the Beast (Melody Lane Theatre, 2021). But go here to view all of the musical theater shows that Ashlynn’s been in.



Stacy Stauffer is beleaguered press secretary for Lab in POTUS

Stacy Stauffer is a talented character actor who lives and performs in Fort Myers. She appears in the role of the President’s press secretary for Lab Theater in POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. She last appeared as Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods at New Phoenix Theatre. You will find the rest of Stacy’s stage credits here.



Ava Stoeberl plays Val Clarke in ‘Chorus Line Teen Edition’

Ava Stoeberl plays Val Clarke in Melody Lane Theatre’s production of A Chorus Line. Her iconic number in the show is “Dance: Ten, Looks: Three,” in which she clashes openly with another auditioner, Shiela, about The Red Shoes and other matters. Stoeberl seems particularly suited to the role. View the rest of Ava’s stage credits here.



Julia Styner plays Pauline Fleming in ‘Heathers the Musical’

Julia Styner plays the part of Pauline Fleming for The Belle Theatre in Heathers the Musical Teen Edition. The student counselor at Westerberg High, she’s the one who brings together the student body after Heather Chandler’s untimely death and, although well-meaning, orchestrates a lot of unneeded publicity surrounding the situation. Styner excels in the signature song “Shine A Light.” Go here for Julia’s theatrical credits.



Aseem Upadhyay plays Captain of the Guard Phoebus in ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Aseem Upadhyay appears in the role of Phoebus in The Naples Players’ production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Phoebus serves as Captain of the Cathedral Guard. Possessed of a strong moral compass, he openly defies the corrupted Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo. But will he shirk his duties as Captain of the Guard and protect the Romani street dancer Esmeralda from Frollo’s maniacal intent to put her to death after she refuses his advances and offer of sanctuary? Aseem’s stage credits can be found here.



Lorelai Vega is Florika and gargoyle in ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Lorelai Vega appears in as Florika, Quasimodo’s wild, passionate, strong-willed mother in The Naples Players’ production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. As a member of the ensemble, she is not only a vivacious member of the Roma, but one of the gargoyles who help Quasimodo cope with his loneliness and isolation. Go here to view Lorelai’s stage credits.



Julian Viacava is Bobby in Melody Lane’s Chorus Line

Julian Viacava plays Bobby in A Chorus Line for Melody Lane Performing Arts Center. This is not Julian’s first Chorus Line rodeo. The last time he appeared in the musical, it was as Greg Gardner. Other prior credits include Javert in Les Miserables and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, both for Fort Myers Theatre. Julian also participates in shows at his high school under the tutelage of Director Aaron Jackson. Find out more here.



Amya Vosler is tone-deaf Kristine in ‘A Chorus Line’

See, Kristine Urich really couldn’t sing, could never really sing. What she couldn’t do was *Sing!* But there she is auditioning for the chorus in a new Broadway show. I know you’re thinking, what a crazy Ding-a-ling, but Kristine really couldn’t sing, could never really sing. What she couldn’t do was sing. Amya Vosler really sells it in the role.



Jack Weld in ensemble of ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Jack Weld appears in various role in the ensemble of The Naples Players’ production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, including as one of Quasimodo’s gargoyles and King Louis XI. Jack last appeared at TNP in Something Rotten as well as in a plethora of other shows, including Les Miserables, The Producers, Guys and Dolls, She Loves Me, The Music Man, Footloose, Young Frankenstein and The Producers. You will find the rest of Jack’s stage credits here.





Amber Angeloro co-directs ‘Chorus Line’ for Melody Lane Theatre

Amber Angeloro co-directs Melody Lane Theatre’s production of A Chorus Line with Dana Alvarez. Amber has directed dozens of major musical productions, including three Disney pilot productions. After graduating from the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Cape Coral High School, she continued her academic career at Florida Gulf Coast University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Read her full profile here.



Dana Alvarez co-directs ‘A Chorus Line’ for Melody Lane Theatre

Dana Alvarez is a certified teacher and local musical theater director and performer. She has been the Theatre Director of the Melody Lane Theatre Department since 2017. Dana has directed more than 35 major musicals, including three Disney pilot productions. Her most recent directorial projects include Les MiserablesCatsNewsies the Musical, School of RockThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Peter Pan. At the Junior Theater Festival in 2020 with MLPAC, Dana earned a Freddie G Teaching Fellowship in New York City, which enabled her to study with Broadway greats. The Freddie G award is only given to a six teachers out of hundreds of applicants worldwide. Go here to see more of Dana’s accomplishments.





Spotlight on River Basin muralist David Acevedo

Pop artist David Acevedo painted two of the murals at the Fort Myers River Basin, #8 depicting the commanding officers quarters of the Seminole/Civil War fort that subsquently became the home of Manuel and Evalina Gonzalez and Harvie and Florida Heitman and #45, which depicts the City of Palms Steamship that made the inaugural trip on the cross-state waterway.

Please go here to learn more about David and his work.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Rod Acosta

Local artist Rodney Acosta painted two murals for the Fort Myers River Basin. The first (#7) depicts the guardhouse and a map of the 1850s fort from which our town takes its name. The second is a mural of Fort Myers most venerable sheriff, Frank Tippins, in a boat with a posse heading to “The Glades.” Rodney works chiefly in mixed media on canvas or board. His compositions often include textiles and found objects. His technique features extreme light contrasts, heavy textures and scratching over layers of oil. Acosta is also a 3D artist, producing steel and wood sculpture. Want more? Go here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Cesar Aguilera

At the basin adjoining the Luminary Hotel, there’s a realist depiction of the Lee County Packing House as it appeared in 1913, about a year before it burned to the water line on January 30 the following year. It is the work of one of Fort Myers’ best known artists, Cesar Aguilera. Many know Aguilera through his mixed media paintings, but he is also accomplished in drawing, painting, sculpture, film, special effects, make-up, costume design, fashion design, acting and even performance art. His mixed media pieces not only embrace traditional media such as oils and acrylics, but such unconventional materials as coffee, bleach, discarded technology and found objects of every ilk and design. Go here for the rest of this post.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Juan Pablo Almonacid

Local artist and Fort Myers Mural Society member Juan Pablo Almonacid is one of the River Basin muralists. He painted Mural #25, the Menge Brothers Steamship Suwanee. Born in Chicago in 1974 and raised in Fort Lauderdale, JP was consumed by drawing from an early age. During his adolescence, he was influenced by graphic and graffiti art. After graduating from high school in 1993, he was accepted into the Fine Arts program of the National University in Bogota, Columbia and completed a four-year apprenticeship in 2001 with Armando Villegas, a pioneer of Modern Art in Latin America. The rest of JP’s bio is here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Israel Alpizar

Local artist and Fort Myers Mural Society member Israel Alpizar is one of the River Basin muralists. He painted mural #39, which depicts legendary Fort Myers High Swim Coach Wes Nott watching one of his student practice diving. Alpizar is an independent art director, web and graphic designer, and video and marketing brander for several companies across the United States. Proficient in both fine art and digital media production, Israel received his Bachelor’s Degree from The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. Israel often exhibits his art and conducts live painting demonstrations at art festivals like ArtFest Fort Myers. The rest of this post is here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Lorrie Bennett

Lorrie Bennett is one of 39 artists who have painted murals for the River Basin Mural Project being conducted by the City’s Public Art Committee, Community Redevelopment Agency and Fort Myers Mural Society. Lorrie has painted two River Basin murals – one of Seminole Chief and feared warrior Billy Bowlegs and the other of Jehu Blount’s general store at the northwest corner of Hendry and Front Streets. Lorrie describes herself as a self-taught intuitive, contemporary, and expressive mixed media artist and illustrator who, from an early age, had an affinity for drawing and painting. For Lorrie, creating has always been a journey of experimentation and exploration. Read here to find out more about Lorrie’s work, accomplishments and storied career.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Senaa Bezzaz

Mural #31 at the Fort Myers River Basin is a rendition of the Thomas A. Edison steamship that was lost during the fire that claimed the Lee County Packing Plant on January 30, 1914. The muralist is Senaa Bezzaz. Born in Casablanca in 1981, where she studied art at the University of Fine Arts, Bezzaz now calls Fort Myers home. Senaa is accomplished in various facets of art, from drawing and painting to sculpture, writing, decorative and cinematic set design and construction, a field in which she has excelled and continues to thrive. In the latter regard, her credits include Ben X (2011), Kandisha (2008) and Whatever Lola Wants (2007). Go here for more on Sanaa and her work.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Pat Collins

Mixed media pop artist Patricia Collins painted three River Basin murals: one of Fashionista Flossie Hill, another of Tootie McGregor Terry driving the first piling for the seawall she persuaded riparian owners to install along the bank of the Caloosahatchee River and a third that depicts a turkey hunt in the pine forests east of town. Regrettably, only Turkey Hunt can be viewed right now. The other two are waiting for the stanchions they go on to be repaired of the damage they suffered from the surge generated by Hurricane Ian. Patricia Collins creates mixed media works, with a focus on painting & printmaking, as well as murals and interactive mixed media constructions/installations such as the pieces she presented in her 2022 solo show titled Action Reaction Interaction at Florida Gulf Coast University’s ArtLab. See what else Pat’s done and read about her process here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Sherry Lynn Diaz

Local artist Sherry Lynn Diaz painted two murals for the Fort Myers River Basin project. The first is Mural #3, the great Seminole Alligator Chief and warrior Billy Bowlegs, and the second is Mural #15 of Major James Evans who homesteaded all of the land located within the old Seminole and Civil War fort in 1875. Sherry has exhibited her art in juried local, state and national shows, earning awards on all three levels, including two well-received one-woman shows. Her art can be found in private and corporate collections in the Dominican Republic as well as many places throughout the United States. Go here to access Sherry’s bio and artistic achievements.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Ruben Dimas

On the Hendry Street side of the detention basin next to Luminary Hotel three stanchions south of Edwards Drive is a mural of Henry Ford sitting in a Model T. It’s the car that Ford had the local dealer deliver to his friend and neighbor Thomas Edison on the occasion of the latter’s birthday in 1916. The mural was rendered by Fort Myers Mural Society member Ruben Dimas. Dimas is an automotive artist born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida. He specializes in automotive illustrations, graphic design, and product design for the auto industry. Read about Ruben and his body of work here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Victor Dotres

This is a mural of an unidentified angler posing with a 7’ tarpon outside Fort Myers’ Royal Palm Hotel. Yes, until the late 1920s, it was actually possible to snag trophy-size silver king in the waters of the Caloosahatchee River.

This mural was painted by Victor Dotres, an accomplished artist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting from the University of Florida. Victor has been a teacher in the Collier County Public School District since 2001 and serves as an esteemed member of the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Carolyn Gora

The 27th mural at the Fort Myers River Basin depicts two men in a boat on the Caloosahatchee River. It was painted by Carolyn Gora, as a nod to her maiden name, Fishman.  The original historic photograph appealed to the native Floridian because it reminded her of growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The sunset in the background was influenced by the sunsets on the Caloosahatchee near her home. Carolyn graduated with a BA and Masters in Art Education from the University of South Florida.  She was an art instructor for thirty years, teaching kindergarten through university.  Go here for more on Carolyn’s career as an arts educator and professional affiliations.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Claudia Goode

Mural 8 in the Fort Myers River Basin Mural Project depicts the town’s namesake, Colonel Abraham C. Myers. But what you probably don’t know is how the fort that the Army built here came to be named for the Colonel – or why the artist who painted his portrait placed a pile of skulls at his feet. Once you do, it will come as no surprise that the artist who rendered this mural is none other than Claudia Goode. Claudia is best known throughout Southwest Florida as the curator and motivating force at Arts for ACT Gallery in the Arcade Building on First Street. The acronym stands for Abuse Counseling and Treatment, which is the domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking center in Fort Myers. Goode has been its Human Resource Director since 2000. And since 2003, she has also served as the curator of the gallery. For more, read here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Bill Kreutz

Mural 29 at the Fort Myers river basin is a depiction of City Transfer. It was painted by artist Bill Kreutz.

Bill has been creating art all of his life. A 1966 graduate of Ivy School of Professional Art, Bill also serves as an instructor at the Center for the Arts in Bonita Springs.

“To create the look and feel I want to achieve, my work relies heavily on contemporary street art, which I call ‘sophisticated graffiti,’” says Bill. “It is done with cans of acrylic spray paint and enhanced with selected brushwork.” Read here for more on Bill and his work.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Donna Kreutz

Mural #34 depicts the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Pier that once extended from the foot of Monroe Street into the Caloosahatchee River. The mural was painted by local artist Donna M. Kreutz. Donna is a realist painter whose art is influenced by her work in advertising, telecommunications, business analysis, corporate training, healthcare, banking and the travel industry. She is currently employed as a villa agent for SunVillas, a company that represents more than 160 luxury villas in Jamaica. Go here to read more about Donna.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist LadyLight

The artist known as LadyLight has painted two of the River Basin murals: #16, which is an aerial view of Fort Myers’ piers in 1927 and #26, the Coca Cola Bottling Plant that briefly set up shop on the City Pier. LadyLight is an emerging artist with a passion for testing the limits of creativity. After discovering the joys of painting at a “girls’ night out” party in 2016, her ideas today are born of dreams and intuition, hence the name “TheiLuminArtist 1.” With a creative background in interior design and custom window treatments, her medium is acrylic on canvas and her genre surrealism, with a flair for color and fun, as evidenced by her familiar signature “LL in Script.” Go here for the rest of this post.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Deb Lawless

Mural #40 at the river basin next to Luminary was painted by artist Deb Lawless. When Deb painted this mural, which depicts an historic poster for a USO-sponsored dance at the Hall of 50 States, she used as her muses an old family photo of her grandmother, her grandmother’s twin sister and their brother, in uniform. You can listen to more about the mural and its use by the USO on Otocast.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Tim Lowry

Tim Lowry is one of 38 River Basin muralists. His mural depicts the Pleasure Pier that was built along the shore of the Caloosahatchee River in 1927. With a degree in graphic design and advertising, Lowry works in multiple media, including fine art, prints, digital artwork and photography. Tim has worked in advertising and marketing for more than three decades.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Michelle J. McDonald

Mural #42 at the river basin next to Luminary depicts the arrival of colorfully attired guests on the pier at Thomas Edison’s home downriver on McGregor Boulevard. It was rendered by Michelle J. McDonald, who currently works primarily in acrylics and pastels. She is also known for her “Beautiful Bookmarks,” which are comprised of scraps of paper that create a collage. Michelle’s story is like that of many other later-in-life Florida artists. As a small child, she enjoyed drawing and arts and crafts of all kinds.

For more on Michelle, go here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Lesley Morrow

Mural #10 at the river basin next to Luminary Hotel Lesley is a portrait of John Alexander Weatherford, who was one of Fort Myers first four settlers, arriving on the shores of the Caloosahatchee River on February 21, 1966. Morrow is locally known for expressive oil, acrylic, airbrush and mixed media paintings that express the feminine experience and mystique. Featuring vibrant brushstrokes and a distinctive palette, Morrow’s paintings are bold, raw and eye-appealing. Go here for the skinny on Lesley.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Tarek Patton

Mural #9 is a portrait of Fort Myers’ early settler and first schoolteacher, Evalina Gonzalez. It was painted by Tarek Patton, a product of Cypress Lake High School, the Florida State University studio art program and member of the Fort Myers Mural Society. In addition to serving as a Printer Operator at Grand Illusions in the River District, Tarek owns and operates Soaking Wet Press in Fort Myers. For more information, please visit or follow him on Facebook at



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Eric Riemenschneider

Mural #5 is a portrait of Miccosukee warrior Billy Fuel. It was rendered in the unmistakable style of art instructor and portrait artist Eric Riemenschneider. Eric graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in Illustration. He is the recipient of several awards, including Southwest Florida’s Best Up-and-Coming Artist, Angels of the Arts Award, All Florida Best of Show, Lee County Golden Apple Teacher and Lee County Arts Teacher of the Year. He was also the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Scholarship. Go here for more on Eric and his body of work.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Ava Roeder

Mural #18 at the river basin next to Luminary Hotel depicts a mid-day soiree by guests on the pier at the Royal Palm Hotel. It was rendered by artist, art instructor and original Fort Myers Public Art Committee member Ava Roeder. Ava was a visual arts teacher for thirty-nine years and practiced everyday with her students.  The rest of Ava’s profile is here.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Danilo Rubias

Mural #36 depicts the first passenger train to pull into the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Station in 1904. It was painted by Danilo Rubias, who works as Creative Services Producer and Photographer/Editor at WINK TV, where he specializes in camera operation and editing. Rubias previously served as an art instructor for more than six years. Danilo has an Associate of Arts degree from Florida SouthWestern State College.



Spotlight on River Basin muralist Roland Ruocco

Roland Ruocco rendered three murals for the river basin next to Luminary Hotel,  #13 of drovers unloading cattle from a barge upriver at Olga (which he painted with his wife, Wendy White), #33, the 1953 Memorial Day Packing House fire and #41, the shuffleboard courts next to the Hall of 50 States. Roland Ruocco is a realist painter whose work has been influenced by comic book illustration, graffiti and old masters from the Romantic period. Go here to read more about Roland, his work and his resume.





‘Storm Stories’ exhibition at Alliance hopes arts will facilitate healing post-Ian

The Alliance for the Arts will commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ian with an exhibition called “Storm Stories.” It will include a book that documents contributors’ experiences during and following the storm as well as artworks made of post-Ian debris as well as artist’s reactions to what they and the rest of us went through as a result of the storm. Read/listen to the story here.



Joan Sonnenberg retrospective at Alliance for the Arts through July 29

On display in the main gallery at the Alliance for the Arts now through July 29 is Joan Sonnenberg: A Retrospective Exhibition.

At the age of 5, Joan became interested in the real and imaginary facets of art and life which have formed the basis of her artwork ever since. Interested in geometric patterns achieved through multiple reverse etching processes, Sonnenberg superimposes and stacks up to ten images on top of each other, creating a complex montage of lines, shapes and patterns. “I strive to alter and combine abstraction with realism; capturing marks made over time through human intervention; the mundane, decaying worn objects, dumpsters, wall graffiti,” relates the artist, who also portrays street people, each embedded with stories to tell.

Evolving from printmaking to painting, much of the same kaleidoscope patterns and shapes remain.

“I photograph multiple images in one frame, automatically producing compounded/fractured imagery as a reference for painting,” the artist explains.

After moving to Florida in 1997, Sonnenberg found similar subject matter along walks through urban southern streets, but since she is curious about all that she encounters, the tropical foliage, specifically the banana’s multitudinous leaf patterns, inspired a new series of paintings.

Sonnenberg prefers to work on multiple series simultaneously and continually explores new approaches, using charcoal, pastel, watercolor, acrylic, gesso on both canvas and paper. Her practice has included printmaking, photography, painting and drawing. The 92-year-old artist maintains her lifelong daily art practice and four-mile walks to this day.

Displaying artwork from across an artistic career that spans more than 50 years (from the 1970s to 2023), Joan Sonnenberg Retrospective affords a peek into Sonnenberg’s distinctive style and unique body of work.



Danielle Branchaud’s DAAS ‘Thereafter’ exhibition pictures world after human extinction 

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts presents the artwork of visual artist Danielle Branchaud in July. The paintings in her Thereafter exhibition delve into the emerging recognition that humankind has entered a new epoch in our planet’s history characterized by mass extinctions of plant and animal species.

Branchaud is known for enigmatic compositions that comment on timely social and environmental issues.

In the paintings she includes in Thereafter, Danielle documents species facing the threat of extinction and speculates about a future that may be devoid of many of the wondrous species with whom we share the planet.

“[It] gives me joy to bring to life on canvas … even the smallest and simplest of creatures … as if in preserving them there I might preserve something of them for posterity,” Danielle notes.

Thereafter explores a variety of local flora and fauna in Branchaud’s traditionally beautiful realist depictions, albeit with a dark touch-and-cheek twist to each one that belies the artist’s profound sense of affection for the creatures she captures on canvas and awareness of our connection to every living being, whether flora or fauna.

Still, Branchaud cannot help but worry about the deleterious impact humans are having on climate, the world’s oceans and all the creatures who inhabit the land, air and sea. A 2019 United Nations sponsored Global Assessment Report warned that as many as one in four plant and animal species are threatened by extinction due to human activities. While one million species currently face extinction within a mere matter of decades, the report predicts that the rate of extinction will accelerate unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss.

“There may be no real means of re–establishing that delicate balance – no matter how painful it is to acknowledge,” says Branchaud. “The reality of our world now has forever changed, for us and for all that which lives and breathes alongside us. Only time will tell if we can possibly persevere despite of it.”

This reality causes Branchaud to wonder if the world wouldn’t be better off without humankind.

“I can’t help but imagine how the world would thrive without us, that invasive human element. May they all live long after I am gone, and flourish in all that is left thereafter.”

The paintings in Thereafter express this optimism that life will preserve notwithstanding the destruction we are causing. Branchaud sees a remarkable endurance in nature. She has witnessed it again and again, in every place where humans once thrived but have now abandoned. Each has been overtaken and reclaimed by new life.

“The green and growing things will emerge and evolve long after we are gone. This belief – however dismal to some- gives me hope,” Danielle concludes.

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 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.



Arts for ACT Gallery now open 

After more than nine months of renovations following Hurricane Ian, Arts for ACT Gallery in the downtown Fort Myers River District is now open! In this segment, Arts for ACT Gallery Director and curator Claudia Goode sits down with WGCU’s Tom Hall to describe the journey. Listen here.



‘Iberian Influences’ in Davis Art Center Grand Atrium through July 27 

On exhibit in the Grand Atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center this month is Iberian Influences: Spanish Artists of Florida. This group exhibition showcases the rich and diverse artistic creations of six artists from Spain living in Miami.

Iberian Influences celebrates the works of Spanish Artists of Florida and promotes cultural exchange between Spain and the United States by showcasing the rich and diverse artistic creations of Spain to the local community. The artists include Alberto Pancorbo, Josep Maria Veciana, Montserrat Rams, Jaime Angulo, Mario Almaguer, and Juan Miguel Vazquez, all of whom aim to provide an opportunity for Floridians to experience the beauty and creativity of Spanish art in all its forms, without having to travel abroad. In doing so, the cohort hopes to contribute to the overall cultural development of the Southwest Florida community and foster understanding and appreciation of different cultures. By providing a platform for artistic expression, Spanish Artists of Florida creates a vibrant and thriving art community that enriches the cultural fabric of South Florida.

Iberian Influences will be on display through July 27, 2023.



‘Follow the King’ in Davis Art Center Capital Gallery through July 27

On exhibit in the second floor Capital Gallery of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center through July 27 is the group show, Follow The King. This exhibition features Stephen King-inspired works culled from a local call to artists.

The Capital Gallery’s July’s group exhibition celebrates the works of Stephen King and his iconic literature. King has published 64 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, and many have been adapted into films, television series, miniseries, and comic books. He has also written approximately 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections.

With classics like The Green Mile, Carrie, It, The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Tower, Pet Sematary, The Shining, Children of the Corn, Stand by Me and many others, the inspiration is endless to create some great masterpieces based on his works. Artists considered for this show were challenged to create a piece of art of any medium including painting, song, short film, illustration, or sculpture inspired by any of the works of Stephen King.

Follow the King will be on display through July 27, 2023.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street in the historic downtown Fort Myers River District.





‘Heathers Teen Edition’ plays at Belle Theatre July 27-30

Heathers Teen Edition plays at Belle Theatre in the Cape July 27-30. With a book, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe (Bat Boy, Legally Blonde) and Kevin Murphy, Heathers the Musical is based on the 1989 cult classic film of the same name by Daniel Waters. With raw, edgy, and culturally relevant numbers like “Beautiful,” “Candy Store,” and “Yo Girl,” Heathers is fast becoming a fan favorite among community theaters and high schoolers everywhere. Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Broadway Palm’s ‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’ on main stage through August 12

This summer, Broadway Palm Dinner Theater is going under the sea with Disney’s The Little Mermaid, now through August 12, 2023. This full-scale, stage production is based on the popular 1989 animated film of the same name that quickly became a Disney favorite.

Theater-goers of all ages will enjoy watching this Disney classic come to life on stage, where the beautiful mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. When Ariel falls in love with the human Prince Eric, she makes a bargain with the evil sea witch, but the bargain isn’t what it seems. You’ll see all your favorite characters and hear the irresistible songs including Under The Sea, Kiss The Girl, Part Of Your World and more!

Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $55 to $85 with group prices available. There is a summer special and tickets for anyone 16 and under are just $30 including the meal. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Atherholt, Fenicle create memories for youngsters with ‘Little Mermaid’ performances

There’s something special happening Under the Sea at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater. It’s Little Mermaid the Musical, on stage now through August 12th. Besides the costumes, pageantry and Chris McCleary’s breathtaking underwater video wall, the performances of Grace Atherholt as Ariel and Amy Fenicle as her sidekick, Flounder, will create lifelong memories for those lucky kids who get to see the show. Hear more on WGCU.



Off Broadway Palm dying to perform ‘Murder in Paradise’

Playing now through August 12 in the Off Broadway Palm is Murder in Paradise. This fun night of murder mystery comedy is an interactive production, wrapped around a four-course meal that is served to your table by the suspects, of course. Bring your imagination and appetite…it’s comedy to die for!

You’re invited to a very special birthday party! When you arrive, you’ll be given a new name and a new identity for the evening as you are an honored guest. During the course of the evening, you’ll witness several crimes, including at least one murder, and it’s your job to figure out “who dunnit.” There will be a detective to lead the investigation, but you’re free to do a little detective-work yourself. Become part of the action or just sit back and watch the mystery unfold while enjoying a fabulous dinner.

Prizes are awarded to the person that solves, or comes closest to solving, the mystery. This fun-filled evening is perfect for the entire family and a unique way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or any special occasion!

Doors open at 6:00 and dinner and the show start promptly at 6:30 p.m. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday evenings in the Royal Palm Room and tickets are $65 each. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Lab Theater brings ‘POTUS’ to the stage August 4-20

Lab Theater brings a show to the stage August 4-20 that some have called a mash-up of VEEP and Noises Off! From the deliciously depraved mind of Selina Fillinger (Apple TV’s The Morning Show) comes POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, a political satire featuring an all-female cast of White House enablers.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.




POTUS: Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive closed its Broadway run last August with the strongest week of its entire run. Less than a year later, the show lands at the Laboratory Theater of Florida, a venue known for edgy, avant garde productions. Just how edgy is POTUS? Well, the political satire starts with the President unwittingly triggering a PR nightmare and global crisis when he disrespects the First Lady, in her very presence, by referring to her using one of the most heavily-tabooed words in the English language. Hear the rest of this advance on WGCU.



Melody Lane brings ‘Chorus Line’ to Cultural Park Theatre

Melody Lane Theatre brings A Chorus Line to Cultural Park Theater for four shows only, July 21-23. A brilliantly complex fusion of song, dance, and compellingly authentic drama, this stunning concept musical captures the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition. A Chorus Line depicts a day in the lives of seventeen dancers, all vying for a spot in the chorus line of a Broadway musical. After the first round of cuts, Zach, the director and choreographer, asks each dancer to speak about themselves. Read the rest of this advance here.

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



The Naples Players opens 2023-2024 Season off site with ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Featuring a 14-piece orchestra, 16-person on-stage choir, Alan Menken’s sweeping score, Stephen Schwartz’s moving lyrics, sound design by Tony Nominee Joshua Reid and costumes by Disney costume designer Joshua Winchester, The Naples Players delivers a powerful production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame to kick off TNP’s 2023-2024 season. But not at the Sugden Theatre. That’s presently undergoing a $20 million renovation. The show is being staged in TheatreZone’s home at the Community School of Naples on Livingston Ave. Go here for more.

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



Hear about ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ on WGCU

The Naples Players opened its 2023-2024 season with a bang—or bell, rather. Here’s why people are saying that the production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of TNP’s very best.

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