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Performing and Visual Artists in the news in June, 2024


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


1     ACTORS


Aubrey Barnhouse is Lucy Harris in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’

Aubrey Barnhouse plays the part of Lucy Harris in Melody Lane Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde. In the role, her vocals drew praise from original Jekyll & Hyde Broadway cast member Raymond Jaramillo McLeod. But her acting will endear her to the audiences who see the show. Past roles include Her Royal Highness Katherine Howard in Six: The Musical for Panther Theatre Company at Cypress Lakes Center for the Arts, Regina George in Mean Girls High School Edition for Melody Lane Theatre, Cosette in Melody Lane Theatre’s production of Les Miserables, Katherine Plumber in Newsies for Belle Theatre, Jasmine in Aladdin Jr., Jack’s Mom in Into The Woods, Morticia in Addams Family Jr. and the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods Jr.



Natalie Brouwer reprises performance in ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’

Natalie Bouwer appears next for Players Circle Theatre in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, a show in which she previously appeared for Players Circle. Other Players Circle productions include Linda in Night and DayJingle Bell Jubilee, Lady in the Street in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeLaughter on the 23rd Floor and Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show. Please go here for the rest of Natalie’s stage credits.



Louise Cornetta is magician Barry Boudini’s wife and suspected murderer in ‘Illusion of Death’

Louise K. Cornetta appears on the Murder Mystery Murder Train in The Illusion of Death in the role of Lillian Boudini, a “very brash, very no-nonsense woman who invariably gets what she wants.” Although she graduated cum laude with a degree in theater from the University of Southern California, Louise did not initially go into acting, Instead, she began a 27-year career at ESPN that took her to every major sporting event. Fortunately, Louise eventually found her way back to the stage in 2015. Read the rest of the story here.



Shaelyn Crabtree is Lucinda in ‘Into the Woods’ at Cultural Park Theatre

Shaelyn Crabtree appears in the role of Lucinda in Cultural Park Theatre Company’s production of Into the Woods. She last appeared as Helen in Carrie the Musical and before that as a young Republicanette in TheatreZone’s 2023 collaboration with the FGCU TheatreLab for Heathers the Musical. Other credits include Emma in Anything Goes, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Evie in Descendants, Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie and Scuttle in The Little Mermaid See the rest of Shaelyn’s stage credits here.



Ryan Porter Craig plays Wolf and Prince Charming in ‘Into the Woods’

Ryan Porter Craig reprises the roles of the Wolf and Prince Charming in Into the Woods for Cultural Park Theatre Compan (which he previously played at New Phoenix Theatre). Recent credits include the Tinman and Hick in The Wizard of Oz at Belle Theatre, Scottish assassin Todd in Unnecessary Farce (Belle Theatre) and Father Chenille in Drinking Habits (Belle Theatre). For more, please go here.



Kevin Crumpler is Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda at Fort Myers Theatre

Kevin Crumpler is Headmistress Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical at Fort Myers Theatre. Trunchbull is a tyrant. It’s hard to imagine a more loathsome educator than the boarding school’s headmistress. In fact, her motto – and that of the school – is “bambinatum est magitum” — “children are maggots,” and Trunchbull treats them with all the disdain and opprobrium she can muster. Crumpler is scary good in the role. Here are the rest of Kevin’s stage credits.



Jorja Evans appears as Lady Beaconsfield in ‘Jekyll & Hyde”

Jorja Evans plays the part of Lady Beaconsfield in Melody Lane Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde. Jorja’s most recent credits include Sleeping Beauty in Cultural Park Theatre’s production of Into the Woods, Taylor Wedell in Mean Girls High School Edition for Melody Lane Theatre, work in the ensemble of Les Miserables in Melody Lane Theatre’s 2023 encore production of the musical, one of Jesus’ modern-day disciples in Godspell for Fort Myers Theatre and Amy March in Little Women. For more Jorja, go here.



Adriana Farrugia is Emma Carew in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’

Adriana Farrugia appears in the role of Emma Carew in Jekyll & Hyde at Melody Lane Theatre. Her most recent prior credits include Cady Heron in Mean Girls for Melody Lane Theatre, Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls Jr. for Gulf Coast Symphony/Southwest Florida Theatre, Fan Scrooge/Londoner in Meadow Brook Theater’s professional production of A Christmas Carol, Frenchy in Grease for Cultural Park Theatre and Ursula in The Little Mermaid for The Wolf Creek Collective. There’s more. Go here.



Formerly Cinderella, Katie Freeman plays Cinderella’s mother in ‘Into the Woods’

Katherine Jessica Freeman appears in the role of Cinderella’s mother in Into the Woods at Cultural Park Theatre. Previous credits include the role of Belle in Belle Theatre’s production of Disenchanted the Musical, the title role in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella for The Belle Theatre, Florinda in Into the Woods at The Belle Theatre, Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense 1 & 2 at Cultural Park Theatre and Natalie in Next to Normal at The Belle Theater.



Emma Luke-Said plays Isabelle Garrison on Murder Mystery Dinner Train

Emma Luke-Said is the magician’s assistant and murder suspect Isabelle Garrison in the Murder Mystery Dinner Train’s production of The Illusion of Murder. Emma’s prior stage credits include Trix the Aviator in The Drowsy Chaperone at Fort Myers Theatre, Mrs. Claus and Matthews in Elf the Musical, Magenta in Rocky Horror at Fort Myers Theatre, Princess Badroulbadour for The Belle Theatre in Disenchanted the Musical, Mrs. Beauregarde for Fort Myers Theatre in Willy Wonka, and work in the ensemble of Beauty and the Beast for Fort Myers Theatre. For more, read here.



Noah Lynch appears in multiple roles in ‘Matilda’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Noah Lynch appears in multiple roles in Matilda the Musical at Fort Myers Theatre, where he plays the Escapologist, as well as the doctor, a Hungarian Mafioso and Dad 3. Previous roles include the Best Man, George, in The Drowsy Chaperone, Schroeder in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Tom Collins in Rent, Lurch in The Addams Family Musical, Adam in Theory of Relativity, Al Deluca in A Chorus Line and Zeke in High School Musical. He also recently directed Fort Myers Theatre’s production of tick, tick … Boom!



Maliyah Mattis appears at Cultural Park as the Baker’s Wife in ‘Into the Woods’

Maliyah Mattis appears at Cultural Park Theatre in the role of the Baker’s wife in the Stephen Sondheim classic Into the Woods. Maliyah’s previous stage credits include Shirelle in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, the ensemble (and as swing) in Elvis: A Musical Revolution (which represented her Broadway Palm debut), Miss Esther Sherman in Fame for Cultural Park Theatre (2023), the Princess Who Kissed a Frog in Disenchanted the Musical for The Belle Theatre (2023) and Yellow Heather (Heather McNamara) in Heathers the Musical Teen Edition for The Belle Theatre (2023).



Ethan Mohring is Jack in ‘Into the Woods’ at Cultural Park

Ethan Mohring appears in the role of Jack in Cultural Park Theatre Company’s production of Into the Woods. Previous credits include Freddie in Bye Bye Birdie at Cultural Park Theatre, Homeless Guy/Vine 3 in Little Shop of Horrors at Belle Theatre, Brett in 13 the Musical at Gypsy Playhouse and Tommy in Matilda Jr. for Melody Lane Theatre.



Bradyn Parmelly is the Baker in ‘Into the Woods’ at Cultural Park

Bradyn Parmelly is the Baker in Into the Woods at Cultural Park Theatre. Bradyn’s recent stage credits include Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie (2024), Ren McCormack in Footloose (2024), Pippin in Pippin (2023) and Danny Zuko in Grease (2023) at Cultural Park Theatre, as well as Grantaire in Les Miserables (2023) and Greg in A Chorus Line (2023) with Melody Lane Theatre. Other credits include Leon Czolgosz in Assassins (2021) and Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors (2020).



Lauren Perry plays Mrs. Wormwood in ‘Matilda the Musical’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Lauren Perry is a local actor, director, choreographer and costume designer. She is currently costume designing for FMT and provided the costume and scenic design for Matilda the Musical.

On the acting side, she currently plays Mrs. Wormwood in Fort Myers Theatre’s production of Matilda the Musical. Her most recent stage credits include Sister Margaretta in Sound of Music at Fort Myers Theater. Twenty years previously, she appeared as Panic in Hercules the Muse-ical and Casey in Island Magic for the Disney Cruiselines.

Locally, Perry is best known as a director and choreographer. Most recently, she directed and choreographed Descendants, Seussical Junior and Alladin Kids for the Alliance for the Arts Youth Theatre, where she also choreographed and costume designed Cabaret as well.



Lilikoi Porter plays multiple roles in ‘Matilda the Musical’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Lilikoi Porter plays multiple roles in Matilda the Musical at Fort Myers Theatre. Lilikoi’s stage credits include Judy Haynes in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show, the rabbit in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (a show in which she also functioned as both swing and Stage Manager) and Sister Margaretta in Sound of Music, all for Fort Myers Theatre. Back home in North Carolina, she played Meg in Little Women and the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot back home in North Carolina.



Samantha Pudlin is Miss Honey in ‘Matilda the Musical’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Samantha Pudlin plays the part of Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical at Fort Myers Theatre. Pudlin’s recent stage credits include Susan in Fort Myers Theatre’s production of tick, tick … Boom!, Martha Watson in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Lucy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown for Fort Myers Theatre, Gabrielle in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at The Belle Theatre, one of the disciples in Godspell at Fort Myers Theatre and the role of Meg in Little Women for Fort Myers Theatre. View the rest of Samantha’s theatrical credits here.



Brittany Ringsdore is Mrs. Wormwood in ‘Matilda the Musical’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Brittany Ringsdore plays the part of Mrs. Wormwood in Matilda the Musical at Fort Myers Theatre. Brittany’s prior credits include Constance Blackwood in Ride the Cyclone, Columbia in Rocky Horror at Fort Myers Theatre (twice), Queen Belle in Disney’s Descendants: The Musical, Matilda in All Shook Up, Ursula in Little Mermaid, Dragon in Shrek and Sour Kangaroo in Seussical. Brittany also spends time on Tik Tok @brittanyringsdore cosplaying popular characters such as Harley Quinn, Christine Daae, Mary Jane Watson and Belle.



Amanda Ross at Players Circle Theatre in ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect’

Amanda Ross is a New York City-based actor. She returns to Players Circle Theatre as Woman #2 in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, in which she appeared previously. Amanda’s other credits include one of Jesus’ disciples in Godspell at Players Circle Theatre and the star of the one-woman show The Azure Sky in Oz by Bill Leavengood at the United Solo Festival in New York City (which followed its successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland). For more, read here.



Cassie Sampson reprises the role of the Witch in ‘Into the Woods’ for Cultural Park Theatre

Cassie Sampson plays the Witch in Into the Woods at Cultural Park Theatre, a role she previously played for New Phoenix Theatre. She previously appeared as Judy for Theatre Conspiracy in Which Way to the Stage, Sleeping Beauty in Disenchanted the Musical at The Belle Theatre (2023), Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors,  and Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods for Belle Theatre.



Jonathan Serrat plays Sir Archibald Proops and Poole in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’

Jonathan Serrat plays Sir Archibald Proops and Poole in Jekyll & Hyde for Melody Lane Theatre. Past roles include Michael Hobbs for Fort Myers Theatre in Elf the Musical, Prince Ben in Descendants, and Lucas in Addams Family Jr. at the Alliance for the Arts.



Joe Simonelli is Mr. Wormwood in ‘Matilda the Musical’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Joe Simonelli is an American playwright. His most notable published works are Men Are Dogs, Ladies in Lingerie and Heaven Help Me, all published with leading play publisher, Samuel French Inc. (Concord Theatricals). He appears in the role of Mr. Wormwood in Matilda the Musical at Fort Myers Theatre. He previously appeared at Fort Myers Theatre in the role of Bob in Men Are Dogs. You will find all of Joe’s theatrical credits here.



Allison Tarabokija is Red Riding Hood in ‘Into the Woods’ at Cultural Park

Allison Tarabokija plays the part of Red Riding Hood in Cultural Park Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Allison’s prior Cultural Park credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Footloose, The Sound of Music and James and the Giant Peach. She also appeared in Melody Lane Theatre’s production of Les Miserables School Edition. Her school productions include Beauty and the Beast, Matilda Jr.Mary Poppins Jr. and Lion King Jr. Read more here.



Cassy Terwilliger is Jack’s mom in ‘Into the Woods’ at Cultural Park

Cassy Terwilliger appears as Jack’s Mother in Into the Woods at Cultural Park Theatre. Recent credits include Cinderella in Disenchanted at The Belle Theatre, the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods at New Phoenix Theatre, Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors at Belle Theatre, Emma Carew in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical, and her New Phoenix debut in Head Over Heels. For more, read here.





Sondheim classic ‘Into the Woods’ at Cultural Park for two more shows

The Stephen Sondheim classic Into the Woods is on stage at Cultural Park Theater at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 2. Into the Woods is a mash-up of history’s favorite Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales with a major dose of reality injected by James Lapine (book) and Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) to underscore that our lives rarely take the path we anticipated, our actions impact others in often-unexpected ways and, more often than not, what we think we want most in life isn’t nearly as satisfying or fulfilling as we envision. Go here for more.



‘Legally Blonde’ coming to Fort Myers Theatre

Based on the novel and the hit-movie of the same name, Legally Blonde: the Musical chronicles the journey of the famously perky Elle Woods, a fashion-savvy, UCLA sorority girl who finds her life turned upside down when she is dumped by her boyfriend Warner. In an effort to prove to Warner that she is more than just some blonde sorority girl, she follows him to Harvard Law, where she struggles to fit in and do well. Ultimately, she defies expectations and manages to stay true to her delightfully pink personality. Directed by Lisa Clark and choreographed by Robin Dawn Ryan, Legally Blonde plays at Fort Myers Theatre July 13-21, 2024. Go here for more information.



Carousel of Burlesque takes audiences ‘behind the curtain’ at this year’s Fringe Fort Myers

Fringe Fort Myers 2024 opens Thursday, May 30, and runs through Sunday, June 2. The Carousel of Burlesque is one of nine shows included in this year’s festival. It’s also one of three performances that are returning from last year’s inaugural fringe. Last year’s Carousel focused on the history of burlesque in the United States from the late 1800s to the present. This year’s show draws heavily on co-creator Pixel Winters’ background in theater. “It’s a little bit Noises Off,” Winter teases. “It’s a little bit Gypsy. It’s a little bit The Play That Goes Wrong. [Laughing] Yes.”

Listen to the rest of this story on WGCU.



With original musical score, ‘Behind the Curtain’ could be another ‘Six’

Creator Pixel Winters touts Carousel of Burlesque: Behind the Curtain as Gypsy meets Noises Off! She under-promises and over-delivers. Behind the Curtain combines the best of burlesque and Broadway. In fact, all it needs to be the next Six is an original musical score.

Behind the Curtain is not straight burlesque. Oh, there are beguiling burlesque performances galore, to be sure. But Behind the Curtain is first and foremost a play, and Winters’ clever plot takes the audience backstage, where emcee Cabana Macabre and kitten Gale Bright are huddled with performers Freckles Galore and Pixel Winters as the performance opens.

You will find the rest of this review here.



Banjo not an obvious choice for Fringe performer Keith Alessi

Among the nine acts included in this year’s Fort Myers Fringe Festival is Keith Alessi’s Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life. Alessi will be on the Foulds Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (May 30), 5:30 on Saturday (June 1) and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday (June 2). Read the preview here.



‘TransMasculine Cabaret’ creating ‘intersectional allies’

Over the weekend, Fringe Fort Myers audiences had the opportunity to participate in Vulva Va-Voom’s TransMasculine Cabaret. Whether people attended out of a sense of liberal guilt or plain old curiosity, Va-Voom’s overarching goal was to convert viewers into “intersectional allies.”

Vulva claims the pronouns they/they/their. But in reality, the thrust of this autobiographical tome is to change viewers’ atty from “them” to “we.” It’s the very same transformation that enabled the LBGTQ community gain a modicum of mainstream acceptance beginning with Ellen Degeneres coming out in 1997 followed by the debut of Will and Grace the ensuing year.

Read the rest of this review here.



Players Circle brings back ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’

In response to popular demand, Players Circle Theater is bringing back the hilarious musical comedy I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The ingeniously funny musical exposes everything you’ve secretly thought about dating, mating and marriage, but were afraid to admit. For more, read here.



Illusionists, escape artists and spiritualists on Murder Mystery Train for ‘Illusion of Death’

An illusionist, an escape artist and a spiritualist board a train bound for John and Mable Ringling’s Sarasota mansion of the Gulf of Mexico. No, this is not the lead-in for a joke. It’s the predicate for the latest play being performed on board the Murder Mystery Dinner Train.

Written by Wende’ K. Bowman and produced by Hanna Fay in tandem with the Fay Family, The Illusion of Death revolves around escape artist Barry Boudini and his wife and assistant, Lillie, who have accepted an invitation to do a private performance for the Ringlings at their Gulf Coast mansion, known as Ca’ d ‘Zan. Boudini plans to perform the “Death Trap,” his latest death-defying illusion. But there are others who know its secret.

Read the rest of this preview here.

Access play dates, times and the cast list here.



4     THE ARTS


Putting Rachel at the Well back together was like solving a puzzle

Art conservator Kelly Ciociola likens Rachel’s restoration to a puzzle. But putting a precious century-old statue back together again requires more than a Junior Mint and a tooth pick. It starts with a substantial amount of historical research. Ciociola had worked on the sculpture in 2017, and knew that von Zengen employed a groundbreaking technique to make the cast stone statue.

Read/listen to the story on WGCU.



Alliance hosts first exhibition of David Hatchett’s work since his death on March 21

Just Kidding, The Art of David Hatchett opens in the Foulds Theatre lobby at the Alliance for the Arts on June 7th. It’s the first exhibition of Hatchett’s work since his passing on March 21 at the age of 75. During a professional career that spanned more than five decades, David created a trove of unbelievably original and extraordinary paintings, sculpture, poetry, songs and novels. But his legacy is best measured by the lives he touched, the artists he inspired and the friendships he made and maintained. Read the rest of this story here …. or listen on WGCU.

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