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Visual and Performing Artists and Events in the news May 1-7, 2023


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


1     ACTORS


Danny Cancio is ‘The Foreigner’ in Arts Center Theatre comedy

Daniel Cancio plays the title role in Arts Center Theatre’s production of Larry Shue’s The Foreigner. Daniel’s credits include Other Desert CitiesArt, 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. You can view all of Daniel’s theatrical credits here.



Nikita Danesh in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ensemble

Nikita Danesh is in the ensemble of Beauty and the Beast. A vocal major at Cypress Lake Center for the Arts and aspiring actor, Nikita’s credits include work in the ensemble and as a swing for the Merry Murderesses in Gypsy Playhouse’s production of Chicago, Miss Honey in Matilda, Sarabi in The Lion King and Louisa Von Trapp in The Sound Of Music, each at Fort Myers Theatre, as well as the Over-Excited Scout in Big Fish at Cypress Lake High School. Please read here for the rest of Nikita’s profile.



Rachel Drake is LeFou in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Rachel Drake is LeFou in Beauty and the Beast. Her prior stage credits include the Sad Bride “Dancestor” in The Addams Family Musical at Fort Myers Theatre, which was Rachel’s first production since high school “if you don’t count the daily shows I put on in my living room with my four kiddos.” While at Fort Myers’ Evangelical Christian School, Rachel appeared as Chava in Fiddler on the Roof, Leisl in The Sound of Music, Cinderella in Cinderella and Billie in Babes in Arms.

Go here for the rest of Rachel’s credits.



Terry Lavy is Cogsworth in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

He next appears as Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast for Fort Myers Theatre. Besides A Christmas Carol, Terry’s previous credits include the detective, Hunyak’s defense attorney and the prosecutor in Chicago for Gypsy Playhouse, Mr. Lawrence in Little Women, the Von Trapp butler, Franz, in The Sound of Music (2023), the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show (2022), Uncle Fester in the Addams Family musical (2022) and the grieving killer, Wilson, in The Great Gatsby (2022).



Emma Luke-Said in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ensemble

Emma Luke-Said appears in the ensemble of Beauty and the Beast for Fort Myers Theatre. Emma’s prior stage credits include the role of Go-to-Hell Kitty and work in the ensemble of Chicago for Gypsy Playhouse, and work in the ensemble of both Rent and Rocky Horror at Fort Myers Theatre, where she also played the part of Sister Berta in The Sound of Music.



Kristen Noble 2023 HSMTA Outstanding Performer in Female-Identifying Role

On May 4, Cypress Lake High School senior Kristen Noble was named by a 6-judge panel as the Outstanding Performer in a Female-Identifying Role at the 2023 High School Musical Theatre Awards at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center for her portrayal of Sandra Templeton in Big Fish. The singer-songwriter has extensive musical theatre credits, including Anya in Anastasia, Mitchie in Camp Rock!, Lucinda in Into the Woods, the colorful lazy Mayzie la Bird in Seussical the Musical, Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone, Sharpay Evans/Taylor McKessie/Ensemble in High School Musical 2! and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde JrGo here to view the rest of Kristen’s profile.



Rodney Randall plays Monsieur D’Arque in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Rodney Randall plays the evil Monsieur D’Arque and appears in the ensemble of Beauty and the Beast for Fort Myers Theatre.

Prior credits include work in the ensemble of Chicago at Gypsy Playhouse and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

“Prior to last Fall, I had no musical theater experience,” Rodney demurs. “Other than the occasional Karaoke night, I’d never sang in public. My daughters have been doing theater for years and my youngest practically dragged me to the audition for the Sound of Music.” Needless to say, he not only passed his audition, he caught the acting bug.

Go here for more.



Jay Terzis gets Froggy in Larry Shue’s ‘Foreigner’ at Arts Center Theatre

Jay Terzis is a local actor. Nominated by Broadway World as Southwest Florida Performer of the Decade, Jay has performed with The Naples Players, The Studio Players, The Marco Players the Island Theater Group and the CFABS Community Players. He has studied drama with Diane Davis in Naples. In New York City, he has studied drama at the Sedgwick Russell Studio and appeared in a number of Off Broadway readings. He appears in the role of exuberant Staff Sergeant “Froggy” LeSueur for Arts Center Theatre in Larry Shue’s The Foreigner. You will find the rest of Jay’s profile here.



Kagan Vann is Lumiere in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Kagan Vann appears in the role of Lumiere for Fort Myers Theater in Beauty and the Beast. Kagan’s prior stage credits include Rocky in the Rocky Horror Show for Fort Myers Theater, Ferdinand in Lab Theater’s production of The Tempest (which marks his Lab Theater debut), deranged King Charlemagne in Pippin, Jafar in Aladdin and Shrek in Shrek the Musical.






Margaret Hodge exhibition on view in Alliance main gallery through June 9

On exhibit in the main gallery of the Alliance for the Arts May 5 through June 9 is Bits and Pieces: The Realm of Creation, featuring the art of Margaret Schnebly Hodge. The Florida abstract painter is widely known as a serious large format painter with a mastery of brushstroke and color.

Hodge’s art often evinces her interest in the fundamental nature of existence. Art historian and author Gary R. Libby writes that since early 2020 “she has been drawn to the mysterious inner mechanics of artistic creation in a series of new works which are reflections of how the cerebral cortex of our brain uniquely synthesizes bits and pieces of memory and, along with our imagination, creates meaning in paintings that contain a unique shorthand of colored marks, shapes, and forms. This new visual language reflects how this artist creates deep and profound meaning in abstract works of art based on the process of visualization and its relationship to conscious and unconscious memory, the storehouses of the human brain, and imagination, the unique way that an individual artist links these bits and pieces of cerebral data to create dynamic abstraction. Here, viewers in magical ways but based on the science of perception, thought, memory and creative imagination share meanings understandable to all sentient beings. Each painting contains multiple forms / codes whose ultimate expression is unique to each viewer.”

Raised in Florida from an early age, Hodge grew up during the pop culture movement of the 1950’s and the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s. “Her mother’s work in outdoor recreation and her father’s work in the space industry introduced her to a wide range of experiences from running barefoot in sunshine, rain, and storms, to watching rockets reach space and the moon for the first time,” Libby continues. “The complex and dynamic flux of societal norms and the ever-dynamic physical activity and environmental conditions of those years remain influential in her work today.”

Opening reception for this exhibit is from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on May 5.



Barbara Yeomans’ art in Theatre Gallery at the Alliance May 5 through June 9

The art of Barbara Yeomans is in the Theatre Lobby at the Alliance for the Arts May 5 through June 9. Barbara Yeomans is a Florida based painter and printmaker. For the past 30 years, her work has shown in galleries, museums and various arts organizations in the United States and abroad.

Barbara was born in London and grew up during WWII. This turbulent war time would later inform her work as an artist. Interested in arts and crafts at a young age, she was awarded an art scholarship, which allowed her to pursue a degree in fashion at Cheltenham College of Art.  While at college, she won design awards and studied under the leading artists of the day.

In the 1950’s, her college career was put on hold when she met and married a young American man.  She emigrated to America and raised a family while continuing her interest in the arts as a volunteer arts teacher in Fort Myers, Florida.

In the 1980s, Barbara returned to school and enrolled in a printmaking class at a local college. Over the years, she has had several one-woman shows in Florida, England, New Jersey and New York. Her work is sold in New Jersey at the Broadfoot & Broadfoot Gallery. Her work has been collected and placed in homes and businesses everywhere from Sag Harbor, Montreal, Calgary, New York to Milan and Hong Kong.



Alyona Ushe named Executive Director of Centers for the Arts Bonita

After an extensive executive search process led by a team of experts from Arts Consulting Group and a committee of Board members, Alyona Ushe has been selected as the new Executive Director  of the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs.

“We are thrilled Alyona will be joining us to lead the Centers for the Arts in our commitment to enrich the lives of the community by providing opportunities for artistic expression, education, and appreciation for all,” says CFABS Board Chairman Fred Weinman. “Alyona shares our commitment and passion for the arts and brings exceptional leadership experience to our organization. The future is bright!”

Alyona began her career by founding Classika-Synetic Theater in the Washington DC Metro area.

Go here for the rest of this story.



IMAG celebrates 100th anniversary of discovery of Tut’s tomb with ‘Return of the King’

November 4th marked the 100th anniversary of British archeologist Howard Carter’s discovery the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Because Tut’s successors tried to obliterate his name from the annals of Egyptian history, the pharaoh had been buried in an out-of-the-way place that had prevented robbers from finding and plundering the tomb. So when Carter opened it, the tomb still held the bulk of its treasures. The IMAG History and Science Center in Fort Myes is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the tomb’s discovery with an exciting exhibition containing reproductions of scores of the artifacts found in Tut’s tomb that’s been extended to May 14, 2023. Listen on WGCU for the details:…/imag-history-science-center…



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

The Alliance for the Arts and dozens of local arts organizations are surveying audiences attending their events in an effort to quantify the economic impact of the arts here in Southwest Florida. In fact, 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. Go here to hear why you should participate in the study if you are asked to complete a survey.





‘Foreigner’ at Marco’s Arts Center Theatre through May 7

Arts Center Theatre on Marco Island concludes its inaugural season with The Foreigner by Larry Shue. The Foreigner received two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards as Best New American Play and Best Off-Broadway Production. The production is directed by Bonnie Knapp, who has been acting and directing for over thirty years. She most recently directed Beer for Breakfast at the Studio Players and Good People for the Marco Players. The Foreigner plays at Arts Center Theatre on Marco now through May 7. Performances are Wednesday through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3:00 p.m. Read here for more.



Enchanting story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ opens May 11 at Fort Myers Theater

Beauty and the Beast comes to Fort Myers Theatre opening May 11. Based on the smash 1991 Disney animated feature and dating back to a late 18th century classic French fairy tale, Noah Lynch is featured in the role of the Beast, with Christina Thurmond starring as Belle. Go here for play dates and times.



Gulfshore Ballet and Gulf Coast Chamber Orchestra do ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ May 6

Gulfshore Ballet’s performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tribby Arts Center was an unqualified success, and now the troupe gets to do an encore performance or excerpts from the ballet to live music when they join the Gulf Coast Chamber Orchestra at the MACC (Music & Arts Community Center) on Saturday, May 6 at 7:30.

The Gulf Coast Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Maestro Andrew Kurtz, who is now in his 27th season as the Music Director, President and CEO of Gulf Coast Symphony. This performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream features original choreography by Gulfshore Ballet Artistic Directors Iliana Lopez and Franklin Garnero and showcases the talents of 45 of their students ranging in ages from 5 to 17 years old. Go here for the rest of this advance.



8 area schools take part in this year’s High School Musical Theatre Awards

The High School Musical Theatre Awards take place at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 4 at the Barbara B Mann Performing Art Hall at FSW. Started in 2008 by Barbara Mann GM Scott Saxson, the High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrate local high school actors, orchestras, their musical productions and the hard work those students do every year.

Students spend months working on their productions, rehearsing songs and dance steps, designing and painting the sets, sewing the costumes and doing everything else it takes to put on a show. Most schools start working on their productions in the fall and rehearse all year until they present their shows in March or April – including after school and weekends. The High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrate their hard work and achievements.

You can read the rest of this story here.



Canterbury School’s ‘Elf’ wins 2023 HSMTA Outstanding Overall Performance

The High School Musical Theatre Awards took place last night at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Started in 2008 by Barbara Mann GM Scott Saxson, the High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrate local high school actors, orchestras, their musical productions and the hard work those students do every year. Go here for the rest of this post.



North Fort Myers’ ‘Anything Goes’ is 2023 HSMTA Outstanding Overall Production runner-up

The High School Musical Theatre Awards took place last night at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Started in 2008 by Barbara Mann GM Scott Saxson, the High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrate local high school actors, orchestras, their musical productions and the hard work those students do every year. Go here for the rest of this post.

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