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Performing and Visual Artists in the news during May, 2024


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


1     ACTORS


Jordan Bunshaft is over the moon as Fester in ‘Addams Family’

Jordan Bunshaft is over the moon as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family musical at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. He originated the role at Prather Entertainment’s Dutch Apple Theatre location in Pennsylvania. You will find Jordan’s credits here.



Aubrey Barnhouse is Katherine Howard in ‘Six: The Musical’

Aubrey Barnhouse plays the part of Her Royal Highness Katherine Howard in Six: The Musical for Panther Theatre Company at Cypress Lakes Center for the Arts. Past roles include 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.



Elizabeth Birkby is Lorretta in ‘Men Are Dogs’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Elizabeth Birkby appears in the role of Lorretta in the Joe Simonelli comedy Men Are Dogs at Fort Myers Theatre. Elizabeth’s prior stage credits include the Superintendent in The Drowsy Chaperone (for which she also served as stage manager), a member of the ensemble (and Mrs. Squire U/S) in The Music Man and Grandma Josephine in Willy Wonka, all for Fort Myers Theatre.



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.



Daniel Cancio is suspected pedophile, Father Flynn, in ‘Doubt: A Parable’

Naples actor Daniel Cancio currently stars as Father Flynn in Doubt: A Parable for The Studio Players. Danny’s other credits include the title role of Larry Shue’s The Foreigner at Arts Center Theatre on Marco Island, little brother Trip in Other Desert Cities, and attorney Aaron Levinsky in Nuts.  Go here for the rest of Danny’s theatrical credits.



Chloe Elliott-Chan plays Fianna Devlin

Chloe Elliott-Chan appears in the role of Fianna Devlin in Crocodile Fever at Lab Theater. Among Elliott-Chan’s most recent credits are Catherine in David Auburn’s drama {proof} (Players Circle Theater), Jim Brock’s poem-play No Single Body for Me to Follow (Ghostbird Theatre Company), Bernadette in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Save Hamlet and Madam de Tourvel in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (also for Lab Theater). You will find the rest of Chloe’s theatrical credits here.



Kiana Raine Cintron returns home in ensemble of ‘Addams Family’ musical

Kiana Raine Cintron appears in the ensemble of The Addams Family musical at Broadway Palm as Nurse Ancestor. She is also understudy for the role of Wednesday Gomez. Among Cintron’s stage credits are Footloose, Sister Act, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, the seamstress and work in the ensemble of Irving Berlin’s White ChristmasA Chorus Line, dancing in the ensemble of Broadway Palm Thru the Decades and In the Heights (Prather Entertainment), Wanda in Escape to Margaritaville (Prather Entertainment), and Sonia in Godspell. You’ll find more credits here.



Shaelyn Crabtree is Helen in TheatreZone’s production of ‘Carrie the Musical’

Shaelyn Crabtree appears in the role of Helen in TheatreZone’s production of Carrie the Musical. She last appeared in the ensemble and as a young Republicanette in TheatreZone’s 2023 collaboration with the FGCU TheatreLab for Heathers the Musical. Some of Shaelyn’s most recent roles include Emma in Anything Goes, Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Evie in Descendants.  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 Company. Previous credits include the Tinman and Hick in The Wizard of Oz at Belle Theatre, Scottish assassin Todd in Unnecessary Farce (Belle Theatre), Father Chenille in Drinking Habits (Belle Theatre), the Wolf and Prince Charming Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (New Phoenix Theatre), the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors (Belle Theatre) and multiple roles for Gulf Coast Symphony in their holiday revue, Snowbird Follies. For more, please go here.



Rosie DeLeon plays Annelle in ‘Steel Magnolias’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Rosie DeLeon has appeared often on the boards at various Lee County venues. She plays Annelle in Steel Magnolias at Fort Myers Theatre. Rosie’s recent credits include Bridget Charles in Nana’s Naughty Knickers at Cultural Park Theater, TWA flight attendant Gloria in Boeing Boeing for Cultural Park Theatre, Lilly for The Studio Players in Jonathan Caron’s Need to Know (for which she also served as its Assistant Director) and Corrie Bratter for The Studio Players in Barefoot in the Park. Go here to see more of Rosie’s theatrical credits.



Jorja Evans appears as Sleeping Beauty in ‘Into the Woods’ at Cultural Park

Jorja Evans is Sleeping Beauty in Cultural Park Theatre’s production of Into the Woods. Her previous credits include 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.



Ruthgena Faraco in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

Ruthgena Augustin Faraco is a Fort Myers based actor, singer and dancer. She appears in Godspell at Players Circle Theater. Faraco’s stage credits include featured singer in Southwest Florida Theatre’s holiday revue Snowbird Follies, Topsy in “The Party” in George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Celie in The Color Purple, Mary Warren in Lab Theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Molly Cunningham in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance), Lorraine in All Shook Up (Cultural Park Theatre), Kala in Tarzan (Cultural Park) and Brenda in The Pajama Game (Cultural Park). Go here for the rest of Ruthgena’s credits.



Amy Fenicle in ensemble of ‘Addams Family’ at Broadway Palm

Amy Fenicle appears in the ensemble of The Addams Family at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre where she previously played Ariel’s confidant and companion, Flounder, in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a role she played for Prather Entertainment in 2022 at its Dutch Apple venue in Pennsylvania. Fenicle began dancing at an early age, but it wasn’t until she ventured into community theater that she fell in love with acting. View more of Amy’s credits 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.



Whitney Grace a disciple in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theatre

Punta Gorda native Whitney Grace appears as one of Jesus’ disciples in Godspell, on stage at Players Circle Theatre April 16 through May 12. She was seen most recently as a featured singer in Southwest Florida Theatre’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s A Grand Night for Singing and Broadway Divas. Other credits include Sister Hubert in Nunsense alongside Gulfcoast Symphony.

Whitney Grace is not just a talented actress. She is also a gifted singer and entertainer. Her one-woman cabaret musicals, Showstopper: A Love Letter To Broadway and The Lullaby of Broadway: A Tribute to the City That Never Sleeps, have taken audiences on unforgettable journeys through the world of song.

Go here for more Whitney.



Lindsay Hoffpauir is sensational as Wednesday in ‘Addams Family’ at Broadway Palm

Lindsay Hoffpauir stars in the role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family musical on stage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, after having also played the part in Prather Entertainment’s Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre as well. She played Bugsy Who and worked in the ensemble of the national tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Other credits include Frenchy in Grease (Clear Space Theatre Company), Ensemble (and U/S for Roz and Missy) in 9 to 5 (Clear Space Theatre Company), and ensemble member/dancer (and U/S Apache) in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat (Clear Space Theatre Company). Go here for the rest of Lindsay’s credits.



Sharon Isern appears as Sister James in ‘Doubt: A Parable’ for the Studio Players

Sharon Isern appears in the role of Sister James in Doubt: A Parable for The Studio Players. Sharon’s stage credits include the President’s hapless secretary, Stephanie, in POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive for Lab Theater, 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, and exasperated campaign manager Alex Klein in Jason Odell Williams’ Church & State for The Studio Players. But there’s more. Go here to see the balance of Sharon’s theatrical credits.



Rachael Lord in ‘Day By Day’ soloist in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

A professional EMC actor, singer, dancer, poet and fantasy writer, Rachael Lord appears as the Day by Day soloist in Godspell at Players Circle Theater. Rachael’s stage credits include Blanche Barrow in TheatreZone’s production of Bonnie & Clyde The Musical, Larken Barken in A Doublewide, Texas Christmas (Off Broadway Palm, 2023)Greta Ohlsson in Ken Ludwig’s Murder on the Orient Express (Off Broadway Palm, 2023)Andrina/ensemble in Disney’s Little Mermaid for Broadway Palm (2023) and Kari in Always a Bridesmaid (Off Broadway Palm 2023). You will find the rest of Rachael’s credits here.



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).



AJ Mendini in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

AJ Mendini is featured by Players Circle Theatre in Godspell. Recent credits include Rodgers & Hammerstein’s A Grand Night for Singing  (Southwest Florida Theater), Lightning Thief (Gypsy Playhouse), Snowbird Follies (Southwest Florida Theatre), Eddie in Dogfight, Claude in Hair, Jesus in Godspell (Fort Myers Theatre), Princeton in Avenue Q and Enjolras in Les Miserables.



Ariana Milian plays new patient Allison in ‘Men Are Dogs’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Ariana Milian appears in the role of Allison in the Joe Simonelli comedy Men Art Dogs at Fort Myers Theatre. Ariana’s previous stage credits include the ensemble of The Drowsy Chaperone at Fort Myers Theatre, one of the phantoms in The Rocky Horror Show (twice), Mrs. Gloop for Fort Myers Theatre in Willy Wonka, Francesca for Lab Theater in the world premiere of Save Hamlet, the ensemble of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Laboratory Theater of Florida, Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music for Fort Myers Theatre, a member of the ensemble of Rent, one of the cut dancers in A Chorus Line and Alice in Alice in Wonderland.



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).



Liv Pelton makes Broadway Palm debut as Morticia in Addams Family musical

Liv Pelton plays the part of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater. The role marks her Broadway Palm debut, but she also played Morticia for Prather Entertainment at its Dutch Apple Theater in Pennsylvania. Originally from Georgia, Liv is an actor and teaching artist now based in New York City. Go here to see Liv’s prior stage credits.



Keeley Pendergrass plays title role in ‘Carrie the Musical’ for TheatreZone

Keeley Pendergrass plays the lead, Carrie White, in TheatreZone’s production of Carrie: The Musical. A student at Florida Gulf Coast University, Keeley has been performing since the age of five. Before enrolling at FGCU, she attended a performing arts high school.

She previously worked with Director Mark Danni in TheatreZone’s 2023 production of Heathers, in which she was the stoner chick and performed in the ensemble. Go here to read what Danni says of her performance in the role of Carrie.



Darby Pumphrey one of Jesus’ disciples in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle

Darby Pumphrey is a Philadelphia-based equity actor who plays one of Jesus’ disciples in Players Circle Theatre’s production of Godspell. Among her special talents is speaking/singing in Southern dialect, which she employs to perfection in her spirited rendition of Stephen Schwartz’s twangy folk song “Learn Your Lessons Well.” Regional credits include Jenny in The Shape of Things (Eagle Theatre), Evelyn (U/S performed) in Ragtime (Eagle Theatre), Woman in My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra (Eagle Theatre), Crissy in Hair (Woodbury Sketch), Little Jesus in The Pillowman (Woodbury Sketch) and Lily St. Regis in Annie (Haddonfield Players). For more, go here.



Donna Richman is Ouiser in ‘Steel Magnolias’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Donna Richman appears in the role of Ouiser in Steel Magnolias at Fort Myers Theatre. She’s not grumpy; Ouiser’s just be in a bad mood for 40 years, until …. Donna’ Florida stage credits include Mrs. MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie at Cultural Park Theatre, Sister Augusta in Drinking Habits at The Belle Theatre, and Norma in Deborah Laufer’s The Last Schwartz at New Phoenix Theatre (which represented her Florida debut). For more, go here.



Amanda Ross at Players Circle Theatre in ‘Godspell’

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, Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods for Belle Theatre, and was a member of the ensemble of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical and Queen Gynecia in Heed over Heels the Musical for New Phoenix Theatre.



Maya Senecharles is Frieda in TheatreZone’s ‘Carrie’

Maya Senecharles plays Frieda in TheatreZone’s production of Carrie the Musical.

Maya was last seen at TheatreZone as Heather Duke in the TheatreZone-FGCU collaboration on Heathers the Musical, and before that in Home for the Holidays. Other recent stage credits include Judy Turner in A Chorus Line and Petra Stockman in An Enemy of the PeopleFor more, read here.



Alicia Schwartz plays Mrs. Muller in ‘Doubt: A Parable’ for The Studio Players

Alicia Schwartz appears in Doubt: A Parable in the role of Mrs. Muller, whose declines to pursue the possibility that her 12-year-old son is being sexually abused by a priest at the Catholic school he is attending, deflecting the gravity of the allegation with this chilling line:  “My son doesn’t need additional difficulties. Let him take the good and leave the rest when he leaves this place in June.” Alicia last performed for The Studio Players Officer Randi in The Studio Players’ production of the Tracy Letts’ dramedy Superior Donuts. Other credits include Estella in Clark Gable Slept Here, Kate Dillon in Good People for The Marco Players and was understudy for Where is Vera Stark at The Naples Players.



Stacy Stauffer appears as M’Lynn in ‘Steel Magnolias’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Talented character actor Stacy Stauffer appears as M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias at Fort Myers Theatre. Her previous stage credits include Annie Jump Cannon in The Women Who Mapped the Stars (Theatre Conspiracy), Sally in Drinking Habits (Belle Theatre), the President’s press secretary for Lab Theater in POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive and Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods at New Phoenix Theatre. Go here for the rest of Stacy’s credits.



Kimberly Suskind in ‘Godspell’ at Players Circle Theater

From Greater Philadelphia, Kimberly Suskind is an actor, singer, dancer and the Artistic Director of Robin Dawn Academy’s Gypsy Playhouse. Over the course of her career, Kimberly has worked at many professional regional theatres across the country, including Walnut Street Theatre (PA), Cape May Stage (NJ), Delaware Theatre Company (DE), The Theatre Barn (NY), Eagle Theatre (NJ), Bucks County Playhouse (PA), Nightcap Cabaret (PA), Metro Stage Company (MA) and Village Theatre & Civic Light Opera (WA). You can see her April 16-May 12 in Godspell at Players Circle Theater, for which she also did the choreography. For the rest of her credits, go here.



Madelaine Weymouth is Alannah Devlin in world premiere of ‘Crocodile Fever’

Madelaine Weymouth is a local freelance actor and director. She takes up the role of Alannah Devlin in the world premiere of Meghan Tyler’s dark comedy, Crocodile Fever. Weymouth’s acting credits include Popo in Adam Szymkowicz’s noir comedy Clown Bar, Belinda in Noises Off at Lab Theater and Claudia Faith Draper in Nuts for The Studio Players. But there’s more. Go here to see all of Madelaine’s theatrical credits.



Kristen Wilson plays Jane in ‘Men Are Dogs’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Kristen Wilson appears in the role of Jane in Men Are Dogs at Fort Myers Theatre. Kristen’s previous stage credits include Truvee Jones in Fort Myers Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias, Mae Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie at Cultural Park Theatre, Mrs. White in Clue on Stage for Fort Myers Theatre, Lenny McGrath in Crimes of the Heart (Cultural Park Theatre), Edith Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Fort Myers Theatre), Principal Clark in Footloose (Fort Myers Theatre), Mama Mae in Bye Bye Birdie (Fort Myers Theatre), Mrs. Phelps in Matilda (Creative Theatre Workshop) and Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone (Creative Theatre Workshop). You can see the rest of Kristen’s long list of stage and related credits here.



Kristen Wilson plays Truvee Jones in ‘Steel Magnolias’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Kristen Wilson appears in the anchor role of Truvee Jones in Fort Myers Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias. Kristen’s recent stage credits include Mae Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie at Cultural Park Theatre, Mrs. White in Clue on Stage for Fort Myers Theatre, Lenny McGrath in Crimes of the Heart (Cultural Park Theatre), Edith Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Fort Myers Theatre), Principal Clark in Footloose (Fort Myers Theatre), Mama Mae in Bye Bye Birdie (Fort Myers Theatre), Mrs. Phelps in Matilda (Creative Theatre Workshop) and Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone (Creative Theatre Workshop). The rest of Kristen’s credits are here.





Joe Simonelli directs own comedy, ‘Men Are Dogs,’ for Fort Myers Theatre

Joe Simonelli is an American playwright. He first began his career as the resident playwright for First Avenue Playhouse in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. 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). His popular valentines opus With This Ring is with Stage Rights (Broadway Publishing). Go here for more.



Ted Wioncek III directs ‘Godspell’ for Players Circle Theatre

Ted Wioncek III is an award-winning artist, actor and director. The Philly Review labeled him “a master in storytelling” in recognition of his vibrant work, and his efforts as an arts business builder coupled with the use of immersive mediums to advance technology in aid of experiential storytelling. Wioncek is the Associate Artistic Director at Players Circle Theatre, where he is currently directing the Stephen Schwartz musical Godspell.



Kristen Wilson directs ‘Steel Magnolias’ at Fort Myers Theatre

Kristen Wilson directs Steel Magnolias for Fort Myers Theatre. Kristen’s other directing credits include Boeing Boeing for Cultural Park Theater, Crimes of the Heart at Cultural Park and The Diary of Anne Frank at Fort Myers Theatre. Kristen also has extensive acting credits, which you can view here.





Broadway Palm’s ‘Addams Family’ embraces every family’s wackiness

The Addams Family takes over the Broadway Palm main stage through May 25. This comical feast embraces the wackiness in every family and features an original story about love, family, honesty and growing up.

You will find the full advance here.



Broadway Palm’s ‘Addams Family’ will have you snapping your fingers for amor

Ah, the intoxicating smell of the graveyard, proclaims Gomez in the opening number of the Addams Family musical. “Once a year, we gather to honor the great cycle life and death. Come, every member of our clan – living, dead, and undecided – and let us celebrate what is to be an Addams.”

This year, the graveyard is located on the main stage of Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and the musical features all the usual suspects – the flamboyant and flashy Gomez Addams, his lithe and luscious wife, Morticia, Grandmama, Lurch, Cousin Itt and, of course, Uncle Fester, whose ambition is to beat Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and NASA to the lunar surface.

You will find the rest of this review here.



Fort Myers Theatre brings back ‘Steel Magnolias’

Steel Magnolias returns to Fort Myers Theatre through May 5th. The action is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new “glamor technician” assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to patrons and a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together there. Included in the latter group are M’Lynn and her daughter Shelby, sour-tempered Ouiser Boudreaux and recently-widowed Clairee. Read the rest of this advance here.

Steel Magnolias play dates, times and cast.



‘Men Are Dogs’ plays at Fort Myers Theatre May 15-25

Joe Simonelli’s comedy, Men Are Dogs, plays at Fort Myers Theatre May 15 through the 25th. The action follows Dr. Cecelia Monahan, a therapist who runs a support group for single and divorced women. The doctor employs some some unorthodox methods to engender the healing process – such as hiring out-of-work actors to role play with her patients. It is only when Cecelia meets the new substitute package delivery man that the doctor must learn to practice what she preaches! Wendi Nicholson stars as the Doctor. Go here for play dates, times and a full cast list.



Listen on WGCU to how ‘Men Are Dogs’ got its name

Playwright Joe Simonelli has published nearly two dozen plays. His body of work ranges from comedies and dramedies to ghost stories and thrillers. He’s even written a full-length musical about internet dating called, which he expects to bring to the stage locally in a season or two. But his flagship play is a relationship comedy that goes by the name Men Are Dogs, which is on stage at Fort Myers Theatre through May 25, 2024. Listen on WGCU to find out how that play got its name.



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.



High School Musical Theatre Awards are May 9 at Barbara B. Mann

The High School Musical Theatre Awards take place at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 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. Eight area schools are taking part in the Awards this year, which are modeled after the Tony Awards. Winners are announced for each category interspersed with lively production numbers from the shows nominated for Best Musical and finalists for Best Actor and Best Actress.

  1. Bishop Verot High School
  2. Canterbury School
  3. Cypress Lake High School
  4. Ida Baker High School
  5. Island Coast High School
  6. Lehigh Senior High School
  7. North Fort Myers High School
  8. Oasis High School

Click on the link to see what each school will perform at the Awards ceremony.



High School Musical Theatre Awards on WGCU

Barbara Mann GM Scott Saxson started the High School Musical Theatre Awards in 2008 to celebrate local high school actors and orchestras, their musical productions, and the hard work it takes to bring those shows to the stage. 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 — including after school and on weekends — until they present their shows in March or April. The High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrate their hard work and achievements. For more, listen on WGCU.



‘Crocodile Fever’ a dark comedy and Director Frank Blocker couldn’t be more thrilled

The national premiere of Crocodile Fever runs through May 5th at the Laboratory Theatre of Florida.  Meghan Tyler’s dark, bloody comedy revolves around two sisters facing off against their tyrannical father.

Alannah’s quiet life in 1989 Northern Ireland is disrupted when her rebellious IRA sister Fiannah comes home. The combative sisters are forced to confront their tyrannical father’s hideous legacy, and all hell breaks loose and the outcome is anything but happy.

“I love a dark comedy, and this one is definitely dark,” says Director Frank Blocker. “Funny. But dark.”

Find the rest of this advance here.

Go here for play dates, times and a cast list.



‘Godspell’ performs at Players Circle Theater through May 12

Godspell is at Players Circle Theatre through May 12. Based on the Gospel according to Matthew, Godspell is the first musical theatre offering from composer Stephen Schwartz, who went on to write such well-known hits as Wicked, Pippin, and Children of Eden. The show features a comedic troupe of eccentric players who team up with Jesus to teach his lessons in a new age through parables, a wide variety of pop culture references, games, tomfoolery and fun audience interaction. Read the rest of this advance here.

Go here for play dates and times.



Players Circle’s production of ‘Godspell’ unlike anything audiences have experienced before

Godspell has captivated audiences worldwide with countless performances since its debut in 1971. However, the Players Circle production promises to deliver an experience unlike anything audiences have seen before.

It all starts with the gifted, high-octane cast that Associate Artistic Director Ted Wioncek has assembled for the show.

“No two productions of Godspell should be identical,” Wioncek asserts. “If they are, I feel as though they perhaps missed the boat because [the musical] really lives and breathes through the abilities and talents of its cast.”

Read more here … or listen to the story on WGCU.



TheatreZone’s ‘Carrie’ a high-energy thrilled based on Stephen King classic

TheatreZone brings Carrie: the Musical to the stage through May 5th. Set in the present in the small New England town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie is a multi-layered coming-of-age story dealing with feelings of isolation, bullying and religious fanaticism.

Carrie is a high-energy thriller based on an iconic book and film with all the horror and dark humor of Stephen King’s novel,” observes TheatreZone founder and artistic director, Mark Danni. “Audiences familiar with the book and film will be on the edges of their seats with our highly dramatic production about the plight of a misfit with a unique gift.”

Read the rest of this advance here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



TheatreZone’s production of ‘Carrie the Musical’ spotlighted on WGCU

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Stephen King’s seminal novel, Carrie. TheatreZone in Naples is celebrating this milestone by producing the rarely-done musical version of the story with an all-star cast and musicians.

The story revolves around a teen in her last year of high school. At home, she must deal with her religious zealot mother, who tells Carrie that she is “special” to keep her isolated from her peers and the sexual culture of youth she views as perverse. At school, Carrie’s peers regard her as an outsider and relentlessly bully her. What they don’t know is that she has telekinetic powers, which they unwittingly release when they pull a cruel prank on her at prom.

Carrie’s principal tormentors arrange to have her named as prom queen. Just as she’s being crowned, they dump a pail of pig’s blood on her from above. In fact, it’s that scene from the 1976 movie starring Cissy Spacek that most people remember. It’s also the reason many people conclude that the story is too bloody. TheatreZone Artistic Director Mark Danni reassures viewers that’s really not the case.

Hear the full interview and preview on WGCU.



Sage observations about Margaret White from McLean Peterson

McLean Peterson is chilling in the role of Margaret White in TheatreZone’s production of Carrie the Musical.

Carrie is an incredibly well-directed, brilliantly acted and imaginatively staged and choreographed musical. It is also a psychological study of deviant personalities – like that of Carrie’s mother, Margaret White, a seriously damaged soul. Peterson’s portrayal is terribly convincing, a testament to her willingness to embrace her character’s blatant hypocrisy and ability to understand – both cognitively and intuitively – her character’s many contradictions.

For more, read here.



Straight from Broadway, there’s no ‘Doubt’ this revival is intense

The Broadway revival of Doubt: A Parable closed on April 21. The Pulitzer Prize and Emmy-winning drama opens May 3 at Golden Gate Community Center in Naples.

Studio Players Director Anna Segreto says that local audiences are in for a theatrical treat.

“[The play] escalates scene by scene by scene, and as each scene unfolds, it becomes more and more intense until … the next to the last scene, Scene 8, when the swords clash,” Segreto notes. “That kind of a theatrical experience is rare, and I think that in its rarity, the audience will be absorbed by it.”

Listen to or read the review on WGCU.



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.



Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Show opens May 3

The City of Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show opens on Friday, May 3 at the Alliance for the Arts. The exhibition showcases the work of visual artists Linda Benson, Stacey Brown, Martha De La Cruz, Lily Hatchett and Roland Ruocco. In addition, at 6:00 p.m. in the Alliance’s Foulds Theatre, Gulfshore Ballet will perform an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s renowned Sleeping Beauty ballet specially choreographed by Gulfshore Ballet Artistic Directors (and former Miami City Ballet principal dancers) Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero. Before and following that performance, a video of Lily Hatchett’s Paper Grotto will be played in the Foulds Theatre.



Linda Benson among visual artists exhibiting work in Fort Myers Biennial Grant Recipient Show

Linda Benson is one of five visual artists featured in the City of Fort Myers’ Biennial Artist Grant Recipient Show. Linda lives in Fort Myers and has been an active in the arts in Southwest Florida for 25 years. An Individual Artist Grant recipient for 2023, Linda will showcase her art at the reception at the Alliance on May 3rd. You will find more on Linda and her career here.



Stacey Brown among visual artists exhibiting work in Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show

Stacey Brown is one of five visual artists who is participating in the City of Fort Myers Biennial Grant Recipient Show on view in the main gallery of the Alliance for the Arts during the month of May. Stacey works primarily in mixed media paintings and collage art on canvas and paper. Inspired by yoga philosophy, nature, astrology, spirituality, color and mood, Stacey’s paintings are intuitively developed with many layers.  Read here for more.



Spotlight on grant recipient Christar Damiano

Healing Hands owner Christar Damiano has a sizzle reel on display at the Alliance for the Arts this month. Damiano is a 2022 City of Fort Myers Individual Artist Grant Recipient. The New York City native was introduced to the healing arts while living in Hawaii some 35 years ago. Since then, Christar has traveled to over 50 countries learning different healing arts and massage modalities. Read the rest of this Spotlight here.



Spotlight on Biennial Grant Recipient show visual artist Roland Ruocco

Roland Ruocco is one of five visual artists who is exhibiting work in the City of Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show on view in the main gallery of the Alliance for the Arts in the months of May. He has a number of works on display, but at the exhibition’s opening night reception, it was his depiction of former President Donald J. Trump surrounded by some two dozen political figures that drew the greatest attention. Part of the fun for viewers is seeing how many of the people included in the painting they can name.

Go here for the Brooklyn-born studio artist and muralist.



Carolyn Gora exhibiting in Theatre Lobby Gallery during 2024 Biennial Grant show

Carolyn Gora will be at the City of Fort Myers Biennial Grant Recipient Show. Not as a grant recipient. Not because she is a long-standing member and past Chair of the City’s Public Art Committee. But in her own right as an accomplished visual artist. She will have work on display in the Foulds Theatre Lobby Gallery during the Biennial Grant Recipient Show.

You will find the rest of this Spotlight here.



Spotlight on Gulfshore Ballet’s performance of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at Biennial Grant show

Gulfshore Ballet performed The Sleeping Beauty ballet at the Tribby Arts Center at Shell Point on April 20th. Five students from Gulfshore’s ballet school will also be performing an excerpt from Sleeping Beauty (the jewels section from the third act) at the City of Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show at the May 3rd opening reception at the Alliance for the Arts. Alivia Ban and Ella Litvak will take on the role of Diamonds, Madelena Urban will be Ruby, Sarah Kate Feiock the Sapphire and Melia Brockington the Emerald.

For those new to ballet as well as those steeped in ballet, The Sleeping Beauty is the pinnacle of classical ballet. Read why here.



Lily Hatchett works on view at Alliance in 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show

Lily Hatchett is one of five visual artists who is exhibiting work in the City of Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show on view in the main gallery of the Alliance for the Arts in the months of May.

Hatchett is a multimedia artist who combines sculpture, drawing, video and live performance in her body of work. Her art starts with drawing. Pencil, ink and paint on paper are her drawing mediums. She visualizes three dimensional ideas in flat space first.

You will find the rest of this story here.

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