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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news October 1-7, 2022


Grouped under headings that include art openings, film, outdoor art fairs and festivals and theater are advances, announcements and articles about the actors, artists, filmmakers and events making news in Southwest Florida this week:


1     ACTORS


Kathleen Barney conjures her inner spiritualist as Madame Arcani in TNP’s ‘Blithe Spirit’

Southwest Florida theater veteran Kathleen Barney makes her Naples Players debut in the role of local spiritualist and medium Madame Arcati in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. The seer is no fraud, and what starts out as a parlor game done as research for novelist Charles Condomine’s new book gets very, very real when she conjures his late wife Elvira from the other side. One teeny tiny little problem. Elvira stays and Madame Arcati can’t quite figure out how to send her back! Among Kathleen’s stage credits are Patty in Walter Cronkite Is Dead, Aida in Over The River and Through The Woods and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, all for The Studio Players. But there’s more here.



Cantrella Canady sizzles in ‘Broadway Palm Thru The Decades’

Cantrella Canady is one of the best young actors in Southwest Florida today. She appears regularly in productions at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Laboratory Theater of Florida, Cultural Park Theatre, The Naples Players and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, where she currently appears in Broadway Palm Thru The Decades, a revue celebrating 30 years of musicals produced by Broadway Palm. Go here to see all of Cantrella’s theatrical credits.



Kiana Cintron part of the ensemble of ‘Broadway Palm Thru The Decades’

Kiana Cintron is a stand-out as a member of the ensemble of Broadway Palm Thru The Decades. Her previous credits include work in the ensemble of In the Heights,  Wanda in Escape to Margaritaville (Prather Entertainment), Sonia in Godspell, Dance Captain in Newsies! (Florida Repertory Theatre), Nina Zarechnaya in Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull (FSW Theatre Program), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, (in which she portrayed seven different characters (FSW Theatre Program)), Tilly in She Kills Monsters (FSW Theatre Program), the Assistant Choreographer Lara in A Chorus Line (Florida Rep Conservancy) and Claire in This Random World (FSW Theatre Program). For more on Kiana, go here.



Louise Cornetta makes Studio Players debut in ‘Beer for Breakfast’

Louise K. Cornetta makes her Studio Players debut in Beer for Breakfast, where she plays the wife of one of four middle-aged buddies who plan a “guys weekend” to reclaim their youth and masculinity. He doesn’t make it to the lodge, but she does, and then gets snowed in overnight with her husband’s besties, sparking an epic struggle to determine who’s the superior sex. Although she graduated cum laude with a degree in theater from the University of Southern California, she didn’t initially go into acting but instead began a 25-year career ESPN that has taken her to every major sporting event. But Cornetta found her way back to the stage seven years ago. Go here for the rest of Louise’s profile.



James Duggan is Charles Condomine in ‘Blithe Spirit’ at The Naples Players

James Duggan plays Charles for The Naples Players in Blithe Spirit.  James previously directed Boeing Boeing this past January and appeared in Don’t Dress for Dinner, Making God Laugh and Maple and Vine, to name a few. James serves as the Director of Patron Services for The Naples Players.



Matt Flynn appears in ‘Beer for Breakfast’ for Studio Players

Matt Flynn appears in Beer Before Breakfast for The Studio Players September 23 through October 9. Matt’s stage credits include The Bare Truth for The Marco Players, The Waverly Gallery for The Studio Players, America’s Sexiest CoupleBorn Yesterday and The Farce Before Christmas for The Marco Players and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Gooper), Saved by the Bell, Where Is Man? and The Zoo Story (all part of An Evening of One Act Plays) for The Studio Players. Many years ago Matt did several shows at The Naples Players including Humble Boy, Neil Simon’s Rumors, and Regrets Only.



Mitch Frank in Studio Players’ cast of ‘Beer for Breakfast’

Mitch Frank appears for The Studio Players in Sean Grennan’s Beer for Breakfast. A recent transplant from New Jersey, Mitch performed in community theater there for more than 30 years. He made his Florida debut and first appearance with The Studio Players in the role of Art Kirk in Nuts. He last appeared in the role of Peter in Slow Food. Go here to see what else Mitch has appeared in.



Shelley Gothard plays Mrs. Bradman for TNP in ‘Blithe Spirit’

Shelley Gothard portrays Mrs. Bradman in The Naples Players’ production of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. She has been involved in many productions at The Naples Players and other local theaters. Shelley was last seen as Hannah in Sarah Treem’s When We Were Young and Unafraid. Other stage credits include Mrs. Marchmont in TNP’s production of An Ideal Husband and work in the ensemble of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.



Nikki Hagel plays prostitute Nellie in ‘Jekyll & Hyde the Musical’

Nikki Hagel appears in the role of a prostitute by the name of Nelly in Jekyll & Hyde the Musical, which opens October 13 at New Phoenix Theatre. Previous roles included Pamela in Head over Heels, Frederick Frankenstein fiancee Elizabeth Benning in Young Frankenstein, Georgie Buckatinsky in The Full Monty, and the memorable role of sax-playing Magenta in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, all for New Phoenix Theatre.



Erica Jones plays dead in ‘Blithe Spirit’

Erica Jones plays Elvira Condomine in Blithe Spirit.  In life, Elvira was spirited, outgoing, wild and carefree. In death, she’s no different, regularly having cocktails with Genghis Khan, among others. It’s a terrific role for Jones, who is highly spirited in real life as well. “Her comedic chops and energy are worth the ticket price alone,” comments cast mate and Assistant TNP Artistic Director Jessica Walck. Erica She was last seen as Gabriella in Boeing Boeing. 



Trace Meier plays Sir Danvers Carew in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ for New Phoenix

Trace Meier appears in the role of Sir Danvers Carew for New Phoenix Theatre in their October production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical. Trace’s stage credits include Quartet, multiple roles in Young Frankenstein and Dr. Scott in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show for New Phoenix Theatre; and the priest in Andorra and roles in A Clockwork Orange and Chekhov’s The Bear for Lab Theater. He previously appeared in the role of Simon Stride in Jekyll & Hyde for Cultural Park Theater.

Go here for all of Trace’s theatrical credits.



Matt Michael shines in ‘Broadway Palm Thru The Decades’

Matt Michael plays multiple roles in Broadway Palm Thru The Decades, the commemorative revue that features song-and-dance numbers from the top-selling musicals produced by Broadway Palm since its opening in 1993. Matt’s previous credits include various roles for Players Circle Theatre in Night and DayThe Dining Room and Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Matt’s other credits can be viewed here.



Danica Murray plays multiple roles in touring production of ‘Lion, Witch and Wardrobe’

From September 27, 2022 through May 31, 2023, Danica and Cameron Rogers will play multiple roles in the Naples Performing Art Center’s Theatre for Young Audiences production of CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. She has already amassed an impressive resume, thanks in large measure to her participation in Florida Repertory Theatre’s Conservancy program. Her acting credits include CFABS Youth Theatre’s bold reimagining of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, Caitlin O’Hare in Over the River and Through the Woods at Off Broadway Palm, The Woman in Woman in Black and Cloe in Bulletproof Backpack. Go here for all of Danica’s stage credits.



Ellie Roddy special in ‘Broadway Palm Thru The Decades’

Ellie Roddy is a featured singer in Broadway Palm Thru The Decades. While her Mezzo Soprano is crazy good, no argument, it’s the quality of her acting that ratchets up the vocals and makes her delivery so special, particularly in numbers with an internal sense of humor like “Real Love of My Life” from Brigadoon and “Miss Adelaide’s Lament” from Guys and Dolls.

Go here for the rest of this Spotlight.



Cassie Sampson in ensemble of ‘Jekyll & Hyde’

Once New Phoenix royalty, Cassie Sampson will now appear as one of London’s street people as a member of the ensemble of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical for New Phoenix Theatre, where she was last seen in the role of Queen Gynecia in Head Over Heels. She also played Melissa in Lives of the Great Waitresses for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, as well as Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense 2: The Second Coming and Leann in A Piece of My Heart for Cultural Park Theater. Go here to view her full and formidable profile.



Adriana Scheer reminds Amy McCleary of herself at that same age

Adriana Michelle Scheer is an NYC-based musical theatre performer and aspiring film actor. She sizzles in Broadway Palm Thru The Decades, a revue that celebrates the top-selling musicals produced by the theater since its inception in 1993. She was previously seen at Broadway Palm in Rock of Ages.

Whether she’s the featured principal or occupies a spot in the ensemble, Adriana is a stand-out in each of the song-and-dance numbers in which she appears. She receives especially high marks from Broadway Palm Director/Choreographer Amy Marie McCleary, who recently had this to say about Adriana in the context of the Hernando’s Hideway number in Thru The Ages:

“[She] reminds me a lot of myself as a young dancer, so that was a very special moment for me to choreograph Adriana in that role, a role that I played.” Go here for the rest of this Spotlight.



Cassy Terwilliger plays Jekyll fiancee for New Phoenix in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’

Cassy Terwilliger plays the role of Emma Carew in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical. Her character in the show is Dr. Jekyll’s increasingly troubled fiancee who, in one of the show’s many highlights, sings a beautiful, soulful duet titled “In His Eyes” with a prostitute by the name of Lucy Harris, who becomes involved with both Jekyll and Hyde. Terwilliger was last seen in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Head Over Heels, which marked her New Phoenix debut. Go here for all of Cassy’s theatrical credits.



Jessica Walck plays part of Ruth Condomine in TNP’s ‘Blithe Spirit’

Jessica Walck appears in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit for TNP in the role of Charles Condomine’s second wife, Ruth. Witty and sophisticated, stuffy and predictable, Ruth is quite the society matron. Understandably, she is concerned, then convinced that her husband has lost his mind when Charles tells her that the medium, Madame Arcati, has not only made contact his deceased first wife, Elvira, but has brought her over from the other side. It is precisely the type of role that plays to Walck’s comedic talent and dramatic flair.

Go here to view all of Jessica’s theatrical credits.





Scott Carpenter directs ‘Jekyll & Hyde the Musical’ for New Phoenix Theatre

Scott Carpenter directs a star-studded cast in Jekyll & Hyde the Musical for New Phoenix Theatre.

Scott’s previous directing credits include last Spring’s production of Head over Heels for New Phoenix Theatre, as well as the Florida premiere of the spoof Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody,  Rumors for Lab Theater, Same Time, Next Year, Jekyll & Hyde the Musical, South Pacific, Mame, and Steel Magnolias.

Go here to view all of Scott’s theatrical credits.



Spotlight on ‘Thru The Decades’ writer and director Victor Legarreta

Victor Legarreta wrote, directed and stars in Broadway Palm Thru The Decades, a show that celebrates the start of Broadway Palm’s 30th season by featuring song-and-dance numbers from the top-selling Broadway musicals produced on the Broadway Palm mainstage since the theater’s inception in 1993. And Legarreta has been affiliated with Broadway Palm for 26 of those 29 years. In fact, Victor’s first show at Broadway Palm was the first show ever staged in the Off Broadway Palm theater. Over that span Victor has written, directed and choreographed 45 other original plays and/or musicals, and directed or choreographers a hundred others.

Go here for more on Victor’s theatrical credits.



Spotlight on ‘Thru The Decades’ choreographer Amy Marie McCleary

Amy Marie McCleary is a multi-faceted musical theater artist who works as an actor, director and choreographer in local and regional theater. Most recently, she choreographed Broadway Palm Thru the Decades, a revue of the top-selling musicals produced by the theater since its inception in 1993. With song-and-dance numbers from 30 disparate shows and the need for her troupe to change their dance vocabulary from one to the next, choreographing Thru The Decades was no mean feat. But, no surprise, McCleary was up to the challenge, which she credits to the quality of the cast. Go here to listen to Amy talk about the show on WGCU.



Director Danica Murray confident cast can handle ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ content and score

Danica Murray is branching out. She’s directing a production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs in October that features students ages 13 to 21.

“It’s a great pop rock gothic musical,” says Danica. “For people who haven’t seen it, it’s a really fun horror kind of retelling of Jekyll & Hyde.”

The musical is loosely based on Robert Louise Stevenson’s 1886 gothic horror novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

“While the cast is 13 to 21, it’s going to appeal to adults as well as kids,” Murray continues. “Everyone will get their kicks in this horror show. It’s going to be fun.”

You will find the rest of this story here.



Artistic Director Kimberly Suskind directs ’13 the Musical’ for Gypsy Playhouse

A recent transplant from Greater Philadelphia, Kimberly Suskind is an actor, singer, dancer and the Artistic Director of Robin Dawn Academy’s Gypsy Playhouse. In that capacity, she is directing 13 the Musical, which runs at the Playhouse September 30-October 2. 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). Go here to view her impressive (and extensive) theatrical credits.



Carling Witt provides choreography for New Phoenix musical ‘Jekyll & Hyde’

Carling Witt provides the choreography for New Phoenix Theatre’s production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical. Witt distinguished herself with her portrayal of Mopsa in Head Over Heels. Other acting credits include Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Penny in Hairspray and Vivienne in Legally Blonde. Carling is employed as a musician and vocalist and has performed for Disney, Warner Bros, and Universal Studios.



Belle Theatre’s Dana Alvarez honored with Freddie G Teaching Fellowship

Home to more than 20 equity and community theater companies, Southwest Florida is gaining national, if not international recognition for producing tomorrow’s stars of the stage and silver screen.

One of the theater educators doing this important developmental work is the Director of Theatre Education at Cape Coral’s new Belle TheatreDana Alvarez. In July, Alvarez was one of just six theater educators from around the world who was invited to take part in the 11th Annual Freddie G Fellowship in New York City.

Listen to the story on WGCU.

Go here for Dana’s full theatrical credits and accomplishments.





Art Committee launches mural project that will turn river basin into outdoor museum

A 54-panel mural project is coming to the downtown Fort Myers river basin. Depicting portraits and scenes that recount Fort Myers’ historic relationship to the Caloosahatchee River, the murals will be installed beginning this November on the concrete stanchions that anchor the decorative railing which encircles the detention basis that is overlooked by the Luminary Hotel.

When they drew up the plans for the detention basin in 2011, the architects who designed Phase 1 of the Riverfront Redevelopment Plan intended to include art on the face of each stanchion. That’s why each stanchion includes a one-inch deep illuminated inset.

Go here for the rest of this story.





‘Broadway Palm Thru the Decades’ celebrates musicals produced over the years

Broadway Palm opens its 30th Anniversary Season with Broadway Palm Thru The Decades playing through October 1. With Broadway Palm Thru the Decades, audiences relive the last three decades of productions that have made Broadway Palm Florida’s premier dinner theatre. This all-new jukebox-style musical features a talented cast of performers that sing and dance their way through some of the greatest Broadway Palm songs of all time … such as numbers from Me and My Girl, 42nd Street, The King and I, Oklahoma, The Music Man, Miss Saigon, CATS and more!

Go here for more.



‘Thru The Decades’ Broadway Palm has been in the happiness business

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers is celebrating the start of its 30 season with a head-bobbing, toe-tapping show that has something for everyone. Titled “Broadway Palm Thru the Decades,” the revue features a musical number from the top-selling show of each season dating back to 1993. And when the music dies and the applause subsides, one thing’s absolutely clear: Thru The Decades, Broadway Palm has been in the happiness business. Go to WGCU for the full story.



CFABS Youth Players perform ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ musical October 14-16

The CFABS Youth Players will perform Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn’s re-imagining of Robert Louise Stevenson’s 1886 gothic horror Jekyll & Hyde October 14-16. The musical tells the gripping tale of a brilliant mind gone horrifically awry.

The story begins with Dr. Henry Jekyll’s quest to cure his ailing father’s mental illness by separating “good” from “evil” in the human personality. But in the effort, the good doctor inadvertently creates an alternate personality of pure evil dubbed Mr. Hyde. As Hyde wreaks murderous havoc on the city of London, Jekyll’s fiancée Emma grows increasingly fearful for her betrothed. Struggling to control Hyde before he takes over for good, Jekyll must race to find a cure for the demon he has created in his own mind.

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.



Director Danica Murray confident cast can handle ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ content and score

Danica Murray is branching out. She’s directing a production of Jekyll & Hyde the Musical at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs in October that features students ages 13 to 21.

“It’s a great pop rock gothic musical,” says Danica. “For people who haven’t seen it, it’s a really fun horror kind of retelling of Jekyll & Hyde.”

The musical is loosely based on Robert Louise Stevenson’s 1886 gothic horror novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

“While the cast is 13 to 21, it’s going to appeal to adults as well as kids,” Murray continues. “Everyone will get their kicks in this horror show. It’s going to be fun.”

Although some of the members of her cast may be young, she’s not softening the edgier parts of the dialogue or characterizations.

The rest of this story is here.



Gulf Coast Symphony robust 2022-23 season to include ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Nunsense’

Since its founding in 1995, Gulf Coast Symphony has produced many spectacular performances, but its 2022-23 season is poised to be its most productive and memorable to date. One reason is its new Music & Arts Community Center on the campus of Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fort Myers. Gulf Coast Symphony founder, CEO and Maestro Andrew Kurtz couldn’t be prouder of the what they’ve done with the facility since opening it in January 2021, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Go here for the full story.



Gypsy Playhouse opens Season 2 with coming-of-age musical ’13’

Robin Dawn Academy’s Gypsy Playhouse opens its second season with a production of 13 the Musical September 30-October 2. With a bright, catchy pop score from Jason Robert Brown, equal doses of humor and pathos, and a cast of wildly talented teens, 13 is irresistible to grown-ups and almost-grown-ups alike.

The rest of this advance is here.

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



Director Kimberly Suskind dishes about 13 on WGCU

Artistic Director Kimberly Suskind dishes about Gypsy Playhouse’s upcoming production of 13 the Musical on WGCU, which also contains clips of three songs from the show. The music in “13” is exceptional. Jason Robert Brown’s score carries the audience through the storyline with one irresistible song after another, but you have to have some really good singers to do justice to this musical’s songbook and Suskind’s performers deliver. But it’s Mia Zottolo and Hannah Cruz who belt out numbers on this radio segment, which you can hear here.



Naples Performing Arts taking Narnia to area elementary and middle schools

Danica Murray and Cameron Rogers are two of Southwest Florida’s most promising young stage actors. You may have seen Murray as Caitlin O’Hare in Over the River and Through the Woods at Off Broadway Palm or Cloe in Bulletproof Backpack at Florida Repertory Theatre. Rogers burst onto the local theater scene in the role of Brad in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show at New Phoenix Theatre and dazzled Laboratory Theater of Florida audiences with his deft and daring swordplay in Dangerous Liaisons.

Interestingly, Murray’s first exposure to theater was at a touring show about Thomas Edison that visited her elementary school. Rogers’s mom took him to a Broadway Palm Children’s Theatre production of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a short time after they’d seen the movie. Now Murray and Rogers are returning the favor by performing multiple roles in the Naples Performing Arts Center’s (NPAC) Theatre for Young Audiences production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Naples Performing Art Center Associate Artistic Director Kody Jones said that while Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) has been around for about four decades, it is new to many people, even avid theater-goers. But TYA has an important role in introducing elementary and middle school students to the performing arts.

Go here for the full story on WGCU.



New Phoenix Theatre going steampunk in season-opening production of ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ 

New Phoenix Theatre opens its 2022-2023 season with Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildthorn’s recreation of Robert Louise Stevenson’s 1886 gothic horror-thriller Jekyll & Hyde. The gripping tale of a brilliant mind gone horrifically awry, New Phoenix’s production of this disturbingly dark musical comes with a decidedly steampunk slant. Assuming the role of Costume Designer, Brenda Kensler will be outfitting the characters in steampunk. Drawing its inspiration from 19th century Victorian clothing and industrial machinery, the accessories are as distinctive as the clothing. Southwest Florida theater-goers will be holding their collective breath as we wait to see what Kensler has in store for this production. Go here for the full advance.

Play dates, times and a cast list can be found here.



Love and marriage devolve into laughter and mayhem in TNP’s ‘Blithe Spirit’

Noël Coward’s smash comedy hit Blithe Spirit plays in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players September 28 through October 23. Don’t miss the production where love and marriage devolve into laughter and mayhem – and ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ no longer applies. Here’s the set-up: Charles Condomine (James Dugan) is a fussy, cantankerous skeptic. But his spiritual skepticism vanishes when the ghost of his deceased first wife, Elvira (Erica Jones), accidentally materializes—but only to him. Elvira’s still in love and wants Charles back, and she’s not about to let a little thing like death stand in her way!

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket info.



Noel Coward comedy ‘Blithe Spirit’ puts new spin on vow ‘Till Death Do Us Part’

Noel Coward’s smash comedy hit Blithe Spirit plays in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players September 28th through October 23rd. First produced in Britain in 1941, this timeless farce puts a new spin on “Till Death Do Us Part” when a local medium conjures a writer’s first wife from the beyond and she decides she’s not leaving. Listen on WGCU as Director Emma Canalese and actor Jessica Walck provide the details.


‘Beer for Breakfast’ a masterpiece of modern mirth

Beer for Breakfast closes out its Hurricane Ian-truncated run October 6-9, with performances in the Joan Jenks Auditorium at Golden Gate Community Center at 7:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday’s 3:00 p.m. closing matinee is sold out. The show will provide two much-needed hours of non-stop laughs. Sean Grennan’s comedy is a study in silliness, and masterpiece of modern mirth filled with clever dialogue and hilarity. Four middle-aged buddies reunite for a “guys’ weekend” — complete with old music, cheap beer and enough cholesterol to stop Superman’s heart.  These guys are out to prove they’ve still got it, so they are going to party like it’s 1979!  It’s all going well until one of them doesn’t show up…but his wife does.  Snowed in overnight, an epic struggle ensues: will man be judged the superior sex or will woman prevail? The full advance is here.

Go here for more information.

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