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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news June 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


Jim Brock and Ghostbird bring ‘One Island’ to Wasmer Gallery in June

Jim Brock is a founding member and Producing Director of Ghostbird Theatre Company. An actor, playwright, poet and Professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University, Brock’s latest project is One Island, a combo performance piece and art exhibit “400 million years in the making” made possible by an Arts Project Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Brock’ extensive acting and playwriting credits can be viewed here along with information about his four books of poetry and academic achievements.



Danielle Channell plays ‘Clark Gable Slept Here’ fixer Morgan Wright

Morgan Wright is a Hollywood fixer. She’s paid handsomely to keep the lid on the unsavory details of the stars’ lives. She’s loud, sarcastic, superior and condescending. Some might even call her a beeatch. One thing’s for sure – you don’t want to get on this woman’s wrong side. The role calls for an actor with a big personality. Someone who doesn’t just command the stage, but commands every scene. Someone who has a definitive feel for comedic overdramatization. In other words, it’s a role tailor made for the Southwest Florida’s Queen of Farce, Danielle Channell. Go her to discover how Danielle became a royal.



Steven Coe is Mitch Brenner in Lab’s ‘The Birds: A Parody’

Steven Coe portrays Mitch Brenner in Lab Theater’s spoof of the iconic Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds. His evolving body of work includes the impudent, bitingly witty rake Vicomte de Valmont in Lab Theater’s production of Dangerous Liaisons, Chris in Killer Joe, Jim Fingal in Lifespan of a Fact for Players Circle Theatre, Joe Gillis in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard, Sandro Botticelli in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Thomas Novachek in David Ives’ Venus in Fur for The Studio Players and Andri in Andorra. You can view Steven’s full profile here.



Katelyn Gravel part of ‘One Island’ Ghostbird/FGCU collaboration

Katelyn Gravel is part of the Ghostbird Theatre Company creative team that is bringing the One Island performance piece and correlative art exhibit to the Wasmer Gallery at Florida Gulf Coast University. Gravel is an actor, singer, songwriter, poet, playwright, make-up artist, costume designer and stage manager. She has performed in numerous Ghostbird productions, including Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe, Barry Cavin’s Ibb (in the historic Langford-Kingston Home), ORBS! (at Koreshan State Park), Writing Shadows (also in the Langford-Kingston Home), No. 27, The Chicken Play and Antigonick. Go here to read more about Katelyn’s theatrical and related accomplishments.



Heather Johnson appears for Lab in ‘The Birds: A Parody’

Heather Johnson appears for the Laboratory Theater of Florida in its summer spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1963 American horror, The Birds. Heather’s stage credits include Sharla in the Southwest Florida premiere of Killer Joe, Jane in the Florida premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, Rebecca Nurse in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, an aggrieved soccer mom (and the only adult cast member) in The Wolves, Andre’s mother in Max Frisch’s Andorra, multiple roles in Every Christmas Story Ever Told and the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. You will find the rest of Heather’s stage and other credits here.



Steven Michael Kennedy portrays Melanie Daniels in Lab’s spoof of ‘The Birds’

Steven Michael Kennedy portrays Melanie Daniels in Lab Theater’s summer spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 American horror movie The Birds. Steven previously played Princeton in Avenue Q,  Leonardo da Vinci in Botticelli in the FireGrumpy Old Men for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, the role of Dan Anderson in the first U.S. licensed production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man and Elvis-impersonator-turned-drag-queen, Casey, in The Legend of Georgia McBride for the Laboratory Theater of Florida, and George Hay in Moon Over Buffalo, Sir Harry in Once Upon a Mattress35mm: A Musical Exhibition, Larry in Burn This and the titular role in Pippin.

Go here for all of Steven’s stage and film credits.



Todd Lyman appearing in ‘The Birds: A Parody’

Todd Lyman is appearing for Lab Theater in its summer spoof The Birds: A Parody. Todd Lyman is a Fort Myers actor whose credits include the roles of Antonio in The Tempest, Assemblyman Paul Gordon, Dr. Tim and Mr. Yarmowich in Topher Payne’s Let Nothing You Dismay, Thomas Putnam in The Crucible, multiple roles (Customers 3, 6 and 9) in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V.,  and Teddy LaPetite in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is … Go here to see all of Todd’s stage credits.



Adrial McCloud appearing in ‘The Birds: A Parody’

Adrial McCloud appears in Lab Theater’s summer spoof, The Birds: A Parody. McCloud has been a performer from the age of 4 and has a passion for all aspects of theater. Her performances have ranged from church plays to Broadway reviews to Shakespeare and more. In her most recent performance, she played Cecile de Volanges in Dangerous Liaisons. 

Go here for more on Adrial’s stage and other credits.



Daniel Sabiston has funny costumes, hilarious scenes in ‘The Birds: A Parody’

Daniel Sabiston appears in various roles for Lab Theater in its summer spoof, The Birds: A Parody, including a beleaguered and exasperated clapperboard tech who identifies takes and scenes to facilitate film and audio post-production synchronization. His scenes and costumes are some of the funniest in the show.

Go here to see Daniel’s previous roles and other credits.



Sue Schaffel playing role of Lydia Brenner in Lab’s spoof of ‘The Birds’

Sue Schaffel never misses a Lab Theater summer spoof, so in June she’s portraying Lydia Brenner in Lab Theater’s parroty of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film The Birds. “I remember seeing this movie, The Birds, years and years and years ago, and it scared the daylights out of me,” says Schaffel. “I thought, well at least it’s a parody. It’ll be funny … dada dada da.” Schaffel’s stage credits include The Complete Story of America (Abridged), White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Norma Desmond in the Lab Theater parody Sunset Schmoulevard, Blanche DuBois in Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody and Velma in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte for Lab Theater. Go here to read up on all of Schaffel’s stage and film credits.



Alicia Schwartz plays Estella in ‘Clark Gable Slept Here’

If you like Rosie Perez’s comedic work (It Could Happen to You, HBO’s The Flight Attendant: Where Else You’ve Seen the Cast), then you’ll love Alicia Schwartz’s performance for The Studio Players in Clark Gable Slept Here. Through the character of Estella, playwright Michael McKeever satirizes the stereotypical Latina hotel maid, and, in that guise, Schwartz delivers in rapid-fire bursts of staccato Spanish an absolutely hilarious explanation of just what she saw when she entered Patrick Zane’s hotel room and found the naked body of a dead male hooker, not once, but twice, before it’s revealed that she’s also fluent in English and running her own little scam. Schwartz is making her Studio Players’ debut with the role. She previously played Kate Dillon in Good People for The Marco Players. A retired nurse, Alicia shares that she’s come late in life to the world of theater, but this role portends that she’s capable of more and even better roles.



Perry Ventro plays Jarrod ‘Hilly’ Hilliard in ‘Clark Gable Slept Here’

Perry Ventro plays Hilly in Clark Gable Slept Here. As action film star Patrick Zane’s manager, Ventro’s character, Jarrod “Hilly” Hilliard is the one who draws attention to and excoriates the Hollywood mindset in which the means – any means – justify the end of protecting the image of superstar actors because they are, after all  “multinational enterprise … a billion-dollar industry that impacts the lives of thousands of people … a billion dollar industry that has been carefully and methodically cultivated over the past two decades until it was honed into the well-run, well-respected, possibly award-winning brand ….” You will find the rest of this profile here.






Dana Alvarez directing ‘Newsies’ for The Belle Theatre

Dana Alvarez is the Director of Theatre Education at The Belle Theatre in Cape Coral. She has directed more than 25 major musicals, including three Disney pilot productions. Her most recent directorial projects include School of RockThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Peter Pan. She is currently directing Newsies the Musical.

You can view all of Dana’s theatrical credits here.



Sami Doherty choreographing ‘Newsies’ for new Belle Theatre

Sami Doherty is choreographing Newsies the Musical, which opens on June 10th at the news Belle Theatre in Cape Coral. The show promises to be a blockbuster, and not only reflects Doherty’s energetic and inspirational choreography and uncompromising attention to detail, but the entire cast had the benefit of a one-day workshop with Cape Coral native Michael Fatica, who was in the cast of the original Broadway production. And tap dance fans are especially in for a treat. “King of New York” is worth the price of the ticket on its own. For more on Sami’s impressive and extensive acting, dance and choreography credits:




Spotlight on Fort Myers’ Ward 2 art hub at Urban Community Farm

The City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee has been establishing art hubs in each of the City’s six wards using the 23 Edgardo Carmona sculptures that the City purchased in August of 2018. One such art hub is the Urban Community Farm which is located in Ward 2 a block south of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard between Barden and Flint Streets.

It may seem strange at first blush to establish an art hub at a farm, but Urban Community Farm is actually the perfect choice. The term art hub refers to a location that is already or which is intended to become either a cultural, business or residential destination. Urban Community Farm is all three.

Go here for the rest of this report.



Nanci Theoret’s ‘Art for All’ article compares public art programs

Be sure to pick up a copy of Florida Weekly and read, read, read Nanci Theoret’s excellent article “Art for All: How Outdoor Public Art Defines Our Community.” BTW, Art Southwest Florida contributed the “courtesy” photographs included in the feature, but that’s not why you should read this piece. It really makes the argument for why every community, including Fort Myers, the Cape, Bonita and Naples, benefits from having a vibrant public art program.





Belle Theatre’s ‘Newsies’ joyful, uplifting song-and-dance extravaganza

Newsies the Musical is coming to Cape Coral’s newest playhouse, the Belle Theater on Santa Barbara Boulevard. Adapted for the stage from the popular Disney film, Newsies features a poignant book by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, Kinky Boots: The Musical), lyrics by Jack Feldman (Thumbelina, Pretty in Pink), music by legendary composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Little Shop of Horrors, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and choreography from Melody Lane’s own Sami Doherty. Inspired by the true story of the 1899 Newsboys Strike, Newsies is a joyful, uplifting and highly entertaining musical capturing the strength that young people have when they join together to stand against injustice.

The rest of this advance is here.

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



Ghostbird’s ‘One Island’ combines performance piece with art exhibit in Wasmer Gallery

In collaboration with the Art Galleries of Florida Gulf Coast University, Ghostbird Theatre Company will present One Island during the month of June in the Wasmer Gallery on the FGCU campus. One Island combines a performance piece with an art exhibition.

“We have brought together a set of international artists and performers, inviting you to join us for an evening of quiet, a little music, a little wonder, where we rise and find our own paths, where we learn to hold all that we love tenderly,” says Ghostbird in its advance for the production.

400 million years in the making, the play follows a boy is at the sea, talking about the sea. And then the sea is in the gallery. And the performers are in it too. And on the sand, stretched out, trying to speak to each other in the wind, feeling all the things that can be felt.

The rest of this advance is here.



Spotlight on CalArts’ Brittney Brady

Brittney Brady is returning from Southern California to participate in One Island, a collaboration of international artists that combines performance work with a correlative art exhibition. Both will be staged in the Wasmer Gallery at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Brady is remembered in Southwest Florida for founding Ghostbird Theatre Company with James Brock, Katelyn Gravel, Philip Heubeck and FGCU Theatre Professor Barry Cavin.  Ghostbird evolved organically out of Brady’s experiences while studying theater and English at Florida Gulf Coast University. During her time there, the FGCU TheatreLab produced two of her plays, Paler than Grass (2011) and Monty and the Bat Shaman (2012). The rich relationships she formed with Cavin, Brock. Gravel and Heubeck led to them to establish Ghostbird as the resident theater company at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center with the ambitious mission producing original, site-specific works that move audiences toward a poetic sense of the world, thereby engaging, inspiring and educating the Southwest Florida theater community at large. You’ll find the rest of this Spotlight here.



Lab Theater’s eagerly-anticipated June parody is Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’

The Laboratory Theater of Florida Season 14 summer season opens June 3 with the world premiere of The Birds: A Parody. This laugh-out-loud spoof of the classic Alfred Hitchcock horror-thriller film features the inhabitants of Bodega Bay, California who inexplicably fall prey to violent attack by thousands of rampaging birds.

You can read the rest of this advance here.

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



Peep thrills are coming to the Laboratory Theater with a ‘parroty’ of ‘The Birds’

The Laboratory Theater of Florida celebrates the coming of summer each year by spoofing a famous Hollywood movie. This year, it’s Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film “The Birds.” Naples actor Sue Schaffel plays Lydia Brenner, who was portrayed in the movie by Jessica Tandy. She had misgivings when artistic director Annette Trossbach told her that Lab’s doing a take off on “The Birds in June.

“I remember seeing this movie, “The Birds,” years and years and years ago, and it scared the daylights out of me,” said Schaffel. “And I thought, omigosh, when Annette comes up with this idea of we’re going to do a parody of “The Birds.” I thought, well at least it’s a parody. It’ll be funny … dada dada da.”

Listen to the story on WGCU hereOr go here to read the full story.



‘Clark Gable Slept Here’ big on laughs, wit and biting sarcasm

The Studio Players bring Clark Gable Slept Here to the Joan Jenks stage at Golden Gate Community Center June 3-19. Directed by Scott Lilly, the play stars Danielle Channell, Perry Ventro, Luke Lauchle, Alicia Schwartz and Ricky Shafer.

It is the night of the Golden Globes, and superstar Patrick Zane is on the red carpet with his wife. He’s nominated for “Best Actor” for a role he played in his latest action film. As Zane charms his way through the awards ceremony, his staff is attempting to put out a red hot dumpster fire. You see, the maid’s found the body of a male prostitute on the bedroom floor in Zane’s suite at Hollywood’s historic Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. The rest of this advance is here.

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


The 12th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival closed with an awards ceremony and after party on May 22, and here’s a recap of the various previews, postviews and spotlights that appeared in Art Southwest Florida in the lead up to and during the festival:
  1. 12th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival to open with ‘Calendar Girls’ documentary
  2. Listen to ‘Calendar Girls’ interview on WGCU
  3. Eric Raddatz promises cornucopia of fresh indie films
  4. Spotlight on documentary ‘Missing Meadows: Restoring Florida’s Seagrasses’
  5. Spotlight on ‘Missing Meadows’ filmmaker Sonny DePasquale
  6. Spotlight on short film ‘Music Box’
  7. Spotlight on ‘Music Box’ filmmaker Kyle Cyr
  8. Spotlight on documentary ‘It’s Just Parkinson’s’
  9. Spotlight on ‘It’s Just Parkinson’s’ filmmaker Diane Akam
  10. ‘Letter for My Son’ a call to action in time of uncertainty
  11. Spotlight on ‘Letter to My Son’ producer Elijah Gromalski
  12. Spotlight on ‘Letter to My Son’ director Justine Sophia
  13. Spotlight on animated environmental film ‘Watch the Feet’
  14. Spotlight on ‘Watch the Feet’ screenwriter and director Laura Tufariello
  15. Spotlight on 1836 documentary ‘Experience the Adirondacks
  16. Spotlight on ‘Experience the Adirondacks’ filmmaker 1836 Agency
  17. Spotlight on environmental film ‘Busy in the Battery’
  18. Spotlight on environmental film ‘Protecting the Monarch Butterfly’
  19. Spotlight on ‘Busy in the Battery’ & ‘Protecting the Monarch’ filmmaker Sonny DePasquale
  20. Spotlight on ‘Tales of Sunshine: Florida Ecostories
  21. Spotlight on ‘Tales of Sunshine’ filmmaker Vince Marcucci
  22. Spotlight on short film ‘Managed’
  23. Spotlight on ‘Managed’ filmmakers
  24. Spotlight on ‘Managed’ short film actor Devin Brochu
  25. Spotlight on ‘Managed’ short film actor Savannah Ballot
  26. Spotlight on Michelle Danner action thriller ‘The Runner’
  27. Spotlight on Caytha Jentis short film ‘April Showers’
  28. Spotlight on ‘April Showers’ filmmaker Caytha Jentis
  29. Spotlight on short film ‘Gretel + Hansel: A New Musical’
  30. Spotlight on ‘Gretel + Hansel’ filmmaker Alex Preston
  31. Spotlight on short film ‘In the Driver’s Seat’
  32. Spotlight on ‘In the Driver’s Seat’ filmmaker Ralph Klisiewicz
  33. Spotlight on Tim Ritter short film ‘The Lost Age’
  34. Spotlight on ‘Lost Age’ filmmaker Tim Ritter
  35. Spotlight on ‘Lost Age’ actory Bryson JonSteele
  36. Spotlight on Pat Mitchell film ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’
  37. Spotlight on ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’ filmmaker Pat Mitchell
  38. Spotlight on ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’ actor Calvin Waldau
  39. Spotlight on ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’ actor Skye Marie Sena
  40. Spotlight on ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’ actor Valeria Di Babbo
  41. Spotlight on ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’ actor Jim Barbour
  42. Spotlight on ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’ actor etc. Alena Stevenson
  43. Spotlight on Michael Glover Smith feature ‘Relative’
  44. Spotlight on ‘Relative’ filmmaker Michael Glover Smith
  45. Spotlight on ‘Relative’ lead Cameron Scott Roberts
  46. Spotlight on ‘Relative’ actor Wendy Robie
  47. Spotlight on ‘Relative’ actor Heather Chrisler
  48. Spotlight on ‘Relative’ actor Clare Mairead Cooney
  49. Spotlight on ‘Relative’ actor Keith D. Gallagher
  50. Spotlight on short film ‘Daggers Drawn’
  51. Spotlight on ‘Daggers Drawn’ filmmaker James Cotton
  52. Spotlight on ‘Daggers Drawn’ actor Gley Viera
  53. Spotlight on ‘Daggers Drawn’ actor Ricky Herrera
  54. Spotlight on short film ‘The Jogger’ 
  55. Spotlight on ‘The Jogger’ Director Daryl Denner
  56. Spotlight on ‘Jogger’ actor Amanda Kristen Troisi
  57. Spotlight on ‘The Koreshans: Legends and Legacies of Estero’s Urban Planners
  58. Spotlight on Koreshan documentary filmmaker Ilene Safron Whitesman
  59. ‘The Runner’ named Best Feature by Fort Myers Film Festival
  60. ‘Calendar Girls’ named Best Documentary by Fort Myers Film Festival
  61. Best Local Film is ‘Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes’
  62. ‘Everyone in Between’ named Best Environmental Film by FMff
  63. ‘In the Driver’s Seat’ wins Best Short at Fort Myers Film Festival
  64. ‘Lost Age’ named 2022 Fort Myers Film Festival’s Best Short Short
  65. Best Student Film at 2022 FMff is Nya Chambless’ ‘Just Believe’
  66. Ilene Safron wins Edison Innovation Award at Fort Myers Film Festival

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