Thursday, September 12, 2013

Opera Naples announces three audition dates

More auditions.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

FSU/Asolo offer touring production of Romeo & Juliet

Teachers, this is probably an interesting thing, especially if you're teaching Shakespeare this year. I mean, who doesn't want to take a field trip and/or get someone to come to the classroom?

The production begins its tour of performances at schools, organizations and unique venues across the state on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. To schedule a performance, call 941.351.9010 ext. 3306.

Complete press release below.


An FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Production: ROMEO & JULIET

New Stages Tour Explores: IS LOVE A TENDER THING?

(Sarasota, FL) – Asolo Repertory Theatre presents its 2013 New Stages Tour, an FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training production of ROMEO & JULIET, adapted from the play by William Shakespeare. This 45-minute version includes post-show discussions at each performance. As its fourth touring season begins, New Stages will travel to schools and community organizations across the state of Florida. Last year, over 18,000 audience members were reached throughout the state, with 60 performances at 45 venues. This new adaptation of ROMEO & JULIET by Lauryn E. Sasso and Dmitry Troyanovsky, and directed by Troyanovsky, will embark on a two month tour beginning October 1, 2013. Performances can be scheduled by contacting the Education and Outreach staff at Asolo Rep.

Special Opening Night public performances in the Cook Theatre will be held on October 3 at 6:00 pm & 8:30 pm with a reception between performances, which is included in the ticket price.  

This world-premiere adaptation of the Bard’s most beloved romantic tragedy introduces a new generation to the tale of star-crossed lovers who, in defiance of their families and amidst the animosity of friends, risk everything to be together for love. ROMEO & JULIET asks how do we recognize love? Is it fast and fleeting? Is it passionate and desirable? Is it soft and palpable? Is love a tender thing?

“This year’s New Stages production of ROMEO & JULIET continues the work of Asolo Rep’s American Character Project into its second year,” Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards remarks. “As Asolo Rep has deepened its examination of the American Character several themes have emerged, running throughout the season. One of the most powerful is the theme of family – in all its many forms – and Shakespeare’s vibrant classic is a powerful take on family drama. There is no ‘family feud’ more well-known than the one between the Montagues and the Capulets, and the play – particularly in this potent new adaptation – allows us to explore such conflicts and consider both their root causes and potential resolutions.”                                                       
“Romeo and Juliet do what normal teenagers do: fall head over heels for each other. Love, it turns out, may be just as perilous as hatred,” says director and co-adapter Dmitry Troyanovsky. “Shakespeare masterfully shows us how two ordinary adolescents, surrounded by inept adults and hapless caregivers, can self-destruct due to a series of disastrous, if understandable, choices. This should, in no way, make us see the story in cynical terms. Stripped of lofty clichés, ROMEO & JULIET becomes a story about real people – touching, funny, awkward, self-dramatizing, rash, confused, and tenderly alive.” Co-adapter, and Resident Dramaturg for Asolo Rep, Lauryn E. Sasso adds, “ROMEO & JULIET is possibly one of the most well-known and beloved plays in the Shakespeare canon, but the process of crafting this adaptation has allowed us to highlight its most dynamic elements and make a familiar text new and exciting all over again.”

ROMEO & JULIET aims to introduce the New Stages program to more audiences than any previous tour. “In conversations with teachers and students, the title most frequently requested for future performances was ROMEO & JULIET,” says Asolo Rep’s Education and Outreach Director, Kathryn Moroney. “The unprecedented curiosity and enthusiasm to meet these two most famous of Shakespeare’s young characters offers the potential for a truly powerful encounter between the artists and students.” To help this production reach as many students as possible, Asolo Rep’s Education and Outreach department offers a special discount to schools/community venues booking more than one performance.

Regarding this particular production of ROMEO & JULIET for New Stages, Moroney says, “Our production seeks to introduce characters who are very like the young people we will meet in our audiences: characters in contemporary dress, characters who look like our families and their friends. This story doesn’t unfold long ago and far away; our cast could have just stepped from the audience, or in from the street in 2013. We relish the chance to introduce a Romeo and Juliet who don’t emerge from a vault or a museum, but who seem to live in our own times and experiences.”

New Stages ensures people of all backgrounds, especially young people, have the experience of live theatre. New Stages reaches new and wider audiences through Asolo Rep’s continuing partnership with the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. New Stages will be in residence from October 28 – November 1 at the South-Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, performing ROMEO & JULIET for schools and the public as part of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Shadow Interpreted Theatre Program and Open Access Theatre Series. The Shadow Interpreted Theatre Program utilizes trained American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters in a “shadow” performance literally paired alongside the ROMEO & JULIET actors, creating an art form seamlessly integrated into the live performance.

The acting company members of ROMEO & JULIET are enrolled in the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, a three-year graduate program culminating in a Master of Fine Arts degree. Only 12 students are chosen each year from thousands who audition in four cities nationwide. Actors are provided with rigorous training in a professional theatre environment, including membership in the Asolo Repertory Theatre acting company during their third year. Asolo Rep presents the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Production of ROMEO & JULIET to highlight the skills of the third-year acting company, all of whom will be seen in the upcoming Asolo Rep main stage season. Graduates of the program have appeared on and off Broadway, in regional theatres, in feature films and on television. U.S. News and World Report consistently places FSU’s graduate theatre programs in its top-tier rankings, one of the few public university programs so honored.

In 2013 Asolo Rep’s Education and Outreach program was awarded for the second year in a row WEDU’s Be More Enriched Arts & Culture Award for their “spirit of adventure and exploration through education in the arts.” Asolo Rep subsidizes the costs of the New Stages touring program through charitable contributions from foundations, corporations and individual donors. For more information on how to support New Stages, please contact Tricia Mire, Development Director at 941.351.9010 x 4700.

ROMEO & JULIET – Fact Sheet:

Teachers receive study guides to prepare their students for the performances. Classes can also participate in special online pre-show and post-show workshops. Please note: While ROMEO & JULIET will be performed mostly in high schools, its themes are inclusive for audiences ranging from middle school-aged students to senior citizens.

v  Touring information for ROMEO & JULIET: This production begins its tour of performances at schools, organizations and unique venues across the state on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. To schedule a performance, call 941.351.9010 ext. 3306.

v  Ticketing information for ROMEO & JULIET on Thursday, October 3 Opening Night: For single tickets to the Opening Night public performances in the Cook Theatre on October 3 at 6:00 pm or 8:30 pm, call the box office at 941.351.8000, toll-free at 800.361.8388. All seats are $25 for the October 3 performances and include access to the special Opening Night reception. Tickets for ROMEO & JULIET will be on sale starting Wednesday, September 11.

Video: Watch the moody trailer for Ghostbird's second-season debut, "Miss Julie"

Here's the video trailer for Ghostbird's upcoming "Miss Julie."

"Miss Julie" follows a battle of the sexes at a Swedish estate at Midsummer's Eve. Think of it as "A Little Night Music" for intellectuals. It was also the first play Ghostbird founder Brittney Brady ever acted in. You can read more about "Miss Julie" and the remarkable success of the Kickstarter crowd funding effort behind the show here:

"Miss Julie" runs Sept. 11-15 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers. Tickets are $10; call 239-333-1933 or

Kid's TV and Film on Camera Workshop

John McKerrow passed this along.

Video: Can you tell me how to get to Armadillo Acres?

Here's a video from the Naples Players production of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical."

Well, not exactly. See. there's an on-the-sly Facebook page promoting the show. Ya'll need to check it out.

The "Trailer Park" cast includes Jenna Canfield as Pippi, Debi Guthery as Betty, Lisa Frederico as Linoleum, Greg Jensen as Duke, Randall Kenneth Jones as Norbert, Alyssa Lee as Pickles and Laura Needle as Jeannie. Dawn Lebrecht Fornara will direct.

Broadway Palm produced a stellar version of this show in April 2012; read my review here:

"The Great American Trailer Park Musical" runs Oct. 9 - Nov. 2, 2013 at the Naples Players. Tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for children 18 and under. Call 239-263-7990 or online at

TheatreZone season auditions Sept. 13, 14 & 15

Equity and non-equity performer auditions (principal/chorus) for the 2013-14 TheatreZone season will be held by appointment from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15.

A special "kid's-only" audition to fill the more than 15 children's roles in "Whistle Down the Wind" will take place from 3-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13.

For appointments, email (preferred) or call (239) 449-2323. Equity members without appointments will be seen throughout the audition day as time permits.

More auditions at our audition calendar.

Get the latest TheatreZone marketing email

OK. I'm not going to summarize the TheatreZone marketing email.

Visit the web link:

The TheatreZone season opens with "Whistle Down the Wind," which runs Jan. 9-19, 2014.

Santos, Vanagas to co-star in Naples Players' "Irma Vep"

Mike Santos and Mark Vanagas with co-star in the Naples Players production of "The Mystery of Irma Vep." Dallas Dunnagan will direct the show, which opens Oct. 30.

Complete press release below.

The Naples Players casts The Mystery of Irma Vep

The Naples Players will perform The Mystery of Irma Vep in the Tobye Studio from October 30 through November 23, 2013. Mike Santos and Mark Vanagas will play 7 roles in this quick-change send up of horror stories. Dallas Dunnagan will direct. Mike Santos is scenic designer and Dot Auchmoody is costume designer. Light and sound design will be done by Craig Walck.

The show will be performed Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 21 and under, and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 239.263.7990 with credit card information, or by visiting Sugden Community Theatre is located at 701 5th Avenue South on the Plaza in downtown Naples.

Artis-Naples appoints David Filner to VP post

David Filner
So, the Phil. Or whatever it's calling itself nowadays. I know. I know. I'm sorry Kathleen. That name. I just can't.

Artis–Naples has announced a new, high-level staff appointment. David Filner (his LinkedIn) assumes the newly created position of Vice President of Artistic Operations.

The press release is pretty bland sauce, but Google coughs up some gems.

For starters, the San Antonio Symphony had a blog on the city's newspaper site: It carries Filner's name, as he was the interim CEO since November 2012; there haven't been any updates since Filner took a new post with the organization in May.

This interview with ART Magazine serves notice - in no uncertain terms - that Filner shares Kathleen van Bergen's vision for the former Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts. This is good reading - and it makes you ask: Why wasn't this happening all along?

Here are some choice phrases: "collaborative," "bringing music into people’s lives," "out in the community everyday," "what does this organization need to move forward," "move forward in order to expand our audiences."

And I'm just going to paste this entire two paragraphs. I can't decide if I want to see it come to pass - or not.

We have a new group called Club Coda, a group of young professionals. We are partnering with Lion & Rose to have an event on Saturday night concerts in which prior to the concert there is a get together for young professionals at Lion and Rose and then they get on a party bus and come to the symphony and then take the party bus back to Lion and Rose. You just sign up online and it is a lot of fun. It is a new growing group that we are excited about.

There are a lot of things that we are doing to make people understand that we are relevant to the city in that way. We will always do Beethoven and Mozart and that is the heart of what we do, but we are also doing Paul McCartney and Fiesta Pops and education concerts and all of those things. [emphasis mine] We really think that our music and our musicians make a big difference in the community and we want to expand on that.
And did we mention David Filner is about my age?

Welcome to Naples. The beaches are great. Watch out for the hurricanes.

Complete press release below.


Naples, FL – Kathleen van Bergen, Artis—Naples CEO and President, today announced the appointment of David Filner to the newly created position of Vice President of Artistic Operations.  The announcement comes as part of the organization’s continued commitment to growth, a desire to unify the artistic, operations and educational efforts of Artis—Naples and an overall dedication to quality in its people and programs.

About David Filner
Filner joins the organization from the San Antonio Symphony, where he has served for more than seven years. Filner held several positions in San Antonio, including Director of Education and Community Engagement, General Manager and Interim CEO.

Filner brings a wealth of experiences and a proven track record of success in developing vision and strategy with comprehensive experience in artistic planning and operations. Notably, Filner completed the prestigious League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, a year-long, highly competitive program designed to launch executive careers in orchestra management. As part of the program, Filner undertook residencies at the Alabama Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and the Aspen Music Festival.  Additionally, he served for more than ten years as Director of the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop in Arcata, California.  Filner has degrees from Oberlin College and a Master of Music in viola performance from Rice University.  He begins on September 9.

“It was critical to find a partner who understands the planning and programming elements for a multi-disciplinary organization, who would have the depth and knowledge of the orchestral field to support our Music Director, Andrey Boreyko, serve the musicians of the Naples Philharmonic, and who could represent the organization both nationally and internationally to agents, guest artists, conductors and collaborators. We have found that partner in David, and I am delighted to welcome him to Artis—Naples,” van Bergen remarked.

"A Teatime Travesty" brewing on Fort Myers Beach

It's the opening day of the Lily Pond Tearoom
and the day's about to go...south.
And trust'll want to be there!
The Holiday Inn on Fort Myers Beach will host "A Teatime Travesty" for two weekends on Oct. 5-6 and 12-13. The show, an original one-act from playwright Laurie Neinhaus, tells of a society social gone awkwardly awry.

One of the hotel's meeting rooms will be transformed into a Roaring '20s speakeasy for the occasion.

Tickets ($30, tax & gratuity included) guarantee guests luncheon with tea or coffee, dessert and the show. Jazz Age cocktails, such as a Mary Pickford, Gin Rickey or Side Car and other adult beverages available, along with a cash bar.

"A Teatime Travesty" runs Oct. 5, 6, 12 & 13 at the Holiday Inn, 6890 Estero Boulevard on Fort Myers Beach. Doors open at 1 p.m., with lunch service at 1:30 p.m. and showtime at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $30; call (239) 463-1079 or

You can read my long-ago review of "A Teatime Travesty," when it was performed at Brambles Tea Room in Naples, here:

Complete press release below.


FORT MYERS BEACH, FL (September 9, 2013) – Playwright, author, and local speaker Laurie Neinhaus puts her creativity to work again with a new spin on “A Teatime Travesty,” a one-act play by Beach Haus Productions. Those who have seen it before at one of several Southwest Florida venues, will not want to miss one of only four performance dates at the Holiday Inn, 6890 Estero Blvd. Fort Myers Beach.
            Tickets are $30 per person for limited seating on two consecutive weekends at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6, or October 12 and 13. Included with the ticket price is the show, luncheon with tea or coffee, dessert, tax and gratuities. Themed 1920s cocktails, such as a Mary Pickford, Gin Rickey or Side Car and other adult beverages will be available for purchase.
            Holiday Inn is a sponsor, transforming a meeting room to a Roaring ‘20s speakeasy.
            Presented by The Friends of the Arts of Fort Myers Beach and Beach Haus Productions, the play opens with the arrival of guest speaker Fern Well, a fashion disaster who regales the audience in the Lily Pond Tea Room with stories about botanical toxicity instead of roses.  Mayhem ensues as horrified society mavens smilingly wrest control of the room despite rivalries of their own.
            Doors open at 1:00 p.m. with a cash bar. Lunch is served at 1:30 p.m. and the show begins at 2:30 p.m. Seating may be reserved by calling Laurie Neinhaus at 239-463-1079 or visiting her website at

Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday: Stephanie Davis on "Miss Witherspoon"

Welcome to "Music Monday." Actors share their character's playlist, and (sometimes) the reasons why.

Today, Stephanie Davis shares her playlist (but not the reasons why). Our erstwhile Downtown Diva will play Veronica in "Miss Witherspoon," Christopher Durang's black-as-night comedy at the Lab Theater this fall.

"I'm going to forfeit the bonus points on this one," Davis wrote, although she did including a winking emoticon. Shall we forgive her?

"Miss Witherspoon" follows a woman on her journey through the afterlife. Veronica, who committed suicide, gets cranky when she's sent back to learn the meaning of life. She's saddled (her view) with a rather chirpy Indian spirit guide and then sent to a Tibetan Buddhist netherworld. The show was a 2006 Pulitzer finalist for drama. Lab Theater founder Annette Trossbach will direct.

"Miss Witherspoon" runs Oct. 11-26. Tickets are $20 and available online here:

Thanks for sharing Stephanie!
  • "Galileo" by The Indigo Girls
  • "The Rain In Spain" from the 1964 "My Fair Lady" film soundtrack
  • "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd

Actors, if you'd like to play, answer this question:
  • "Are you rehearsing for a character? Or which character did you play last week? AND which three songs are on their iTunes? And you must tell us why!

"Galileo" by The Indigo Girls

Here's the official version. "Galileo" is the from the 1992 album "Rites of Passage."

And here's a version from Agnes A Cappella, the women's a cappella choir at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Watch more of their videos here:

Here's another "Glee"-like take, this time from Yale's Whim 'N Rhythm 2013.

"The Rain In Spain" from the 1964 "My Fair Lady" film soundtrack

The American Film Institute ranks "My Fair Lady" as #8 on its list of "Greatest Movie Musicals. The film won eight Academy Awards (of 12 nominations), including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

Audrey Hepburn was not nominated for Best Actress; Julie Andrews, who had originated the role on stage, but was not offered the part in the film version, won for "Mary Poppins."

And just because there's absolutely nothing wrong with a little Julie Andrews, here's Dame Julie singing HER version of the song.

And the "Glee" version.

"Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd

Here's the YouTube version with the most views, at 7.2M. This is off the OfficialPinkFloyd YouTube page. And Pink Floyd doesn't need anything else.

Monday Reading List

Reading List:

The Prather family plans to re-open their third theater in Mesa, Arizona, which closed in July 2012 (read my story) as the Palms Theatre.

"Pass It On… An Evening with Bill W. And Doctor Bob" returns to the Alliance for the Arts this week.

You can read my review of last year's show here.

Charles Runnells writes about the upcoming debut of Ghostbird Theatre's second season, starting with "Miss Julie."

And here's the News-Press review of "Burt & Me."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lab Theater opens "Amadeus" on Sept. 13

Connor Zerilla as Mozart.
Here's the cast for the Lab Theater's "Amadeus."

Note that the verbiage comes from the press release. Points for the alliteration of "success as Satan." You don't see that particular combination of words too often...

On the heels of his success as Satan in last season’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, the role of Salieri will be played by James Recca. Connor Zerilla will be playing the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Constanze Weber, wife of Mozart, will be played by Eden Shelton.

The play also stars Patrick Day as Emperor Joseph II, Dale Hoover as Count Franz Orsini-Rosenberg, Ken Johnson as Baron Gottfried Van Swieten, Todd Fleck as Count Johann Killian Von Strack, Wil Harbison as Venticello I and Jon Best as Venticello II.

The discount code for the Lab Theater's production of "Amadeus" is "SALIERI."

"Amadeus" runs at 8 p.m. Sept. 13-28, with one 2 p.m. matinée on Sunday, Sept. 22. Tickets are $12 for students and $20 for adults. Call (239) 218-0481 or purchase online here:

Complete press release below.

Lab Theater presents: Amadeus

Connor Zerilla as Mozart.
Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, opening on September 13th, will be the first show for the Lab Theater's 2013/2014 season. History and fiction intertwine in this account of the rivalry between two genius composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri.

As Salieri watches the young Mozart’s brilliance ascend to surpass his own, he grows resentful and vows to shatter the career of his nemesis at any cost. Amadeus asks the question many have asked throughout history: what if Mozart's death was not so natural after all?

The New York Post calls it “A total iridescent triumph ... of complexity of thought, emotion and dramatic power." The play premiered on Broadway in 1980 with Ian McKellen as Salieri, Tim Curry as Mozart, and Jane Seymour as Constanze.

It ran for more than a thousand performances and was nominated for seven Tony Awards. In 1984 the play was adapted as a motion picture that went on to win eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

Connor Zerilla as Mozart.
On the heels of his success as Satan in last season’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, the role of Salieri will be played by James Recca. Connor Zerilla will be playing the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

\Constanze Weber, wife of Mozart, will be played by Eden Shelton. The play also stars Patrick Day as Emperor Joseph II, Dale Hoover as Count Franz Orsini-Rosenberg, Ken Johnson as Baron Gottfried Van Swieten, Todd Fleck as Count Johann Killian Von Strack, Wil Harbison as Venticello I and Jon Best as Venticello II.

The play is directed by Ken Bryant, who was also the director of last season’s hit show, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  Before relocating to Lee County, Ken ran the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center in Key West, was stage manager with Miami City Ballet, and even staged an opera in Poland.

Amadeus premiers at 8 p.m. on September 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28. Tickets are between $12 and $22. Tickets are available for purchase at the door or online at (Season tickets are also available on the website.) The opening of the fifth season will be celebrated at the opening. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. on Sep. 13.

The Laboratory Theater of Florida, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the promotion of the performing arts, through live performance, education, community outreach, experimentation and the development of ensemble work.

The company features ensemble productions, produces classic works, takes artistic risks and features and challenges local performers of various skill levels. Stay up to date with its news and events on Facebook and Twitter @LabTheaterFL.  For more information, call 239-218-0481. The theater is located at 1634 Woodford Ave. Fort Myers, 33901.

Marco Players hold auditions for "Absalom"

Nice piece about the Marco Players from the Coastal Breeze News.

Auditions for the upcoming Marco Players show "Absalom" will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 9 & Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Marco Players Theater in the Marco Town Center Mall.

Rehearsals for "Absalom," which will be directed by Richard E. Joyce, begin Sept. 23. Other shows in the Marco Players season are "Art," "The Fox on the Fairway" and "Apartment 3A." The show runs Nov. 6-24, 2012. For more information, call (239) 404-5198 or