Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mental Floss gets an interview with "Calvin & Hobbes" creator Bill Watterston

Really, the only thing you need is this one beautiful quote from Bill Watterson: "Repetition is the death of magic."

But here's the deal. Mental Floss magazine got an interview with the reclusive cartoonist, the beloved creator of "Calvin & Hobbes." Yes, the cover is exactly what you think it is.

From the Guardian: (story has lots of links)
The American magazine Mental Floss warmed the hearts of comics fans on Thursday when it announced that it had succeeded where so many others have failed: securing an interview with Bill Watterson, the reclusive creator of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.
From Poynter
The reporter "somehow got Watterston's email address..."

Bill Watterston gave an interview in 2010.
And one of my favorite things on the internet, a loving tribute/spinoff comic strip, called "Hobbes & Bacon"

Reviews: "Miss Witherspoon" at Lab Theater (2)

Here's the reviews for "Miss Witherspoon," now playing at the Lab Theater.

Stephanie Davis in "Miss Witherspoon."
Christopher Durang play "Miss Witherspoon" features the adventures of Veronica in her afterlife. She was depressed in life and now she's depressed in death. Why can't she just take some time off? And why is her spirit guide making her go BACK to earth?

Stephanie Davis plays Veronica. Supporting cast includes: Rob Green, Kathleen Moye, Gerrie Benzing and Yvonne Shadrach. Annette Trossbach directs.

"Miss Witherspoon" runs Oct. 11-26. The Laboratory Theater of Florida is located at 1634 Woodford Avenue in downtown Fort Myers. Tickets are $12-$22 and available online at or at the door.

Tickets are also available online here: (use code BARDO to save $5)

Review: Lab Theater, Davis mine laughs in Durang's 'Miss Witherspoon' ($$)
Chris Silk / Naples Daily News
Oh Veronica. Dead. Depressed. Desperate for Jewish heaven, even if Jewish heaven is just a sort of permanent general anesthesia. You know, because the descendants of Abraham don't believe in that whole afterlife thing. Me? I'd prefer … well, I'm not sure what I'd prefer.

Review: Afterlife a funny but wearisome place in Lab Theater's 'Miss Witherspoon'
Charles Runnells / The News Press
Miss Witherspoon has had enough. Enough of love. Enough of people. Enough of Skylab and smallpox and terrorists. Enough of life. That’s why she keeps killing herself, over and over again. Problem is, she always ends up in the same place — the heaven-like The Bardo — and chirpy, Indian-accented “angel” Maryamma keeps sending her back to Earth to live yet another sad, depressed life.

I'm equal opportunity when it comes to coverage of the arts. The Examiner network of websites has a place in the big tent. At the same time, I think it is important to educate readers where content comes from. You can read more about the network.

Thomas Hall, the Arts & Exhibits Examiner for Fort Myers, wrote a piece about "Miss Witherspoon."

Lab Theater's 'Miss Witherspoon' big on laughs and strong performances
Thomas Hall / Examiner.comIt's a good thing Christopher Durang is so accomplished, because if he'd been a first-time playwrite looking for a Manhattan literary agent, his script would have been rejected out of hand for violating today's literary mantra of "show, don't tell." Veronica's opening scene is one long, snarky, sardonic siloquay which Davis uses to perfection to win the sympathies of the audience - which is saying a lot given that Veronica is a self-absorbed, self-indulgent, sniping bitch.

Noël Coward play "Private Lives" to show in movie theaters Dec. 11

In addition to "Merrily We Roll Along," Cinema Live announced today that Noël Coward play "Private Lives" will run for one night only in select movie theaters.

"Private Lives," featuring Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor, will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Tickets go on sale Nov. 8. The presentation will include an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience with cast and crew, combined with a special celebrity featurette exploring the continuing allure of Noël Coward.

Theaters and ticket prices for "Private Lives" have not been announced; watch

"Merrily We Roll Along" will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Hollywood 20 in Naples, Bell Tower in Fort Myers and Coconut Point in Estero. Tickets are $15 at Bell Tower and Coconut Point. If you want to slum it at Hollywood 20, you can save $2.50 and pay $12.50.

Friday, October 18, 2013

One Liners: Theater news briefs & photos for Friday, October 18

From the News-Press:

  • One more email from the Island Theater Company. Meet the rest of the cast of "Blame It On Beckett." "Blame it On Beckett" will run for nine shows at the Rose History Auditorium, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, from November 1-16. Tickets, $20, are available at Centennial Bank, the Marco Island Historical Society Gift Shop,, 239-394-0080 and at the door. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; curtain for Sunday matinées is 2:30 p.m.

Five Questions With: Debi Guthery, Betty in "The Great American Trailer Park Musical"

Corey Perrine / Copyright Naples Daily News
Debi Guthery and Randy Jones in Debi Guthery in the Naples
Players production of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical."

Put on your hard hats folks. And take note. Debi Guthery allows us a peek inside the mind of a musical theatre sorceress. The actress was the first to share her questionnaire with me, but I liked her answers so much that I wanted to save it for the final part of the "Trailer Park" series.

Find out Debi's favorite role, the one part she dreams of playing (keep your eyes out) and find out why she refuses to dish about her most embarrassing moment. And maybe even book the songstress for a party.

Meanwhile, check out Debi's YouTube page here:

Read our previous Q&A with "Trailer Park" director Dawn Fornara.
Read our previous Q&A with "Trailer Park" actor Randy Jones.
Reviews: Chris Silk ($$) | Bill O'Neill

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

PHOTOS: First look at "Something Intangible" from Gulfshore Playhouse"

Ian Merrill Peakes and Shawn Fagan in Gulfshore Playhouse's
production of "Something Intangible" by Bruce Graham.

Here's the latest press release for the Gulfshore Playhouse production of "Something Intangible."
  • Preview (Pay-what-you-can) Tuesday, Oct. 29 (ya'll should go to this!)
  • Preview ($25) Wednesday, Oct. 30
  • Opening Night: Friday, Nov. 1
Set among the glitz and glamour of 1940's Hollywood, the drama goes inside the movie studio and inside the lives of two brothers. One is the creative genius responsible for bringing the first animated feature film to the screen and the other is his loyal brother, who struggles to keep the money coming in to fund the next big dream which will ultimately change the film industry forever: a feature length animated film set to classical music.

Cast: Shawn Fagan, Ian Merrill Peakes, Charlotte Booker, Josh Tobin & Peter Reznikoff. Gulfshore's Artistic Associate Cody Nickell will direct.

"Something Intangible" runs Nov. 1-24. Single tickets start at $33. Half-price tickets are available for all matinee performances one-half hour before the show. Call 1-866-811-4111 or

Ian Merrill Peakes and Shawn Fagan in Gulfshore Playhouse's
production of "Something Intangible" by Bruce Graham.

The Church Basement Ladies serve up humor at Broadway Palm

The cast of "The Church Basement Ladies."
Season is here. Want proof? We're already gearing up for the second! (good lord, SECOND) shows in some spaces. Like the Off-Broadway Palm, which is cracking on the sequel to The Church Basement Ladies.

Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas will run Nov. 7 - Dec. 25, 2013. This time the ladies are in the midst of holiday preparations and planning the Sunday School’s Christmas Program. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Ticket prices range from $28 to $49. Call (239) 278-4422 or

Review: "Woyzeck" at Ghostbird (1)

Photo by Barry Cavin and design by Phil Heubeck.
Experimental theatre isn't for everyone, but if you like something a little different, please check out "Woyzeck," playing tonight, Friday and Sunday at 8 p.m. at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers.

Tickets ($10) are available through the Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center ticket office or online at Please note that seating *IS* limited in this venue.

The second show of the Ghostbird season, this one gets all the pieces in order, moving in the right direction and something special happens. A German play transplanted to Appalachia, with an almost all-female cast (led by the amazing Brittany Albury) and backed by original music. Thanks guys - it was a great Wednesday.

PS: I ate three cannoli from Downtown House of Pizza!

Read the review here. Or listen to some of the original music here (via Soundcloud)

Review: Ghostbird burns up Fort Myers with blazing 'Woyzech'
Chris Silk / Naples Daily News

"Woyzech" turns out the unlikely perfect home for Heubeck's original music. Scripted as tiny bits of poetry, the piece becomes a near-musical when backed by Pearlie Mae & the Crawdaddy Boys. Heubeck, joined by Chris Ludvigsen and Ghostbird founder Brittney Brady pluck, strum, bang, clang and play.

The music weaves the story (just 80 minutes) together. Think a weathered granny, sitting on a dusty porch, rocking, spinning tales to enraptured children as crickets sing in the baking afternoon sun. Never too loud, but subtle - and dressed the part, Brady in dramatic white with flowers in her hair, the men in ragged pants, neckerchiefs and worn hats.

The bare space in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center alcove - again - offers the challenge and reward of bare space staging. Ghostbird continues to meet (and exceed) this challenge like no other community theatre company. Read the full review ($$)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Reviews: "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" (2)

Photo by Corey Perrine / Naples Daily News
Alyssa Lee, Debi Guthery & Lisa Federico
in "The Great American Trailer Park Musical."
Here's the reviews for the Naples Players production of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical."
Review: Naples Players laugh all the way to the 'Trailer Park'
Chris Silk (Naples Daily News)
Debi Guthery carries the show as Armadillo Acres wiseacre Betty. Pert, sassy and elegant atop towering straw wedges, her brassy personality sparkles. Guthery stars in her own YouTube show, "The Housewives of Sweet Bush Trailer Park;" she brings that comedic charm to the stage. Like her den mother character, she finds the correct mix of hard-edged gruff and lovable charm. Look for the daytime talk show-inspired number, director and choreographer Dawn Lebrecht Fornara's best, boldest creation, with Guthery playing a spot-on version of Sally Jesse Raphael. The scene, featuring most of the cast, sends up every stereotype in a brilliant fashion. Jessica Walck, cooing and purring and "WORKING IT" for the "cameras," practically steals the scene as sex-obsessed Pippi, even though Guthery's glam hostess keeps throwing choreographed elbows at her head. Read the complete review ($$)

Curtain Up: 'Trailer Park Musical' about as classy as trailer trash
Bill O'Neill (Collier Citizen)
The show includes, as the TV warnings would say, crude language and sexual references — lots of both. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but here one feels that these elements are intended to be hilarious in and of themselves. Like an actor dropping his pants when the audience is not responding to his shtick, the show goes for cheap laughs. There is no sympathy in the portrayal of the characters. Read the complete review (free)

Read our previous Q&A with "Trailer Park" director Dawn Fornara.
Read our previous Q&A with "Trailer Park" actor Randy Jones.
Up later this week, a Q&A with "Trailer Park" actress Debi Guthery.

"The Great American Trailer Park Musical" runs through 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

Reviews: "Cats" at Broadway Palm (2)

So, just hours before we launch into another three-show week, I'm all caught up. I'm going to try and do better this week, OK?

"Cats" is good. I talked to Amy right after the show (Baby Grainne was out like a light) and told her that she'd gotten my two favorite numbers, especially "Skimbleshanks." Thanks guys for making me believe in one of my favorite shows again.

Review: Magical, mysterious 'Cats' pounces on fab fun at Broadway Palm
Chris Silk (Naples Daily News)
Everyone - from purists to first-timers to dog-lovers - will leave as pleased as a cat who's just enjoyed a large saucer full of cream. If the show stumbles in spots (oof, those costumes) or makes you wish for a huge ensemble, McCleary and her kittens land on their feet time and time again, turning out one superb number after another. "Cats" prances into Fort Myers after a solid run at Broadway Palm's sister theatre in Lancaster, Pa. Much of the cast returns - including aspiring diva Annie Freres. If the show has a "star," it would be her Grizabella. Or more accurately, that voice. Read the full review ($$)

Theater review: Broadway Palm turns this 'Cats' hater into believer with a spectacular take on the classic musical
Charles Runnells (The News-Press)
I loved almost every minute of Broadway Palm’s “Cats,” from its prancing man-cats to its irrestible songs to its nonstop, eye-popping spectacle. I even loved the goofy cat names such as Bustopher Jones, Skimbleshanks and Rumpleteazer. It helps that Broadway Palm put on such a flawless show here. “Cats” and much of its cast come there after a run at Broadway Palm’s sister theater, The Dutch Apple, in Lancaster, Penn. And it shows in its polished singing and dancing — nearly every note and every step is exactly where it should be. So if you must see “Cats,” this is the one to see. Read the full review...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dave Coulier to play Port Charlotte comedy club

Dave Coulier, "Uncle Joey" from sitcom "Full House," will play Southwest Florida.

Yep. Him.

Coulier will play five dates at the Visani Comedy Dinner Theatre in Port Charlotte.

Here's the schedule, with ticket prices:

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 ($12)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 ($15)
  • 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 ($20)
  • 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 ($20)
  • 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 ($20)

Visani Comedy Dinner Theater is located at 2400 Kings Highway in Port Charlotte. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 941-629-9191 or go online to The show is Rated “R” for adult content with mild profanity.

So. The finale of "Full House" was watched by 24 million viewers. Now, the guy is playing Port Charlotte for $20 bucks a head?

Oh. Michael Winslow, the "funny noises" dude from the "Police Academy" films will be at Visani on Nov. 25-27. 

PHOTOS: Afterlife of the Rich and Famous

We've got a half-dozen photos from the Let's Put On A Show production of "Afterlife of The Rich and Famous," which will run Oct. 18 — Nov. 2 at the Golden Gate Community Center. Tickets are $18. Call 239-398-9192 or
Ty Landers & Asia Johnson.

Ty Landers & Karen Anglin.

One-Liners: Theater news briefs for Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013

Asolo Repertory Theatre will host auditions for "Hero: The Musical" on Monday, October 28, 2013 for Equity and non-Equity actors. Asolo Rep is casting a variety of adult roles, as well as two young boys. Auditions are from 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Charles Runnells reviews "Cats." He liked it.

Tom Hall writes about "Miss Witherspoon."

Another blog post from Kristen Coury. Gulfshore Playhouse met their box office projections for "Venus in Fur," and the show still has a week to run. Congratulations!!!!!!

The Marco Players box office is now open noon-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Call (239) 642-7270.

Tickets are still available to see the Gulfshore Playhouse production of "Venus in Fur." It went three-for-three with the critics. "Venus" closes Sunday, Oct. 20. Don't miss this one.

The Opera Naples production of "The Telephone/The Medium" runs Friday & Saturday. I also got two emails via the TheatreZone mailing list.

Somewhere way down in the latest Lab Theater email, they bury the real news. The theater has acquired a new rehearsal space, the old Hessler Carpet Building, located at 1788 Fowler Street. Founder and artistic director Annette Trossbach announced plans to build a theater two seasons hence at the opening night of "Miss Witherspoon."

The Marco Players are promoting "Absalom" as coming from Zoe Kazan, "Granddaughter of Elia Kazan--one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history." "Absalom" runs November 6-24, 2013.

Meet John Moulton and Abby Yetter from the Island Theater Company's cast of "Blame It On Beckett. "Blame it On Beckett" will run for nine shows at the Rose History Auditorium, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, from November 1-16. Tickets, $20, are available at Centennial Bank, the Marco Island Historical Society Gift Shop,, 239-394-0080 and at the door. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; curtain for Sunday matinees is 2:30 p.m.

More photos from "The Mystery of Irma Vep" at the Naples Players.

Latest newsletter from the Naples Players. 

My schedule: I'm at "Woyzeck" on Wednesday, "All My Raisins in the Sun" on Friday and "Afterlife of the Rich and Famous" on Saturday. Then, I'm catching the final performance of "Venus in Fur" on Sunday.