Saturday, December 28, 2013

Watch the Compton and Bennett Trey Radel parody video!

Video not playing? Watch it here:

Greed, glowing lips and goose-induced fatalities are three sure signs that
Rick Compton & Betsy Bennett are home for the holidays.
Betsy Bennett (of Compton & Bennett fame) checked in last week. (They let them out?)

Tonight is the final week for "Grandma's" Christmas Goose," their annual holiday merriment. But the kicker - the duo have cooked up a Trey Radel parody song. The title - which is all Betsy would reveal - is "They Don't Serve Coke in Rehab."

I can only imagine. "Grandma's Christmas Goose" plays at Fred's Diner, located at 2700 Immokalee Road in the Greentree Shopping Center (the one with Jason’s Deli). Dinner is at six, with the show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.95, plus drinks, tax and tips. Limited show-only tickets for each performance ($15 each). For reservations, leave a message at 239-431-7928, or email Confirmation will follow.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Casting: Naples Players announce cast for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE

Here's the cast for the Naples Players production of "The Drowsy Chaperone." Debi Guthery told us back in October that she wanted to play the title role - and she got it.

Guthery will re-team with several members of the completely sold-out 2012 spring musical "Hello, Dolly!"  Elizabeth Marcantonio will play Janet, along with semi-professional actor Jim Heffernan as the "Man in Chair." Other faces from "Dolly" returning as part of the ensemble include Jake Hanson, Joyce Austin, Gaston Edmond, Jacob Hartman, Joe Loiacono, Megan Ruhl and Paula Mercer.

The same creative team from "Dolly!" "Producers" and "Les Miserables" returns. Dallas Dunnagan will direct, with choreography by Dawn Lebrecht Fornara and musical direction by Charles Fornara.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" runs March 5 - April 5, 2014 at the Naples Players. Tickets are $40. Call (239) 263-7990 or

Cast & photos: DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Lab Theater

Mitch and Joann Haley as Willy and Linda Loman
Courtesy The Laboratory Theater of Florida

Here's the cast for the Lab Theater's production of Arthur Miller classic "Death of a Salesman."

Mitch and Joann Haley as Willy and Linda Loman
Courtesy The Laboratory Theater of Florida

Louise Wigglesworth directs, with Nykkie Rizley as assistant director.

Mitch Haley as Willy Loman
Joann Haley as Linda Loman
Rob Green as Biff
Stu Colon as Happy
Rick Sebastian as Charley
Bill Molesky as Ben
WITH: Mary Powell, Jeffrey Schmitt, David Jennings, Caitlynn Crawford, Ken Bryant and Taylor Adair Nave.

"Death of a Salesman" plays at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Jan. 10 - Feb. 1. There will be one 2 p.m. matinée on Sunday, Jan. 26, with an audience talk-back following.  Tickets are $12 for students, $18.50 for seniors and military on Thursdays, and $22 for adults. Buy online here:

Auditions: ART at the Marco Players

Auditions for the Marco Players show "Art" will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20 & Tuesday, Jan 21. Roles are available for three men of any age.

Jim Corsica, who just finished a run in the Naples Players production of "Our Town," will direct. He also appeared in the Marco Players production of "The Last Romance" this spring.

The Yasmina Reza play examines the complicated dynamics among three friends, one of whom has just purchased an enormously expensive painting that is nothing more than an all-white canvas. A bit of dialogue calls it "a piece of white s***." The show debates the nature of art, the limits of friendship and how adults are really just bigger, meaner kids.

Gulfshore Playhouse produced "Art" last season as part of its "Reza in Rep" duo with "God of Carnage." (review | preview)  Florida Rep did the show in 2000-01 and the Naples Players in 2003-04.

"Art" runs March 19 - April 6, 2014. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $23 & $25; call (239) 642-7270 or

Get the cast for Marco Players show THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY

My third time teeing off with farce "The Fox on the Fairway" will be in a few days as The Marco Players tackle the Ken Ludwig comedy. Gulfshore Playhouse and the Off-Broadway Palm previously tackled the show.

We've got a cast (see below) and a director (Beverly Dahlstrom). And a spiffy email.

Here's the cast:

Jesse Heindl – Justin, 25, is off beat, sweet, anxious and a bundle of nerves with unruly hair.
Sean O’Shea – Bingham is 50ish, stuffy and proper.
Alex Costello – Dickie, in his 40′s and an unpleasant man full of bonhomie in a ugly bright yellow sweater.
Bianca Nova LaRochelle – Louise, 23 a leggy, good natured waitress who is a little ditzy.
Carole Musgrave – Pamela is 39, beautiful, tanned and very sophisticated.
Cheryl Johnson – Muriel, in her 50′s, is a sturdy women with a porkpie hat.

Before too long, I fully expect every single professional and community theatre in the area code to have produced this play. It combines golf, comedy and exactly the types of personalities found in every country club from Marco Island to Cape Coral. Everybody knows someone who's one of the characters on stage.

And it is a proven money-maker. There are four (4) Ken Ludwig farces in seasons around the area. I just wish I liked Ken Ludwig's writing better…

"The Fox on the Fairway" plays Jan. 8-26 at the Marco Players. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $23 & $25; call (239) 642-7270 or

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: THE SANTALAND DIARIES at Florida Rep

Jason Parrish in "The Santaland Diaries."

Leave it to David Sedaris to rescue Christmas. Bravo. Read the full review...

Ever since Thanksgiving Day, I've felt like this will be the year that we look back and think "Christmas disappeared." Tinsel hit store shelves in July, decorations peeked from behind pumpkins in October and reindeer ran down Thanksgiving like it wasn't even a bump in the road.

Hold your candy canes, back that sleigh up and stop fighting over towels (FREAKING TOWELS, YA'LL!!) in the aisles at Wal-Mart. "Santaland" has something to say about our bad attitudes at Christmastime. 

It's all in the delivery. Jason Parrish wanders around telling stories. He sounds weary, destroyed even - as if the desperate consumerism of the holidays have beaten the will to live from him.

Director Chris Clavelli kept some of the best impersonations. My favorite is the noxious ghetto customer that demands "a Santa of culuh, m'kay?" Parrish shifts into the character, then gives the audience a long, feel-my-pain, "can you believe this?" look that communicates volumes. Read the full review...

"The Santaland Diaries" runs through Dec. 29 with a special 2 p.m. matinée and 7 p.m. twilight closing performances on Dec. 29. All tickets are $25. Call 239-332-4488 or

Review: HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR at BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater

"Holiday Spectacular" at BIG ARTS.

If you're going to call your holiday show "Holiday Spectacular," it better be pretty darn spectacular. I told John Ramsey that I wanted to see drag queens with blue lipstick belting carols at the top of their lungs. He and Bobby Logue do way, way better. Pray get thee to Sanibel, like now.


"Holiday Spectacular," the Christmas offering from BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater, (wisely) dispenses with a plot. Twenty-one tunes rain down like presents falling from a drunken Santa's sleigh. There are problems (oof, those what-were-they-thinking modern dance sequences), but "Spectacular" more than lives up to its name.

Elizabeth Urbanyck opens the show with a powerhouse rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Mariah Carey has nothing on these pipes. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Dear BIG ARTS - this should be your video Christmas card.

"Spectacular" also reaches back to find a few unexpected gems - songs you might not think of in the context of a "Christmas revue." Freres delivers the night's knockout performance, crooning a sublime version of Joni Mitchell's "River." Taken from 1971's "Blue" album, the lover's lament feels tender, longing and oh-so-gorgeous in her sultry voice.


"Holiday Spectacular" plays at 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday through Dec. 30 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 26; a 4 p.m. twilight show on Dec. 29 and a special 7 p.m. New Year's Eve show at 7 p.m.

For tickets ($35 for adults, $5 for students, kids) call the BIG ARTS Marks Box Office at (239) 395-0900, Strauss Theater box office at (239) 472-6862 or The BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater is located at 2200 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel, opposite the Island Cow restaurant. READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW...