Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: THE GAME'S AFOOT at Gulfshore Playhouse

Just a note: There's (at least) one red herring in every mystery. "The Game's Afoot" does not disappoint.

Robert F. Wolin transforms 221B Baker Street into a deep crimson art deco palace [think the Empire State Building] with secret rooms, revolving doors and voices hidden in the walls. Shot during curtain call of a Sherlock play, egotistical actor William Gillette boldly declares he'll inhabit the role of Holmes for real and find his own assassin.

Ludwig at once gives theatre a lovely valentine and a self-deflating prick. His central plot device knifes (quite literally) the stage's most loved friend and most hated enemy (no spoilers!). Nickell's Gillete also delivers a stirring monologue ("this mad life of ours … the most glorious game ever invented") that rings as a clarion call to every creative spirit who's ever slapped on greasepaint and stepped onto a stage. Subscribers can read the full review...

"The Game's Afoot" runs Feb. 21 - March 16 at Gulfshore Playhouse. Call 866-811-4111 or

■ "The Game's Afoot" playwright Ken Ludwig will visit Naples to participate in a talkback with the Gulfshore Playhouse cast after the Sunday, March 2 matinee. 

■ Gulfshore Playhouse will offer an exclusive reading of two new Ken Ludwig works, with the author in attendance, at 3 p.m. Monday, March 3. $20. 866-811-4111 or

Read the review: LES MISERABLES at Broadway Palm

Saturday night's alright for fighting.   That's right! Come to Broadway Palm, to Paris, to the barricade, to "Les Miserables."  Even if you've seen it eleventy-billion times before. This one, like all live theatre, is different. Same story. Same convict. Same dream. No turntable. None of the flying projections from the recent national tour that played both Naples (Jan. '12) and Fort Myers (March '13) inside 14 months. But life. Throbbing, pulsing, furious life - the kind schoolboys man barricades to defend.

John P. White's costumes alone threaten to steal the show. Picture plaid-pantsed hipster revolutionaries and a couture-clad Cosette in candy-stripe confections; it's "My Fair Lady" marching on Montmartre, but it totally works.  Subscribers can read the complete review...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

St. Patrick's Day events in Naples

St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching. Here's your guide to getting ready for the green in Naples.

■ Paddy Murphy's Irish Pub, 457 5th Ave S hosts an afternoon of Irish entertainment with Moose & Mary Jo at 3 p.m. Sunday. The Parade Kickoff Celebration features a fundraiser and silent auction.

■ Ciaran Sheehan and Sarah Pfisterer, stars of Broadway's "The Phantom of the Opera" visit on March 1. They sing popular tunes of the homeland in  on Broadway "An Evening in Ireland" at St. Elizabeth Seton Hall, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway. $30 & $40; (239) 227-5350 or

■ The 11th Annual Naples St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl begins 6 p.m.  (Friday) March 7 at Mulligan's Sports Grille, 2041 U.S. 41 N. The free round-trip trolley continues to Bokampers, Paddy Murphy's and Jack's River Bar. Ticket includes trolley, appetizers and bagpipers. $38; (239) 227-5350 or

■ The Naples St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 15 in downtown Naples.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Naples Players announce "Gypsy" in summer 2014, "Oklahoma!" in spring 2015

The Naples Players released their 2014-15 series to subscribers Tuesday.

Season ticket holders received an early renewal form along with a letter from new Naples Players executive director John F. Sorey, III.

Musical "Gypsy" will headline summer 2014, with perennial Rodgers & Hammerstein favorite "Oklahoma!" taking the spring 2015 musical spot. Stage 2 Improv will again perform in June in the Tobye Studio.

Here's the 2014-15 Naples Players season.

Summer 2014:
"Gypsy" - June 27 - July 27, 2014
Stage 2 Improv - June 5-21, 2014

2014-15 (Blackburn Hall)
"Noises Off" - Sept. 21 - Oct. 18, 2014
"The Spitfire Grill" - Nov. 12 - Dec. 6, 2014
"God of Carnage" - Jan. 14 - Feb. 7, 2015
"Oklahoma!" - March 4 - April 4, 2014 2015

"The Last Romance" - April 22 - May 16, 2015

2014-15 (Tobye Studio)
"Time Stands Still" - Oct. 22 - Nov. 15, 2014
"Red" - Feb. 4-28, 2015
"Love, Loss & What I Wore" - April 1-15, 2015

Subscriptions are available by mail, fax and at the box office. A five-show subscription to the main stage is $160, with a three-show subscription to the Tobye Studio costing $90 $75. Subscriber prices for "Gypsy" are $35. Call (239) 263-7990 or online at

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Opening: ARSENIC AND OLD LACE at Florida Rep

Vicki Boyle, Carrie Lund, Michael Satow
and Harli Cooper in "Arsenic and Old Lace."

"Arsenic and Old Lace" opens Friday at Florida Rep. Bob Cacioppo has been talking about this one ever since the season opened. What does he say? "A killer comedy?" Or something like that.

The photos alone...

"Arsenic and Old Lace" runs Jan. 10-29. Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees on Wednesday, Sunday and selected Saturdays. For tickets ($40 & $45), call 239-332-4488 or

Review: RELATIVELY SPEAKING at Theatre Conspiracy

People talk a lot.

Well, let's correct that. We speak a lot. Talking implies a conversation.


We rarely talk, unless we talk at each other. We never listen. But what happens when communication fails? Theatre Conspiracy explores that in a charming troika of one-acts titled "Relatively Speaking." 

A trio of kosher tchotkes examining the human condition from Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen, the plays drill mankind's inability to both communicate and appreciate. What are we saying? What aren't we hearing? And why can't we all just get along?

Assembling a large cast in the heart of season, be it amateur or professional, poses certain difficulties. "Relatively Speaking" needs near-perfect casting and chemistry to make its mix-and-match message about the frailties of human interaction work. I'm not sure Koch ever found what she was hoping for, although the show certainly delivers on its comedy and gets its message across. Still, for a play from Jewish writers, "Relatively Speaking" feels … relatively gentile?


"Relatively Speaking" plays at 8 p.m. Jan. 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 & 25 with one 2 p.m. matinée on Sunday, Jan. 29. Tickets are $20 with various specials. For more information, call 239-936-3239 or

Stella Ruiz and Scott Thomson in Woody Allen's
"Honeymoon Hotel," the third part of
"Relatively Speaking."
"What did the waiter say to the table full of Jewish mothers?"


"Is anything okay?"

Review: SOUTH PACIFIC at Broadway Palm

"South Pacific" at Broadway Palm.

"South Pacific" at Broadway Palm.
Give the guys, girls, Seabees, ensigns and officers of "South Pacific" credit. Broadway Palm tackles the show just three years after the spectacular Lincoln Center production toured Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Smaller in scale, but tight, taut - and maybe even more fun. Lord, some of those chorus boys need a tan though!


Director Brian J. Enzman flits through Polynesia with skill and verve, navigating the islands like a native. "South Pacific" will never move like a modern musical.  They don't write them like that anymore for a reason, but listening to Paige Mattox sing "A Cockeyed Optimist," you almost wish they did.

Chief quibble? The music. Loren Strickland does wonders with a five-piece band. It just can't sound anything but thin in places, especially for a show written for a full Broadway orchestra. It can't be helped - but I'd love to give Strickland a larger band at least one night a week.


"South Pacific" play Tuesday through Sunday with selected matinées through Feb. 15. Tickets are $35-$58. Call 239-278-4422 or

"South Pacific" at Broadway Palm.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Opening: BLACK TIE at the Naples Players

"Black Tie" runs Jan. 15-Feb. 8, 2014.
Call (239) 263-7990 or

"Black Tie," the A.R. Gurney comedy, opens Jan. 15 at the Naples Players. Asia Johnson has replaced Jenna Canfield in the role of Elsie. John McKerrow directs.

Here's the cast, which we released a while ago.

Curtis: Jim Heffernan
Father: Val Kuffel
Mimi: Ellen Coper
Elsie: Asia Johnson
Teddy: Klinton Blair

"Black Tie," about one father's struggle to produce the perfect wedding toast, takes a torch to a lot old High WASP traditions like oyster stuffing and cuff links. Florida Rep produced the show in April 2012. Of the many works in the Gurney canon, "Black Tie" isn't a superb show, but it does offer an interesting culture clash. Read my review of the "Florida Rep" show here.

"Black Tie" runs Jan. 15-Feb. 8, 2014. Call (239) 263-7990 or

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Auditions: DISTRACTED at Naples Players

The Naples Players will host auditions for drama "Distracted" at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. Charles Kolmann will direct. Multiple roles are available, including one young boy age 8-12 and one female teen. Rehearsals begin Feb. 10. "Distracted" runs March 26 -  April 19. For more information, call (239) 434-7340, ext. 10.

Kolmann directed "Lend Me A Tenor" for the Naples Players in 2009 and "Twelve Angry Jurors" for the Marco Players in 2012. He also performed in the January 2013 Naples Players production of "Ghost-Writer."

Catch up with the kids in TheatreZone's WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND

There's lots of kids in TheatreZone's production of "Whistle Down the Wind."

Kids in the Deep South in the 1950s find an escaped convict hiding in the barn - and think he's Jesus. Happens every day.

The TheatreZone website indicates just 34 tickets available for "Whistle Down the Wind" and only a dozen tickets available for the February production of "High Society." If you want tickets, buy NOW.

"Whistle Down the Wind" runs Jan. 9-19, 2014. To purchase tickets, call 1-888-ZONE-FLA (1-888-966-3352); visit the onsite Box Office Wednesdays from 10 a.m. - noon or review seating chart and purchase tickets online at

If you're not familiar with "Whistle Down the Wind," here's the Wikipedia entry on the show.

Get the cast for INTO THE WOODS at BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater

Original logo created by Martin Murphy
Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods" opens Jan. 10 at the BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater. The show looks at the "after" in "happily ever after" and answers what happens when wishes really do come true.

A baker, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack (of Beanstalk infamy) and Little Red Riding Hood all go "into the woods," belting out the complex Sondheim tunes. A magical first half that seems to wrap up with "happily ever after" leads into a much darker second half.

The show really is all about sex, drugs and naughty things. I'd love to do an ultra-modern, super glam version where "the woods" is really a nightclub called "The Woulds," with the witch as the bartender (or drug dealer - she grows/sells "greens" you know). It would be fabulous.

Here's the cast. Trey Compton (Jack), Anne Chamberlain (Cinderella), Elizabeth Urbanczyk (Witch), John Ramsey (Baker), Cloe Sabin (Baker’s Wife), Jessica Humphrey (Little Red Riding Hood), Julie Arensman (Jack’s Mother), Bobby Conte (Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince), Sami Doherty (Rapunzel), Taylor Murphy Hale (Rapunzel’s Prince), Miguel Citron (Mysterious Old Man/Narrator), Dianne Hembling (Cinderella’s Stepmother), Sabrina Chantel (Florinda), PJ McCready (Steward) and Brittany Albury (Lucinda).

Kathy Deitch directs.

"Into the Woods" runs Jan. 10 - Feb. 15. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday with 2 p.m. matinees on Wednesday, Jan. 22 & Wednesday, Feb. 5. Additional 4 p.m. Sunday twilight shows available on Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 9.

Tickets are $42 for adults and $5 for children and students with a valid ID. 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.

Naples Players casting for February ETC play readings

The Naples Players are currently casting for the next ETC Readers' Theatre production, a series of one-act plays.

No experience (on-stage or off) is necessary; no memorization is required. The plays will be performed as a series of one-act staged readings in the smaller Tobye Studio. Performances require limited rehearsal time, no costumes and no blocking.

Interested? Email Patti Caroli at to "bring out the actor in you!"

Here's what you need to know:
- Volunteers should have  a Naples Players "Volunteer Application Form" on file with Becky Troop. Call 239-434-7340 x14 for more information.
- Roles are available for 7 men and 11 women.
- Performance will be Sunday, Feb. 16; arrive by 6:30 p.m.
- There will be one mandatory rehearsal on Saturday, Feb. 8 from 1-4 p.m.
- Directors may schedule additional rehearsals for individual shows as needed.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES runs Jan. 10-19 at the Firehouse Community Theatre in LaBelle

"Real Women Have Curves" runs Jan. 10-19.
The Firehouse Community Theatre in LaBelle will present Josefina Lopez play "Real Women Have Curves," the story of five Mexican-American women working in a sewing factory in East L.A.

The show, directed by Joel Hawkins, offers an incredible look at the immigrant Latina experience. Aida Barnhart, Letty Balderas, Bridget Facundo, Myra Johnson and Bianca Ross play the five women.

"Real Women Have Curves" plays at 7 p.m. Jan. 10, 11, 17 & 18 with 2 p.m. matinees on Jan. 12 & 19.

For tickets ($12 in advance, $14 at the door), call (863) 675-3066 or Advance purchase recommended as shows often sell out.

The Firehouse Community Theatre is located at 241 North Bridge Street in historic downtown LaBelle; three blocks north from the intersection of SR80 and SR29 and just 28 minutes from exit 141 on I-75.

Additional photos and the complete press release after the jump!