October 20, 2014

Culture Watch

Footloose for Summer

cw.jpgJune strikes me as a mixed blessing. I have more time to do fun things, but the start of summer brings fewer artful opportunities. Fortunately, not every venue goes dark this time of year.

Footloose is opening mid-June at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. The story is light—a dance-loving city kid moves with his mom to a small, conservative farming town where rock ‘n’ roll and dancing have been banned. Our hero convinces the town elders that music and dance have charms that can soothe the sullen teens.

The 1984 film was turned into a musical in 1998. It ran for 700-plus performances on Broadway, where it garnered four Tony Award nominations. The musical’s ’80s pop rhythms and energetic dancing make it a great summertime treat.

Nostalgia also tempts in the June production of I Love My Wife by TheatreZone in Naples. This Cy Coleman musical ran for more than two years on Broadway and won two Tony Awards. This story is also lighthearted. Set in the 1970s, it follows two New Jersey couples—long-time friends and neighbors—who decide to explore the thrills of spouse-swapping. But rest assured, the topic is played for laughs, not immorality. The couples are too tentative to do more than flirt with the idea, poking gentle fun at ’70s mores and fashions.

One of the innovations of I Love My Wife that TheatreZone Artistic Director Mark Danni promises to reproduce is a four-piece band on stage. The musicians don’t just play music. They don costumes and interact with the other players. The device worked so well on Broadway that the show won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Player—awarded to the band!

Finally, take the kids to the Naples Players’ production of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Expect a frenetic pace and lots of laughs in this family-friendly farce. Sounds just perfect for a summertime break!

Footloose is presented, matinees and evenings, from June 10 to July 25 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Fort Myers. (239) 278-4422, www.broadwaypalm.com.

I Love My Wife is presented by TheatreZone June 10–12 at 8 p.m. and June 12–13 at 2 p.m. at the G&L Theatre, Community School of Naples. (888) 966-3352, www.theatrezone-florida.com.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is presented by the Naples Players at 5 and 7 p.m. June 11–27 at the Sugden Community Theatre. (239) 263-7990 or www.naplesplayers.org.

Hot Tickets

• The Naples Museum of Art features French Twist: Masterworks of Photography, Associated American Artists: Art by Subscription and Florida Contemporary 2010 through June 30. (800) 597-1900 or www.thephil.org.

• The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center presents Zoo Story, June 17–19 and 23–26. (239) 333-1933 or www.sbdac.com.

• The Alliance for the Arts presents its 24th Annual 2D/3D All Florida Juried Exhibit, June 11 to Aug. 7. (239) 939-2787 or www.artinlee.org.

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