Arts + Culture

Season Preview 2018: Arts

In a season brimming with top-notch cultural offerings, here are the ones you just can’t miss.

BY November 6, 2018

The Visuals of Visionaries

The Art of Peter Greenaway and Jack Kerouac exhibit, through Dec. 8 at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW

More than 50 of Kerouac’s paintings and works on paper join newly commissioned On the Road-themed drawings by British filmmaker Greenaway, who first trained as a painter. The exhibit is the first in the U.S. to display such a major survey of visual works by the Beat Generation literary king and the “philosopher of cinema” he inspired.

The Almost Unbelievable

In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert—The Hologram Tour, Nov. 17 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW

The name says it all, but we say a little bit more on p. 48.

The Heavy Hitter

Fences, Jan. 8-30 at Florida Repertory Theatre

Florida Rep takes on August Wilson’s great American drama, recently reinvigorated by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis’ turns on both Broadway and the big screen. The story of the Maxsons, an African-American Pittsburgh family, has garnered Pulitzer Prize, Tony, Oscar and other hefty honors.  (See another of Wilson’s 10 “Pittsburgh Cycle” plays, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, by Theatre Conspiracy at Alliance for the Arts from March 1-18.

The Inimitable

Cher, Jan. 17 at Hertz Arena

Hot off her role in Mamma Mia 2, the ever-fascinating icon is touring the U.S. for the first time in years. Her “Here We Go Again” tour will feature ABBA covers from her new Dancing Queen album, but fear not: She certainly won’t skimp on the personality and hits that have made her so undeniably unique.

The Homecoming

Return of the Key Marco Cat exhibit grand opening, Jan. 26 at the Marco Island Historical Museum

The famous part-feline, part-human Calusa wood carving discovered on Marco Island in 1896 returns home—thanks to a $350,000 effort by the Marco Island Historical Society and Collier County—from the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. It’s on loan until April 2021, and other rare items from the 1896 dig will join the 6-inch statue.

The Delightfully Odd Couple

Fashioning Art from Paper exhibit, Feb. 2 through May 5 at Hayes Hall Galleries, Artis—Naples

This stunning exhibit displays Isabelle de Borchgrave’s exploration of historical costume through the masterful manipulation of paper, with life-size recreations ranging from Renaissance gowns to pieces from Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. In an unexpected duet, the latter—which are some of de Borchgrave’s newest works—will be hung above the orchestra on the Hayes Hall stage during two Naples Philharmonic Masterworks concerts that include ballet works by Stravinsky: Pulcinella on Jan. 24 and 26, and The Firebird on March 8 and 9.

De Borchgrave will also give a lecture at Artis—Naples on Feb. 4.

The Provocateur

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, Feb. 16 through March 10 at Gulfshore Playhouse

Even 8 years since it nabbed three Tony nominations, it still seems a bit risky to tackle this comedy by Sarah Ruhl in which a doctor in the Victorian era innocently invents a machine to treat female “hysteria.” But what is theater if it doesn’t bravely elicit some kind of emotion, uncomfortably or otherwise?

The ‘It’ Girl

Waitress, Feb. 19-24 at Artis—Naples

An all-female, star-studded creative team and uplifting message rocketed this Broadway musical about a small-town waitress and gifted pie maker to many a list of all-time favorites.

The Debut

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 28 and March 2 at Artis—Naples

The orchestra, regarded as one of the world’s greatest, begins its 3-year residency partnership at Artis—Naples with symphonies by Beethoven (Feb. 28) and Tchaikovsky (March 2). Decorated Italian conductor Riccardo Muti leads as music director.

The Classic

Disney’s The Lion King, April 3-21 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW

It’s been here before, you’ve likely seen it before, but there’s just no other Broadway show like it. Kids, adults; showtunes lovers, musical haters—we all love this creative masterpiece.

The World-class Warm-ups

Leslie Odom Jr., April 13, and Mandy Gonzalez, April 29, at Artis—Naples

Calendars already are marked for the indisputable star of next season: Hamilton (see sidebar). So why not enjoy somewhat of a preview, with performances by two stars of the hip hop-infused history maker? Odom Jr. performs alongside the Naples Philharmonic for the first time, and Gonzalez’s return here features beloved tunes from Broadway and beyond.

The Statement Piece

The Immigration Project Play, April 25-28 at The Laboratory Theater of Florida

For this original work, a team of playwrights stitched together stories, songs, jokes and prayers garnered from 10 months of interviews with legal and illegal Southwest Florida immigrants, as well as journalist-submitted material.


The Buzz: A quick rundown of some notable news in our theater world

Artis—Naples ( and Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW ( both announced they will be showing Hamilton in January 2020. BIG Arts ( has suspended its typical Strauss Theater offerings for the season as it engages experts and the community to create a vision for a renewed “theater 2020.” Founder and former Artistic Director Bob Cacioppo was fired from Florida Repertory Theatre (, with Greg Longenhagen taking over as artistic director. Gulfshore Playhouse’s ( plans are well underway for its new multimillion-dollar theater in downtown Naples, with an estimated opening date of late 2021. This season is the 10th anniversary for The Laboratory Theater of Florida ( Naples Performing Arts Center ( has expanded and relocated to a new campus, shared with C3 Church Naples, at 1048 Castello Drive. The Naples Players ( celebrate 65 years—and 20 years at their Sugden Theatre location on Fifth Avenue South—with a diverse season including world premiere June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce, playing through Nov. 18. Theatre Conspiracy at Alliance for the arts opened its 25th consecutive season in August with world premiere Repossessed, winner of the theater’s annual New Play Contest. In January, TheatreZone ( will launch a four-date Broadway & Happy Hour afternoon cabaret series at the Moorings Park auditorium. Each performance will feature different cast members from TheatreZone’s four Broadway series shows out of character, along with a pre-concert reception of wine, champagne, prosecco and hors d’oeuvres.


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