The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs is Bringing Community Theater Back! The Perfect Game February 21, 22 & 23

ImageBy Patrice Shields

Just in time for the NBA season, the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs Community Theater brings the story of the invention of the game of basketball to the stage on February 21, 22 and 23. 

The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs presents the first production of their Community Players with The Perfect Game: Jim Naismith Invents Basketball.  The Perfect Game will be performed on February 21 & 22 at 7:00pm and on February 23 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm at Estero High School Auditorium, 21900 River Ranch Rd. Estero, FL 33928.

 

“Bonita Springs was left with a cultural void when Stage 88 closed and Gulfshore Playhouse moved to the Norris Center in Naples,” says Craig Price Performing Arts Director at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.   “There is an untapped spring of theatrical talent in Bonita that we experience every day in our adult Improv, Reader’s Theater, Singing with Confidence and Acting for the Stage classes at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  Having an accessible community theater program is vital to a community with residents who enjoy the arts and theater as much as those in Bonita Springs do.

“The Perfect Game: Jim Naismith Invents Basketball was chosen as the first performance of the Community Players in view of the great story line, impressive musical score and February release during the NBA’s ‘March Madness’ basketball season,” says Price.

The Perfect Game, a musical comedy by Author John Grissmer is  based on the true story of the games invention. The historic story is of a young man given his first teaching assignment to come up with a new game for an unruly class of physical education students. In the contemporary story, two young basketball coaches Frank and Nancy begin to work together and fall in love. Everyone, including the audience, learns about the history of basketball and a little something about themselves.

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The story follows the journey of Dr. James Naismith, the Canadian-American sports coach and innovator who invented the sport of basketball in 1891.  Naismith’s contributions to basketball have earned him several posthumous honors, such as in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he is a member of the original Hall of Fame class, was named in Naismith’s honor.

Tickets for The Perfect Game are $20 for members of the Center for the Arts, $25 for non-members and $5 for students and youth.  Tickets are available by calling the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs at 239-495-8989.  Performances are February 21 & 22 at 7:00pm and on February 23 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm at Estero High School Auditorium, 21900 River Ranch Rd. Estero, FL 33928.

The Perfect Game is sponsored by Northern Trust, FineMark National Bank & Trust, Lee County Visitors Center Arts & Attractions Grant and WGCU Public Media, The Indiana Pacers.

Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time receive two tickets to one of this season’s Live at the Promenade events. The Center for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members only. 

 

 

D.K. Kristi Reviews The Perfect Game: Jim Naismith Invents Basketball

D.K. Kristi Reviews The Perfect Game: Jim Naismith Invents Basketball
The Center for the Arts Bonita Springs First Community Theater Production

The Perfect Game opens Community Theater season in Bonita Springs, Florida

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The Perfect Game – Jim Naismith Invents Basketball kept its promise to entertain the audience with music, dancing, humor, a tight dialogue and actual history for the opening performance at the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs Community Theater, Estero Auditorium, February 21-23. Author, lyricist and playwright, John Grissmer wrote the script that honors Jim Naismith, the quiet and scholarly Canadian-American who invented basketball in December 1891 and entertains audiences with a historical plot.

DE Joseph played a scholarly and believable Jim Naismith who mysteriously traveled to the current century from the past.  The musical score and dialogue flowed smoothly as the quick-paced story led the audience to believe a new, indoor game was as inevitable as the budding romance between Jim Naismith and Maude, played by the lovely Jodie Fox, that culminated in their charming duet, “Something Happened Here.”    DE Joseph was on stage ninety percent of the evening and gave a flawless performance.

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Ex-coach Nancy, played by Beverly Canell, the romantic object of Coach Frank, played by Keith Gahagan, also provided flawless dialogue and a lovely rendition of the melody, “What’s The Word?” The infamous Coach Alvin Roach, played by Dan Klein provided comic relief, including a dead chicken tossed from the imaginary bleachers during the final and critical “Home Game.”  The audience enjoyed the antics of the six girls on the Pom Pom squad whose dance timing, singing and acting supported Ex-Coach Nancy as she evolved from Ex-Coach to Assistant Coach for the final game play.

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Director, Craig Price stepped into the play for a few moments as Dr. Luther Gulick during the 1891 challenge to create a new game.  Price as Director engaged his cast in sixteen musical numbers, often with dancing, that never missed a beat and enhanced the dialogue, contributing to the surprises provided in each scene.  There was no time to sit back and wonder what was next as the quick-paced dialogue kept the audience glued to the stage until the rousing musical number, “To the Rim” signaled a pause.

The final act culminated in a virtual “Home Game” that brought imaginary players to the stage with all the excitement of the final play in a hard fought basketball game.  “Steal the Ball” closed the game and the performance with the strong voices of the full cast and a bit of philosophy about winning in life.

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The Perfect Game – Jim Naismith invents Basketball has the music, dialogue and timeless plot to carry it to the top of the list of modern day musicals.  The “virtual basketball” and imaginary scenes were convincing and clever, fully taking in the audience.  A healthy sprinkling of humor provided comic relief to the potentially dull history in the making that was, instead, alive with excitement and sparkle.

 

There are Two Sides to Everything The Art of Joan Brechin Sonnenberg

ImageBy Patrice Shields

“There are two sides to everything,” says artist Joan Brechin Sonnenberg.  The theology behind her statement describes both her personal and artistic philosophy. As an artist Sonnenberg combines abstraction and realism to create oversized artworks that layer concepts and ideas into works that stop observers in their tracks.

“I came from a family that combined religion and politics.  In doing this we always found there was a middle of the road,” says Sonnenberg.  Now a resident of Naples, Sonnenberg began her art training 70 years ago at the age of six as a child prodigy attending pre-college art scholar classes at the Carnegie Institute.  Sonnenberg continued her education attending Chatham College and graduating with a BA College of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University where she was the staff cartoonist to the editor of the campus newspaper.  Sonnenberg continued on to study Multi-colored Intaglio Printmaking with George Nama at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Non-Toxic Printmaking with Keith Howard at Peace River College.

“Joan is this walking dichotomy,” says Susan Bridges President of the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs.  “A petite, soft spoken person with huge artworks that are totally in your face.  Knowing Joan for over 15 years has been a joy—her continued evolution as an artist—always stretching ideas out farther and farther.  She has this exquisite ability to take an image, move it back and forth between abstraction and realism and arrive at her very own dialog.  It’s truly wonderful to experience her art.”

The depth of Sonnenberg’s talent and mastery appears subtly but unmistakably in her work.  Sonnenberg’s enormous portraits offer insight into the soul of each subject without judgment or commentary.   Sonnenberg will often stop subjects and ask if she can take their picture to paint.  Bonita Springs resident Richard Theurer saw an article about the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs’ Portrait and Figure Exhibition in a local magazine that include a picture of her work “Art Aficianado.”  Theurer immediately recognized his image in the larger than life artwork and remembered yeas back that a woman had stopped him at Costco and asked if she could take his picture to paint.  Joan Brechin Sonnenberg was that woman and “Art Aficianado,” was the painting.

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For more than 70 years Sonnenberg still find time to paint every day.  “It’s a passion.  It’s something I want to do more than anything else,” says Sonnenberg.  “I think being an artist and painting is the most fun you can have in this world.  If there’s something you want to do in life, you’ll find the time.  It’s out there for you.  Go for it.”

Joan Brechin Sonnenberg’s work can be seen at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs 24th Annual Members Exhibition, January 25 through February 21, 2013.  Open only to current members of the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, this exhibition is the ‘crème de la crème’ competition for our member artists. A very tightly pre-juried and judged collection of artworks from our members showcasing the best artists and a wide variety of media and styles.

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The Center for the Arts Bonita Springs’ Members Exhibition Opening Reception is 6:00pm, Friday, January 25, 2013. The Members Exhibition’s opening reception also features a campus-wide Open House, featuring faculty and visiting artists’ demonstrations and displays, and live music on their outdoor stage and light refreshments.  The Members Exhibition is sponsored by Collins & DuPont Interior Design.  Admission is free.  For more information, please call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 or visit them on-line at www.artcenterbonita.org.

 

 

 Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time receive two tickets to one of this season’s Live at the Promenade events. The Center for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members only.

Are You Ready for an Adventure Guaranteed to Leave You Laughing? Sunday February 17 the Amazing Race at the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs

By Patrice ShieldsImage

Are you and your family or friends ready for an adventure? At 1:30pm on Sunday February 17, the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs’ second annual Amazing Race will have you laughing and breathless as you and your team race across Bonita Springs seeking the items on your scavenger hunt list. Participants of this scavenger hunt and road rally will compete in cars with teams of four passengers.  This year the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs is expecting more than 200 participants who will contend for prizes by solving riddles, finding items, taking photos, and having an overall great time!

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 “Get ready for fun, entertainment, teamwork and just lots of laughs as you and your team race through our fair city, solving the clues, searching for your special items,” Says Susan Bridges, president of Center for the Arts Bonita. “Last year we had over 100 people participate, that’s 25 teams of four people per car.   Everyone had a great time, came back with hilarious stories of what they did and what happened to them along the way.” 

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The Amazing Race begins and ends at the Center for the Arts campus. An awards ceremony, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails culminate the Amazing Race competition. Proceeds from this fun day directly benefit the at-risk youth programs at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.

“This is a fun event for a car full of friends,” says Larry Hinman a director on the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs board. Hinman participated in the first annual Amazing Race held in February 2012.  Last year’s overall winner was the Wallace family of Bonita Springs whose team included their young daughter.  The Wallace family team was successful at finding scavenger hunt items that included the tiki hut at the Flamingo Flea Market on Bonita Beach Road.

Susan Bridges advises this year’s Amazing Race participants that while some scavenger hunt items are easy to find, some are designed to be challenging.  “We often recommend each team choose who does what,” says Bridges.  “For example, one person is the driver, another person your photographer, one team member is your navigator, and your fourth is the person who pops out of the car to retrieve your items, gets his or her photograph taken in front of a special clue location to document the team’s visit.  After checking in some people sit down and plan everything out and others just dash out the door, solving as they travel.  A total slice of life!”

The Amazing Race will end with a cocktail party with refreshments provided by The Fresh Market, awarding all the prizes to the participants.

Tickets for the “Amazing Race” are $25 per person and $100 for a team of four. Limited tickets are available by calling the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs at 239-495-8989.   Learn more at www.artcenterbonita.org.  The “Amazing Race” is sponsored by Bonita Lakes by Toll Brothers, The Fresh Market and Haines A/C & Refrigeration, Royal Scoop Homemade Ice Cream.

Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time receive two tickets to one of this season’s Live at the Promenade events. The Center for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members only. 

If You Go:
Who:    Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs
What:   Amazing Race
When:  February 17, 2013, 1:30pm—5:00pm
Where: Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs
Cost:    $25 per person / $100 for four person car