Where Art Thou?


Stage Kiss

The Hippodrome, Gainesville

September 2-25

thehipp.org (352) 375-4477

This New York Times’ critics’ pick is a clever tale about what happens when lovers share a stage kiss—or when actors share a real one. This romantic comedy by Sarah Ruhl blends over-the-top farce with emotional experiences that will bring laughter, fantasy and heart to anyone who has ever been in love… or in a play.

Did You Know?

In addition to its mainstage season, the Hippodrome screens first-run foreign, limited-release and avant-garde films?

The 39 Steps

The Gainesville Community Playhouse

September 11-27

gcplayhouse.org (352) 376-4949

The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theater, is a comedy packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters, an on-stage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers and some good, old-fashioned romance! Did we mention this is all played by a talented cast of four? The 39 Steps amounts to an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure!

The Nutcracker by MarionBallet Theatre

Ocala Civic Theatre

Dates in December TBA

marionballettheatre.org (352) 629-6155

Don’t miss this Ocala tradition. You won’t want to blink as your favorite ballerinas transform the stage into a world where toys become larger than life.

On Their Toes

A Q&A with Nicole Benson, owner/director of Benson Academy of Dance & owner/artistic director of Marion Ballet Theatre

How many performances of The Nutcracker has the Marion Ballet Theatre put on?

The Marion Ballet Theatre will have performed nearly 400 shows at the close of our 2016 36th anniversary season for our Marion County audiences.

How many hours each week are spent rehearsing for the show?

Each student rehearses over 20 hours each week, each month for the performances held in December. In addition, the students study technical dance classes up to 10-plus hours a week. That’s nearly a full-time job!

Do you have any tips for aspiring ballerinas?

You will realize dance is your calling when you know within all of your being that you could never imagine doing anything else. This will tell you to follow your passion.

What memory do you hold on most to from the time you spend with your dancers during productions such as this one?

Just being a part of the circle of life. Starting as a dancer; re-living and re-inventing the joy that the trade brings for new generations in our community. Preserving tradition is a great gift.


Sonnentag Theatre at the Icehouse, Mount Dora

September 16-October 9

icehousetheatre.com (352) 383-3133

Corpse! is set in London in 1936 and tells the story of twin brothers, one of whom plots to murder the other. Things do not go as they should, and people are not what they seem. This comedic thriller by Gerald Moon is one for your new play bucket list.

The Shining: Movie & Live Shadowcast

Reilly Arts Center, Ocala

October 14

reillyartscenter.com (352) 351-1606

The Shining is a masterpiece of horror based on the Stephen King novel by the same name. With amazing imagery and standout performances by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, there will be an all original shadowcast performance live on stage while the movie plays.

Heeeere’s Chad

Q&A with Chad Taylor, director of The Shining’s live shadowcast

How long have you been directing and what inspired you to get into theater?
My first acting role was as the major general in The Pirates of Penzance when I was 11, as part of the Civic Theatre’s Arts For All program. I started writing plays in high school and had a chance to direct the first play I had written at CF. From there, I started directing shows in Orlando and spent about six years in Los Angeles writing, directing, acting and producing.

Have you ever played a role in a play you directed?
There are only one or two roles that I’ve written that I’ve claimed as mine simply because they’re personal for me. In 2010, I wrote a full-length play called Barfly on the Wall that we performed at Insomniac, and one of the characters was based on myself, so even though I was directing it, I wanted to play it. What’s funny is during the audition process an actor named Xak Brittain came in out of nowhere and portrayed the role even better than I thought I could, so I ended up doing half the shows and he did the other half.

As the first theater company in the world to attempt a live shadowcast of The Shining, what inspired you to take on such a challenge?
The Shadowcast Series started as a bit of a joke at Insomniac when we were producing the Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast regularly and got to talking about what movies could be turned into shadowcasts—but probably shouldn’t. The top of that list was JAWS. When the Reilly Arts Center was gracious enough to give us a home, they asked what kinds of ideas we had, and I mentioned trying to do JAWS as a shadowcast. After, the audience loved it so much we decided to do Jurassic Park because it was the most requested by the audience. Matthew Wardell asked if I would consider doing The Shining to complete the series for this year. It took me a few days of thinking it over because it’s not really a movie that you would think would transition well to a shadowcast, but the more I thought about it, the more of a challenge I saw it as, so I decided to take it head on.

What is the biggest challenge in directing a shadowcast play rather than a traditional play?
I think it depends on the movie. Partially, I think it’s the fact that you aren’t allowed to take your time to set the scene in a shadowcast as compared to a traditional play. JAWS is an absolutely brilliant movie, but I was cursing Spielberg’s name by the end of it because his pacing is insanely quick. You’re one place and then you’re instantly in another with no time to change sets, costumes, props or anything else. Your cast has to constantly be on their toes, and they can’t miss a single cue.

What, in your opinion, is the difference between a star and an actor?
My definition of a star is probably different than most. People usually equate being a star to being famous, but I’ve always seen the star of a show as the person who is the bedrock of it. There are always one or two actors, sometimes in the background, who the story would fall apart without. They’re sometimes the quiet ones. Any actor can be a star if they work hard enough.


9 To 5 The Musical

Ocala Civic Theatre

September 8-October 2

ocalacivictheatre.com (352) 236-2274

Based on the 1980 hit movie, this outrageously funny ode to female friendship and empowerment is now a hilarious, high-energy musical.

Ethan Bortnick

Reilly Arts Center, Ocala

September 29

reillyartscenter.com (352) 351-1606

From singing and playing the piano to songwriting and starring in television specials, 14-year-old Ethan Bortnick has actually done it all. Prepare your ears for classical renditions, recent top hits, Broadway show tunes and original songs. We predict you’ll be humming even after you leave.

Piano Man In The Making

Q&A with Ethan Bortnick, pianist

When did you start playing the piano?
I started playing piano at 3 years old. I saw kids taking lessons in my school, and I was curious, so I asked my parents for piano lessons. They said “no” because they thought I was too young.When I got home I took a small toy keyboard and began mimicking everything I heard on television and radio. When my parents heard me copying music, they agreed to give me piano lessons.

Which musicians or songs inspire you?
It is impossible to pick just one musician, just one song or just one type of music. I love to listen to all types of music and perform all types of music. Each time I hear something, I find something special in each song or piece.

Can you share a favorite memory from a performance?
I have done hundreds of concerts. Each one is memorable, and there have been special moments in each. I do remember one concert that I performed in South Africa, and we had a chance to give a couple hundred tickets to orphans. One of those orphans asked me how she could live her dreams and perform, so I asked her to come on stage and had the audience film her dancing. After that performance, we found out that a big executive was in the audience, and he sponsored dance lessons, clothing, food and other things for this girl. She is now dancing! That is what music can do. It can change people’s lives and inspire them. This is why I am honored, humbled and excited about what I do!

Don McLean with Special Guest: Judy Collins

Circle Square Cultural Center

October 29

csculturalcenter.com (352) 387-7580

“Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry…” Sorry, we got a little carried away. Since first hitting the charts in 1971, Don McLean has amassed over 40 gold and platinum records worldwide. Touted as one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriters, of course you’ll feel compelled to see him live. And special guest Judy Collin’stop hits include: “Send in the Clowns,” “My Father,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Morning Has Broken.”


Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Gainesville

October 4 & 5

performingarts.ufl.edu (352) 392-2787

Rent tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City’s East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning musical returns to our local stage with a brand-new cast.

Please note:RENTdeals with mature subject matter and includes adult language. This performance is recommended for ages 17 and above.

The Beach Boys

The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, The Villages

December 17-18

thesharon.com (352) 753-3229

Assessing the impact of The Beach Boys is simply impossible. This band has had a wave of hit singles and sold albums by the tens of millions. Some argue that every pop act since has been in its debt. But hey, why don’t you be the judge—The Beach Boys are coming to town! Get ready to sway to some good vibrations and dance, dance, dance.

Did You Know?

The boys initially picked out band names ranging from “Kenny and the Cadets” to “Carl and the Passions.” They later changed it to “Beach Lifestyle” before calling themselves what we know and love: The Beach Boys.


John Raimondi: Drawing to Sculpture

Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala

August 6-October 30

appletonmuseum.org(352) 291-4455

With monumental works at more than 25 museums, nine colleges and universities, three airports and dozens more public and private locations throughout the United States and Europe, John Raimondi’s sculptures are among the most prominent contemporary public pieces of art. Although his sculptures are easy to spot, the Appleton will be among the first venues to showcase the artist’s dynamic preparatory drawings.

Did You Know?

Raimondi has completed more than 100 sculptures for public, corporate and private collections worldwide.

Women from Archetype to Abstraction

The Thomas Center, Gainesville

September 30-January 10

gvlculturalaffairs.org (352) 393-8539

For men and women alike, walk through and admire the expansive group exhibit of drawings, paintings and sculptures featuring women as their muse.

Artist Alley

Downtown Ocala

November 2016, January 2017

artist-alley.com(352) 351-2787
What would happen if Ocala’s most talented artists came together under one roof? Why, we would be at the Artist Alley, of course! This November, prepare to be blown away at The Art of Gift Giving exhibit, perfect for the shopper wanting to spend less than $50 on hand-painted and decorated bags, umbrellas, placemats and more. The exhibit in January, Make Mine Chocolate, will feature 17 creative pieces, crafted by Ocala’s finest.  

Ocala Art Group Annual Juried Exhibition

Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala

November 12-January 1


Come support and enjoy a variety of media recently created by members of the local nonprofit. November 12 is the free opening reception. Be the first to take in the vast array of original drawings, paintings and portraits. In addition to temporary exhibitions, the Appleton Museum of Art presents a permanent collection of European, American and contemporary art, plus Asian, African, Islamic and pre-Columbian artifacts and antiquities.

The MAX Paint Out Exhibit

Ocala Union Station

October 15

maxocala.org (352) 629-8414

The second Annual MAX Paint Out will be held at Ocala Union Station. This year will be in conjunction with the Tuscawilla Art Park opening, which is from 5pm-8:30pm. Painters will set up shop a few hours earlier to get their masterpieces underway.

Ready, Steady, Paint!

Q&A with Jessi Miller Castro, MAX Paint Out participant


Can you describe a favorite piece you have done?
My favorite piece, which changes from time to time with my focus and mood, would be “Poe,” a portrait of Edgar Allan Poe. It is one of a series of three that I did a few years ago. I love Poe’s work. The mystery and artistry surrounding it are always fascinating, and this portrait has a lot of elements about him and his work. There is a raven in his hair, the “telltale heart” on his chest is actually a cut-through showing the background, words from his poem, ‘The Raven,’ are scratched into layers of paint on his suit.”

What’s integral to the work of an artist?
No artists are the same—styles, techniques, subject matter all vary so greatly. What I think makes art good is the feeling that the artist has imbued in their work and how it comes across to the audience. The more inspired the artist is, the more inspired the viewer is.

What are you most looking forward to during this year’s MAX Paint Out?
I’m looking forward to coming up with a totally different concept on what to paint at this year’s Paint Out. Last year, I painted a section of train tracks where two of them crossed. I don’t know what I’ll paint yet this year. That’s part of the fun of being in the moment and painting live—walking around until I see something that I want to focus on and bring to life in an artistic way.  

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