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Players Circle announces 2020 schedule

November 27, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Starting Dec. 3, fans of the theater will have an opportunity to see productions put on by some of the most talented actors in Southwest Florida.

Players Circle Theatre, Lee County's newest professional theater, has announced its 2019-2020 inaugural season at the Shell Factory and Nature Park.

Five professional productions will play.

The first season will have a more comedic feel to it, sprinkled in with some drama.

Robert Cacioppo, artistic director for the theater, said that people love to laugh, thus the reason for the schedule he created.

"There is a bend on comedy, but there are all kinds of comedy and most of it is very smart, and some plays deal with different emotions," Cacioppo said. "I'm so excited about seeing new old friends. We're going to be so accessible to so many people."

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Opening the season will be an original world premiere, "Ho!Ho!Ho! The Christmas Show," a musical comic revue written, conceived and directed by producing artistic director Cacioppo. The musical will run from Dec. 3 to Dec. 22 and features a cast of five.

The show will feature musical director and arranger Knuckles Rosen and will be choreographed by Cacioppo's longtime collaborator, Arthur D'Allessio. Audience members will be invited to sing along to classic Christmas carols.

They have been working on this show for months, Cacioppo said, adding it will feature actors who have come in from all over the country as well as a director from California.

"It's a work in progress, but I've created a lot of musical revues. This is taking the most popular Christmas songs and arranging them in a clever way," Cacioppo said.

From Jan. 10 through Feb. 2, will be "The Dining Room" by A.R. Gurney. A comedy by the author of "Sylvia" and "The Cocktail Hour," the comedy is set in the dining room of a typical well-to-do household and includes a mosaic of scenes.

"The Dining Room" will feature Players Circle Theatre Managing Director Carrie Cacioppo leading the cast of six. Director will be Associate Producer Bill Gregg, who has directed more than 150 professional productions.

Previews will take place Jan. 7 to 10.

From Feb. 15 through March 8, with previews Feb. 12 to 14, will be Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor." Directed by Robert Cacioppo, the Broadway hit comedy is a homage to Neil Simon's early days, when he worked as a comedy writer for Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows."

Simon's alter ego, Lucas, is stuck in a room with the loosest comedy writers ever, based on Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart and others.

From March 20 through April 12, with previews March 17-19, will be "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" by Simon Stephens for the first Lee County professional production of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning play.

Based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon and directed by Robert Cacioppo, 15-year-old Christopher Boone has an extraordinary mind but is out of sync with the world. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor's dog, he sets out to find the true killer.

"Miracle on South Division Street" by Tom Dudzick, will runs from April 24 through May 17, with previews April 21-23. The play is about the Nowak family of Buffalo, N.Y., who have always known they were special, ever since that night in 1942 when the Virgin Mary appeared to Grandpa in his barbershop. Starring Carrie Lund Cacioppo and directed by Robert Cacioppo, it is a revival they helped develop eight years ago.

"With 'The Dining Room' It's funny, it's touching at times and rueful. 'Laughter on the 23rd Floor' was Neil Simon's last great comedy about the beginning of TV and when the greatest comic minds were all in the same room," Cacioppo said. "'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime' is more a drama, but there are several very funny moments."

Tickets can be ordered by calling the Players Circle box office at 800-3292. Online at

Box office hours are Monday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and one hour before curtain. Tickets are $50 and $35 for discount previews. Seven performances per week: Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Audiences can subscribe for season rates up to 50 percent off regular prices. Three- and four-show subscriptions are now available. Preview subscriptions at $25 per ticket (first four performances) will sell out quickly. "Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show" is not part of subscription series, but subscribers will be able to add-on for $35. Groups rates are available by email or by calling the box office.

The Shell Factory and Nature Park is at 16554 N. Cleveland Ave. in North Fort Myers.



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