CHEERS to a New Year by Claudia Polzin, Independent Consultant

After you are done with the New Year’s festivities – time to put together your calendar for all of the activities you want to enjoy in the first month of a new year. If you are a lover of country music – make sure to attend Nashville Imposters on January 5 at 6 p.m. at the Norris Center. This duo has been entertaining since 1998 performing traditional country music guaranteed to get your toes tapping and your hand slapping your knee.

Every Sunday in January there is a concert in Cambier Park by one of our local bands. We are very blessed to have many talented musicians who reside in the Naples area. We have great jazz bands and Big Bands and they entertain us with their wonderful music played from the heart.

But now it’s time to put your imagination to work –The Naples Players will be presenting the hilarious Pulitzer prize winning play between January 10-28 – Harvey. If you ever had an imaginary friend you will be able to relate to this play – Elwood P. Dowd and his friend Harvey lead us on hilarious adventures – Elwood is 47 years old and Harvey is a 6 foot tall invisible rabbit. It was made into a movie starring Jimmy Stewart and its themes of loyalty, friendship and acceptance quickly became beloved by all.

Opening on January 11 – TheatreZone will present the musical production of Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical. Frank Weldhorn’s musical orchestrations blend ballads, jazz, and blues, echoing the journey of shattered youthful aspirations. Bonnie, a starry-eyed 20 year old waitress, yearns for stardom as an actress, poet, and singer. Meanwhile, Clyde idolizes Billy the Kid and Al Capone, their dreams at odds with each other. Their escapades quickly take a haunting turn. While they attain fame, it’s tainted and compels them into a perpetual fugitive’s life. Witness the infamous duo’s escalating notoriety as their inevitable demise looms closer.

January 18 – February 11 you can enjoy the longest running musical in the world – The Fantasticks will be presented by The Naples Players in true fashion. The show was totally sold out and has been extended. It’s an enduring tale of youthful romance, capturing both nostalgia and universality in its essence.

Closing out the month of January for The Naples Players will be the New Play Festival – January 21. This is an evening of one act play performances with scripts and no props or costumes –time to put your imagination to work again. Five award-winning scripts from the 2023 new play festival will be presented.

An event unique to this area – the Swamp Buggy races will feature the Swamp Buggy parade on January 20 beginning at the Coastland Center Mall. Scheduled at Cambier Park from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 20 is the the annual Empty Bowls event. This global grassroots initiative aims to generate funds and awareness in the battle against hunger. Its overarching mission involves fostering enduring, constructive change by utilizing the arts, education, and community-building projects.

January 30 – don’t miss Gulfshore Opera’s showcase at the Daniels Pavilion at Artis—Naples. This special program highlights gifted vocal artists trained in classical music, delivering a performance centered around the theme of “Love’s First Blush.” Be sure to enjoy the first month of the new year and find the places in Naples that bring you happiness and joy.

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