Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts presents the award-winning The Mountaintop  by Katori Hall and directed by Rick Sebastian  Jan. 16 through 26 at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL.  The production stars local powerhouses Derek Lively and Sonya McCarter and is presented in conjunction with the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Weekend hosted by the Dunbar Festival Committee.

What thoughts and emotions might have pulsed through the mind and heart of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 3, 1968, his last night alive? In The Mountaintop, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis after delivering his magnificent “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. As a storm rages outside, a mysterious hotel maid brings King a cup of coffee, prompting him to confront his life, his past, his legacy and the plight and future of the American people in a reflective, touching and often funny way.

This production is sponsored by William and Shareen Groce with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Individual ticket prices are $26, $11 for students or $22 for Alliance members. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

An audio described show is available on Jan. 26. For theatregoers who are blind, or have moderate to severe vision loss, the Alliance will provide a specially trained describer who verbalizes what’s happening on stage during pauses in dialogue. The describer uses a headset microphone, while individuals using the service listen through a receiver with a single earpiece. Reservation of headsets is required prior to the show by calling 239-939-2787.

To widen the post-show conversation and discuss what the art onstage means to us as individuals and as a society, the Alliance will facilitate a community conversation through talkbacks after the Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 matinees. Talkbacks allow the audience to ask questions and express their thoughts, ideas on issues revealed in the play through the form of meaningful discussion.  The Jan. 19 talkback will feature the director and cast and the Jan. 26 talkback will be hosted by a panel facilitated by Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Lee County School District, Jarret Eady. The opportunity is included with ticket purchase.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the box office at 239-939-2787, visit 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL or go online at

About the Cast

Sonya McCarter, Community Engagement Coordinator, Alliance for the Arts and playing the role of Camae in The Mountaintop

Mrs. McCarter is the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Alliance for the Arts as well as a director and actress. Her heart’s passion is to help facilitate engaging and meaningful theatre that features strong African-American characters and stories. McCarter has appeared in television (Burn Notice), film (The Florida Project) and theatre. Her directing credits include: The Bluest Eye, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Seven Guitars and Raisin in the Sun. She holds a Master’s Degree in Oral Interpretation of Speech and Theatre Arts. Mrs. McCarter will play Camae in The Mountaintop and coordinate and participate in a post-show talk backs and panel discussions. Mrs. McCarter will also help to plan and execute surrounding events.

Derek Lively, Equity Actor and playing the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in The Mountaintop

Derek Lively is a professional actor and has appeared in productions ranging from Shakespeare to Eugene O’Neill and has worked in regional theaters and Off-Broadway, including The Public Theater and LaMama E.T.C. His solo show, Welcome To My Soul, which he wrote and performed, led to a first-look development deal with NBC (Universal). He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. Mr. Lively will play Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in The Mountaintop and participate in a post-show talk back.

Rick Sebastian, director of The Mountaintop

Rick Sebastian holds an M.F.A. in Theatre Acting & Directing from Florida Atlantic University. He has over 30 years of experience in Film, Television, and Theatre. Acting credits include School for Wives, The Odd Couple, Claudius in Hamlet, Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Big Julie in Guys n Dolls. Directing credits include Betrayal, The Best Man, The Country Wife, The Elephant Man, The Nether and numerous stage readings of new plays.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the box office at 239-939-2787, visit 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL or go online at

The Alliance for the Arts invites the public to its opening reception for Reveries of A Tropical Heart Exhibit on Jan. 10  from 5 – 7 p.m. The free event features the works of award-winning artists Jeff Ripple and Muffy Clark Gill as well as light refreshments. The show exhibits from Jan. 10 through Feb. 2 at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL.

Meet and engage with exhibiting artists during a free conversational tour through the gallery on Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. during the Alliance for the Arts weekly GreenMarket.

The luminous beauty of dramatically lit landscape paintings and the enchantment of colorful batik dreamscapes combine to capture the warmth of the tropics. Stay awhile and be transported into a world you won’t want to leave.

Receptions and gallery tours are open to the public and do not require tickets or reservations. While gallery admission is free, a $5 suggested donation keeps Alliance programming affordable and accessible.

Local artist Robert Allen will be on display in the Theatre Lobby Gallery. Displaying their latest works form the classroom, students and instructors at the Alliance for the Arts will be filling the Members Gallery with a variety of pieces from recent classes.

For more information about this exhibit, visit or call 239-939-2787.

The Alliance for the Arts presents The Elephant Storytelling Showcase: Stories You’ll Never Forget on Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. The event features 10 area storytellers who recount a variety of narratives from personal tales to folktales. This storytelling showcase is produced by Storytellers of the Round Table.

Tickets are $15 for Alliance members or $20 for non-members.

For more information about this event or to purchase tickets, visit or call 239-939-2787.

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts announces the three finalists for the 21st Annual New Play Contest: Love and Communication by Jim Christy, The Wild Boar by Daniel Damiano and The Chechens by Phillip Smith. Finalists were selected from over 600 entries from around the world. The audience will vote for their favorite at the event on Dec. 14 at the Alliance for the Arts 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers FL  33919.

The New Play Contest, now in its 21st year, provides an opportunity for audiences to get involved with the contest process itself, rather than the end result.

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception including food and drink. At 7:30 p.m. selections from the finalists will be read by a cast of Alliance for the Arts actors. After the conclusion of the final reading the audience will vote for which show they think should be the winner. The winning script will be given a full production in the Alliance’s 2020-21 Season and receive the Janet & Bruce Bunch New Play Contest Award.

“Our New Play Contest is a daunting task each year, but the payoff is worthy of the effort,” says artistic producing director Bill Taylor. “Supporting new work is an important part of our mission. These playwrights and their work are the future of theatre in America.”

Tickets are $50 and include the reception and readings.  Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 239-939-2787.

Love and Communication by Jim Christy

Samuel Holden is by all accounts, a spectacularly beautiful child. His parents, school administrators, therapists and lawyers fighting about the best way to treat his autism all agree on that. And practically nothing else.

His father Rob will do anything necessary – anything — to get Samuel into a private school with a years-long waiting list. For his mother Megan, the answer is a relatively new therapy patented by a charismatic doctor. As these increasingly desperate efforts take them in different directions, their marriage — and their relationship with their son — hang in the balance.

The show is about autism as an analogy for the difficulty people have communicating with each other. Every allegedly normal character in the play — parents, educators, bureaucrats — displays an inability to communicate or to show empathy for those they are supposed to love, the core of autism.

The Wild Boar by Daniel Damiano

A newly retired teacher moves to a remote island, seeking nothing but solitude and serenity. However, when a boar arrives at her house one day, an unlikely relationship develops, bringing about unexpected feelings from her past, while placing her at odds with the local authorities and the island’s other inhabitants.

The Wild Boar by Daniel Damiano was a finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award and Bloomington Playwrights Project.

The Chechens by Phillip Smith

In modern Chechnya homosexuals are rumored to be held in camps. Can one family protect their brother suspected of being gay, or will they honor kill him to protect the name of the family? What prevails in the end-religion, politics or love?