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Arts & Culture

Sad endings: Jester Theater and Pinocchio’s Marionette Theater close up shop

Happy beginnings: Red Chair rebrands as OrlandoAtPlay.com

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Recent Culture2Go columns have announced happy Orlando arts news, but this month we memorialize recently departed individuals and institutions.

Local actor Carl Krickmire, 32, passed away June 21 after a brief illness. The New York native performed with Beth Marshall Presents and SAK Comedy Lab, among others, most recently starring in Jekyll & Hyde: A Rap Musical at Fringe. I didn’t know Carl personally, but admired his comic turns as Eugene in Biloxi Blues and Hamlisch in Better Days.

Jack Lowe, 67, passed away June 17. The Army veteran and former public defender moved to Central Florida with his wife, Susan Mitchell, almost 15 years ago. Both were active in community theater, penning the Holocaust docudrama Witness for Sanford’s Princess Theater last year and supporting Jay and Diana Hopkins’ Jester Theater.

Speaking of Jester Theater, the company quietly folded in May after 10 years of first-rate productions, from Musical of Musicals: The Musical to Nashville Hurricane. Jay and Diana Hopkins earn a “graceful exit award” for bowing out without owing money to anyone, and you can count on them to partner with other local producers on future projects.

Pinocchio’s Marionette Theater in the Altamonte Mall sadly shutters on July 31. Sean Keohane’s puppet playhouse has struggled financially for several years, and will end its nearly 15-year run with Beauty and the Beast.

Finally, the Red Chair Project website has been retired and resurrected as OrlandoAtPlay.com, United Arts’ new clearinghouse for Central Florida cultural event tickets. With an arts e-newsletter and virtual box office, UA hopes the new nomenclature will become more popular with local patrons than the nebulous Red Chair brand.

OPENING THIS WEEK

Ladies of Eola Heights, July 10-28 at the Abbey … 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, July 10-Aug. 24 at Theatre UCF … Starving Artists presents Oliver!, July 11-20 at Winter Springs High School … Humor Mill presents Locked Out of Fringe, July 11-13 at Breakthrough Theatre.

UPCOMING

Crazy for You, July 18-Aug. 3 at Orlando Rep … PRT’s Summer Shorts, July 25-26 at Orlando Shakes.

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