Culture 2 Go: our monthly roundup of performing arts news

Sad tidings and transitions

Some sad tidings and transitions to report in this month’s edition of C2G:

Orlando’s theater community turned out en masse at Temple Beth Am on March 22 to celebrate the life of Myron Blattner, who passed away last month just before his 78th birthday. A former deli owner and renowned Jewish cook, Blattner was best known (with his late wife, Adrienne) as a superfan of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. An ebullient arts enthusiast, Blattner repeatedly topped the list of patrons purchasing the most festival tickets, and sponsored a Fringe venue as part of “DEM Guys” with friends David Horgan and Ed Anthony. Farewell, Myron; next month’s Fringe won’t be the same without you.

Jane Henson, mother of Orlando’s Ibex Puppetry founder Heather Henson and widow of Jim Henson, died in Connecticut April 2. Jane helped Jim create the first Muppets while they were in college and performed alongside her husband for years before retiring to raise their children; her puppet Nativity was performed locally last year. I interviewed Henson for OW when the Jim Henson Smithsonian exhibit visited the Orange County History Center in 2009, and found her witty and generous with her time.

Autumn Ames, executive director of Arts & Cultural Alliance of Central Florida, is stepping down from her position to spend more time with her young daughter. Ames has been instrumental in promoting the Red Chair Project online ticketing program and the annual Red Chair Affair fundraiser. No replacement has been named; Ames plans to stay active in Orlando’s arts community.

A few months after moving into the Crealdé park, GOAT will be forced to close their doors due to medical issues faced by owners Leesa and Paul Castaneda’s sons, Logan and Leo. Online donations to support the company are being accepted at – more than $1,250 of their hoped-for $5,000 had been raised by press time. Read more about it here.

Local performers Jessi Riese (Suckers, Rocky Horror Show) and John Bateman (The Duchess of Malfi, Dog Powered Robot) are both relocating to New York City in the coming weeks to pursue their careers. Break legs in the Big Apple!

Frost/Nixon, Empty Spaces at Orlando Shakes, April 12 … Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, April 16 … Jessica Earley’s HYPER-Bolic, the Venue, April 19 … Nanette Perrotte performs Ella Fitzgerald: It Don’t Mean a Thing, Orlando Public Library, April 23.

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