Orlando's theater community lost a loyal friend last month when Matt McGrath passed away from cancer on Feb. 13. He wasn't the most likely arts patron, with his Pittsburgh-born love of beer, hockey and blue humor, but he was a dedicated member of the Orlando Fringe board of directors for many years, and always seemed to come to the rescue when an artist needed last-minute financial assistance. Friends paid tribute to McGrath's honesty and enthusiasm during a celebration at downtown's Harp & Celt (where Matt pre-paid the bar tab), and at the Fab Fringe fundraiser at Hard Rock Live. Fittingly, per his will Guinness will be served this year at the Fringe beer tent, which will be renamed in Matt's honor.
In other tragic arts news, former Central Florida resident Brian Feldman was beaten and robbed in Washington, D.C., where the noted performance artist now lives. The attackers took Feldman's bicycle and left him in the hospital with serious injuries (including broken vertebrae) and mounting medical bills. Brian had been scheduled to reprise the "Leap Day" ladder-jumping stunt he originated in Orlando at NYC's Times Square on Feb. 29, and had planned to perform Brian Feldman's William Shakespeare's MacBeth at Lake Eola on March 20. Instead, he needs help paying for his medical care; you can donate at gofundme.com/projectbrian, where more than $13,000 has already been raised.
NOW PLAYING: Naked Boys Singing, through March 13 at Parliament House ... The Adventures of Pericles, through March 26, and The Tempest, through March 27, at Orlando Shakespeare Theater ... Painting Churches, through March 20 at Mad Cow Theatre ... Jake's Women, through March 14 at Breakthrough Theatre ... Joe's NYC Bar, through March 20 at St. Matthew's Tavern.
UPCOMING: Bay Street Players presents The Great American Trailer Park Musical, March 12-13 at the State Theatre in Eustis ... Dixie's Tupperware Party, March 15-27 at Dr. Phillips Center ... She Loves Me, March 17-26 at Theatre UCF ... The Whale, opens March 18 at the Garden Theatre ... Long Day's Journey Into Night, opens March 18 at Mad Cow Theatre ... Kevin Kelly in They Said There'd Be Cake, March 19-26 at Parliament House ... STOMP, March 23-24 at Dr. Phillips Center ... CFCArts presents The Sound of Music, opens April 1 at Central Christian Church.