There are hardly any occasions in our lives when we don’t welcome a celebration. And why not? By and large, celebrations are shared experiences surrounding a special event, coupling together reflection and just good plain fun. And what could more appropriately describe The Villages and its residents?
Living and playing in The Villages is just that…A Celebration!
For me, the Arts are the best realization of all there is in life to celebrate. One could even argue that the Arts are that very celebration.
The Arts shine a light on all that is beautiful within a community. It breeds curiosity within each of us. Curiosity for the people we see and curiosity in the places we frequent. In so doing, that bridges our backgrounds into one neighborhood. We are bonded through the stories, songs, shows, and shared experiences that affect us all.
In celebration of life through Arts, we are magically whisked back to the very moments in time that elicits emotion, passion, and nostalgia. That first date. The big game! A first kiss. Your wedding day. The birth of your first child and your first grandchild.
What is the ever-present anchor that allows us to relive these experiences? The Arts.
To that end, Victory Productions’ vision includes presenting to you, The Villages, with multiple occasions for celebration, each and every week of the year.
Together, we celebrate actors, singers, musicians, comedians, dancers, acrobats. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.
In the next few months at The Savannah Center, you can see any number of performances in celebration of Classic Rock, in celebration of musical theatre, in celebration of dance, and in celebration of comedy.
After nearly two years residents and cast alike are excited for the run of Grease coming to the Savannah Center this March proclaiming, “Grease is the Word!”. This performance will star Broadway’s Alex Santoriello and Dawn Dinome with special guest stars Clark Barrios, Mark Steven Schmidt, Brynn Neal & newcomer Virgil Reyes. There are, however, some “behind the scene” members of this production that hold it dear to their heart.
The start of this production was construed primarily by both leaders Alex Santoriello of Pro-Am Performing Arts Corp. and Joan Knapton of KC Productions. Pro-Am not only produces and presents shows, but generally keeps an educational forefront to help train aspiring actors and singers. They began as a not-for-profit organization in 2015 and continue to annually hold productions yearly with proceeds to benefit local charities “donating nearly $100,000 to charities” over the past 6 years, leader Alex Santoriello claims.
KC Productions was launched by Knapton with a small show called The Envelope Please. After dipping her toe in the water, she reached the realization that her passion for theater was in production.
“It became clear to me that staging these wonderful shows was not enough, they had to be something to be proud of and well received by the audience. That was the reward….I want the audience to be overwhelmed by the depth of the show and I want the next show to be better than the last.”, says Knapton.
With such a strong passion for theater inside and out, it is no wonder that when the two found each other in 2015 they became partners. Knapton claims when she first crossed paths with Santoriello she saw a “talented performer with a magnificent voice and strong skill, like her own, in directing.” Since then, the two have been driven towards the goal of creating marvelous, daring and inspiring entertainment for patrons of The Villages.
Even with the hamper of entertainment over the past year they have managed to keep the production of Grease afloat with all the same cast members. Originally scheduled in 2020 and selling out to all 5 productions, cast and crew sincerely cannot wait to perform a long-overdue production to those loyal patrons who waited to purchase tickets for this March.
When asked why they decided upon Grease Knapton states,
“it checked all the boxes for fine entertainment and enthusiasm for it was overwhelming! The selection was golden and when it became available I jumped on it. It was a challenge that both Alex and I welcomed!”
Both agree that they are very grateful to have the opportunity to produce and perform once again. “Currently we are dusting off our dance shoes practicing our musical scales and very happy to be able to,” said Knapton
Santoriello explained a bit why being able to perform again in The Villages in particular is so important and meaningful to him,
“As a Broadway actor, I rarely knew who was in the audience. In The Villages, I see the same audience members on a regular basis at all of the shows that I do. This is a small community and because of that, the experience is much more personal.”
If you have not purchased your tickets yet, visit our Ticketed Performances page for Grease hereto buy a ticket to this wonderful, long-awaited production. The run will start on March 3rd at 3pm and finish on March 5th with a 7pm showing.
Leaders of Pro-Am Performing Arts and KC Productions Alex Santoriello and Joan Knapton contributed to this report