Over the years Savannah Center and the Nightly Entertainment venues have been a host to events put on by Rocky Productions, most familiar being Rocky & The Rollers.
Rocky is back at Savannah with his Rocky’s Big Band Meets Rock and Roll this month! This is a multi-faceted show with music from the forties all the way through the eighties with a big band rock and roll sound.
With Rocky, seventeen Rollers and other big band orchestra members, and three Rollets we can expect a great evening of BIG sound with this fun crew. Rocky has known some members for as long as twenty-three years playing around the country and the state!
When asked about his favorite songs in the show, Rocky noted jazz classics like “In The Mood” and of course “Sing Sing Sing” with the big drum solo on his list of favorites to perform. We can expect to see Rocky behind the drums in his blue sequin suit on the evening of the show.
Singer, Steve Santo is gearing up to perform the iconic Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra tunes, and Kathleen Kane will perform a “Proud Mary” that will blow you away!
“I’m still very true to the music and it’s why I do this.” -Rocky
Visiting the history of big band music and rock n’ roll, we can see the evolution as the horn sections of these big bands were absorbed into mainstream pop and the sounds were “amplified” resulting in “rock n’ roll”. Naturally, the two complement each other in the arrangements that Rocky and his crew have created and we can look forward to some modern favorites mixed with a big band sound.
“You get a mixture of both sounds in one show, which is why audiences continue to show up for this special.” -Rocky
Backstage, Rocky says that it’s enjoyable for cast members to get together and they often find themselves reminiscing over old shows they’ve played through the years. They also generally nerd out over how cool it is to play both genres in one show. “It’s fun for us because it’s the old stuff, but we get to do it LIVE!”
The rehearsal process has certainly changed over the years. When the music charts are finished and are sent out to all players, they don’t commence with a full-blown ensemble rehearsal. The rehearsal starts in the comfort of their living rooms where they study their parts independently. Eventually, they break out into small groups over Zoom calls.
The full group doesn’t gather until the day of the performance where they spend the day putting everything together on the Savannah Center stage.
“Every single player we have on that stage reads music like a professor. We go in early at 9am the day of the show and rehearse 11 to 2:30 and then boom! The first show is at 4.”
You won’t want to miss this show November 12th at 4pm and 7pm. “It’ll be one of the most musically exciting and thrilling shows because you get to hear things you don’t normally hear.”
Rocky’s Big Band Meets Rock and Roll– November 12
Get your tickets here!
Can’t make it to Rocky’s big event? There’s more on the horizon from Rocky Productions.
Get your fix for the ladies of the 60s with Rocky’s Lady Legends of the 60s featuring Peggy March (“I Will Follow Him”), LaLa Brooks (The Crystals & “The Doo Ron Ron”), and Kathy Young (A Thousand Stars) revisiting your favorite tunes from way back when.
Put away your electric guitars and get ready to listen to Rocky and his crew “unplug” for Rocky Unplugged this January as he and his crew bring back this favorite show where everything is still all Rocky, but acoustic!
Get into something good when Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits returns to The Villages this January. A remnant of the British invasion of the 60s, you’ll hear your favorites like “Wonderful Worls and “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”.
Rocky’s Lady Legends of the 60s– On Sale NOW!
Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone – With Special guest Rocky and The Rollers– On Sale 11/16/22
Rocky Unplugged– On Sale 11/23/22
Check out more on our Ticketed Performances page!
The wait is over and everyone can now head on down to Sawgrass Grove to enjoy entertainment!
Penta kicked off the opening October 20th at 6pm
Situated just off of Megisson Road, Villagers can enjoy our newest addition to the Nightly Entertainment line-up throughout the week:
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 6pm-9pm
Saturdays 12pm-3pm & 5pm-9pm
With the Magennis Academy of Irish Dancers featured on select Saturdays and old favorites Villagers may recognize from Lake Sumter Landing, Spanish Springs, and Brownwood, Sawgrass Grove is sure to be a hit! Be sure to check out the lineup that will publish with the rest of the Nightly Entertainment on the fourth Sunday of the month!
At the heart of Sawgrass Grove, this entertainment center is next door to a little bit of everything:
-Check out some golf history across the parking lot at Ezell Recreation Center
-Munch on goodies and find fresh produce at the Market on the east side of the courtyard
-Get some ‘bangers and mash’ with friends at McGrady’s Pub
-Grab a drink at the bar which will open at 3pm Sundays through Fridays and 11am on Saturdays
-Or dance under the comfort of the shade structures with your favorite bands!
Check out your upcoming entertainment for Sawgrass Grove as well as Spanish Springs Town Square, Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, and Brownwood Paddock Square here and we’ll see you there!
It’s time to dig out your light up sunglasses, glow stick bracelets, and get ready to shine at Lake Sumter Landing for our 3rd Electric Light Party with Blonde Ambition!
What started as a glow party back in 2021 has evolved into an all-out light fest with light up handouts included. Mary Carlson, booking coordinator at The Villages Entertainment has been prepping for months for this party in the Entertainment garages. She shared, “[We] started small but now it’s gone into this larger thing. It will be every year in November and we’re already booked for next year!”
“We love to have everyone dressed in lights but we will also be throwing out light up batons and glow rings.”
This year we’ll be handing out over 1000 light-up gel rings and glow batons, along with 100 plus light-up beach balls for the crowd to volley in the air. That doesn’t include what Blonde Ambition will bringing to the stage. “Blonde Ambition Band is incredibly supportive of each other on and off the stage. However, we all love a little friendly competition! We are bringing hundreds of glow sticks and other glowing props with us and we like to see who can hand out the most to the audience! This year, the competition will be intense! “
With light-ups galore being prepared in the past months, there is still more to be done! Leading up to the party, the Entertainment squad will be preparing our featured drink, The Electric Elixir, a blue jello shot. In addition to this special beverage, we’ll also feature Blonde Ambition’s feature drink, The Blonde Bombshell to keep the party going. Be sure to say hi to your favorite bar staff members as we will have every bar hut open with an additional beer and wine tent for easy access.
DAY OF SET UP
The day of the party, you may see team members out at the square decorating. Depending on the extent of decorations for each Light Party, this process can start as early as 7am and last until 4pm. The Entertainment office also gets an interior makeover the day of the party, with staff members putting chairs on their desks at the end of the work day for stilt walkers to sit on while on break, and moving cubicles to create space for the hula-hooper to stretch out before heading out to perform.
Our crowd control members also play a hand in helping set-up and additionally bring calm to the chaos for the night. Decked out in neon vests, they ensure safety for our events and we couldn’t enjoy the party without their constant support and you may see them help usher in our performers throughout the nights.
With this event constantly growing, we would like to add a big shoutout to our sponsors Mid Florida Agencies and The Skylight Contractor for supporting this event and give a big welcome to our first ever vendors for this event Oh My Dogs, BBQ Brazil Express, and the Kettle Corn Cabin.
“The Electric Light Party is unlike any performance we get to do on a regular basis! Blonde Ambition Band literally has an opportunity to light up the night! We love seeing our audience’s creativity in the awesome costumes they put together and providing the entertainment to have the time of their lives! Between the kickin’ music, the fun atmosphere, and most importantly, the incredible energy and excitement from the audience, the Electric Light Party is an unforgettable experience!” – Blonde Ambition
Come light up your night November 10th. The party starts at 5pm and the Electric Light Stroll will begin at 6pm. This free event won’t be one to miss!
In early 2020, SMASH productions held auditions for The Sound of Music. With Covid following soon after, the production process was put on a pause. After 2 years, the wait is over and audiences will get to experience the heartwarming story this November.
Inspired by the real life Von Trapp Family Singers, The Sound of Music follows the story of Maria, a nun who just can’t ever seem to do things right. Maria is tasked with the job of governess to the seven mischievous Von Trapp children. With patience and kindness, Maria breaks down the walls of the Von Trapp children and their very strict father.
Susan Feinberg, producer at SMASH productions shared, “This is the largest cast we have ever had in a SMASH show. Director Bob Stehman has worked hard with our adults and kids to create a real family of singers and dancers to bring the show to life.”
Playing the leading roles of Maria and Captain Von Trapp, Pinky Bigley and Lee Mueller have been hard at work with choreographer Barb Byers perfecting the Rodgers and Hammerstein music we all know and love.
Set in the background of pre- World War II Austria, characters like Max (Tim Casey) and Baroness Elsa (Kathy Chesley-Williams) help to usher in balance to the more serious topics of the time period that take place throughout the show.
With fourteen singing nuns to lift spirits led by the Mother Abbess, played by Bonnie Williams, we can expect to hear some of our favorite songs asking the comical question of “how do you solve a problem like Maria” and we can’t forget the inspiring lyrics of Climb Ev’ry Mountain. Music director, Mary Ann Rockenbach will lead the choir backed by a live band.
Of course, no production of The Sound of Music would be complete without the cast of singing and dancing Von Trapp children, many of which are cast from The Villages Charter School. Audiences can look forward to a beautiful dance number from oldest Von Trapp child, Liesel (Emily Veri) and Rolf (Shay Yael) in the iconic Sixteen Going on Seventeen and the whole crew of kids singing the renowned Do-Re-Mi.
The hills are alive and Villagers can look forward to seeing this beautiful story unfold at Savannah Center on November 8th – 10th with 2pm and 7pm performances. A portion of proceeds will go to The Villages Shrine Club. Get to a box office or visit our website to purchase tickets today!
At Victory Productions, we recognize that inherent emotions rise to the surface when experiencing various forms of entertainment. Not only are the shows we present built on stellar, quality performance, but we also don’t shy away from the immense historical context in which many shows indulge.
Artistic works often run the gambit of the performance spectrum, from those that scratch the surface of emotions to others who explore the depths of feeling. And beneath the surface, at times, even more context inspires these artistic works.
At Victory Productions, we strive to present art that invokes past memories, filled with notable moments and cultural movements. The shows lined up this fall are a testament to that dedication:
Here are three examples:
One of the most significant historical movements, the Tupperware Party, is still alive and well. But did you know that Tupperware was unsuccessful when it was first introduced?
Tupperware was first introduced in the 1940s, but no amount of advertising or store displays could entice customers to buy this everyday kitchen convenience.
Tupperware could not sell itself, literally!
It wasn’t until the early 1950s that the original hostess of the Tupperware party, Brownie Wise, came onto the scene. Brownie was convinced that the best way to sell this product was by demonstrating its function and necessity to modern women. Hence, The Tupperware Party was born. Not only were these gatherings a perfect way to introduce and sell the product, but they became social events that spread across the US. These gatherings were so successful that all products were removed from store shelves, and Tupperware became available exclusively through these parties.
Today, Tupperware is still a household name. Although the party aspect cooled down over the past few decades, along came Dixie Longate. The entire experience has had a renaissance and has the attention of a new generation thanks to Dixie’s Tupperware Party. Today, Dixie is the #1 personal seller of Tupperware in the US and Canada.
If you haven’t ever attended a Tupperware party, or if you need to replenish your supply, don’t miss Dixie’s Tupperware Party returning to the Savannah Center on November 3. Filled with hilarious tales, heartfelt accounts, and a little empowerment and homespun wisdom, Dixie leaves your heart a little bigger and your food a little fresher.
Another show we have lined up celebrating historical movements is Hotter Than July: Stevie Wonder Tribute Band.
Did you know Stevie Wonder’s Album Hotter Than July is dedicated to Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.? Or that the song “Happy Birthday,” featured on the album, was written as a campaign to establish a national holiday of remembrance in honor of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.? Even the album sleeve cover of Hotter Than July serves this purpose. On one side of the sleeve is a photograph of Martin Luther King Jr, with a dedication written by Stevie Wonder of Reverend King’s bravery and efforts toward change and the importance of honoring his memory.
“It is believed that for a man to lay down his life for the love of others is the supreme sacrifice. Jesus Christ, by his own example, showed us that there is no greater love. For nearly two thousand years now, we have been striving to have the strength to follow that example. Martin Luther King was a man who had that strength. He showed us, non-violently, a better way of life, a way of mutual respect, helping us to avoid much bitter confrontations and inevitable bloodshed. We still have a long road to travel until we reach the world that was his dream. We in the United States must not forget either his supreme sacrifice or that dream.
I, and a growing number of people, believe that it is time for our country to adopt legislation that will make January 15, Martin Luther King’s birthday, a national holiday, both in recognition of what he achieved and as a reminder of the distance which still has to be traveled.
Join me in the observance of January 15, 1981, as a national holiday.”
~Stevland Morris, aka Stevie Wonder
Celebrate this momentous victory and join us for Hotter Than July: The Stevie Wonder Tribute Band on November 20 at The Savannah Center.
Almost every one of this generation knows about Simon & Garfunkel’s Concert in the Park. And how could you not? It was one of the biggest concerts in music history.
After almost more than a decade removed from Simon & Garfunkel’s successful run atop the music charts and their subsequent breakup, the duo reunited for what would become one of the most famous concerts of all time. The pair reunited for a night of music on the Great Lawn in New York City’s Central Park. The event occurred on September 19, 1981, and attendance was estimated to have reached upward of half a million people. A broadcast of the event on the burgeoning cable movie channel HBO and an accompanying double album contributed to this night of music going down in the annals of music history.
What most don’t know, however, is that there was one song broadcast on HBO that was cut from the album release. A newly written but unreleased song (later to appear on Simon’s “Hearts and Bones” album), “The Late Great Johnny Ace” was set to be debuted at the show. During the performance, an audience member ran onto the stage shouting at Simon, “I need to talk to you!” The man was carried off by security without incident, but Simon, obviously startled, finished the song. The incident provoked associations with the song lyrics, in which Simon speaks as a first-person narrator concerning the deaths of Johnny Ace, John F. Kennedy, and John Lennon. Lennon’s murder had occurred only 9 months earlier, not far from the concert site. For Simon, a friend of Lennon and a native New Yorker, the experience was surprising but not entirely concerning. Said Simon, “He’s messed up the song. It’s hard enough for people to grasp a new song. My reaction was not, at the time, one of fear. I think he was stoned. He wasn’t threatening, although it might’ve looked that way.”
“On a cold December evening, I was walking through the Christmastide
When a stranger came up and asked me if I’d heard John Lennon had died
And the two of us went to this bar and we stayed to close the place
And every song we played was for the late great Johnny Ace”
Johnny Rogers and Lee Lessack return to The Savannah Center on November 4 with Simon & Garfunkel: Live in Central Park [Revisited]. And while you might not be hearing “The Late Great Johnny Ace,” you’ll be sure to experience the rest of the setlist presented just as it was on that historic night in New York City 40 years ago.
We couldn’t be more interested in these sorts of small historical details. You might even say that we are nerds for entertainment history. We believe these historical tidbits, found when diving deeper into the account of these cultural moments, lend great gravitas to these performances.
After all, entertainment is current. It is alive. Even when it is history.
If you’re at any of these upcoming shows, or any Victory Productions show at The Savannah Center, please come say hello. And, please, if you have them, share some of your historical entertainment anecdotes with us.
We hope to see you there!