A Word From The Creator of Classic Albums Live

They say you can never go back home again. Well, in theory, this might be true. However, we’ve all, at one point or another, enjoyed the time-traveling powers that a classic album possesses in our collective memory.  

Music has the power to transport us to a time and place, often marking a monumental occasion in our lives. For me, the power of music is the greatest purveyor of these powers of remembrance and reflection.  

These feelings are shared, too, by Craig Martin, CEO, and Founder of Classic Albums Live.

Fresh off Classic Album’s Live’s successful presentation of shows this past fall, we are back with the next installment in this incredible series at The Savannah Center. And Craig Martin, CEO, and Founder of Classic Albums Live, is here to give us his thoughts on the new lineup of upcoming performances.

Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits
Coming: April 27th
“I feel like, after 16 years of Classic Album Live, a greatest hits album, here and there, is merited, and Fleetwood Mac is the perfect band for this. Of course, Rumours will be omnipresent during the show, but this is a wonderful chance for us to delve into some deeper tracks.  

Fleetwood Mac is the most magical band. We’re going to embrace this show with gusto, deliver a note for note brilliance, and then we can all drown in the sea of love together.”

Led Zeppelin – II
Coming: May 13th
“Led Zeppelin really does sound like the hammer of the gods. At first listen, it’s the guitar riffs that grab you, then the drums, then the sweet honey voice of Robert Plant. What’s funny is that after years of listening and dissecting the album – it’s the bass guitar that I’m now drawn to. And Led Zeppelin II has it all: drum solos! Guitar solos! Lemons!”

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Coming: June 3rd
“Sgt. Pepper is 55 years old! For many of us, we don’t know a world without it. Pepper was the album that defined The Beatles as being in it for the long game. It was as though everyone suddenly realized that The Beatles were a big part of the fabric of the 20th century.”

We all know the hits off the album – “When I’m Sixty Four,” “A Day in The Life,” and “With a Little Help from My Friends.” But upon continual listening, the deep tracks become more and more compelling. George Harrison’s “Within Without You” was like adding a new spice to your diet. “Being for The Benefit of Mr. Kite!” sounds like you’re taking a trip on a carousel, and “She’s Leaving Home” brought old and young together and prepared them for change.”

The Eagles – Greatest Hits
Coming: June 17th
“The Eagles sold more albums than anyone else, think of that. Picture what 50 million albums stacked up looks like. Wow!

I bought this album on 8 track, then later on vinyl, then I owned it on cassette, then I bought the CD. The voices on this album are complex, with harmonies, lush detail, and unmatched attention to detail. Hearing “Take It To The Limit,” performed live, is a moving experience, “Best of My Love,” makes you look differently at your partner- more appreciatively, and “One of These Nights,” grooves.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Chronicle
Coming: July 13th
“Creedence Clearwater Revival was America’s greatest band. Their music reached out and got an entire continent rocking. Hit after hit, no other band delivers that big of a collection of instantly recognizable, toe-tapping songs”

Founded in 2003 by Martin himself, Classic Albums Live takes the greatest albums and recreates them live on stage – note for note, cut for cut, using the best musicians. “Think of it as a recital,” says Martin, “these albums are historic and stand the test of time.” 

Forgoing costumes and impersonations, Classic Albums Live has found success in concentrating solely on the music. “We don’t dress up or wear any sort of costume. We just stand there and play. All of our energy is put into the music. We want the performance to sound exactly like the album,” says Martin. 

“We created something that endures and connects. These albums are sacred to people. We deliver exactly what we promote – ‘note for note, cut for cut’ accuracy.” 

You can purchase tickets for all of Classic Albums Live and save! Click here to buy 4 and get the 5th performance free!

The Honeymooners: From New York to Florida

A SMASHing Start

In just a few days The Villages Resident Lifestyle Group SMASH Productions will premiere months of hard work with their latest production, The Honeymooners: From New York to The Villages!

SMASH productions group leader Susan Feinberg has an extensive history with music, acting and entertainment as a whole.

“I have been involved in entertainment since I was a kid with many years of dance lessons. My house was filled with show tunes and opera music.”

Even as a teen, Susan was booking groups for a local teen center. She continued this passion not only through college, but professionally as well.

“I was in charge of developing and marketing Digital Quality Audio and Video products for a Global Telecommunications Company.”

It is no surprise that when Susan moved to The Villages 10 years ago, she began producing and promoting almost immediately.

“I first started producing and promoting programs at Temple Shalom, including concerts and plays. One highlight was the summer concert series with The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra.”

SMASH Productions was launched 5 years ago as a vehicle for Villagers to perform in quality productions and as Susan explains,

“to have a bigger stage and venue for full scale shows and productions”.

The group also takes pride in their partnerships with local charities since its inception. The Honeymooners will support the Villages Shrine Club and YOUR Humane Society SPCA.

Behind The Scenes With The Honeymooners!

The Honeymooners from New York to The Villages is an original play written by Tina Shapiro and Carol Azzarone-Onuschak.

Susan explained a bit about the shows narratives,

“The Honeymooners is funny with nonstop laughs. Our performers and crew have poured their hearts into bringing out all the nuances of the characters and what makes them come to life in The Villages community.”

This production is a bit different than past performances from SMASH on the Savannah Center stage. Susan states this will be the group’s first piece that is not a full musical.

“(This) enabled us to cast some new actors. But since we have some of our best SMASH singers in the show, there will still be a little bit of music and dancing.”

Bringing the Lifestyle to Life

There is vast opportunity for Villagers to join various clubs of all sorts, including theatre clubs. It is important to many to stay involved in activities that they have carried with them or get involved in something new to try for the first time.

 Susan explains why this is something unique and important that The Villages offers.

“There is so much talent in The Villages between people who have performed continuously since they were kids, took a hiatus while working or raising a family, or (those) who just started to perform after moving here. It is enjoyable to blend the unique talents together in front of AND behind the curtain.”

The group may be reaching their final days of rehearsal, but that doesn’t stop them from having fun.

“We work hard but we laugh during the entire rehearsal.”

Expect The Unexpected

The Honeymooners from New York to The Villages is sure to be a hoot. This group’s effort to take an original script and bring it to life with a Villages twist including cast favorites Golf Scene, Sleepwalking Act and even a National Raccoon Convention at our own Savannah Center are sure to leave the audience in tears from laughter!

A final word from Susan explains the experience best,

“Live theatre is the fuel that sparks imagination. Expect the unexpected! If you enjoy a good laugh while supporting Villages Theatre, please join us at The Honeymooners show March 15-17 at the Savannah Center.”

Getting Eklectic on The Squares

“What if we put as many amazing talents as we knew into one company?” This was the question lead singer, Krislyn Rojas and her husband, bass-guitarist, Luis asked themselves ten years ago when their band Blonde Ambition was taking off.

Quickly coming up on their company’s tenth anniversary on March 21st, they have grown from 3 bands to 168 musicians, dancers, and dj’s who perform everywhere under the sun. From corporate events to nonprofit galas to The Villages squares, “The sky is kind of the limit for what we provide,” Krislyn says.

New Eklectic Entertainment – Coming Your Way

This month, we’ll see three new bands from Eklectic Entertainment on our squares.

Sound Up, making their debut at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, is a high energy top 40 band. Krislyn says they have “a dj inspired flow to the night in the way they call shows” and they can’t wait to see them soar.

There has been more demand for great 80s rock cover bands and The Rundown Band delivers. Lead singer, Raphael, has a voice that “reaches into the stratosphere” making this band a hit when they debuted in February. You can expect to party on the squares with them again this month!

You may have seen The Rundown Band when they made their debut in February!

Part of what makes new band Sugar Vibe so special is their “larger than life sound wrapped up in a package of 5 people”. They run like a well-oiled machine and will make their way onto the stage at Spanish Springs Town Square this month.

Eklectic History in The Villages

Eklectic Entertainment’s bands began working with The Villages in the Fall of 2019. When asked “why The Villages”, Krislyn said she would always be an advocate for The Villages Entertainment after the way they took care of them when the performance industry was taking a hit.

“The Villages has been the single most reliable promoter for live entertainment in Florida. I firmly believe The Villages Entertainment single-handedly helped over 100 bands continue to perform.”

Not only did The Villages Entertainment continue to employ performers, but Villagers contributed to the live-music industry as well. “[The Villages] helped make performers feel wanted and their artistry seen.”

Eklectic Entertainment continues to come back to The Villages not only because it’s what they consider their “home base”, but they’ve never experienced crowds like those made up of Villagers. “They are there to greet you, hug you, ask you about family, and they’re there for your successes.”

With everything opening back up, the company continues to get invited to out-of-state gigs but they will always come back “home” to The Villages.

“There’s nothing else really like it anywhere.”

Come see Sound Up make their debut March 18 at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, The Rundown Band at Brownwood Paddock Square March 16 and at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square March 30, and Sugar Vibe on March 14 at Spanish Springs Town Square.

You can visit our nightly Entertainment page here for the monthly line up at each of our Town Squares.

If you are interested in receiving emails with the monthly Town Square schedule and other cool articles like this one, you can sign up here!

Don’t forget to join Krislyn and her band Blonde Ambition at Electric Light Party March 4.

UPDATE: Mobile Ticketing

The Villages Entertainment has a new update – mobile ticketing!

The pandemic opened the floodgates to a plethora of new advancements in the technological world! This nudged businesses to become more advanced in the ways they were communicating information.

The QR code became well known to all, used in restaurants and theaters nationwide. The Villages Entertainment grasped a hold of this advancement for ticketing purposes.

Many may have first used this feature for The Open Air Concert Series 2020, when the beta was first tested by patrons. With great success for both patrons and staff, The Villages Entertainment is proud to announce its latest feature update of a more swift and convenient form of digital ticketing.

QR codes will now be available after patrons purchase a ticket to The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, the Savannah Center or The Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol.

What is a QR Code Really?

A QR code is essentially a unique  barcode, like an item at a grocery store would have.

Each individual ticket purchased will have it’s own unique “barcode”. So when buying 4 tickets for a performance, the patron would receive 4 individualized “barcodes” (QR codes) for that performance.

How do I Receive and Present My QR Code?

Shortly after your purchase, an email with confirmation of purchase will be received. This email will also have a QR code that will admit you into your performance.

This is a screenshot of what your mobile ticket would look like

Simply pull up the QR code on your mobile device upon the arrival at your venue and staff will be happy to easily scan your tickets right from your device.

This update will expedite the ticketing process tremendously, and allows consumers to purchase and receive their ticket instantaneously all from the same device!

Please call The Villages Box Office at (352) 753-3229 or visit one of The Villages Box Office Locations for any questions you may have utilizing this new feature.

Beehind the Scenes with The Bee Gees Tribute

Beehind the Scenes

The Bee Gees have been captivating audiences for decades with their unique vocal sound, while remaining current through all the eras of contemporary music.

Tribute band, Stayin’ Alive, has proven the longevity of the Bee Gees music as they are no stranger to the Savannah Center stage! Coming back again and again over the last decade, they continuously sell out seats in the area.

The tribute Bee Gees group dates back to about 2001, with band members Tony Mattina (Barry Gibb- lead vocal and guitar) and Todd Sharman (Robin Gibb- lead and backing vocals). Some years later in 2009, Joe Peeres (guitar) and Mark Arbour (bass guitar) joined in, followed by Joseph Janisse (Maurice Gibb – vocals and keyboard) in 2010 and most recent addition, Murad Gunduz (drums and percussion).

Tony Mattina is from Hamilton, Ontario and claims he is always up for a game of road hockey! Having a history in numerous other tribute bands, he explains why the role of Barry Gibb is so special to him.

“Barry has such a unique and identifiable voice,” Tony states, “and I take great pride that night after night the audience embraces my translation of Barry’s character.”

Attempting to match the vocal style and tone of a singer such as Barry Gibb, Mattina gives credit where credit is due, “Barry is truly one of the greatest vocalists of our time.”

Todd Sharman has become a mainstay in the Toronto music scene for many years. Fronting many tribute acts from Tom Petty to The Tragically Hip, he has also been a part of many original bands.

Todd Sharman explains why The Villages is such a unique venue for the group to perform at,

“The Villages is such a cool community that has the feel of a small town, yet it’s the size of a city!”

A Hit in The Villages

STAYIN’ ALIVE is a versatile group that has played both intimate settings as a six piece band and at monumental venues with immense orchestras!

Sharman states that one of the most memorable things he experienced as a part of the group was meeting and performing with Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winning composer, Marvin Hamlisch and the San Diego Symphony.

With a full Bee Gees playlist of hits such as “Night Fever”, “Jive Talkin’”, “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Stayin’ Alive”, all sure to be heard at the February performances, a band favorite is hard to choose.

Sharman explains how his “favorite” song can change performance to performance,

 “I enjoy singing all of them, but the audience reaction can elevate songs so my favorite can change on any given night”.

Sharman looks forward to performing in The Villages soon, and as a message to the Bee Gees patrons out there, Stayin’ Alive cannot wait to take the stage February 25th and 26th and look out to an audience enjoying themselves as well as the music.

Sherman’s message to patrons:
“Get up and dance like no one is watching OR like everyone is watching!!!”

Dig out that old velvet vest and disco pants for a night that is sure to keep the music of The Bee Gees alive!
Purchase your tickets to Stayin’ Alive before they’re gone here: https://www.thevillagesentertainment.com/buy-tickets/stayin-alive/


The Villages Musical Theater; Beauty and The Beast

A Musical Background

The Villages Musical Theater dates itself back to 2001 with their first musical, “South Pacific” in the Spring of 2002. Since then, the group has become quite familiar with the Savannah Center stage.

Some recent productions include “My Fair Lady,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Oklahoma,” and “The Music Man”.                    

One of the greatest things about performing in The Villages, says new leader Ed Slivken is, “[it] is like performing for friends and neighbors.”

He further explains that the neighborly atmosphere that performing in The Villages creates “gives an added boost in the efforts to put on a great performance” in return.

A Change in Leadership

Ed Slivken recently became the new Chairman of The Villages Musical Theater, but has an extensive history with theatre in The Villages as a whole.

“My neighborhood social club was entertained one month by a Villages group performing a Murder Mystery. I contacted them to see if I could participate and one thing led to another. I started off as a roadie hauling and setting up equipment!”, Slivken explains,

“When I got a small role in The Villages Musical Theater production of “Brigadoon” I discovered that there is so much more to putting on these shows”.

If you or someone you know has an interest in becoming involved with theatre groups in The Villages, visit https://www.districtgov.org/images/clubslisting.pdf and contact the leader of the group for more information.

Coming Up

The Villages Musical Theater group is bringing a musical classic to The Villages this Spring, April 5-7th, with Disney’s Beauty and The Beast!

As many may remember from the original Disney movie,
“There are several large numbers that are impressively choreographed and staged”

Slivken further explains that the characters will be superb! A production of this scale also allows the opportunity for a large cast to be involved, which gives more members of the group a chance to participate in the Savannah Center spotlight!

When asked what scene he favors most, the response landed on a personal favorite.

“My favorite scene is “Be Our Guest.” This extensive song and dance number features all of our castle dwellers like Mrs. Potts the teapot, Cogsworth the clock, as well as a large array of costumed dining ware!”

With quality talent, a large cast and extensive costuming this show will be the Belle of the balll!

Don’t miss out and purchase your tickets here to see Disney’s Beauty and The Beast: https://tickets.thevillages.com/events/sav-11434 

In Celebration of…

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. 

Legendary Headliners (Moody BluesJohn Lodge – March 23), to one-man shows (Til Death Do Us Part…You First! – February 24). Song and dance from the emerald isle (Michael Londra & The Celtic Fire – March 24) to jazz-rock from NYC (Blood, Sweat, & Tears – March 9). Singer-songwriters from the Great White North (Broken Arrow: The Music of Neal Young – Jan 24) to Southern Rock from right up the road in Gainesville (The Breakers: A Tribute to Tom Petty – March 3). And don’t forget about the best darn jukebox musical from Nashville (Always…Patsy Cline – Feb 19 & 20).

With each passing show, we see the joy that radiates across the faces of each audience member, and it gives us unending pleasure to play a role in your celebration.

The venues are open. The artists are returning.  

And, if we haven’t met already, we are excited to celebrate with YOU!

Article Written by Keith Hinson with Victory Productions

Grease is The Word!

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 here to 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