They say it takes a Village, and that sure is an understatement. Victory Productions is one of the arts outreach organization responsible for bringing some of the exciting and innovative entertainment offerings to The Savannah Center. They are adept at delivering memorable performances and just as skilled at developing a team behind the scenes making it all work seamlessly.
Victory’s mission is to build a team full of the best and brightest: those who exemplify professionalism and those brimming with passion for live entertainment. Simply put, we want to round out our team with individuals who, if they weren’t working a live performance, they’d be sitting front row. After all, we are fans first!
Victory Productions is proud to introduce to The Villages our newest team member, Linda Romanello.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a theatrical Stage Manager?
I’m from El Paso, Texas, and I started college pursuing a degree in performing arts. I was always involved in choir in Middle School and Theatre in High School, and my goal was to have a career in theater. While studying at the University of Texas at El Paso, I accepted a position in Orlando with the Disney College Program. Leave it to Disney to lead to romance. I met and fell in love with my husband. Quickly after that, we were married and got pregnant. My degree program required students to complete a semester in scene building or working backstage. These tasks, however, weren’t ideal while pregnant. So my Director and Advisor suggested that I take the semester and focus on Stage management, and I truly fell in love with Stage Management. I transferred to UCF, where I entered the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Managing program. Ever since graduation, I’ve been working as a freelance stage manager.
Since joining Victory Productions as a Stage Manager, what shows have you stage managed at The Savannah Center?
Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings in December of 2020, Guys and Dolls in the fall of 2021, and Always…Patsy Cline earlier this year.
From Stage Managing, and for about a year now, you’ve been working as part of Victory’s backstage management team. What are some of the most significant differences between working backstage on theatrical performances versus concert performances?
On the theatrical team, I’m part of the process of bringing a show from concept to fruition. On the concert side, because I’m not part of creating the show, I am just part of managing and facilitating the day of the show. I’m also sort of a spectator. I’m often seeing the show for the first time. It’s exhilarating to be backstage and have a front-row seat to these performances. It’s also fascinating learning how shows are booked, how they’re promoted, and how they’re marketed.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the concert side of the entertainment business?
The delicate nature of the relationships. Victory Productions often welcomes return performers and shows built on solid foundational relationships. With Theatricals, the actors, directors, and stage management have a strong respect and relationship needed for collaboration. With concerts, I was shocked at how similar of a bond. Returning acts know us and trust Victory and The Villages with their products.
What has been your favorite show you’ve worked on at The Savannah Center since you began in this new position?
One Night in Memphis has been my favorite show so far. It makes sense that it would be my favorite because, at its core, it’s a theatrical production married with a concert.
What new shows are you most excited about coming to the Savannah center?
We have some of Village’s Fan Favorites returning, as well. Absolute Queen, The Rocketman Show, and Almost ABBA. Can you tell us about your experiences working those shows during previous visits to the Savannah Center?
Absolute Queen (October 19th) is always so fun! They are full-out, the show has so much heart, and it’s unbelievably authentic when they perform. Almost ABBA (October 20th) is pure nostalgia. They have the looks and movements down, and it’s so much fun with the other staff backstage. They are dancing along with them backstage, mirroring all the moves. And they share stories of the songs, invoking memories of people and places that transport them back to the days of disco. And, The Rocketman Show (October 25th) is a giant sing-along. Residents know every word to every song, and the energy in the Savannah Center is tangible.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
It warms my heart to sit in the audience, watching the residents, and see how much joy and excitement entertainment brings to The Villages—feeling the energy and seeing the smiles. I think that makes me feel we are doing something important.