Villages leisure reclaims middle stage | Information | The Villages Every day Solar

February and March are months of entertainment at The Villages, including festivals in the plazas, productions at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, and productions by resident theater groups at leisure centers and the Savannah Center. The Wall Street Journal, in a report earlier this month, predicted that demand for restaurants, vacations, and entertainment may rise sharply at the end of the pandemic, citing not only extra money in consumer pockets, but increased demand. Movies, theater, and live music are among the entertainment options that could see an upswing, said Bill O’Dowd, chairman and CEO of Dolphin Entertainment production company and associate professor at the University of Miami School of Communications.

Shore Fire Media, a subsidiary of Dolphin Entertainment, has over 100 live music acts on the program, according to O’Dowd, and they are expected to tour again next summer.

“For me, this is an example of an experience people want to have outside of their home,” he said.

The Villages is ahead of that projection with the return of festivals, resident performances, and professional shows held with COVID-19 safety guidelines as residents demonstrate their continued appetite for entertainment. Also, the Old Mill Playhouse reopened and showed new tracks this month.

Festival season started earlier this month with the Villages Balloon Festival and Mardi Gras on Tuesday in Spanish Springs Town Square. Residents and visitors alike can stop by the Strawberry Festival in Brownwood Paddock Square on Friday from 4pm to 9pm. The St. Patrick’s Day Festival takes place on March 12th from 4pm to 9pm at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square and on March 17th in Spanish Springs. More will follow, including the new Blueberry Festival in April. The capacity for evening entertainment and special events in the squares is limited. 6 feet social distancing and masking are required.

Elizabeth Constant, booking coordinator at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, recently saw some of this demand on site.

“The villages create an environment for fun and entertainment,” Constant said. “That’s why a lot of people are drawn to this community specifically. The social commitments ensure that everyone thrives. I think our residents and patrons are looking for ways to safely stretch their legs again and be part of the thriving entertainment community we have here. “

Around this time, The Sharon would normally be hosting major Broadway tours, well-known concerts and comedians, and international appearances, Constant said.

Large shows are currently not on tour for several reasons, including some borders closed to travel, financial bottlenecks with limited audience capacity, concerns about artists’ risk of exposure to the virus, and nationwide closed venues, she added.

For a change, the venue now hosts the fifth season shows of the Studio Theater Tierra del Sol until September, most recently “9 to 5 the Musical” with “Ada and the Engine”, “Spike Heels” and “Pipeline” that Sharon will host from now on until May, two performances by the Villages Philharmonic Orchestra every month, including the VPO classical concert 2021, which will take place on March 15th.

Constant said that both studio and VPO shows were well attended and the annual fundraiser for the Opera Club of the Villages’ Three S. Tenors Plus One concert for the Harold S. Schwartz Scholarship Program on February 13 was sold out.

“We only have a handful of tickets left every night. Three tenors plus one were sold out, and if we could have opened more safely to a higher capacity, we would have been sold out twice, ”said Constant. “Visitors seem to be hungry for live art and we make sure they are as safe as possible as we receive a 20% audience each night. Many tickets are still available for our studio shows from March to September. “

The long list of entertainment ahead includes theater group shows such as “Date Night Shows” from the Everglades Players Theater of Southern Oaks in January, including “The Pirate Map” in January at the Everglades Regional Recreation Complex and “The Dating Game” on Saturday in the Eisenhower Regional Recreation Complex and “In a Pickle South of 44” will be released in April.

The group sold one performance and over 75 percent of the tickets for the other three performances of “The Pirate Map,” said club director Dave Saxe.

“People want the theater, but they are a little bit guarded. You want to be careful, ”said Saxe.

This is why the group has so far required masks and limited capacity.

By popular demand, they will also be producing “The Savannah Sipping Society” in June, as some customers missed last March due to COVID-19 and more shows will follow. As the season progresses, the group will continue to follow leisure center safety guidelines, Saxe said.

The employee Liz Coughlin can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5304 or