Next wave of big acts rolling into Villages

The Beach Boys are back at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center on Sunday and Monday.

The Beach Boys are only one of the groups riding the wave of upcoming big-name entertainers slated to perform in The Villages. Patrons also can look forward to acts like Bill Engvall, Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson, Patti LaBelle, David Foster and more. Many of these entertainers have performed in The Villages before and were eager to return, according to Elizabeth Constant, booking coordinator at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center. “The Villages community really turns out for the performers they love,” Constant said. “What artist wouldn’t want to return to sold-out crowds and standing ovations? Additionally, the staff and promoters at The Sharon give all artists five-star treatment.”

And, as big shows roll in, The Sharon gets a better reputation in the entertainment world, Constant added.

“I’m really excited these acts are coming because it continues to pave The Sharon’s way into getting even bigger names,” Constant said. “When artists see their peers and idols such as Patti LaBelle or Trisha Yearwood coming to The Villages, it makes them want to come, too. They see we are a reputable performing arts center and will add us to their Florida route as a must-see stop.”

February already has brought in a number of big acts including Kansas, the Broadway show “Bandstand” and former member of the Eagles Don Felder.

All tickets for upcoming performances mentioned can be purchased online at thevillagesentertainment.com or at any Villages Box Office location.

On Thursday, comedian Bill Engvall will perform shows at 5 and 8 p.m. at The Sharon.

“I don’t even like people thinking they’ll see a comedian,” Engvall said of his upcoming show. “It’s more like we’re sitting around the living room and I’m the funny guy doing the talking.”

Engvall is known for blue-collar comedy and bits like “Here’s Your Sign.”  He last performed at The Sharon in May 2018 and has updated his material.

“I’ve become a grandfather and I enrolled in college, which has added some new material,” he said.

People can expect to hear a mix of new material and material that Engvall is known for, the comedian said.

“When people leave my show, I want them to feel better about themselves and the world than when they got there,” Engvall said. “People inherently want to laugh. You have to work at being a grouch.”

Tickets for Engvall’s show range from $45 to $91.

Next up is The Beach Boys, led by original member Mike Love. The band will perform at 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday at The Sharon.

Tickets range from $75 to $125.

After the Beach Boys comes Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson, known for classics like “Breakfast in America,” “It’s Raining Again” and “Fool’s Overture.”

Hodgson will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at The Sharon. Tickets range from $46 to $129.

Meanwhile, Savannah Center will welcome back Billy Joel’s original band, The Lords of 52nd Street, for shows at 5 and 8 p.m. Feb. 27.

“They’re a group of really talented musicians and have backed one of the most famous musicians in the world, Billy Joel,” said Brian Russo, director of entertainment. “If you even remotely like his music, you’ll love this show.”

The band includes drummer Liberty DeVitto, saxophonist Richie Cannata and guitarist Russell Javors, who played on Joel’s records and toured the world with him.

“We do all of those songs that we played on and performed live with the energy we performed with in the ‘70s and ‘80s,” Devitto said.

Being in Billy Joel’s band was a dream come true, Devitto said.

“When I was a kid, I used to watch the Beatles and other bands and I wanted to do that,” he said. “I wanted to be in a band that was really popular, and I achieved that with Billy. When we were in the studio making the records, we never thought we’d be so popular, we were just friends in the studio doing what we loved to do.”

And Devitto is thankful to still be doing it.

“It’s great to still be with these guys after 40 years,” he said. “We’re still having a great time and meeting great people. We played in The Villages last year and met some wonderful people there.”

Tickets for The Lords of 52nd Street concert range from $30 to $40.

The month of March brings iconic entertainer Patti LaBelle. LaBelle will perform at 7 p.m. March 1 at The Sharon.

Tickets range from $125 to $225.

Next, the award-winning artist Trisha Yearwood will perform a sold-out show at 7 p.m. March 13 at The Sharon.

Yearwood is followed by David Foster, acclaimed pianist and songwriter for artists like Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Chicago, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand and more.

Foster will perform at 7 p.m. March 15 through March 18 at The Sharon, and tickets range from $65 to $125.

Finally, Paul Anka, credited for songs like “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” “My Way,” “Puppy Love”and more, will perform at 7 p.m. March 19 at The Sharon.

Tickets range from $120 to $195.

“I hope that (patrons) get a big-city feel in our hometown,” Constant said. “They can scoot their golf cart to see Roger Hodgson of Supertramp and Bill Engvall and Trisha Yearwood — people who are currently on TV. And they can still stay in their chosen community. I think that’s pretty darn cool.”

Senior writer Kristen Fiore can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5270, or kristen.fiore@thevillagesmedia.com.