Shows retake center stage in Villages

Marilyn Duncan, center, of the Village of Pennecamp, participates in a rehearsal for “Rhapsody in Rhythm,” presented by Smash Productions, at Manatee Recreation Center.

Music and theater lovers are getting back more of the shows they love this month. With the Broadway Series at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, the Classic Albums Live series at Savannah Center, Season 6 in progress at The Studio Theatre Tierra del Sol and resident theater shows in the works, there is plenty to look forward to.  The first of three shows in the Broadway Series, Jimmy Buffett’s “Escape to Margaritaville” takes audiences to the place  “where people come to get away from it all — and stay to find something they never expected.” Sharon senior booking manager Elizabeth Constant said this show will be a hit with Villages residents, especially the more than 1,000 members of The Villages Parrot Head Club.

“It’s the feel-good musical we could all use right now,” Constant said.

The musical comedy, which features Buffett classics like “Fins,” “Volcano” and “Cheeseburger In Paradise,” made its Broadway debut in 2018 and will be on The Sharon stage Tuesday to Thursday.

It is the first of three shows in the Broadway Series, followed by “Jersey Boys” and “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” both in January 2022.

The Sharon aims to host the biggest and best Broadway musicals the venue can hold and afford, Constant said.

“We hope to bring New York Broadway to the hometown here,” she said. “I hope that instead of driving all the way to Orlando, paying for parking, paying for gas and dinner, et cetera, it’s easier to see the show here and not skimp on the quality.”

Patrons can save 15 percent off their entire order when they purchase tickets to all three shows through the Broadway Subscription.

Meanwhile, Savannah Center will add another music option with Classic Albums Live this month through December.

The musicians go to great lengths to perform iconic albums note for note and cut for cut, said Classic Albums Live creator Craig Martin.

“All of the focus and energy is directed into the music,” Martin said. “We care about getting it exact. The same way you’re going to see an orchestra perform Bach or Brahms, we perform the music of Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles.”

Audiences won’t see costumes or flashy light shows at these performances. But they can expect a strict attention to detail — from the cash register sound in “Money” to the Italian-Spanish-Portuguese-hybrid outro in “Sun King.”

And the music speaks for itself.

“It’s a no-brainer — these are the greatest albums ever recorded,” Martin said. “(They have) endured for a reason.”

Shows will include “The Beatles: Abbey Road” on Oct. 29, “Fleetwood Mac: Rumours” on Nov. 15, “The Eagles: Greatest Hits” on Nov. 28 and “Led Zeppelin: IV” on Dec. 13.

If patrons buy tickets to three shows, they get the fourth show free through the Classic Albums Live Package.

And resident theater shows are back at Savannah Center, beginning with KC Productions and Pro-Am Performing Arts’ “Mamma Mia!” Tuesday to Saturday.

Smash Productions will perform “Rhapsody in Rhythm,” featuring the songs of Cole Porter and the Gershwin brothers, Nov. 3-5 at Savannah Center.

Meanwhile, The Studio is performing its first Season 6 show, “Broadbend, Arkansas,” until Oct. 30 at The Studio.

Its next show, “The Cake,” will run from Nov. 26 to Dec. 18.

Tickets for all of these shows can be purchased online at or at any Villages Box Office location.

Senior writer Liz Coughlin can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5304, or