Venues announce strong season lineup

The musical “Hairspray” is coming to The Sharon Jan. 11-13 as part of the venue’s Broadway series.

Do the “Y.M.C.A.” with The Village People, laugh along with comedians like Kathleen Madigan and enjoy Broadway shows like “Hairspray” and “Jersey Boys” during the 2020-21 season at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center and Savannah Center. The venues, which announced the 2020-21 entertainment lineup on Sunday, are gearing up for another high-caliber season that will fill the local stages with iconic acts, returning favorites and new genres. “My main goal was to mix in some shows that have been popular before with some new ones, especially new genres,” said Brian Russo, director of entertainment and show booker for Savannah Center.

Savannah Center patrons can expect returning favorites like The Village People, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap and the ABBA tribute show called Arrival From Sweden. Among the new acts are names like Jim Messina, Keb’ Mo’ and Rosanne Cash.

“I’m thrilled to be bringing in Rosanne Cash,” Russo said. “She’s a huge name in country and has won multiple Grammys.”

Elizabeth Constant, booking coordinator at The Sharon, said her goal for the season was to provide the highest quality entertainment.

The Sharon will continue its Broadway, international, Villages Philharmonic Orchestra and National Geographic packages, as well as its tradition of modern dance shows in the fall and spring.

This season’s Broadway series includes the titles “Escape to Margaritaville,” “Hairspray,” “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” and “Jersey Boys.”

“This year, the show I am most excited about is ‘Summer,’” said Whitney Morse, artistic director at The Sharon. “I grew up listening to Donna Summer’s music and I can’t wait to bop to her disco tunes in my favorite medium — the musical.”

The Sharon’s international subscription will include the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Boys Choir, The Acrobats of Tianjin and more.

Up for the modern dance slots are Bodytraffic, returning for the third time, and Jon Lehrer Dance Company, a group from Buffalo, New York.

Constant also booked several comedians and iconic returning acts, including Terry Fator, Jay Leno, The Righteous Brothers and Jeanne Robertson.

In the past five years, The Sharon has gained a following of loyal entertainers who want to come back year after year.

The Righteous Brothers, made up of original member Bill Medley and new partner Bucky Heard, performed at The Sharon in January 2018 and again in January 2020.

“We loved The Villages,” said Medley during an interview in December. “I said, ‘This is where I belong. This is where I should be.’ The people were so nice and sweet. The show was great. It’s a great auditorium they have there.”

The Sharon’s good reputation and location has put it on the map with agencies, Constant said.

“People know they can route shows through Florida using us as a major central spot,” she said. “We have a great position when agents route from north Florida down to South Florida.”

However, dates and times are subject to change, Constant said.

“Artists and large international tours are very cautious of travel at this time,” Constant said. “We are all hopeful, but things might change. Please always have your contacts up to date at the box office so we can notify you as quickly as possible about date changes.”

Russo said more shows will be announced in the coming months.

To stay up to date on entertainment opportunities and announcements, check thevillagesentertainment.com and keep an eye on The Villages Daily Sun.

Morse said that the current climate has shifted her hope for what patrons get out of the performing arts.

“I hope people can come to The Sharon and find joy,” Morse said. “I want The Sharon to be filled with joy.”

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