Snowbirds leaving for cooler climes will miss out on the sizzling entertainment happening this summer in the Sunshine State. Florida’s full-time residents enjoy entertainment all year long, with special access to shows that only happen this time of year. The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, The Studio Theatre Tierra del Sol and Savannah Center will host about 30 concerts and plays from May through August. Victory Productions will produce more than 20 of those between June 1 and Aug. 31. “The demand for summer entertainment in The Villages grows with each new year,” said Keith Hinson, Victory Productions’ director of marketing and programming. “More and more, residents are opting to stay in the community through the summer season. This gives us an exciting opportunity to create unique and rousing performances to bring to Villages patrons. From concerts to theater to comedy, the demand for entertainment is year-round.”
Victory’s Summer in Residence, returning for the first time since 2019, already is in motion at The Studio with the rock ‘n’ roll musical revue “Route 66” and the immersive art experience “Lasting Impressions.”
The series continues through July with “Nashville Hurricane” and “I Do! I Do!”
“He brings in really good shows,” resident Ruth Hunter said about Fernando Varela, Victory’s executive director.
Hunter, of the Village De La Vista, takes advantage of the Summer in Residence series every year – just one of the many possibilities, she said.
“You can go to a show almost every week if you want to,” Hunter said.
Numbers aren’t available on how many seasonal residents come and go in Florida, but more than 500,000 snowbirds from Canada alone take up residence in the state during winter, according to the Canadian Snowbird Association.
Yet their summer departure doesn’t seem to impact attendance at the annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, which started yesterday and runs through May 30, drawing about 38,000 people in a normal year.
“Every year, we’ve noticed Fringe has a guaranteed fan base. There are die-hard Fringe fans who come no matter what,” Orlando Fringe marketing manager Chantel Eubanks said, adding that it draws people of all ages. “I would say the older population is attracted to Fringe because it has a lot to offer. There’s such a variety that there’s something for everyone.”
Florida’s entertainment scene contributes to making the state a top destination for snowbirds and new residents, said Ashley Chambers, communications director for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
“Despite the general seasonality of some events like outdoor concerts or festivals, we don’t really see a variation of access to amenities for full-time residents versus temporary visitors like snowbirds,” Chambers said.
Here in The Villages, The Studio also will host “It’s Only Life,” “a musical revue about longing, fulfillment, loss, triumph and ultimately, wisdom” from Aug. 19 to 27 as part of its annual Summer Song Cycle.
Resident performing groups present summer-specific shows, like Evolution Dance’s patriotic show “American Pride” on June 29 and 30 and The Villages Theater Company’s summer drama “Taking Leave” on July 22 through 24.
“There are still many residents here in the summer and the majority of the members of our club are still here,” Villages Theater Company president Judy Prior said. “We like to provide our members with a productive activity and the residents with quality entertainment.”
Senior Writer Liz Coughlin can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.