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Volume 1, Issue 5 September 2016



Four Divo

The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra 2016/17 Season Linda Eder

A Word From

Volume 1, Issue 5 | September 2016


Whitney Morse, Artistic Director, The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center

The New Studio Theatre's Cast House As we were casting our first season for The Studio, it became clear to The Sharon team that we would need to house a few of the cast members. We were seeing people audition from all over the country and we knew if we wanted to offer them a job, we might also need to provide them with a place to lay their head.  So, we looked around for a while and after a few weeks of searching we found a lovely little house just outside of The Villages®.  When we walked

into it for the first time we knew it was going to be perfect, but we also knew it was going to take a little work. So, we got our whole Sharon team together and for two days we all wore our painting clothes and we scrubbed, washed, mowed, painted, and vacuumed until it sparkled.  Now, thanks to teamwork and a little vision, we have an adorable and cozy home for our out-oftown Studio Theatre artists.

Don't Tell Nonnie Scoop Staff Spotlight

Check out The Studio Theatre's new website! You'll find information like:

The Sharon Schedule Backstage at The Sharon

Performance Synopsis Performance Calendars Meet the Cast & Crew Theatre Info & Purchase Your Tickets!



Individual Tickets On Sale September 20th $15 Previews | $30 Performances The Studio Theatre - Tierra del Sol 806 San Marino Drive, The Villages, FL 32159 | (352) 751-7799


OCTOBER 4TH-7TH • $20 - $60

FOUR DIVO: The music of Forte, Il Divo, & Frankie Valli

Featuring AGT Finalists Fernando Varela & Branden James, Award Winning Baritone Craig Irving and the WINNER of Korea’s Got Talent, Sunbong Choi.

Fernando Varela

Branden James

Varela recently shared his voice with worldwide audiences who were amazed and left standing on their feet after watching his participation in Europe’s popular Night of the Proms tour. He shared the stage with notable talents such as Gavin DeGraw, The Beach Boys, Joe Jackson, Basement Jaxx, Maria Mena, OMD, Johannes Oerding, and Natalie Imbruglia. The innovation of star choreographer and creative director, Marvin A. Smith, inspired the astounding performance Fernando delivered on stage.

Branden James' voice inspired millions as a finalist on season 8 of America's Got Talent, and his story continues to do the same. “After my time on the show (AGT), thousands of people from around the world reached out to me and told me how much I inspired them to come out or seek a stronger support system. And many told me of struggles that were far more dangerous and heartbreaking than mine. It was then I realized there is power in being open and transparent. There is good in living with authenticity. I want to be an inspiration for people and a leader in the world. I think it's part of my calling. It was a complete epiphany which has quite frankly transformed me.” Branden says.

Varela recently signed with German record label, Deutsche Grammophon (a Universal Music Group company) and will release his new single, “Vivere,” the title track from his upcoming album, in early 2016. Vivere, recorded at the famous Abbey Road Recording Studio in London and produced by Belgian producer Patrick Hamilton [Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe, David Garrett], is a classical pop crossover album that perfectly showcases Fernando’s infectious optimism, and soaring vocals. The official release of Vivere is scheduled for early 2016, as well as many other exciting events including an International TV special and headlining his own European tour. Fernando Varela sets the standard for what true musicianship is all about. His unique voice and engaging passion lights up the stage. His story demonstrates the power of not giving up on a dream, even when the odds are stacked against you.


His 2015 EP release, CROSSOVER, explores Branden’s heartfelt, sometimes folksy songwriting and his penchant for singing other styles of music that may not generally be associated with a classical crossover artist. Branden spent much of the last decade singing in Residence at The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. His travels have also honored him with a personal performance for Pope Benedict XVI and the Nelson Mandela family in South Africa. In television, he serves as co-host for Afterbuzz TV and has been a guest on TV shows in the US and around the globe. Branden recently made his solo Carnegie Hall debut in, “An American Christmas Carol,” alongside Sarah McLachlan, Kate Winslet, and Neil Sedaka. “I’m thrilled to see what the future holds and I hope my music and story continue to be an agent for change in this world.”

Craig Irving

Sunbong Choi

Craig Irving, baritone, brings a vibrant sound and commitment to character in each role he portrays. Craig recently made role and company debuts with Wolf Trap Opera as the Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann and then returned to Wolf Trap in 2012 for Leporello in Don Giovanni. Additionally, he debuted with Minnesota Opera in the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ new opera Silent Night, appeared with the Canadian Opera Company as Betto in Gianni Schicchi, covered the role of Simone in A Florentine Tragedy, and joined the cast of Simon Boccanegra with Los Angeles Opera covering the role of Paolo. The 2012–2013 season brought his debut at Opera Philadelphia in Silent Night, Carmina burana with the Phoenix Symphony and a return to Canadian Opera Company as the First Nazarene and Jochanaan/cover in Strauss’ Salome, followed by his Opera Saratoga debut performing both Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor.

Sungbong Choi (崔聖奉) is an artist of the Republic of Korea. After passing qualification examinations for elementary school and middle school, he graduated from Dae-Jeon Art High School, and made his famous debut on June 4, 2011 on Korea’s Got Talent. He was the first runner-up of the talent show.

While in residence with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, Craig was seen as Zuniga in Carmen, Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sam in A Masked Ball, the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, the Doctor/Professor in Lulu and Ashby in La fanciulla del West. Additionally, he covered the roles of Bottom, the title role in The Mikado, the title role in Hercules and Escamillo in Carmen (a role he sang in the student matinee performance). In the 2009–2010 season, he returned for a second year with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Additionally, he was seen with the Knoxville Opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia and as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. A native of Iowa, Mr. Irving did his undergraduate study at the Simpson College in Indianola under the tutelage of Dr. Robert L. Larsen. 

Sungbong Choi was born in Seoul, and was abandoned at an orphanage when he was three. He ran away from the orphanage to escape physical abuse, took a bus to Daejeon, and started living in the red light districts. He learned how to read and write and applied for qualification examinations to pass elementary and middle school and enter high school. With hopes of learning music and spending his school years with friends, he entered Dae-Jeon Art High School. Choi said that since he could not afford private lessons, no music teacher was willing to train him. To earn school tuition fee and private lesson fees, he worked at a delivery service, but he suffered a grave injury while working the night shift. Choi seriously thought about dropping out of high school. He gained admission to Hanyang University, but due to financial difficulties, was unable to pursue undergraduate education. Instead, he spent his days working as a day laborer. On June 6, 2011, Choi's performance of Sarah Brightman's, "Nella Fantasia," on Korea's Got Talent moved judges and audience members to tears. He introduced himself as a manual laborer who had made a living selling gum and energy drinks for ten years. All three judges, Kolleen Park, Jang Jin, and Song Yun-ah, were impressed with his vocal talent. Choi advanced to the finals of the competition, finishing second by only 280 votes.



VPO • OCTOBER 10TH • $21 -$39



Pasquale Valerio

Music Director

Italian-American Celebration Guest Celebrity – Gino L. Quilico Local Soprano – Jeanette Zillioli

In addition to The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra, a guest celebrity will grace the Sharon stage for their October 10th performance. Esteemed

as an interpreter of the French and Italian repertoire, lyric baritone Gino Quilico has performed with the world’s major opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera (New York), La Scala (Milano), The Royal Opera House (London), The Vienna State Opera (Vienna), the Paris Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich), The Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), and La Fenice (Venice). Gino Quilico has released over twenty opera recordings and earned a Grammy Award for his participation in the recording of Les Troyens (Decca). His critically acclaimed solo recital recording Le Secret (Koch International) has also firmly established Mr. Quilico in the classical recording industry. His recording “Noel” went Gold. Mr. Quilico has worked with such distinguished conductors as Herbert Von Karajan, Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Chailly, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Michel Plasson, George Pretre, Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano and Yannick NézetSéguin.

Gino L. Quilico

Around the world other engagements have taken him to the Berlin Staatsoper, the Vienna Staatsoper for Iphigenie en Tauride, to Munich for Carmen and Don Giovanni, to the Florence Maggio Musicale for La Cenerentola, Don Pasquale at La Fenice in Venice, to Buenos Aires Teatro Colon for Don Giovanni and Faust and to Lausanne for the title role of Eugene Onegin and as Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera. On the concert stage, Gino Quilico has appeared with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared in Europe with the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestra Philarmonique de Radio France, and the Bayerische Rundfunk, Munich. Quilico has participated in many festivals, including festivals in Salzburg, Edinburgh, Schwetzingen, Aix en Provence and Orange.

2016/17 Season Schedule Monday



Italian-American Celebration

Tuesday 11/22/2016 7pm Messiah Monday 12/19/2016 2pm Holiday Monday 12/19/2016 7pm Holiday 1/10/2017


Classical Concert

Wednesday 1/11/2017


Classical Concert




American Music




American Music




Classical Concert

Wednesday 3/15/2017


Classical Concert




Opera Celebration

Mr. Quilico has appeared in the feature films of La Boheme and Orfeo as well as in numerous operatic videos. He has recorded for such labels as Deutsche Gramophone, EMI/Angel, Philips, Erato, Sony Classical and London/Decca.

Wednesday 4/5/2017


Opera Celebration

Accompanying Gino on The Sharon stage will be local Soprano, Jeanette Zillioli.

Concert Series and Individual Concert Tickets On Sale Now | $21-$39

In the year 1987, Gino & Louis Quilico became the first father and son duo to perform at the Metropolitan Opera together, followed by many other appearances together around the world including Paris Opera, The Chatelet, The Canadian Opera Company and The Toulouse Opera. In 1983, Mr. Quilico performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Ottawa at the National Arts Center. Also in 1986, he performed a private recital for Prince Charles and Princess Diana at the Canadian Ambassador’s residence Trafalgar Square London, England.



NOVEMBER 1ST • 7PM • $25 - $75

DISCOGRAPHY Linda Eder August 1994 And So Much More August 1994 It's No Secret Anymore September 1999 It's Time April 1997 Christmas Stay the Same October 2000 Gold February 2002 Broadway My Way February 2003 Storybook September 2003 By Myself: The Songs of Judy Garland October 2005 The Other Side of Me September 2008 Linda Eder: Greatest Hits January 2008 Soundtrack October 2009 Now March 2011 Christmas Where Are You October 2013 LindaAlive June 2014 Retro October 2015


Showcasing one of the greatest voices of our time, Linda Eder’s diverse repertoire spans broadway, standards, pop, country, and jazz. When she performs live in concert, it's amazing to experience the ease with which she moves back and forth from one genre to another. Eder launched her recording career in 1991 with her selftitled debut album and soon established a vital niche as America’s most popular and acclaimed new interpreter of Pop, Standard and Theatrical genres. She released two more solo albums before starring in the Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde beginning on April 28, 1997. As the tragic character “Lucy” in this new musical, Eder blew the roof off New York City’s Plymouth Theatre eight times a week. Her Broadway debut, for which she was rewarded with a Drama Desk nomination, sent her already rapidly rising star blazing across the sky securing her a spot as one of America’s most beloved singers and dynamic live performers. After leaving Broadway, Eder’s recording career continued full steam ahead with her discography to date being comprised of 16 solo recordings and numerous musical recordings. She focused on mostly Broadway, Standard and Pop music for many years, which highlighted her abundant vocal gifts as well as her skill for delivering dramatic, emotionally resonant interpretations of mostly familiar songs while making them her own. Her highly successful first Christmas album, Christmas Stays the Same, is a perfect example of the way she is able to transform and interpret best loved Christmas music and make it her own without compromising the original.

wheelhouse to record The Other Side of Me, a country pop blend of contemporary music, which included a song written by Linda herself. And, in June, 2010, she and Clay Aiken covered Roy Orbison’s “Crying” as a duet on Aiken’s album, Tried & True. In 2013, Linda established her own record company under the name Tressamail, Inc., and in that same year she released her first recording on that newly established label, the highly acclaimed Christmas Where You Are. This CD featured 12 tracks – six selected by her fans via social media and two originals from Eder herself. It also featured a unique twist on the classic, ”Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which Linda rewrote and recorded with her teenage son, Jake. It was to represent a classic mother-son debate over going outside to play in a snow storm. The concert stage remains the mainstay of Eder’s career. She has performed for sold-out crowds in venues across the country and throughout Europe. She has performed at many prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, The Palace Theatre, Radio City Music Hall, Wolftrap, New York City’s Town Hall, Davies Hall, among many others. Always touring in great company, her collaborators have included the late Oscar-winning composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch, Emmy and Grammy winner Michael Feinstein, and conductor of the Boston Pops Keith Lockhart. Eder is happiest on stage singing for her audiences and spreading the joy she exudes.

In 2008, Eder stepped outside the box and her familiar



MASTER CLASS November 2nd • 6pm-8:30pm $50 for participants • $25 for observers Limited participant spots available • On Sale September 21st

What to expect at the Master Class Linda's Master Class is a wonderful learning experience for the students who work directly with her as well as for those who are present simply to observe. Students need to come prepared with: 2 hard copies of a memorized song, with piano accompaniment sheet music placed in a three ring binder in your key. There are only 10 Student slots available. Each Master Class is unique because the course it will take evolves from the students who are working directly with her. After each student sings a selection, this student's strengths are highlighted and ways to improve are discussed. Linda working with 2 students at a Master Class. The result is always the same. The students come away feeling good about themselves and armed with knowledge of what they need to do to improve vocally, and those who are observing have many strategies to apply to their own performance.

Fun Facts About Linda Eder • Her big break was Star Search. She is the only contestant to ever win for 12 straight weeks, go directly into the finals, and then win the $100,000. • Linda has loved all animals, especially horses, from the time she was a little girl. • Linda's love of animals is the reason she is a huge supporter of Pets Alive, a no-kill animal shelter in Middletown, NY. Her fans have gotten behind her in this endeavor and have raised over $30,000 for this charity. • Linda was very shy and would sing to the animals in the barn, under her covers in bed, or when nobody was around. Her family didn't know she could sing until she was a teenager. • Linda's greatest influences were Eileen Farrell, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. She credits hearing Judy Garland singing "Over the Rainbow" in The Wizard of Oz as the reason she is a singer. • Linda is a gifted artist who planned to go to art school after graduating from high school because although she wanted desperately to be a singer, she had no idea how to make that happen. • After recording under various record labels for many years, Linda formed her own record company, Tressamail, Inc.


Rebecca Morse will be our Guest Host for the evening! She will be engaging us with her own flare and voice in between songs! Accompanied by Gary Powell, Musical Director for The Studio, on piano. You do not want to miss the rare opportunity to see Rebecca take the stage!


Tuesday, September 13th Doors Open: 7pm Show: 7:30PM – 10:30PM


$15 door charge with one free drink going to each ticket holder.


SEPTEMBER 13TH • 7:30PM • $15


Bring sheet music in your key or peruse our collection, sing a song and cheer for your friends, and in between Rebecca and Gary will perform some of their favorite cabaret numbers.



YASMEEN STOGDEN Director of Customer Relations


aka- The Box Office Aficio

Though studying a range of topics from Marine Science to Music, Yasmeen will be graduating with her Bachelors in Science of Psychology, with a focus in Applied Behavioral Analysis. She aspires to continue her career in Arts Administration, while developing her ear as she teaches herself cello. Yasmeen has been reading music for 15 years, 12 of which she studied under multiple professional flautists. Through the years she has founded many arts organizations for youth within the state, including the Music Arts Honor Society at her high school and being a founding Drum Major to her previous university. With her equivalent of a music minor, she hopes to continue her education in Music Composition/Theory. One day, she hopes to compose and conduct her own orchestral arrangement. To pass time she enjoys swimming, mostly 30+ feet below with her SCUBA certification, or crafting with a variety of different chalk/oil pastels.


Yasmeen performing during the premiere of Don't Tell Nonnie with Gary Powell on piano.


Can you tell us about your role in managing the Sharon’s Box Office?

What’s it like when there has been a long line waiting for tickets in the morning?

There is so much more to The Sharon than meets the eye. We aim to uphold a standard of excellence, the goal is for us in the Box Office to be known as the experts for all of The Sharon and The Studio information. My role, other than assuring a respectable and pleasant interaction to every patron, is to most importantly ensure that we are ready to assist at all times. I also communicate to all staff to keep everyone on the same page. Between deliveries, meetings, maintenance, performances, trainings, auditions, academy courses and more, there are dozens of people in and out daily, making it very easy for messages to get lost in translation. When hired I was told, “Yasmeen, you are the face of The Sharon.” Other than performances, and meetings directly with the administration team, the public sees me. We uphold and protect the image of the Sharon with our stellar hospitality and exemplary customer service.

There has been a handful of occasions when we’ve had a line, though most patrons seem to be surprised The Sharon has their own fully operational box office. Those moments always present a challenge with Florida humidity, however creating an efficient and energetic transaction helps us expedite the line while allowing the patrons to engage in a little conversation.

What is your favorite part about being in the box? I genuinely enjoy interacting with the patrons. Though it’s hard to remember everyone, as I am terrible with names, I hear so many different stories and insights. Patrons who have traveled the world, others who decided it was time to treat themselves and even the adorable couples who have been together for 40+ years! Being recently engaged, it’s nice to see that unconditional love still exists. When patrons call or come to visit, I might forget their name but I will always remember their story. What is the #1 Question you receive in the Box Office and how do you answer it? The #1 question we receive is about obstructed view seating. Unfortunately, due to ADA safety codes our safety bar/railing in the balcony can sometimes create a slight obstruction, but it always depends on the individuals height. I always urge patrons to contact us regarding sightline concerns. Being familiar with our 3 tier, 1,000+ seating we guarantee full disclosure or incredible seats!

What was your all-time favorite experience with a customer? A large part of my job is handling patrons who were misinformed, and who have acquired a sense of anxiety or frustration when coming to a new theatre. One of my all-time favorite moments is assisting those individuals. The most important aspect of my job is genuinely caring and wanting to help those who have a negative misconception of our mission, which is simply to provide The Villages® with high quality entertainment. The perception of who we are and our performance begins the moment a patron calls our office or pays us a visit.

Yasmeen was recently engaged to her long time boyfriend, Mike.

How about your favorite moment with an artist? My favorite moment with an artist was with a percussionist from Stomp. During the meet & greet post-performance he signed a set of drum sticks for a young boy and his face lit right up. The boy began talking about his drum set and how he can’t wait to play with his new sticks. The performer went a step further to encourage the young boy to practice and of course, jam out! Most exciting event put on at The Sharon? By far our monthly Don’t Tell Nonnie events. Not only is it a chance for all "closet" performers to break out, but the environment is so welcoming and supportive creating the perfect atmosphere to let loose.




who played the saxophone with his father in the early 50’s. Louis Prima Jr. was able to meet with Andrew and his wife backstage in The Sharon green room before the show. They talked about everything from what it was like to tour with Louis Prima, to how his music influenced both of their lives. During the performance Louis Prima

Jr. gave a "shout out" to Andrew Bobbye, introducing him to the entire auditorium. With lights up, and a big smile, Mr. Bobbye waved to everyone in the audience! Louis Prima Jr. expressed how honored he was to meet and reminisce with a fellow musician who had played and worked with his father so closely. Needless to say, they jazzed the night away!


Louis Prima Jr. welcomed the opportunity to meet and greet Andrew Bobbye, a musician


The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center has a mission to provide quality entertainment to The Villages® and its surrounding communities.

Our mission: To inspire the residents of Central Florida to examine relevant issues by elevating them through innovative and intimate storytelling. Think outside the box, inside the box at The Studio Theatre.

© 2016 Holding Company of The Villages, Inc., All Rights Reserved. © 2016 The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center. Prices and availability subject to change without notice. SPAC006_0914

THE SCOOP - Sept 2016  
THE SCOOP - Sept 2016