New Garden Theatre partnership helps bring back live performances

Victory Productions teaming up to offer shows like ‘Rock of Ages,’ ‘Something Rotten!’

The Garden Theatre is putting on seven plays and musicals during the 2022-23 season. (Garden Theatre)

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Following a 2022-23 season shortened by behind-the-scenes controversy and changes in leadership, the Garden Theatre is bringing back live performances with the help of a new partnership.

Victory Productions, a local entertainment company, announced earlier this month it would be collaborating with the Winter Garden theater on its upcoming 2023 productions, which include “Rock of Ages,” “Something Rotten!” “Next to Normal” and “Dreamgirls.”

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According to the company, it will be responsible for all aspects of the Garden Theatre’s shows, including programming, design, casting, rehearsals, costuming and set construction.

“As a company and as a performer, my professional experience is diverse and broad, and as a result our business decisions are thoughtful and purposeful,” Victory President Fernando Varela said in a statement. “We care about our entire community and are excited to have this opportunity to bring in national talent from around the country. Central Florida is rich in talent, and we hope that in the weeks ahead we can provide an opportunity for local artists to share the stage with world renowned performers. Producing these initial 2023 shows is a positive step forward for professional community theatre as well as a showcase for artists and an impressive entertainment experience for audiences.”

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This comes after the theater ended its 2022-23 season prematurely with a July run of “On Your Feet!” amid a public fight between the board and its employees.

Theater officials issued a public statement back in August detailing the friction.

“(We) made the decision to leverage the near-term programming gaps and temporarily shift our operational focus to the organizational health of the Theatre,” the Garden Theatre Board of Directors said in a Facebook post. “The Board and Staff will spend this time conducting an in-depth review of our organizational structure and operations.”

This came less than a month after the theater announced the cancelation of “Paper Thin.” When News 6 reached out to the theater following the show’s cancelation in July, a spokesperson said in an email they were “unable to comment” on the matter.

“We want to be able to use this time to ensure that we can move forward in a positive manner and showcase our theatre and productions with the quality the community has come to expect,” a Facebook post about the cancelation read.

Tickets for “Rock of Ages,” which runs from Jan. 25-Feb. 26 and is the first of the live shows slated under the new partnership, go on sale soon.

For more information on the Garden Theatre and its upcoming shows, click here.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.