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The Villages
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

‘When You Wish Upon A Mouse’ brings beloved characters to Savannah Center stage

Some Villagers never grow up.
So it was for the cast of “When You Wish Upon A Mouse,” a musical Disney tribute Saturday in Savannah Center that put local performers in a new light.

Bill Krone was a real crab.

Bill Krone turned into a crab.
Tony Brown was a beast.
Carolyn Hoffman was Cinderella.

And Mollie McCarthy made like Cruella De Ville.

Mollie McCarthy was smoking as Cruella De Ville

Disney music has a way of bringing out the little kid in everyone — even little kids.

“I like Snow White and Cinderella –the songs are fun,” said McKinley Elam, 4, who attended the show with her Grandmother JoEllen, who lives in The Villages.
Addison Duquette, 9, came with her sister, Wynn, 7, and Grandmother Judi Duquette, a Villager.

McKinley Elam, left, along with Addison and Wynn Duquette are Disney fans.

Addison described the show in the words of her favorite song: “zip-a-dee-doo-dah.”
“The kids love it; they’ve been clapping and singing all along,” Grandma JoEllen said.  “We love it to and we’re singing right along,” added Grandma Judi.

They were not alone.
This was a delightful evening of music, costumes and memories. Director Barry Corlew, choreographer Barbara Byers and producers Carolyn Hoffman and Susan Feinberg helped the cast capture the magical essence of Disney music.

There were plenty of laughs, elegant ballet, and some tender moments – in addition to live music with a six-piece band led by Sara Kallioinen.

Tony Brown as the Beast

Tony Brown opened the show by walking through the crowd and singing, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Brown was impressive all night long.
He turned “Evermore,” a wistful love song from “Beauty and the Beast” into a show stopper. He was just as powerful on “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “Lion King.”

Tony Brown is becoming a musical force in The Villages, and on this night he showed why.

Carolyn Hoffman as Cinderella

Carolyn Hoffman was in strong voice in a variety of roles. She gave each one an operatic grace.

Hoffman brought a sense of yearning to “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heat Makes,” from “Cinderella.” She teamed with Holly Jeske and Bob Stehman on “Once Upon A Dream.”

Hoffman played Beauty to Tony Brown’s Beast, and the two of them delivered the title song from “Beauty and the Beast.” Near the end of the night, it was Hoffman who led the cast on stage for the emotional climax of  “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
Holly Jeske brought life to Snow White’s “Someday My Prince Will Come” and Sharri Duval displayed the power of Disney on “When You Wish Upon A Star.” Bob Stehman lifted Peter Pan with “You Can Fly, You Can Fly.”

Bill Krone was changing costumes and putting on new faces throughout the show.
He roared in a lion outfit on “Be Prepared.” Krone was transformed into a blue genie on “Friend Like Me,” from “Aladdin.” Then came the red crab from “Little Mermaid” and also a stint as candle man Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast.”
Krone has a knack for comedy and the one-time high school principal in Buffalo, N.Y. delivered plenty of laughs.
So did Mollie McCarthy.
She had a nasty smirk singing “Cruella De Ville,” and then belted out “I Want the Good Times Back,” like an old-time Broadway trouper.
Speaking of belting out songs, Billie Thatcher sounded like a jazzed-up Peggy Lee as Thatcher vamped her way through “He’s A Tramp.” Thatcher teamed with Janet Maloney in a raucous “Stepsister’s Lament.”

Bonnie Williams, left, and Billie Thatcher teamed up for a song.
Ballerina Diane Vargas with Chip and Phip Fuller.

Bonnie Williams, as usual, made a distinct musical impression. Williams chewed the scenery and romped on stage in “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from “Little Mermaid.”
But then she turned in one of the most powerful and moving performances of the night on “Feed the Birds.”

Diane Vargas enchanted the audience with her ballet on “Second Star To the Right,” from Peter Pan. Then, in the second half of the show, Vargas teamed with Chip and Phip Fuller in another dance spectacle on “Colors of the Wind.”

Everyone in the cast took part in a rousing medley from “Mary Poppins.” They also came back at the end for the “Mickey Mouse March” straight out of the old “The Mickey Mouse Club” That’s when Hannah Goldberg, who played the child princess, officially received her mouse ears.
On this night, everything old seemed new again. And the performers – as well as the audience – felt like kids once more.

Little Hannah Goldberg earns her mouse ears on stage.

The show was a benefit for Villages Honor Flight.

The multi-modal paths are open to everybody

A Village of Gilchrist woman, in a Letter to the Editor, says the multi-modal paths are to be shared by everyone and are not exclusively for golf carts.

I enjoy riding my bicycle on multi-modal paths in The Villages

A Village of Dunedin resident, who frequently rides a bicycle on the multi-modal paths in The Villages, responds to a Letter to the Editor from a resident of the Village of DeSoto.

Pedestrians are not always treated with respect on multi-modal paths

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Osceola Hills at Soaring Eagle resident says that pedestrians are not always treated with respect on the multi-modal paths.

The rule is that we are supposed to share the paths

A Village of Linden offers some clarification about the intent for the use of the multi-modal paths in The Villages.

Multi-functional paths can accommodate all

A Village of Santo Domingo reader takes issue with a Villager who said that walkers and bicyclists need to get out of the way of golf carts on the multi-modal paths.