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Giving voice to comedy
Impressionist Fred Travalena will likely leave laughs behind in Brookridge.
By LOGAN NEILL, Times Staff Writer
Published February 8, 2008
Fred Travalena, "Man of a Thousand Faces," will bring some of them to the Brookridge community clubhouse just west of Brooksville for an evening performance on Valentine's Day.
BROOKRIDGE - Far removed from the urban bustle, Hernando County is hardly a mecca for live entertainment.
Anyone wanting to catch the really big stars on stage knows that doing so means making an hour-plus drive south to a concert hall or nightclub in Tampa, Clearwater or St. Petersburg, where the cost of dinner, show tickets, gas and parking are likely to make quite a dent in the wallet.
Considering all of that, there's little wonder why the Brookridge Entertainment Committee has seen an upswing in attendance in the past couple of years at its monthly concert series. For less than $15 per show, season ticket holders can see a variety of nationally recognized music, dance and comedy acts, including many that seldom perform at big city venues.
All of which is why Brookridge Entertainment marketing director Marie Genord is feeling good about Thursday's performance by comedian/impressionist Fred Travalena.
"It's going to be a big seller for us," Genord said. "He's a top entertainer, and a lot of people are wanting to see him."
Genord said the entertainment committee was fortuitous in snaring Travalena, who is in the middle of a "working vacation" that will include a number of appearances in South Florida. As far as she knows, the Brookridge performance is the comedian's only Central Florida stop.
Known as the "Man of a Thousand Faces," Travalena spent much of the 1970s and 1980s as a Las Vegas entertainer, performing his myriad impressions of actors, singers and political figures before branching out into rolls in television and film.
Interestingly, Travalena is the guy movie studios often call to "voice-over" bad words to enable films to be shown on television. "The secret," Travalena told CBS News, "is to visualize the actor."
The Brookridge concert series, which is the second Thursday of each month in the 500-seat community room inside the subdivision, has presented several nationally known entertainers since its beginning in 2003. Recent shows by John Davidson, the Vogues and former Lawrence Welk Show star JoAnn Castle drew sellout crowds.
Genord said that proceeds from the series go directly toward improving common areas inside the 55-plus community and have included recent purchases of furniture and sound equipment for the clubhouse.
"We've done pretty well," Genord said. "The money we've managed to raise has gone toward making things a little nicer for the residents who live here."
Genord said she is expecting good turnouts for future performances, which will include the Four Aces (March 13), the Divas (April 10) and impressionist Mark Ralston (May 8).
"We always have an appreciative audience," Genord said. "Performers tell us it's one of the best audiences they've played to."
The Brookridge Entertainment Committee will present the comic/impressionist at 7 p.m. Thursday at the community clubhouse at 8150 Hampton St., west of Brooksville. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door or by calling Barb at 597-4620.