Rotary goes beyond Broadway for upcoming concert, fundraiser

Grant Norman of “Phantom” is providing some “Broadway” for the Broadway & Beyond event.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • Neighborhood
  • Share

If you enjoy listening to live music under the stars, then the Rotary Club of Winter Garden has an event you won’t want to miss. A roster of local entertainers — many with ties to Broadway — will hit the stage in “Broadway and Beyond,” an outdoor concert event taking place Saturday, March 27, on the lawn of Newton Park at Lake Apopka.

Billy Flanigan, the host of open-mic nights at Pilars Martini, is hosting the Rotary’s live show, which also includes performances by mostly Winter Garden residents who have made their careers on the Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, on cruise ships, at Walt Disney World, and by traveling the country and the world.

The program includes Grant Norman, best known for his lead role in Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera”; The Carol Stein Quartet; Broadway performer Christina Sivrich; Disney-MGM Studios Cast Members Andrea Canney and Trudie Petersen, both of whom portrayed the original Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” and Kevin Brassard, the original Indiana Jones for more than 25 years; Cheryl Ann Sanders, of Cirque de Soleil’s “La Nouba”; and Flanigan, a 39-year performer at Disney.

The preshow will feature local entertainers, possibly a magician and comedian.

“The show is basically going to take you on a musical journey through some Broadway and then beyond with some jazz standards and some familiar music,” Flanigan said. “It will be very different than the show in the past with the Orlando Philharmonic. This way, you get some music, some humor, some familiar songs you can sing along with, and you get to witness the man who played the Phantom on Broadway, which is incredible.

“These are all people I have worked with through the years — and because they live locally and many of them are out-of-work entertainers and what happened because of COVID-19, they were happy to help,” Flanigan said.

“I know how much the city of Winter Garden loves culture, and I know how much the city of Winter Garden has enjoyed the Rotary Club of Winter Garden‘s Evening at the Pops,” Rotary President Eric Roukey said. “I thought about updating the event and taking it from amazing classical music to a Broadway show, with all of the elements of experiencing a Broadway performance or a show you might experience at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.

“I thought maybe we could bring a little joy and excitement and show business back to our community, and the first person I thought of was my friend Billy Flanigan, quite possibly the greatest showman,” he said. “We have the greatest showman right here in Winter Garden, along with his friends, all exceptionally talented performers.”

The event — Evening at the Pops with the Orlando Philharmonic in past years — is typically the Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year; the money goes toward scholarships for area students and also is given to local charities.

“I’m so proud of our Rotary club,” Roukey said. “You won’t find a finer group of women and men doing amazing things in our community, here is one more example.”



Grant Norman and his family have lived in Winter Garden for more than a decade. Now a real estate agent, Norman gained fame as the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera,” performing on Broadway and at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. He also has performed the role of Chris in “Miss Saigon” and Gaston in the 10th anniversary celebration of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” both on Broadway. He portrayed Phantom and Beast in the U.S. National Touring Company productions as well.

He has appeared on numerous televisions shows, including “Law & Order” and “All My Children.”

Norman said he is looking forward to his stage time: “I’m happy to do this benefit with the Rotary. … With this group of people, you have a lot of good, positive energy going. It’s going to be a fun event.”

Attendees will be treated to three songs by Norman: “Music of the Night,” from “Phantom,” and “If I Can’t Love Her” and “Me,” both from “Beauty and the Beast.”

After spending 18 years in New York City, Norman moved with his wife and infant daughter to Horizon West.

“We love the quaint, small-town feel to the downtown area and … it continues to grow up and down Avalon (Road), so you get kind of both worlds,” he said. “It’s growing like crazy, but you also get that quaint small-town feel. That’s what we love about Winter Garden. We love our little house, and we don’t think we’ll ever leave.”

As much as Norman embraced life on the stage, he said he has appreciated the time away from it.

“I’ve enjoyed reconnecting to life without performing,” he said.

He will continue to share his voice on the local level at concerts and other benefits — but he is content selling real estate, being a family man and connecting with friends at downtown Winter Garden restaurants.



Billy Flanigan started his career at Disney close to four decades ago and is still singing, dancing and hosting. He has performed in more than 650 different Disney shows over his years of service including Broadway at the Top, the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, the Diamond Horseshoe and the Magical World of Barbie.

The Winter Garden resident sings each year in the Philadelphia 6ABC/Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day parade and has hosted the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant since in inception.

He started delivering socially distanced singing telegrams on his bicycle last year and has logged 7,000 miles, visiting 500 people in 16 states. Flanigan, his Disney career and his “Flanigrams” are the subject of a feature documentary called “The Happiest Man on Earth.”

He has hosted and sang for several big charity galas over the years and enjoys entertaining audiences all around the country.

Flanigan has four children, Ryan, Kyle, Adam and Lexi; and three grandchildren, Kennadie, Parker and Tanner.



Carol Stein began classical piano studies when she was 4. She has traveled as a musician to places such as Carnegie Hall in New York to the Montreux Palace in Switzerland and The Oasis Lounge in Hong Kong.

She lives in Winter Garden and has performed at Disney for more than 29 years. She was the house musician with the improv troupe at the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island for many years and is now the resident musician at Epcot.

She is known for her composed pieces, as well as her spontaneous arranging of pieces during a live performance. She may take a child’s melody and turn it “inside-out” in the style of Mozart, and then into a bossa nova, and end up with a Duke Ellington swing.

Stein has been the guest solo artist with the Space Coast Pops Orchestra, performing her own compositions and orchestral arrangements. She was the pianist with the Jacksonville Symphony.

Stein and her quartet have been playing together for more than 25 years. She has experience as a studio musician and has recorded several albums.



Kissimmee resident Christina Sivrich has spent the past seven years in “The Big Blue World,” playing Dory in “Finding Nemo, The Musical” and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She has performed on Broadway in the original casts of “The Wedding Singer” and “Grease, You’re the One That I Want.” She also toured the country in the National Tour of “Grease.”



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

Latest News