Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Masaryktown lands soap star Walt Willey turned comic

MASARYKTOWN — A TV star coming to perform in "little ol' Masaryktown"?

"That's what everybody is asking," says Donna Roberts, event chairwoman for the Masaryktown Community Center.

In a nutshell, the booking came through "a friend of a friend," Roberts said, adding: "Isn't it wonderful? Imagine that! A star in our county."

Walt Willey, best known for his 24-year role as Jackson Montgomery on the soap opera All My Children, will perform his stand-up comedy act, "Wild and Willey," at 8 p.m. Friday at the center.

Although Willey, 65, is most widely known through daytime TV drama, the actor says on his website that comedy "is an absolute passion of mine."

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the last episode of All My Children, and Willey says the anniversary played a role in his decision to come to Florida this weekend.

"Last year around this time, I was in Florida (doing comedy shows) in Tampa and Sarasota, Lauderdale, West Palm," he said in a phone interview. "This is too much like serendipity. It worked so well last year, so why not this year?

"My career and my life have been so dominated by coincidence, serendipity, happenstance — call it what you will — that I don't choose to ignore it."

Willey said he prefers small venues such as the 350-seat community center hall in Masaryktown.

"Most comedy clubs, even the big-name ones, seat about 250. I'm pretty much doing this in theaters of less than 500. It just fits the situation," he said.

Willey said he talks about life in his routine — "parents, children, sex, pets, the same kind of gist most comics talk about."

The two-hour show will open with two warm-up comedians, followed by Willey's one-hour act. At the end, he is expected to include a question-and-answer session and a meet-and-greet with audience members.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Roberts said the community center's directors and volunteers have been "dolling up" the hall for a year, "an absolute facelift, all the way to the parking lot. I thought it was a shame to use that hall just for bingo," she said.

Volunteer Joann Tuten heard Roberts' regret. Tuten said her daughter, Amy Tuten, works at a Sarasota TV station and knows Willey, having accompanied him on soap opera-themed cruises. Joann Tuten put Roberts in touch with her daughter, who in turn contacted Willey. A deal was struck.

"Walt called, and we spent an hour on the phone," said Roberts. "He is a sweetheart of a person."

She said she was a bit shocked by the act's sticker price, but that everyone is happy to be bringing Willey to town.

Tickets are $20 and available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Giddy-Up Saddle Shop on U.S. 41. Tickets also can be obtained by calling Roberts at (352) 232-3308.

The actor, who owns a bed and breakfast with his wife in Santa Fe, N.M., will stay in Spring Hill and is scheduled to dine this evening at Glen Lakes Country Club.

The nonprofit center's share of the proceeds from the show will pay for maintenance and upgrades at the center, Roberts said.

"We've already book our second show, another big name, in November," she said.

But she's not telling who just yet.

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Updated: 7 hours ago
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

MIAMI — With burrowing iguanas showing up in people’s toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state’s booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles. The Florida Fish and Wildlif...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Fan helps fund Miami Stadium’s historic marker

MIAMI — For thousands of kids who grew up in Miami, going to the old Miami Stadium in the Allapattah neighborhood was a part of coming of age. Opened on Aug. 31, 1949, with a game between the Miami Sun Sox and Havana Cubans, two Class B Florida Inter...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

OCEAN CITY, Md. — Phil Heasley of Naples caught the fish of his life, but the $2.8 million in tournament prize money got away. Heasley reeled in a 6-foot white marlin last year off Maryland’s coast. But in a sign of how concerned some big money tour...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital Saturday afternoon.About 12: 45 p.m., Terry Lee Bronschidle, 70, of Tampa was driving his Chevy Traverse south on...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch has won 10 straight after Friday’s victory over Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental league, the ...
Updated: 8 hours ago