A new event venue in Lake County is aiming high by booking an upcoming show with two musical giants.
R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples and blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite will perform at 7pm Saturday, Dec. 7, at Mount Dora Plaza Live, 2728 W. Old Highway 441. Tickets cost $83-$95 and can be purchased at getoffthebusconcerts.com/concerts/mavis-staples/ or mountdoraplazalive.com/mavis.php.
This show is in support of Lake Cares Food Pantry, a Lake County need-based organization whose goal is to feed the body, educate the mind and lift the spirit of all individuals, a news release states. Get Off the Bus Concerts and Visit Mount Dora are presenting the concert.
The gig is a coup for Mount Dora Plaza Live, which opened in September. The venue hosts a plethora of events, including shows by touring musical groups and tribute bands, Dueling Pianos, a Harry Potter-themed Drag Show, Brunch with the Broadway Bunch, murder mystery dinners and more.
Event manager Elyse Jacobs says that anyone is welcome to come to her with new ideas for shows and events. She also hopes to start booking weddings and other private parties soon.
The 25,000-square-foot entertainment center is easily adaptable. When you arrive outside, it doesn’t look like much, Elyse admits. But when you walk inside, you can see the potential of the newly renovated building.
“It’s a chameleon,” she says. “It can be modified for really any kind of event.”
The most popular events at the moment include the weekend drag brunches and Dueling Pianos twice a month. The Brunch with the Broadway Bunch includes a meal and a show put on by drag queens in which they perform hits from shows such as “Les Miserables” and “Wicked.” In Dueling Pianos, two baby grand pianos are set up face-to-face as the pianists put on an “all-request show.” Whatever type of music that audience members want to hear—any decade, any genre—the musicians will play it.
Mount Dora Plaza Live also offers a cafe where guests can have dinner before a show, and catering for events held on the premises. A top-rated chef cooks every meal as well as the dinner show meals and brunches. Most dinner shows include three meal options with two seasonal sides and a dessert. A full bar is run by Magical Meat Boutique, the popular bar and restaurant in downtown Mount Dora.
The Staples-Musselwhite concert certainly will be a highlight on the plaza schedule. Mavis, the chart-topping soul/gospel/R&B singer, is both a Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Grammy Award winner, civil rights leader, National Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient and Kennedy Center honoree.
“We Get By” is Mavis’ latest release, her 12th studio album and first full-length collaboration with multi-Grammy Award winner Ben Harper. Backed by her longtime touring band, Mavis breathes extraordinary life into Ben’s compositions on the record, delivering roof-raising performances with both a youthful vigor and a commanding maturity, the release states.
“I sing because I want to leave people feeling better than I found them,” Mavis says. “I want them to walk away with a positive message in their hearts, feeling stronger than they felt before. I’m singing to myself for those same reasons, too.”
Charlie, the electric blues harmonica player, also has collaborated with Ben Harper. Their album “Get Up!” took home the Grammy for Best Blues Album in 2013, and they followed that up with “No Mercy in This Land” in 2018. Charlie has earned induction into the Blues Music Hall of Fame, won 35 Blues Music Awards and received 11 Grammy nominations, the release states.
The Mississippi native learned the Chicago blues with luminaries such as Lew Soloff, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Big Walter Horton. He has released more than 25 albums, as well as guesting on albums by musicians including Bonnie Raitt, INXS, Tom Waits and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Mount Dora Plaza Live // 2728 W. Old Highway 441, Mount Dora // 352.234.3755
For tours, contact Elyse Jacobs at 407.230.6699.