A common link serves to unite two winners of the 2022 Hernando Sun Readers Choice competition. Magician and Comedian Elliott Smith who won Entertainer of the Year and Roslyn Franken who won Author of the Year, are husband and wife. And both of them will actually be making special appearances soon in the Hernando area.
Roslyn Franken, author of the inspiring book Meant to Be: A True Story of Might, Miracles and Triumph of the Human Spirit, will speak at 12:30 pm on Nov. 21 at the Ladies Luncheon at the Wesleyan Village, 8210 Wesley Dr., Brooksville, FL 34601. It is a public event and tickets are $15, which includes lunch. Tickets may be purchased at the Wesleyan Village Office, 23053 Cortez Blvd or at the Phillippe Center, 8225 Wesley Dr., Monday – Friday from 8 am – noon.
Franken will discuss her popular book Meant to Be, which recounts the life experiences of her parents, Holocaust and atomic bomb survivors who found each other in the wake of war. Franken will be available for a book signing and a Q&A following the presentation. Books will be $20.
Elliott Smith will join comic and motivational speaker Fran Capo in the Motivational and Magic Variety Show at 7 pm on Sunday, Nov. 20, at Temple Beth David, 13158 Antelope St., Spring Hill. Admission is $25 per ticket; reserve at (352) 686-7034.
“You’ll love Fran Capo, comedienne, actress & motivational speaker and Elliott Smith, with his hilarious interactive magic & comedy,” read an event announcement.
The couple takes great pride in their contributions to the Hernando County community.
“I think Elliott and I are the only married couple to win the Readers Choice Awards,” said Franken. “We are honored to serve the community, and thank everyone who took the time to vote for us.”
The couple discovered the community of Spring Hill during a vacation and after that, chose to make Hernando County their new home! The couple joined the community with Franken speaking at schools, libraries, churches and other venues in this and surrounding areas, while Smith performing magic at performing arts venues like Stage West Playhouse, and at both community and private events.
“Needless to say, we fell in love with this community after visiting,” said Smith. Smith is the first and only comedy magician to be awarded a place on the prestigious Wall of Great Comedians at the National Comedy Hall of Fame Museum in Holiday, Florida, with Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Craig Ferguson, Mike MacDonald and many more. He is also the first and only Canadian comedy magician to be featured at the legendary Friars Club in New York City, and has served as an opening act for world renowned rock and roll bands such as The Four Aces, Danny and the Juniors and Bill Haley’s Comets. “I’m an illusionist who incorporates comedy into the act,” says the Canadian native. “I perform for audiences of all ages, from child to adult. It’s an interactive magic show I perform everywhere from performing arts centers to golf tournaments, community clubs to TV shows.”
Regardless of his audience, Smith always has one goal in mind when performing a show.
“I was once told by an audience member that my show made her laugh and smile, more than she had in a while,” he said. “That’s what I love to hear.”
Franken’s book, Meant to Be, won the 2022 Gold Winner of the NFAA Nonfiction Book Awards and is set to hit the big screen next year as a major motion picture, directed by Jim Fitzpatrick for Five Star Productions and Meant to Be Studios. She has presented the book and its timeless messages of survival and timeless love.
Franken has taken this message of hope as far away as the Netherlands and as close as Parkland, Fla., where she was specifically chosen to speak to students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the wake of the 2018 mass shooting at the school.
“It was my honor to speak to these students,” she said. “I believe that young people in particular can learn valuable lessons from my parents’ story. Most importantly, that no matter what they’re going through, they can make it.”
And right here in Hernando, Franken loves sharing her message of hope and love for all audiences. “It’s my way of giving back to a community that has given so much to me,” she said.