"It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" at American Stage in 2015. Pictured: Colleen Cherry and Jonathan Williams.

American Stage Announces 2017-18 Season

The Florida theatre will present classic plays, contemporary dramas, and a holiday favorite.

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.: American Stage has announced its 2017-18 season, featuring eight productions and a collaboration with local artists for each show.

“To celebrate our ‘We the People’ movement, American Stage commissioned seven talented local artists to create visual interpretations of the plays in our season,” said producing artistic director Stephanie Gularte in a statement. “We are very proud to feature the work of these artists throughout our season and to affirm the power and beauty that emerges when we come together to share our diverse perspectives.”

The season will start with Marco Ramirez’s The Royale (Sept. 20-Oct. 15), about Jay “The Sport” Jackson, the first African-American Heavyweight Champion preparing for the fight of his life. Aygemang Clay will star, and Lisa Tricomi will direct. The local artist Herbert Scott Davis will present a visual interpretation of the play.

Next up will be William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (Nov. 8-Dec. 10), an adaptation of the classic battle of the sexes, set at the close of World War II. Gularte will star, and artist-in-residence Benjamin T. Ismail will direct. The local artists for this production will be Laura Spencer.

Just in time for the holidays will be It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Dec. 16-24), adapted by Joe Landry, about a man considering what the world would be like if he’d never been born. An ensemble will bring the classic story to life with onstage sound effects.

Following will be Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (Jan. 24-Feb. 18, 2018), about an African-American family struggling to assimilate into a white Chicago neighborhood in the 1950s. L. Peter Callender will direct. Local artist Zulu Painter will present artwork inspired by the play.

The season will continue with Marjorie Prime (March 7-April 1, 2018), by Jordan Harrison, a science fiction drama about an elderly woman whose fading memory is recovered through artificial intelligence. The cast will feature Janis Stevens, and Gularte will direct. Thirst McFly  will be the “We the People” artist for the production.

Next will be Andrea Lepcio’s Strait of Gibraltar (May 23-June 17, 2018), about a young American woman who falls in love with an undocumented Muslim man from Morocco. Jim Sorensen will direct, and artist Coralette Damme will present artwork inspired by the play.

Following will be Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews (July 11-Aug. 5, 2018), about three cousins reunited at their grandfather’s funeral, and engage in verbal and physical abuse about their faith. The cast will include artist-in-residence Benjamin T. Ismail. Artists Tracy Copes and Chancellor Joyer will present visual artwork in collaboration with the production.

The season will close with The Producers (April 18-May 13, 2018), by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, a comedy about a Broadway producer and his accountant’s plan to produce the biggest flop in history. The production will be presented outdoors at American Stage in the Park. Matthew McGee will star, and local artist Chad Mize will collaborate with the production.

American Stage, founded in 1977, brings musicals and plays to the Tampa Bay area.

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