Changing Lives through Art. Wit is a Hit. The reviews are in!

Read why not to miss Wit starring Kim Crow. Two amazing reviews are in. This play will take you on a unique journey. Click on the links below to read the full reviews. Closes

Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

What the critics are saying:
“A very funny, investigation into the meaning of life, death and God…Kim Crow’s Vivian…is girlishly vulnerable and eager to please, delivering droll zingers like a Borscht Belt comedian…Impressive…The Palladium stage, bigger than American Stage’s own space, has allowed director Todd Olson to bring an epic quality to Vivian’s story. The effects for X-rays and other procedures inflicted on Vivian are chillingly convincing…The American Stage production enjoys luxury casting in its supporting players, including Joe Parra…Barbara Redmond…and LuLu Picart…WIT is good medicine.” -John Fleming, Tampa Bay Times

“Brilliant…Wit is beyond words…a moving, harrowing, revelatory play about life. If great art is the art that combines beauty and depth, Wit is great art…and American Stage conveys its brilliance. Should you see Wit in spite of the fearsomeness of its subject? Absolutely. This is drama that can change, or at least redirect, your life. If an inspired work of art can remind us of that fact, we need it in our repertoire. Few plays are as important. See it if you can. 5 stars out of 5.” -Mark E. Leib, Creative Loafing

Posted in Main Stage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

A Devoted Arts Patron will be Missed; Her Spirit Lifts American Stage

Natalie McMasters (1928-2012)

 Please join us for A Celebration of Life for Natalie McMasters that will be held on October 23rd at 5:00 p.m., at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. The family invites those who knew Natalie and appreciated all her contributions to attend.

Natalie McMasters – a talented athlete, excellent cook, fierce bridge player, loving partner to her husband Lew, and generous philanthropist – had many interests, and she developed them all fully.  “She wasn’t a dabbler,” her long-time friend Pat Baldwin explains.  “If Natalie was going to do it, she was going to do it well.”

St. Petersburg, her home from the age of three years old, provided Natalie with an ideal setting for her many talents.  From a young age, she sailed in the gulf and played tennis and golf year-round.  Later, she became a quiet force behind the burgeoning arts scene in downtown, a development that brought her much personal satisfaction.

 In the decades when Natalie was growing up here, and then raising her own family, St. Petersburg was still a small town.  It had little to offer artistically. Natalie and Lew realized they would need to look elsewhere to find cultural opportunities, both for themselves and for John and Martha, their two children.  John and Martha today fondly remember their parents regularly taking them to New York City as youngsters, to experience museums, plays, ballets, and concerts. Later, when Martha was in college in New York, Natalie would come up, both to visit her daughter and also to see theatre in Manhattan.

Then – to many people’s surprise – St. Petersburg began to grow from a sleepy southern town to a world-class arts destination. This transformation was an unexpected joy for Natalie, who took full advantage of the cultural offerings. She challenged her keen intellect by auditing literature classes at USF. She got involved with the Florida Orchestra and the Museum of Fine Arts from their beginnings in the late 1960′s.  

 Natalie also became a regular patron at American Stage Theatre, which was founded in 1977. She continuously supported American Stage Theatre over the years, making it possible for the theatre to be enjoying a robust 34th Season this year, in a time when many not-for-profit arts organizations are suffering.  She also joined the theatre’s Legacy Society, which was created by Marion Ballard, Natalie’s devoted friend and fellow American Stage supporter (and former Board President).

In addition to attending performances at the theatre, Natalie also traveled on the American Stage trips frequently, particularly the ones to New York. She was interested all types of theatre – serious drama, Broadway musicals, classics, edgier off-Broadway productions. Natalie didn’t hesitate to voice her opinion on the shows. “She didn’t like every play she saw, but she appreciated them all,” her traveling companion and dear friend Marilyn Mathis recalls. 

Natalie’s son emphasizes just how rewarding the arts were to Natalie, especially in the years following Lew’s death in 1999. “Seeing St. Petersburg develop a vibrant arts scene was very satisfying to her. It made her life full,” John says.

 In February of this year, just five months before Natalie’s death, Martha took her mother to New York City for a weekend of culture. They went to the NYC Ballet and a chamber music performance on the waterfront under the Brooklyn Bridge. They visited the Frick and MOMA, and saw a cutting-edge new drama at Lincoln Center. “We had a glorious time,” Martha shares. How fitting that Natalie, who loved the arts herself so much and strived to instill that same love in her children, was able to enjoy a wonderful weekend of the arts with her daughter in the last year of her life.

 Natalie McMasters was a loyal and generous supporter of many arts institutions in St. Petersburg, including this theatre. We are proud that Natalie attended American Stage productions and traveled on our theatre trips, and grateful that she included the theatre in her legacy gifts.


Posted in Main Stage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Catch up with Nate Najar and John Lamb

Studio 10 had Nate Najar and John Lamb on their morning show to talk about their upcoming performance at American Stage and play some music. Check out Nate Najar and John Lamb on Studio 10. Click here.

Don’t miss our next Music Series:
The Ale and the Witch Music Productions Presents:
Nate Najar with John Lamb on Bass

Intimate Musical Conversation… Just Jazz


Tuesday, October 9 at 8 PM
Concessions and cash bar open at 6:30pm

Performing one night only on the
American Stage Theatre’s Mainstage

TICKETS: $15 – reserved seating

Posted in After Hours, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Behind the Scenes with American Stage Theatre

Jerid Fox, Props Master - Behind the Scenes where the Sets take Form

American Stage Theatre is bringing even more theatre to life in St. Petersburg with their 2012.2013 season schedule.  In an effort to offer patrons and subscribers more variety, this professional theatre company added more programming.  This move enabled the creation of three Series; Fall, Spring and Summer, each consisting of three plays.  Todd Olson, Producing Artistic Director, shares his insight on the upcoming productions, including the new partnership with the St. Petersburg College Theater Department for the upcoming production of WIT, opening on October 21 at the Palladium Theater.

            “Without the college’s involvement we would not be able to produce larger cast plays of this magnitude. That is a win for us. Having a work like WIT on the Palladium stage is a win for SPC and  having their students involved with this cast and creative team is a win for the SPC Theater Program. Having access to this venue and this good energy is a win for American Stage,” says Olson.

           In addition to WIT, the Fall Series wraps up with A DOLL’S HOUSE opening on November 14.  Todd explains why this play is an important choice; ”American Stage is primarily a contemporary theatre and A DOLL’S HOUSE was the first modern play, so, in a way, we’re starting with where our tradition began. We also have a reputation for producing the plays that won’t be seen anywhere else in the Tampa Bay area. In a way, Ibsen is the grandfather of any modern theatre and he is missing on stages in this region. So we’re embracing a century-old tradition and reviving a masterpiece to learn how much it still has to say about how we live now.”

            Olson also gave a glimpse for what audiences can expect from the Spring Series. “The new year will bring unforgettable human stories that speak to the world at this moment. All three plays have to do with reconciling our history with the challenges of the present moment. All have to do with family, revival, and repair. On top of continuing the August Wilson Century Cycle with PIANO LESSON, audiences will enjoy the area premiere’s of Sam Shepard’s WHEN THE WORLD WAS GREEN: A CHEF’S FABLE, and Jessica Dickey’s play, AMISH PROJECT, based on a true story.”

For more information on the upcoming plays visit or contact their box office at 727.823.7529.

Posted in Main Stage, Todd Olson's Notes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The world of Dali… and American Stage emerge!

Thank you to our friends at the Dali Museum for being terrific partners. We had a blast yesterday at their museum. American Stage Theatre will be performing a scene from HYSTERIA at the Dali Museum on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 1pm in case you missed the one last night. The full cast and director, Todd Olson, will be reading the ‘Dream Sequence’ scene on the spiral staircase of the Dali Museum and the performance is free to all Dali Visitors. There will be a question and answer session immediately following the performance.

Posted in ACTORNEWS, Main Stage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The reviews for HYSTERIA are setting in

“Hysteria is funny, sad, superficial, profound, scatterbrained and very wise. I’ve never witnessed anything else quite like it. The acting in this unpredictable thought-romp is universally excellent.” – Mark E. Leib, Creative Loafing

Check out the new review by Mark E. Leib for Terry Johnson’s HYSTERIA in the Creative Loafing Tampa.

Posted in Main Stage | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

2012 BEST OF THE BAY… Congratulations to all!

We would like to take a moment to celebrate all those that participated, voted, and were acknowledged for their superb talents across the Tampa Bay area! What a wonderful area we live in and everyone should be extremely proud. This is testament on how we are building a strong community and how important local support really is to creating a better future. Below are those awarded in the theater industry. Congratulations to all!

Readers’ Pick
Best Theater Company – American Stage
Best Local Singer/Songwriter – Geri X
Best Local Stage Director – Eric Davis
Best Local Theater Production – Cabaret, freeFall Company
Best Local Actor – David Jenkins
Best Local Actress – Alison Burns
Best Local Improv Troupe – Got Jokes? Improv

Critics’ Pick
Best Theater Company – American Stage
Best Play – August: Osage County
Best Actor – Jim Sorensen
Most Promising Playwright – Natalie Symons
Best Actress – Emilia Sargent
Best Director – Karla Hartley
Best Artistic Director – Eric Davis
Best Costumer – Mike and Kathy Buck Designs
Best Set Designer – Frank Chavez
Best Reason to Believe in the Next Generation of Theater Artists – Gianfranco Settecasi
Best New Theater Company – Tampa Repertory Theatre
Most Memorable Performance – David Mann in freeFall’s Cabaret
Most Joyous Comic Presence – Matthew McGee
Best Broadway Puppet Revival – MAD Theatre’s Avenue Q
Best Theatrical Talent Merger – Meg Heimstead & Shawn Paonessa
Best Ubiquitous Theater Guy – Gavin Hawk

For the full list,

Posted in ACTORNEWS, After Hours, American Stage in the Park, Main Stage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

HYSTERIA buzz is starting to hit the BURG!

Justin Campbell, Ashley Jeffery, & Michael Edwards

Stay tuned to BAY NEWS 9 ON DEMAND. Ashley Jeffery, Video Journalist was at American Stage Theatre Company and interviewed actors from our season opener, HYSTERIA: OR FRAGMENTS OF AN ANALYSIS OF AN OBSESSIONAL NEUROSIS.


Posted in ACTORNEWS, Main Stage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

We are Rolling into Our 12-13 Season with MORE LAUGHS! Check out our FALL SERIES

by Terry Johnson

Co-production with
Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (W.H.A.T.

We are rolling into our 12-13 Season with MORE LAUGHS!
American Stage Subscribers Share a Passion for Live Theatre!
Who’s Ready for HYSTERIA to take over AMERICAN STAGE THEATRE?

Get your tickets in advance.
Find out what happens when Freud meets Dali and these great minds collide!


“Freud, Dali and madcap madness…a laugh-out-loud comic romp laced with dark interludes…Just as it will make you laugh at life’s absurdities, “Hysteria” will also incite your intellectual curiosity to discover more.” -Cape Cod Online

“Impressive…[an] unpredictable and intellectual madcap comedy” -Cape Cod Chronicle

“Balances laugh-out-loud comedy with deadly serious revelations…Playwright Terry Johnson is a brilliant storyteller, and this production does his script justice…If you miss it at WELLFLEET Harbor Actor’s Theatre, you’ll have to go to Saint Petersburg, Florida. But don’t miss it here. If anything, go to Saint Petersburg to see it again.”

“Brilliant…Beautiful…haunting…filled with belly laughs and brain tickles…You will find little pieces of this play creeping into your consciousness for days after you have seen it and hey, Freud and Dali would have liked that.” -Barnstable Patriot

“Hysterically funny, terrifying and visually riveting.” -Provincetown Banner

Click Here for Website.

Posted in Main Stage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

A Warm “Thank You” to Publix for their support of our education programming.

American Stage is proud to partner with Publix in support of our education programming. The presentation of a check for $8,000 occurred on August 13th on the set of The Foreigner. Publix will enter the 2012/13 season as both the co-sponsor of our School Tours program bringing live theatre to 18,000 K-5 children in over 38 schools, and as Teaching Artist Sponsor providing funds to hire a professional artist to assist in our education programs such as School Tour, Pinellas Write On!, and drama club support programs. We would like to extend our appreciation to Publix and their employees for this support.

Posted in Education, News & Notes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off