3 Reasons Why ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ at American Stage

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2015 was another ‘wonderful’ year for American Stage. As we reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to 2016, we wanted to celebrate some great successes that couldn’t have been accomplished without your support!

Visit americanstage.org/donate to support the Annual Fund.

Also! Don’t Miss:

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY | Join Us December 19-27 | Limited Run
This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, and live, on-stage sound effects, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. BOOK NOW

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Performance Schedule:
Thursday, December 24 | 2PM
Thursday, December 24 | 7PM
Saturday, December 26 | 2PM
Saturday, December 26 | 7PM
Sunday, December 27 | 2PMRead the rest

Happy Holidays from IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

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The cast of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play’ has a special holiday wish just for YOU!

American Stage presents ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play’ | Now Playing through December 27

For More Information click here

This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, and live, on-stage sound effects, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.… Read the rest

THE 39 STEPS Extends Run! Now Playing through December 19!

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THE 39 STEPS | Extended through December 19
Due to popular demand, THE 39 STEPS has been extended until December 19. Don’t miss the show that has audiences dying of laughter and the Tampa Bay Times raving “You will laugh loudly and often, I promise.” BOOK NOW

Added Performances for THE 39 STEPS:
Wednesday, December 16 | 8PM
Thursday, December 17 | 8PM
Friday, December 18 | 8PM
Saturday, December 19 | 8PMRead the rest

Origins of the 39 Steps Part II

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In Which a Story Plays on the Silver Screen: Alfred Hitchcock & the Film
Shannon Hurst

Be sure to check out Part I of the Origins of the 39 STEPS series: In Which a Story Cures Boredom.

Known the world over as the supreme Master of Suspense, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock received his famous moniker following the debut of his 1935 film The 39 Steps. Released at a time where cinematic audiences were again on the verge of another World War, the film served to bolster Hitchcock’s career—leading him directly to a contract in Hollywood—as well as to secure the popularity of spy-thrillers on the big screen.

Having read John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps in grade school, a young Alfred Hitchcock believed the thrilling, expansive adventure and unsuspecting, innocent action hero would serve well as the foundation of a great suspense film. Once the burgeoning director had completed his first spy film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, he would begin to work on re-crafting Buchan’s novel. Altering the story’s title to The 39 Steps, Hitchcock recrafted many of the details of Hannay’s journey to first make it more suitable for cinematic audiences, then on the verge of yet another World War, primarily by including the addition of the now-iconic femme fatale and “cool blonde” female characters, and also to heighten its elements of suspense, or perpetual state of anticipation. The result was not only a tremendous success for its director, but another raving success for the story of Richard Hannay.

Hitchcock’s work on The 39 Steps and his other spy-thrillers helped to shape his aesthetic that is now familiar to his contemporary audiences. One such creative element employed by Hitchcock in this film he would refer to as his “MacGuffin”—a plot key that is both critically important but utterly vague; Hannay learns from Annabella, a mysterious femme fatale, that there is such a thing as the 39 Steps and that they are dangerous and important, but leaves Hannay and his audiences to fill in any remaining blanks. The film is briskly-paced—another alteration … Read the rest

The Trippers are heading to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston!

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American Stage is going to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston!

spoleto usa

Spoleto U.S.A was founded by Pulitzer-prize winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti and is the world-renowned, American counterpart of the famed Italian festival, Festival de DuMondi in Spoleto, Italy.

Dates: June 5th – 10th

We have been looking into this trip for several years, and it seems like Spoleto’s 4oth anniversary is a good time to go. World-class music, opera, dance, theater – this festival has it all! Additionally, Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast regularly list Charleston as the number one destination in the United States.

We will spend five nights at the 4-star Belmond Charleston Place Hotel, known for its southern hospitality and luxurious ambience. The hotel is centrally located on King Street and sits above the most elegant and refined shopping district in Charleston. It is also adjacent to the Old City Market.

(Photo: Belmond Charleston Place.)

(Photo: Belmond Charleston Place.)


The big opera this year is PORGY AND BESS, written in Charleston by George and Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward, a Charleston native and author of Porgy, from which the opera was born; and his wife, Dorothy.

Porgy and Bess design sketch by Jonathan Green. (Photo: Spoleto Festival USA.)

Porgy and Bess design sketch by Jonathan Green.
(Photo: Spoleto Festival USA.)

Porgy and Bess design sketch by Jonathan Green. (Photo: Spoleto Festival USA.)

Porgy and Bess design sketch by Jonathan Green.
(Photo: Spoleto Festival USA.)

Other offerings will be announced in January and will likely include a dance company, an orchestra, and at least one play. We are currently working with other arts organizations in the area to get the inside scoop on the “do not miss” events this season.

Additionally, the trip will include one of Charleston’s famous plantation visits as well as a city bus tour.

And let’s not forget the food! The trip also includes two group dinners and one group lunch at Charleston’s finest restaurants.

(Photo: Visit Charleston South Carolina)

(Photo: Visit Charleston South Carolina)

We offer all this for $3345 which includes:

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Five nights at the four-star Belmond Charleston Place Hotel
  • Breakfast daily at the hotel
  • All coach services
  • Round-trip baggage transfer
  • Two group dinners and one group lunch
  • Five Spoleto performances including Porgy and Bess
  • A guided city tour
  • A plantation visit
Read the rest

THE 39 STEPS – Special Performances

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the 39 steps special performances

Post-Show Talkback | Sunday November 29 & Sunday December 6 | 

Immediately following the the 3PM performance, stay for an opportunity to speak with the cast of THE 39 STEPS. (Limited Availability) Book Show Here.


Craft Beer Night with Green Bench Brewing Co | Wednesday December 2 | 

Arrive early on Wednesday December 2nd for a special craft beer tasting hosted by Green Bench Brewing Co before the show. Tasting begins a 7PM | Performance at 8PM. Book Show Here.


Young Professionals Night with Station House | Friday December 4 | 

For the young and the young-at-heart! Come see THE 39 STEPS and then enjoy a special after-party Meet & Greet reception with the Cast & Creative Team at Station House (260 1st St S – just a few blocks away!). One Free Beer or Wine per person, Appetizers served, Live Jazz. Performance at 8PM | Meet & Greet at 10PM. Book Show Here.  *It is not required, though suggested, to have seen THE 39 STEPS.Read the rest

THE 39 STEPS – Audience Response

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Take a look at what audiences are saying about THE 39 STEPS adapted by Patrick Barlow, based on the Film by Alfred Hitchcock, and directed by Stephanie Gularte. The cast includes Richard B. Watson, Juliana Davis, Joey Panek, and Jed Peterson. For tickets and more info CLICK HERE.

THE 39 STEPS | Nov 18-Dec 13 |
Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have THE 39 STEPS, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre! Packed with non-stop laughs, over 150 zany characters, an on-stage plane crash, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance!… Read the rest


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39 blog

In Which a Story Cures Boredom:  John Buchan & the Novel

by Shannon Hurst

The spy thriller is an inescapable staple of both film and literature so entrenched in our national consciousness that it may hardly seem plausible the genre has existed for only a century.  Indeed, even the vast expanse of the James Bond universe, for instance, traces back to a singular story from 1915 called The Thirty-Nine Steps.  The short thriller (or “shocker” as this type of story was first known) was penned under a pseudonym of British war correspondent and propagandist John Buchan who, bedridden by an ailment and unable to engage in the war, turned to writing an adventure story to cure his boredom.


First printed in a now-defunct British publication of adventure stories for young men called Blackwood’s Magazine, Buchan’s story chronicled the exploits and misadventures of Richard Hannay, an unconventional character for contemporary literature of the time.  Hannay is an everyman, discontent with life, who is thrown unwittingly into a world of espionage and covert government efforts.  Rather than his fictional counterparts, he acts independently through his own resourcefulness and ingenuity than within the confines of any political or aristocratic system.  Both the magazine story and subsequent novel achieved monumental success – even now, as the novel has never gone out of print – which could be attributed in part to its relatable protagonist being hurled into such a thrilling adventure, and in part because of the particularly topical relevancy to its early twentieth-century readers.


The Thirty-Nine Steps plays heavily on the robust patriotism and xenophobia of a country in the midst of the First World War.  Not only could its readers relate to Hannay, they could relate to the events depicted in the story, or at least find them plausible.  Buchan’s readers to this point had engaged with this type of literature, known as Invasion Literature, for decades as it played on British anxieties of possible intrusion and destruction.  The country’s nervous and fearful sensibilities would continue through to the Second World War, when a new generation … Read the rest