AS FWD The Next Generation
American Stage is committed to AS FORWARD, shaping the future of live theatre in Tampa Bay – Engaging the next generation of Artists & Audiences.
We are proud to announce a new initiative inspired by American Stage’s commitment to the long-term future of our organization and to professional live theatre throughout Tampa Bay and beyond. With a quickly evolving cultural landscape, there are some questions which we must address:
Who will shape the future of the American theatre?
Who will perform on, design and direct for our stages?
Who will market, advance and lead our theatres?
Who will fill the seats, champion our programs & engage with our work?
These questions led the leadership team at American Stage to create an unprecedented initiative committed to developing the future artists, audiences and advocates of professional live theatre. Our Youth Initiative is comprised of three major pillars of forward-looking opportunities.
“As I thought about American Stage’s role as an arts leader, I began to think more seriously about our responsibility to this art form and to the community we serve… With our Youth initiative, teens and young adults will have unprecedented access to our work and will have the opportunity to make theatre a regular part of their lives… We believe in this effort and are committed to making it work for the community and for American Stage.” – Stephanie Gularte, Producing Artistic Director
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Meet the 2019-2020 Apprentices and Fellow
Alyssa Baumgardner – Arts Administration
Alyssa recently graduated with honors and a meritorious thesis from The University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in Musical Theatre. Soon after starting college, Alyssa fell in love with administration, directing, dramaturgy and producing. She worked as an assistant director, dramaturge and dialect coach for productions at UNC and The Little Theatre of the Rockies as well as directing and self-producing her own productions of Medea and The Seagull. Her senior year she served as the artistic director for The Underground Theatre Project, a student group that helps develop and produce new student work, and was awarded the David and Dawn Grapes Director’s Award for excellence in theatre. Alyssa is overjoyed to be a part of American Stage and the St. Petersburg community and looks forward to learning from administrators who produce excellent theatre and run a trusted business.
John Perez – Acting and Production Apprentice
John Perez is a recent graduate of the University of West Florida (BFA Musical Theatre) and could not be more excited to be joining the American Stage team! Selected credits include Che (Evita), Piragua Guy (In the Heights), Husband/CPA (See What I Wanna See), Mitch Mahoney (Spelling Bee….and then again as Barfee), Man 2 (Songs for a New World), Ewart/Barbershop (The Music Man). He has also appeared in original works, such as EL WIZ and the St. Pete-centric SUNSHINE CITY (by Dewey Davis-Thompson and Tom Sivak.) Always the student, John is excited to continue the opportunity to learn and hone his skills, especially alongside an amazing team of artists!
Kianna Jackson – Acting and Production Apprentice
Kianna Jackson is very excited to be joining the team of American Stage as an Acting & Production Apprenticeship. She recently graduated from Florida Southern College and received a BFA in Theatre Performance with a minor in Communications. Some of her favorite roles throughout the years of performing have been: Brooke Ashton in Noises Off, Vibrata in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Liat in South Pacific, and Ensemble Dancer in Kiss Me, Kate. She looks forward to growing more as an actor through the apprenticeship and to work with the professionals and fellow apprentices of American Stage.
Lyle Sweppenheiser – Education & Outreach
Lyle Sweppenheiser is from Factoryville, Pennsylvania and recently graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a BA in Theatre Arts. In his time at York he played Louis XVI in Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi and Charles/ William in Or, by Liz Duffy Adams; he also directed Thirst by Eugene O’Neill and James Franco and Me: An Unauthorized Satire by Kevin Broccoli. Last summer, he was able to be a teaching artist at Baltimore Center Stage. After seeing how powerful arts education can be Lyle knew he wanted to continue to pursue it, which is what brings him to American Stage for the next season as the Education and Outreach Apprentice. Lyle is excited to be a part of theatre with such a long and rich history like American Stage, and he can’t wait to join the team in September.
Skye Lindberg – Acting and Production Apprentice
Skye Lindberg is thrilled to be an Acting and Production Apprentice with American Stage for their 2019-2020 Season. A Washington DC/Virginia native, she is taking the leap by moving to sunny St. Petersburg to pursue her passions with an incredible theatre. She has most recently appeared as Paulette in Legally Blonde with Small Town Stars Theater Company and Valet in No Exit with Dark Horse Theatre Company. Other favorite credits include Beth in Musical Therapy (Capital Fringe Festival, Best Musical Winner), Nicole in We Found the Wild Things (Who What Where Theatre Collective) and Mayella Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird (Little Theatre of Alexandria). She is a graduate of George Mason University and holds a BA in Theater, with a Dance Minor. She previously served as the Media Relations Associate at Arena Stage. Skye is eager to learn and grow with the rest of the apprentice team, and is even more thankful to collaborate on important work being brought to American Stage.
Taran Haynes – Acting and Production Apprentice
Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, Taran Haynes is a recent graduate of UAA where he received his BA in Theatre with Departmental Honors. Taran has acted in twelve productions over his tenue at UAA, performing roles such as Lombard from And Then There Were None, Einstein from Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Tom Kreider from Radium Girls, and even Not-Dead-Fred from Spamalot. Beyond acting, Taran made his directorial debut directing Bryony Lavery’s Frozen at UAA. A promising playwright, Taran has written three 10-minute plays, a one-act, and co-created two devised plays which both were seen on UAA’s stages. Eager to transition from the academic to the professional world, Taran is excited to join American Stage as a 2019/20 Acting & Production Apprentice. It is his great honor to work with and learn from all the incredible artists at the American Stage.
Wedeline Casimir – Emerging Arts Leader Fellow
Wedeline Casimir is a recent graduate from the Florida State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Sacred Music and Music Entrepreneurship. Wedeline has been involved in the performing arts from a very young age, gracing the stage through musical theater, choral music, and even dance. Wedeline thoroughly enjoys working with children and youth, serving as a music teacher, teaching artist, and vocal director. Now residing in Atlanta, Georgia, Wedeline is very excited to return to the Bay Area where her love for theater began on the stages of Blake High School and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Wedeline looks forward to growing as an Arts Leader through her fellowship with American Stage. Wedeline counts it as a high honor to be developed by an organization that is committed to serving the community. It is her passion to keep the torch lit for future generations to come.
Young Professionals Nights
Enjoy a night out at the theatre with your group at a discounted rate. We offer a happy hour mixer, chatbacks with the cast, and discounts at our restuarant/bar partners for post-show drinks and conversation. Young professionals groups can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make their reservation.
What people are saying about our Youth Initiative:
“Beth and I love American Stage and were inspired by the Youth initiative to increase accessibility by radically cutting costs for students and young people…We are happy to support this outstanding initiative…” – Scott Wagman, American Stage Supporter
What the press is saying about the Youth Inititative: