By Natalie Symons

A World Premiere three years in the making.
After an extended pause from the COVID-19 pandemic, THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS by St Pete playwright Natalie Symons, who developed this play at American Stage, finally gets its world premiere.

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival – Mainstage Selection
In Buffalo, NY, aging funeral home custodian Miles lives with his middle-aged daughter Mabel, who spends her days writing letters to prison inmates. When a court-appointed guardian threatens to take away their home, Miles sets out to set Mabel up with Todd, an inept mortician. It is a father’s fierce determination not to accept his daughter’s fate that ignites an endearing human comedy about love, loss, loneliness and the healing power of laughter.

“We are over the moon to be bringing back this tremendous show and giving it the true World Premiere that it deserves,” said Associate Artistic Director Kristin Clippard. “The set of THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS has stood like a ghost in our theater for 16 months and the lights will finally shine on this delightful story. It’s the perfect comedy, centering on an isolated father and daughter, to warm your heart and make you laugh out loud. With other people!”

Run Time: Approximately 2 hours with one intermission
Age Recommendation: 12+.  


  • Wednesdays and Thursdays @ 7pm
  • Friday & Saturday Evenings @ 8pm
  • Saturday and Sun Matinees at 2pm


  • Wednesday Preview, September 15, “Pay What You Can” at the door or $20 in advance
  • Thursday Preview, September 16, $30
  • Wednesday and Thursday Evenings & Saturday and Sunday Matinees, $44
  • Friday/Saturday Evenings, $50/54
  • Opening Night, September 17, $70

Creative Team 

Chris Crawford (Director)
Scott Cooper (Scenic Designer)
Chris Baldwin (Lighting Designer)
Catherine Cann (Costume Designer)
Rachel Harrison (Sound Designer)
Jim Sorensen* (Stage Manager)
Shelby Smotherman (Properties Master)


September 15 – October 3, 2021

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Sara Oliva* (Mabel Lisowski) is thrilled to be returning to American Stage, where she was last seen as Church Lady in BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY. Other Florida credits include: Church Lady in BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY (GableStage), MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE and TOP GIRLS at Mad Cow Theatre, Helen in BORN YESTERDAY (Maltz Jupiter Theatre). Other theaters include Alhambra Theater, Orlando Fringe, Orlando Shakespeare Playfest. Chicago credits include: Northlight Theater, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bailiwick Repertory, Mary-Arrchie Theater, Lifeline Theater, The Artistic Home, and others. New York credits: Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’s CORIOLANUS (NYT Critics’ Pick), Vagabond Productions’ (Belgium) American premiere of MISS JULIE, The Drilling Company, HERE Arts, Dixon Place, Fringe NYC, Berkshire Theater Group and Double Edge Theater. She received her M.F.A in acting from Brandeis University. Love to her mother and Azzurra.

Allen Fitzpatrick* (Miles Lisowski) was featured in nine Broadway shows, including LES MISÉRABLES, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, MEMPHIS, 42ND STREET, DRIVING MISS DAISY, DAMN YANKEES, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. He starred opposite Petula Clark in SUNSET BOULEVARD, and opposite Patti LuPone in PASSION, for which he shared an Emmy®. He appeared recently at the Asolo as SWEENEY TODD. Allen has acted in over 250 plays at Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, National Theatre, Actors Theatre Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Goodspeed, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. National Tours include SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, GUYS AND DOLLS, THE LITTLE MERMAID, many others. Twelve Off-Broadway plays. TV roles include many “Law & Orders”; films include “Kissing Jessica Stein.” Also a director, producer, and acting teacher, Allen was founding Artistic Director of the Icicle Creek New Play Festival.

Teri Lazzara (Shelley Williams) is a Seattle actor and is pleased to make her first appearance at American Stage Theatre Company. This is Teri’s second time around in a Natalie Symons play, having originated the role of Thelma in LARK EDEN at Seattle’s Theater Schmeater (where she served as Managing Director for six years). Favorite Seattle roles include Emma in Theatre 22’s ANNAPURNA, Barbara in Balagan Theatre’s AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY and Collette in Moonlight Theater Company’s FOUR DOGS AND A BONE. She has worked on many Seattle stages including Annex Theater, Book-it Repertory, MAP Theatre and Sound Theatre Company. Teri has participated in many festivals of 14/48: THE WORLD’S QUICKEST THEATER FESTIVAL ( and is the proud recipient of their Mazen Award. Teri has two cats (Brenda and Collette) and a boyfriend (Alex) waiting for her in Seattle.

 Matthew McGee* (Todd Schneider) is excited to return to the Raymond James Theatre at American Stage after last having appeared here in 2015 in GUTENBERG: THE MUSICAL. Performance awards include’s Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical, Most Joyous Comic Presence (Critics’ Pick) by Creative Loafing Tampa, 2 time Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Handy Award, 3 time Theatre Tampa Bay Award Winner and 2 time Favorite Local Stage Performer in Watermark Magazine’s reader’s poll. Residing in Tampa Bay since 2001, Matthew has performed at Walt Disney World, The Asolo Rep, freeFall Theatre, American Stage, St. Pete Opera Company, The Hippodrome Theatre and Stageworks Tampa. IG: @thematthewmcgee

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association | #Member of the United Scenic Artists union

Spotlight Series: CHATBACKS

Spotlight Series: CHATBACKS | Sunday Matinee, Sept. 19, Friday, Sept. 24 and Thursday, Sept. 30
Stick around immediately following select performances to chat with artists and other audience members about the play, the characters and the ideas aroused by the production.
Free for THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS ticket holders.