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American Stage, freeFall Theatre set new seasons

Bill DeYoung



John Cameron Mitchell in the 2001 film adaptation of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." American Stage's production of the punk musical opens May 15, 2024. Photo: New Line Cinema.

St. Petersburg’s major professional theater companies, American Stage and freeFall, have announced their 2023-24 seasons.

For American Stage, the oldest pro house in the bay area, it will be the first season curated by Helen R. Murray, who became producing artistic director in 2022.

Both theater’s 2022-23 seasons are ongoing.


At American Stage

Indecent (Oct. 4-29). Paula Vogel’s drama is based on a true story: The controversy surrounding the play God of Vengeance, originally written in Yiddish by Sholem Asch, which included a lesbian love story. It was produced on Broadway in 1923, and the cast was arrested on obscenity charges.

Acts of Faith (Nov. 21-Dec. 17). One-woman comedy by David Yee about Faith, who is mistaken for a prophet, and how she responds when a religious leader attempts to take advantage of her story. American Stage calls it “subversive and witty.”

The Chinese Lady (Jan. 31-Feb. 25). Another sad tale drawn from the truth: Lloyd Suh’s play tells the story of Afong Moy, who arrived in the United States in 1834 at age 14, and her life as a museum “curiosity” for gawking Americans.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (April 3-May 5). Outdoors for ’24 in Demens Landing Park, it’s Belle and the Beast, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Gaston and the gang singing the beloved Broadway-styled songs by Ashman and Menken.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (May 15-June 16). The trans, punk musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, presented as a concert by a rock ‘n’ roll band fronted by the extremely angry title character. Hedwig is so punk, it’ll move from American Stage to Jannus Live for the final performances in the run.

The Figs (July 10-Aug. 4). Doug Robinson’s comedy debuted as a reading in March ’23 in American Stage’s new play festival. “As a Black boy whose first love was myth and folklore, this play is intended to support Blackness, Queerness, and the people of the Global Majority,” Robinson wrote in the program.

Subscriptions are now on sale.


At freeFall Theatre

At Home With Ethel Waters (Aug. 11-Sept. 10). Rose Weaver wrote and stars in a “stage performance” by one of America’s first Black superstars – a pioneering presence on the concert stage, on TV and in the movies.

Nightsweat (Oct. 6-Nov. 4). Bay area playwright Natalie Symons (The People Downstairs) wrote this comedy thriller “from an idea by Matthew McGee.” Escaping the pressures of their Hollywood lifestyles, a bunch of TV types take a retreat in the Berkshires, only to get caught up in a murder mystery.

Miracle on 34th Street (Nov. 24-Dec. 24). It wouldn’t be the Christmas season without It’s a Wonderful Life on television and this heartwarming story of the real Santa Claus (or is he?) hanging out in Macy’s department store onstage.

God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Feb. 9-March 10). Before Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman collaborated on this musical adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical novel about an eccentric billionaire.

Nollywood Dreams (April 12-May 12). Jocelyn Bioh’s comedy is about the nascent movie business in politically and economically ravaged Nigeria in the 1990s, and the hopes and dreams of two sisters. The Ghanian playwright’s School Girls, or the Mean African Girls Play was produced by American Stage in 2022.

Subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale.


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