St. Petersburg, FL - American Stage has announced details for their upcoming 2020-2021 season: REIMAGINE, a hybrid season of hope, innovation and inspiration, designed to ensure productions will be presented to audiences regardless of ongoing social distancing circumstances. The season features a digital theatre series, a hybrid production series, family series, two festivals, including the annual 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival, and 10 Season Artist Shorts.
This October, the new season begins with new work commissioned by American Stage to be presented as a quality digital theatre experience. In 2021, the company intends to safely bring audiences together for live performances that will also be virtually streamed to audiences at home. Throughout the entire season, all Virtual Stage productions will be available via live streaming, giving audiences the option to return to the theatre or to remain in the comfort of their own homes to view quality streaming professional theatre performances.
“Our 2020-2021 Season: REIMAGINE, embraces this time of transition and change in our world and within our art form,” CEO/Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte said, “It was essential that we craft a season that allows us to remain connected to our community at a time when we all deeply need the meaningful human connection that powerful storytelling can provide, while at the same time preparing for ongoing flexibility in an evolving public health landscape.”
20-21 Season Selections:
Digital Theatre Series:
Three plays in three months, created for digital theatre accessible to anyone, anywhere.
“Letters to Kamala”
An American Stage commissioned work by Rachel Lynett
"How do you mend a country with a broken heart?" Charlotta Bass, the first Black woman candidate for vice president, Charlene Mitchell, the first Black woman to run for president and Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to be elected to the House of Representatives, first Asian-American woman to run in Congress and the first Asian-American to run for president, deliver wisdom, perspective and wry humor as they address Kamala Harris, and the cultural significance and psychological weight of her Vice-Presidential nomination.
“Kate - The Unexamined Life of Katharine Hepburn” by Rick Foster
Unconventional, independent, and formidable, Katharine Hepburn was raised by her parents to speak out, sharpen her mind, and engage the world fully. In this digital theatre adaptation, Janis Stevens plays the iconic American actress at the age of 92 on New Year’s Eve 1999. As Kate reflects on her life, her loves and her Hollywood memories, she reveals uncharted emotional waters, exposing a side of Ms. Hepburn audiences have never seen.
“Nosotros La Gente (We The People)”
An American Stage commissioned work by Jerry Montoya
This is a story of faith, hope and love. On the eve of Pearl Harbor, the Ramirez brothers toil planting date palms in the fertile soil of Indio, California. Benjamin dreams of owning land and prosperity while his brother, Joaquin, dreams of seeing the world far beyond the valley. His young wife, the pregnant Sophie, is heartbroken when he decides to enlist and is lost in the early days of the war. Assuming the responsibility of his brother, Benjamin takes the widow as his bride. This is a story of a family that has tilled the fields of this country and fought its wars. A story of America.
The Family Series begins with an accessible digital production, reimagining fairy tales, delivered virtually to families at home and students in classrooms. The series continues with a favorite family holiday classic presented as a 1940’s radio play.
“FAIRYTALES REIMAGINED: Stories for a New World”
Adapted from Grimm's Fairy Tales by Sadie Lockhart, Patrick A. Jackson and Tiffany Ford
The power has gone out at the family's household. Two siblings and their grandmother must find a way to be brave, despite the never ending storm outside. They learn that our imaginations make us stronger, innovative and more resilient. Listen to your inner voice... and listen to your grandmother.
“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” adapted by Joe Landry
This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940’s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings dozens of characters, and live sound effects, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers a world in which he’d never been born one fateful Christmas Eve.
Hybrid Theatre Series
Hybrid Productions performed with live streaming on the Virtual Stage and an intended return to live onsite performances on Mainstage.
“When it is safe for us to return to onsite performances, we will be ready,” Gularte said. “This season programming allows us to remain nimble as we innovate ways to deliver more powerful stories than ever before.”
“The People Downstairs” by local playwright Natalie Symons - World Premiere
This production, and all of American Stage’s in-person programming were halted on March 13, hours before the opening night of our world premiere Mainstage production. American Stage looks forward to bringing back this production for audiences to celebrate its world premiere and complete run.
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.
“Satchmo at the Waldorf” by Terry Teachout
A one-man, three-character play in which the same actor portrays Louis Armstrong, the greatest of all jazz trumpeters; Joe Glaser, his white manager; and Miles Davis, who admired Armstrong’s playing but disliked his onstage manner. It takes place in 1971 in a dressing room backstage at the Empire Room of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where Armstrong performed in public for the last time four months before his death. Reminiscing into a tape recorder about his life and work, Armstrong seeks to come to terms with his long standing relationship with Glaser, whom he once loved like a father but now believes to have betrayed him.
“School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play” by Jocelyn Bioh
At the start of the 1986 school year, Paulina, reigning queen bee of the Aburi Boarding School, has her sights set on winning the Miss Ghana Pageant and ultimately, the Miss Global Universe Pageant. Paulina prides herself on successfully shaming her friends over their weight, hair, and status. When American transfer student Erica arrives and begins to threaten Paulina’s position atop her hive-minded friends, the power struggle begins. Colorism, classism, body shaming and more play a role in the skirmishes that ensue.
“Romeo & Juliet in America (the one with the happy ending)” by William Shakespeare and adapted by American Stage
This bold and modern retelling of Shakespeare's most romantic tragedy imagines how two young lovers, caught in the middle of their feuding families, might meet a different fate. Through party crashing, street fights and clandestine encounters, the plot twists and turns toward a stunning new conclusion where love may just conquer all.
Celebrating emerging new plays & voices from across the globe and featuring local talent creating professional improv performances.
5th Annual 21st Century Voices: Emerging Plays – New Play Festival
A hybrid festival featuring inspiring new plays exploring themes of mental illness, wellness and resilience, performed with live streaming on American Stage’s Virtual Stage and intended live onsite performances.
American Stage’s 21st Century Voices is dedicated to developing and presenting new works, while bringing a diversity of voices from up-and-coming playwrights to the stage. Selected works will feature staged readings, workshops and panel discussions.
AS IF! Improv Festival
AS IF! The American Stage Improv Festival returns! Laugh out loud as renown local, regional and musical comedy improv teams take the stage. Celebrate the art of creating in-the-moment characters and stories and find joy and connection through laughter.
American Stage in the Park presented by Bank of America
“Footloose - The Musical”
The much anticipated return of American Stage in the Park is planned for the Spring of 2021. After postponing this Tampa Bay tradition earlier this year, American Stage has rescheduled the high-energy pop musical FOOTLOOSE to bring the community back together under the stars at Demens Landing.
Season Artist Shorts: Featured artist mini-performances each month throughout the season. Free for the American Stage membership community.
Creative Collaborators: Linking creative arms across the country! Providing American Stage membership access to dynamic performances and programs from participating theatres.
American Stage REIMAGINE Season Memberships
American Stage introduces a new membership program that provides all-access, all-season, to REIMAGINE’s streaming productions, performed live on their Virtual Stage. Tickets for the entire season are delivered directly to each member’s American Stage ticketing account. Memberships can be purchased individually or by household. Newly launched Sustaining Member Sponsorships are helping fund the artists & staff who create & deliver season programming. Sustaining sponsors also fund the essential technologies needed to realize the new virtual season, PPE for safety protocols and digital inclusion and access for artists, students and audiences.
“This season, American Stage subscribers, donors and sponsors come together, in support of our beloved professional theatre and to welcome new audiences, as one community – The American Stage Membership Community,” Managing Director Stephanie Snyder said. “The program is designed so members can enjoy the full season of REIMAGINE’s productions, with all-access to all-streaming performances. The American Stage Membership Community will help create sustainable professional theatre, with innovation, inspiration & inclusion for all.”
American Stage Theatre operates as a non-profit 501(C)(3) in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, providing live theatrical productions as a professional regional equity theatre since 1977. As Tampa Bay’s longest-running, most critically-acclaimed professional theatre company, our vision is to be a vital arts leader, connecting our community to world-class productions that celebrate the most powerful stories of the moment and the most defining stories from our past.
American Stage’s year-round accessible programming brings the power of quality live theatre to each generation with our Mainstage Season, 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival, American Stage in the Park and AS Education & Outreach. 2020 marks the launch of the Virtual Stage and Academy, providing continued community engagement and learning opportunities for audiences and students of all ages through live streaming performances and classes. American Stage believes that through the telling of dynamic stories, theatre has the power to unite us in our shared experiences and to deepen our connection to one another through the illumination of diverse perspectives. Powerful Stories. Boldly Told.
Web: AMERICANSTAGE.ORG | Phone: (727) 823-PLAY (7529) | Email: BoxOffice@americanstage.org