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Palladium stages young 'Wild Party'

A sexy, hip show with "incredibly powerful" music is promised, the work of a fresh-faced cast and crew.

By ROBBYN MITCHELL
Published August 13, 2006


ST. PETERSBURG - Alumni of the Palladium Theater's summer conservatory are throwing a Wild Party at the theater this weekend.

Not surprisingly by the title, the musical production's cast, crew and managers are all between the ages of 16 and 21.

"They are an outstanding group and I'm so impressed with what they are doing," said Bob Devin Jones, founder and artistic director of the Studio@620 and the production's co-sponsor. "You can't even call them kids. I call them young people without mortgages."

The final show will be staged at 2 p.m. today.

Glenn Grieves, producer and one of the driving forces behind the production, got the idea to stage the all-student show last year after the conservatory's performance of Smokey Joe's Cafe, directed by Jones.

Grieves, 19, said he approached Studio@620 and the Palladium and asked if it was a possibility.

"They have been really helpful in getting this together," Grieves said.

With sponsorships lined up, it was time to choose a play and a director, so Grieves turned to a fellow Marymount Manhattan College student and conservatory/Gibbs High School performing arts program alum, Jamieson Linderburg.

When Linderburg came into the fold, Wild Party was one of his first choices for the production.

"I think that the music is so incredibly powerful," Linderburg said. "I think this area hasn't got too many young, sexy and hip shows to offer, so this one will be great."

Linderburg has been in 15 Off-Broadway shows and is reveling in his second opportunity to direct.

The biggest challenge for him was casting. Alumni of the Pinellas County Center of the Arts at Gibbs and the Palladium conservatory were scattered all over the country, so holding open auditions while trying to set schedules for cast members who were traveling was a struggle.

"The casting team did such a great job," said Matt Everett, 19, marketing manager. "Honestly, this group is so talented and everyone has a specialty that works well together."

Everett said that the cast and crew are ready to entertain and impress audiences.

Linderburg said audiences should definitely check out one of his favorite numbers, Poor Child.

"It's the only number in the show where everything, all of the subplots, are revealed," he said.

If that's not enough of a draw, maybe a big name like St. Petersburg native and conservatory alumna Michelle Dowdy, of Broadway's reproduction of Hairspray, will get patrons in the doors.

"I'm her roommate and when she heard that we were doing Wild Party she really wanted to be a part of it," Linderburg said.

But no matter what gets people in the seats, the cast and crew of Wild Party promise a show to remember.

"I think that everyone can identify with the basic human emotion and great music this show has to offer," Linderburg said.