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American Stage is on the move

Idle time will be hard to find as the theater company sets up at the Palladium and prepares for a busy season.

By JOHN FLEMING
Published March 4, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG

American Stage will make the Palladium Theater its temporary home for most of the 2007-08 season as the company awaits construction of a new theater by St. Petersburg College.

The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov's masterpiece about a family's doomed effort to save its estate in Czarist Russia, will open the season in September and will be the final production at the company's longtime theater on Third Street S.

The five productions at the Palladium will be Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, a musical comedy by Stephen Temperley on "the greatest bad singer ever"; Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire; Cowgirls, a musical by Betsy Howie and Mary Murfitt; Shakespeare's Hamlet; and The Foreigner, a comedy by Larry Shue. Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance will be the 2008 American Stage in the Park production at Demens Landing.

American Stage is selling its building to Vector Realty and must be out by Oct. 31, marketing director Andy Orrell said. The company expects to move into its new theater on the SPC downtown campus facing Williams Park in time for the 2008-09 season. The Palladium, just north of downtown, was seen as well-situated to accommodate the company's audience, which includes 2,922 subscribers to the mainstage season.

"We had other options, but none was as centrally located and familiar to our patrons," Orrell said. The Palladium was acquired by the college as part of the deal creating a so-called arts hub in downtown and including the American Stage move that was announced in January.

Productions at the 840-seat Palladium will run two weeks, as opposed to the five-week runs customary at American Stage's current venue, which seats 148.

John Fleming can be reached at 727 893-8716 or fleming@sptimes.com.

American Stage 2007-08 season

The theater offers five subscription packages that range from $88 to $231. Call (727) 823-7529 or go to www.americanstage.org.

Here's the schedule:

Sept. 14-Oct. 14: The Cherry Orchard

Nov. 9-18: Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins

Jan. 18-27: A Streetcar Named Desire

March 7-16: Cowgirls

April 11-May 4: The Pirates of Penzance

May 23-June 1: Hamlet

June 20-29: The Foreigner