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Stage & Theater
American Stage in the Park presents The Wiz
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Photo by CHAD JACOBS
From left, Chris Walker, Whitney Drake, Torrey Thomas and Sara DelBeato star in The Wiz, presented by American Stage in the Park, running April 9 through May 4 at Demens Landing Park in St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG – American Stage Theatre Company opens the 29th annual American Stage in the Park with the musical production of The Wiz, running April 9 through May 4 at Demens Landing Park in St. Petersburg.

The Wiz is about Dorothy who is going to the Land of Oz and she’s walking on a road paved in rock, gospel and soul. This beloved Broadway musical – winner of seven Tony Awards – is a dazzling multi-cultural journey that will take you to the most fantastical places and back home again.

The Wiz is performed at Demens Landing Park located on the corner of First Avenue South and Bayshore Boulevard Southeast in downtown St. Petersburg.

Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Gates open at 6 p.m. and “will call” for tickets begins at 5:30 p.m.

Reserved chair seating for is available for $32 and premium blanket seating costs $26. General admission lawn tickets are $18 for Friday and Saturday shows and $13 for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $20 on Friday and Saturday and $15 on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Kids age 6 and under admitted free for lawn seating.

For tickets or more information, call the box office at 727-823-PLAY (7529) or visit www.americanstage.org.

No alcohol or pets allowed. Food and beverages will be sold at the event. Pets will be allowed on one designated theme night.

Theme nights

Pets in the Park Night is Sundays, April 13 and 20. Treat pets to a fun night out and dress them up in theme attire. Pets admitted free.

City of St. Petersburg Night is April 16. Hospitality Night is April 17. Buy Local Night is April 23 with Localshops1. The first 50 at the door will receive a free discount shopping card valued at $20.

April 24 is tbt Night and April 26 is LGBT Night. LGBT Night includes a 50/50 raffle to benefit Next Generation Youth, a group for ages 13-18, provides a forum for safe, friendly discussion, sponsored by Metro Wellness and Community Centers.

Bicycle Night is April 27. Everyone is encouraged to bike to the park. Educators Night is April 30, and Front and Center for Wellness Night, sponsored by Bayfront Health, is May 2.

Cast and crew

The musical has seven cast members, six ensemble members and a four-piece band and Toto. Five cast members will be making their debut at American Stage: Darryl Reuben Hall, playing The Wiz and Uncle Henry; Whitney Drake, playing Dorothy; Allyson Tolbert, playing Addaperle; Torrey Thomas, playing the Scarecrow; and Chris Walker, playing the Tin Man.

Five ensemble members also make their debut: Scott Daniel, Jesse Rodriguez, Rodner Salgado and Allyson Tolbert.

Familiar faces with roles in The Wiz include Sharon E. Scott, playing Aunt Em, Evillene and Glinda, and Sara DelBeato, playing the Lion. Georgia Mallory Guy and Tia Jemison return as ensemble members.

The four-piece band consists of Michael Raabe, on keyboards and also serves as musical director; Paul Stoddart on guitar; Joe Grady on bass; and Burt Rushing on drums.

Karla Hartley is the director. Domenic Biseti is the choreographer. Scott Cooper is the scenic designer. Mike Wood is lighting designer. Jerid Fox is property designer and set dresser, and Kyle Easley is sound designer. Saidah Ben-Judah is costume designer and Garry Allan Breul is celebrating his 11th year as stage member for American Stage in the Park.

Easel On Down the Road

American Stage is teaming up with Creative Clay to offer an Instagram contest from April 4-28. Artlink teams will observe the rehearsal process and translate the behind-the-scenes inspirations to make their own creations.

During the contest, participants will visit seven Artlink destinations, which will lead them through downtown St. Petersburg to American Stage in the Park at Demens Landing. At each destination, participants will take a “selfie” with each artwork and download to Instagram using hashtag #americanstageinthepark and #creativeclaystpete. After all seven are done, they will be entered into a grand prize drawing. All photos must be taken by April 28. The winner will be announced April 30 at American Stage in the Park.

An evening reception begins at 6:30 p.m., featuring The Wiz inspired artwork. Guests can participate in a silent auction of the artwork in the VIP tent, enjoy complimentary refreshments and a cash bar. For more information, visit www.creativeclay.org. Look under the News and Events link.

The grand prize is four American Stage tickets, The Wiz T-shirt, The Wiz magnet, The Wiz poster, two Creative Clay T-shirts, two Creative Clay martini glasses with a bottle of vodka, Creative Clay water bottle and Creative Clay greeting cards – value $300.
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