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American Stage presents God of Carnage
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American Stage Theatre Company’s production of Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage” – running July 18 through Aug. 10 – stars, from left, Brian Shea, Cathy Schenkelberg, Katherine Michelle Tanner and Billy Edwards.
ST. PETERSBURG – Take two sets of parents and bring them together over cocktails for a civilized dialog to discuss a playground altercation between their children – what could possibly go wrong?

Audiences will have an opportunity to glimpse the hilarious train wreck that is “God of Carnage” – billed as “the ultimate comedy of manners without manners” – as the final play in the 2013-14 season at American Stage Theatre Company.

The play will run July 18 through Aug. 10 at the Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N.

Performances are Wednesday through Saturday, 8 p.m. Matinees are Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m. There will be previews on July 16 and 17. The opening night performance – on Friday, July 18 – will include a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. catered by Gratzzi Italian Grille with food, an open bar and live music. There will be a special Pay What You Can Night on Wednesday, July 16, 8 p.m.

Tickets for regular performances start at $39. Call 823-7529 or visit www.a­meric­ansta­ge.or­g.

“God of Carnage” – originally “Le Dieu du carnage” – is a play by Yasmina Reza. The play won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play as well as London’s Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.

Translated by Christopher Hampton, the American Stage production is directed by Karla Hartley. The cast includes Billy Edwards as Alan Raleigh, Brian Shea as Michael Novak, Cathy Schenkelberg as Veronica Novak and Katherine Michelle Tanner as Annette Raleigh.

“God of Carnage” is set in the Novaks’ living room during present time. When two 11-year-old boys have a playground fight, their parents come together for cocktails, hoping to discuss the situation civilly – to "practice the art of co-existence" rather than "slaughter each other with insurance claims." But the veneer of polite society quickly falls away, and the evening deteriorates into a laugh-out-loud hullabaloo of finger-pointing, tantrums and tears – and that's before they break out the rum.

“God of Carnage” will be presented in one act with no intermission.

Cast and crew

Cast members Tanner and Shea have both appeared in productions at American Stage in the past. Edwards and Schenkelberg will both be making their American Stage debut.

Tanner will be playing the role of Annette Raleigh. She was last seen in “The Amish Project” for which she won Theatre Tampa Bay’s Best Actress Award. Audiences may remember her as Nora in “A Doll’s House,” Ivy in “August: Osage County,” Catherine in “Proof,” Ophelia in “Hamlet,” Catharine in “Suddenly, Last Summer” or Margot in “Dial ‘M’ for Murder.”

A few of Tanner’s television and film credits include “A Chance to Live,” “The Surge on,” “The Darndest Things,” “Fifteen Minutes of Faye,” “The File,” “Respire Mon Amie,” “Three Thieves,” “Waiting on Mary” and the award winning PBS series “Diamonds Along the Highway.”

Tanner serves as artistic director, writer, composer and choreographer for her company Tree Fort Productions. She holds a bachelor’s triple major from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree in acting from FSU/Asolo Theatre Conservatory.

Edwards will be playing the role of Alan Raleigh.

Edwards is a Jersey boy that has recently transplanted to Florida. Some past productions have included “The Passion Of Dracula” (Renfield), “Crimes of The Heart” (Doc), “A Christmas Carol” (Marley/Cratchit), “Rounding Third” (Micheal), “Sylvia” (Tom/Phylis/Lezlie), “Catch me if You Can” (Corbin) and “Twelfth Night” (Sir Andrew).

Edwards has worked with various improv troupes and vaudeville shows in New York City and New Jersey. He is currently working in entertainment at Universal Studios and Busch Gardens.

Schenkelberg will be playing the role of Veronica Novak as she makes her debut at American Stage.

Schenkelberg just completed a production of “Les Miserables” as Madame Thenardier at Sierra Repertory Theatre. Her past credits include roles such as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors,” Bette in “A History of American Film,” Helena in “A Midsummer Night's Dream” and Chrissy in “Hair.”

Schenkelberg lives in Los Angeles, California but hails from Chicago, Illinois via Omaha, Nebraska. Her background in music landed her at venues such as the Pump Room and Gaslight Club in Chicago. She also does voice-over and commercials. Her claim to fame was Pepper the Clown on The Bozo Show.

Shea will be playing the role of Michael Novak.

Shea was most recently seen as Passepartout in “Around the World in 80 Days” and Crumpet in “The Santaland Diaries” at American Stage. He was first hired at American Stage 19 years ago and has appeared in numerous productions such as “Art,” “August: Osage County,” “Othello,” “Three Days of Rain,” “Proof,” “War of the Worlds,” “Dial ‘M’ for Murder,” “Visiting Mr. Green,” “Mere Mortals,” “Macbeth,” “Candida,” “As You Like It” and “The Illusion.” Currently, Shea is also touring with the Florida Humanities Council, where he was commissioned to write about and perform as Jacob Summerlin in “Dreamers and Schemers: An Evening with Great Floridians.”

Elsewhere in the bay area, Shea has appeared on stage in productions by Jobsite Theater, freeFall Theater), Eckerd Theater Company and (Stageworks Theatre. He is a three-time recipient of Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay Best Actor Award, and was nominated for the 2013 Outstanding Featured Actor in the Theater Tampa Bay Awards for his work in “The Lonesome West” at Jobsite Theater.

Hartley is directing and handling the sound design for American Stage Theatre’s production of “God of Carnage.”

Hartley is currently the producing artistic director for Stageworks Theatre in Channelside. She received a bachelor’s degree in theater studies from Boston University in 1992, and is the winner of two Theater Tampa Bay awards for Best Director.

Directing credits include “Greetings,” “Ladies at the Alamo,” “The Seahorse,” “Christmas With Elvis,” “Girl Detective,” “Cut the Ribbons,” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and “The Mystery of Irma Vep.”

Kerry Glamsch will serve as the production’s assistant director.

Glamsch was last seen at American Stage playing Sherriff Gilbeau in “August: Osage County.” He is currently earning his master’s degree in directing at Ohio University, where he directed “Crooked” in the spring, and will direct “The Cherry Orchard” later this fall. A Michener fellow at The University of Texas at Austin where he earned a master’s degree in creative writing in 1999, Glamsch has taught theater and writing at The University of South Florida, The University of Tampa, and, as a Fulbright scholar, The University of Craiova, Romania. Faye Schwab Productions recently optioned his screenplay, “The Judas Goat”. Later this summer, Glamsch will be assistant-directing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at freefall Theatre.

The artistic staff also features Scott Cooper as scenic designer, Mike Wood as lighting designer, Trish Kelley as costume designer, Jerid Fox as properties master and scenic dresser, Rachel Harrison as production stage manager and Timon Brown as technical director.

For performance times and ticket prices, call 823-7529 or visit www.a­meric­ansta­ge.or­g.
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