American Stage Theatre Company opens its 2013-2014 season with The Birds by Conor McPherson. Previews are Oct. 2 and 3. Opening Night is Oct. 4. The production runs through Oct. 27.
ST. PETERSBURG - American Stage Theatre Company is excited to announce its 2013-2014 season opening production, The Birds by the acclaimed Irish Playwright Conor McPherson (The Seafarer). Previews are Oct. 2 and 3. Opening Night is Oct. 4 and the production runs through Oct. 27. “Pay What You Can” Night on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 8 p.m.
The Birds is based on the short story by Daphne du Maurier that inspired Alfred Hitchcock's legendary film. This suspenseful adaptation by acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson (The Seafarer) is an emotionally stirring thriller that will keep patrons on the edge of their seat.
This production is set in a seaside town where masses of birds have begun to violently attack at high tide, driving two strangers to take refuge in an abandoned cottage. With no electricity and little food, hope wanes. Then a mysterious young woman shows up, and the struggle for survival really begins.
Todd Olson is directing and handling the sound design for American Stage Theatre’s production of The Birds, which will be performed in two acts with one intermission. Olson is the artistic director and in his eleventh season at American Stage Theatre Company. He is the 2013 recipient of the Florida Professional Theatre Association’s Richard G. Fallon Award for Excellence in Professional Theatre.
The cast includes Roxanne Fay (Diane), Richard B. Watson (Nat), Gretchen Porro (Julia) and Joseph Parra (Tierney).
Roxanne Fay and Gretchen Porro will both be making their debut on the Mainstage at American Stage.
Fay is an actor, writer, and former producing artistic director for the Oak Park Festival Theatre in Chicago. She is the first recipient of the Jeff Norton Dream Grant, awarded by Theatre Tampa Bay, to fund the creation and production of her newest play, Upon This Rock, which will premiere locally in 2014.
Porro was last seen as Chris in Dancing at Lughnasa at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Other credits include Miss Chasen in Once in a Lifetime (Asolo Rep), Regina in Ghosts (Banyan Theater), Betty Paris in The Crucible (St. Louis Rep and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), and Adele in Jane Eyre (Gorilla Theater). Gretchen earned Sarasota Magazine’s Critics Choice for her performances in reason to be pretty and Two Gentlemen of Verona. International credits include The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland; and New York credits include Tabitha in Blind Love (Dalliance Theater Company, where she is a co-founder). The artistic staff also includes; Jeffrey W. Dean as scenic designer, Jerid Fox as properties master, Joseph P. Oshry as lighting designer, Mike and Kathy Buck Designs as costume designers, Karla Hartley and Miriam Rocheford as production stage managers, Timon Brown as technical director and Lori Shannon as assistant lighting designer.
Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.
Opening night tickets are $59 and include a pre-performance reception. Thursday, Oct. 3, preview tickets are $29. For the rest of the show’s run, tickets are $39 Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday matinees. Tickets are $49 on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Student advance tickets are $20, and student rush tickets are $10 available 30 minutes prior to curtain. Seniors receive $2 off single tickets. Active military personnel are admitted free with military ID, which must be presented at the box office. Military personnel also can receive 20 percent off tickets for friends and family. Call the box office for more information. Group tickets are available. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 727-823-PLAY (7529) or visit americanstage.org.
About the playwright
McPherson was born in Dublin, the son of a business and accounting teacher, and educated at University College. He is considered one of the best contemporary Irish playwrights. The Seafarer premiered on Broadway in 2007 and earned Tony Award nominations for Best Play and Best Director. The London production that preceded that earned Laurence Olivier and Evening Standard nominations for Best Play.
Other plays include Poor Beast in the Rain, Port Authority, Dublin Carol (premiered on Broadway in
2002), The Weir (premiered on Broadway in 1999), St Nicholas and This Lime Tree Bower. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play in 2006 for Shining City, and was nominated for the 2002 South Bank Show Award for Best Play for Port Authority.
He received the 1999 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play, the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright, the Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright, and was a finalist for the Lloyds Bank “Playwright of the Year” Award for The Weir. He was the joint winner of 1997 George Devine Award and the winner of the Meyer Whitworth Award for Saint Nicholas. His last Broadway play was the Tony-nominated A Behanding in Spokane.
About the Writer
Dame Daphne Du Maurier (1907-1989) was an English author and playwright. Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca (which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941) and Jamaica Inn, and the short stories The Birdsand Don't Look Now. The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the latter by Nicolas Roeg.
It was in her short stories that she was able to give free rein to the harrowing and terrifying side of her imagination; The Birds, Don't Look Now, The Apple Tree and The Blue Lenses are exquisitely crafted tales of terror that shocked and surprised her audience in equal measure.
About the theatre
American Stage Theatre Company is located at the Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N. in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. It is a not-for-profit professional theatre founded in 1977. The company’s mission is to create the most satisfying live theatre in the Tampa Bay area, accessible to all members of the community. The vision is to preserve the greatest human stories from our past, while creating the most defining stories and storytelling of our time. American Stage presents its Mainstage Series in its, 182-seat Raymond James Theatre each year.