A journey of self-discovery and a gender-bending lion cap off American Stage in the Park’s The Wiz

By : Zach Caruso
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St. Petersburg – American Stage in the Park, one of St. Petersburg’s most beloved annual traditions, is back for its 29th year, and with its biggest production yet. Starting on April 11 and running through May 4, the seven-time Tony Award winning musical The Wiz will take over Demens Landing Park along the city’s waterfront.

“At its basis, it’s the story of the Wizard Of Oz, and it actually more closely resembles the original story from the books than it does necessarily that first movie,” says director Karla Hartley, one of the only lesbian directors in Tampa Bay. “This particular iteration of it is seen from a multi-cultural perspective, which we thought was valuable in this day and age. It’s told with a different sense of music, it’s got more of a soul and R&B feel to it.

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Putnam County Spelling Bee uses audience participation, ad-libbing

By : Steve Blanchard
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Before heading to Demens Landing to watch American Stage in the Park’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, you may want to brush up on your own vocabulary words.

The musical comedy is mostly scripted, but has plenty of ad-libbing and audience participation to produce an entirely new show each night. Several members of the audience get pulled into the spelling bee within the production, and that’s a big part of what makes the hit Broadway play such a perfect fit for the outdoor theater along St. Petersburg’s waterfront. The show runs through May 26.

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