Better Seating, Great Sound, Good Looks Spruce Up St. Petersburg Theaters

Downtown St. Pete is alive with plays and musicals this year. Area art and drama lovers are in for a treat, as a new theater group settles in, a new art plaza is constructed, and a seasoned theater readies its state-of-the-art production equipment.

The New American Theater (NAT) has arrived in the Palladium Theater. NAT focuses on live musical theater, from classic musicals to modern works of art. Attracting more than 23,000 patrons a year, the NAT has a diverse menu of offerings. In addition to musical theater, the NAT also offers a variety of educational, literary and community programs.

Several blocks away, the Progress Energy Center for the Arts is constructing a new plaza. Set to be completed November 2010, the plaza will be located on the waterfront between the Mahaffey Theater and the new Salvador Dali museum. The plaza can be rented for private parties and special events.

American Stage Theatre Company is enjoying its digs at the Raymond James Theatre. The space features an intimate experience with just under 200 seats, each ergonomically positioned to the stage.

"The seats themselves are the largest and most comfortable theater seating available. And there is no such thing as a bad seat," says Andy Orrell, American Stages' director of marketing.

While the new theater offers luxurious upgrades, the technological features are unique. The stage has a pathway underneath the seating area that allows actors to appear at different areas around the theater without being seen by the audience. And its tech booth houses state-of-the-art lighting and sound boards, making the experience that much more enjoyable.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Andy Orrell, American Stage Theatre
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