American Stage Cinema

211 3rd Street S ,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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American Stage Cinema

In 1984, the “Palisades Theatre of Florida” officially changes its name to the “American Stage Theatre Company”.

The City of St. Petersburg condemned the American Stage facility, which was located at the old Cameo Theatre at 169 Central Avenue. The local power company offered an alternative site, at 211 3rd Street South, which provided over 10,000 square feet for an intimate 130-seat performance space with a lobby, costume shop, rehearsal hall, and office spaces.

In 1985, the American Stage became the first non-profit theatre company in the Tampa Bay region to operate under a full contract with Actors’ Equity Association. The company is one of five original theatres in the country pioneering the Small Professional Theatre contract. In 1986, American Stage in the Park, also known as Shakespeare in the Park, is launched in the Spring, offering ten free outdoor performances of “The Taming of the Shrew”. More than 8,000 people attend, and a community tradition is born.

Also that year, local film director and stage producer, Jonathan Morrill collaborated with the American Stage Theatre Manager, Tom Block, and local St. Pete bands ‘Multi-Color House’, “The Marked”, and area performers and artists Lance Rodgers, Mary Dowd, and Marlon Julian, to create a multi-media live benefit for the American Stage, entitled “Multi-Color House & Friends: Live at The American Stage.” This two day, consecutive night event, spawned the idea of creating the American Stage Cinema. The American Stage Cinema began it’s season in 1986, and continued through 1988, with Jonathan Morrill as chief projectionist. The films selected in the series were primarily cult and art films.

The American Stage Theater would continue at this address through 2009, before moving to it’s new location at 163 3rd Street North, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701. The old location would enter 2010 as a night club called “The Scene”, and then in 2013 as “ONYX”. Both nightclubs were constantly being shut down, and besieged with code violations and other problems, until by 2018, the building was vacated, and sat derelict, until it was finally demolished, at the end of 2019.

Contributed by Jonathan Morrill
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