One of the funnest theater events in west central Florida every year is the American Stage in the Park Festival in downtown St. Peterburg.
This year's show is "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," an odd but often very funny musical that won a couple of Tony Awards in 2005.
It's based around a spelling bee in a fictional location, with some quirky kids participating and some quirky adults running the proceedings. The twist in the show is that several audience members are pulled up on stage to take part in the spelling bee. So if you want to see it but don't want to have to be part of the show, start now to practice looking inconspicuous.
It all happens at Demens Landing, at First Ave. North and Bayshore Bloulevard Southeast, St. Petersburg. Previews are April 24 and 25, the "Gala Under the Stars" fundraiser is set for opening night, April 26, and then the show runs through May 26. There are no shows on Mondays or Tuesday.
There are all sorts of ticket prices, starting at $13 for blanket seating in advance on weeknights, to $29 for reserved chair seating. The preview performances are "pay what you can" nights (with no concessions available) and pets are allowed April 28, May 5 and May 12.
The gates open at 6 p.m. -- a lot of people bring picnics and have dinner before the show -- and curtain is at 8 p.m.
Call 727-823-7529 or go to www.americanstage.org for information and tickets.