Tickets on Sale for ‘Webb’s City: The Musical’
The Palladium Theater and American Stage will present this brand new multi-media concert version of the popular play.
ST. PETERSBURG – The Palladium and American Stage will present Webb’s City: The Musical, A Concert Version, written and directed by Bill Leavengood with music, lyrics and musical direction by Lee Ahlin, at The Palladium Theater, 253 5th Ave. N, St. from Sept. 14 through 17.
In 1999, the Pinellas County Millennium Celebration commissioned Leavengood and Ahlin to create a new musical based on the life and times of J. E. “Doc” Webb, the colorful St. Petersburg entrepreneur called the “P.T. Barnum of Retail.” In 1925, Webb opened a tiny drug store on Ninth Street and over the next five decades transformed it into a 77-store complex covering 10 city blocks. In its heyday, Webb’s City attracted 60,000 visitors per day.
The 2000 world premiere was presented at both Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Mahaffey Theatre. The musical was such a hit that a new non-profit arts organization, LiveArts, was created to bring it back to the Mahaffey Theater in 2001, where it broke box office records, selling more than 10,000 tickets.
Webb’s City: The Musical was both a critical and popular success. A community theater production was mounted at St. Petersburg Little Theatre a few years later where it also broke box office records.
Now, the Palladium Theater and American Stage, with underwriting by Jim and Suzanne MacDougald and Larry and Joyce Beltz, present this brand new multi-media concert version featuring all of the great music expertly woven together with narration, scene highlights and iconic images from five decades of St. Petersburg and Webb’s City history. The show will reunite the original creators and directors, Bill Leavengood and Lee Ahlin. The producers are joining forces with the St. Petersburg Museum of History and the St. Petersburg Festival of Arts to make the concert version of Webb’s City: The Musical one of the major cultural events of the season.
Local favorites Jim Sorenson (Doc Webb), Terrence Jamison (Leo Kerns), Emilia Sargent (Marie Webb), Michael McGuigan (Bunie Webb) and Stephanie Roberts (Breadline Betty) are joined by past Webb’s City cast members Charles Reynold (Frank Hubert), Mitch Marois (Jimmy Webb), and Emilee Dupre, who played a Poster Girl (teenaged beauty queen) in the original production, and returns to play Aretta Brooks, the female lead. Dupre, now a New York actress with a number of Broadway credits, is also the daughter of Cheryl Lee, the musical’s original choreographer. The cast is rounded out by a new crop of outstanding young performers, many of whom are Leavengood and Ahlin’s current or former student stars from Shorecrest Preparatory School.
For tickets, call the Palladium Theater box office at (727) 822-3590 or go to mypalladium.org.
Photo courtesy of the Palladium.
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