Shop Local: Theater tickets

A subscription to a local theater is a great gift for the stagestruck, not to mention a superb way to ensure the stability of Tampa Bay’s often cash-strapped companies. But why give a subscription when the season’s half over? Good question, but many local  troupes have an answer: the flexible pass, which allows subscribers to apply ticket money to specific shows rather than requiring a full-season purchase. That means if you like what’s on tap in coming months, a subscription will still get you your money’s worth. American Stage, Gorilla Theatre and Stageworks are among the companies that offer such an arrangement, and Jobsite Theater is currently selling remainder-of-season subscriptions at a substantial discount.

Gift this: At American Stage, the six-ticket Flex Pass could be applied any number of ways. You could go seasonal and buy six tickets to A Tuna Christmas. Or you could wait till spring and buy two tickets apiece to August Wilson’s King Hedley II, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and the musical Altar Boyz performed outdoors at Demens Landing. Or buy three tickets to Tuna, two tickets to II and one ticket for either Lysistrata or the Boyz. The permutations are endless and entirely up to you  (or the lucky person you give the pass to). One caveat: You can't apply the Flex Pass to AmStage After Hours shows like the current Santaland Diaries (above left); those are "pay as you can" shows, so the pass wouldn't give you much of a bargain. But consider this: Since Santaland is just about the funniest thing ever written by man (or at least by David Sedaris, and that's saying something), you should consider throwing in some advance tickets to the show along with the pass. Flex Pass, $129 for six tickets; NextWave Pass, six tickets for those 30 years old or younger, $92., 727-823-PLAY.

Photo of Brian Shea in The Santaland Diaries courtesy American Stage.

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