Red Stitch and Critical Stages Touring
Written by
Joanna Murray-Smith
Tom Healey
Cast Joe Petruzzi
Set & Costume Designer
Darryl Cordell
Lighting Designer Bronwyn Pringle
Composer & Sound Designer
Patrick Cronin

Gripping one-man show from the internationally acclaimed Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith.

If only you could find the moment that started everything…

Andy’s experience is common to many of us; the slow accumulation of a good life: love, work, friendship, family. But unforeseen events lead him to places he never imagined. As he heads off to work to give the biggest presentation of his career, he wishes his teenage son Robbie goodbye. Eight hours later, everything has changed.

The latest play from acclaimed Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith (Honour, Switzerland, Bombshells), American Song tackles the confronting and heartbreaking issue of gun violence, reaching beyond national or cultural borders in an intimate exploration of love, forgiveness and parental responsibility. With Murray-Smith’s characteristically deft wit and compassion she makes a difficult topic thoroughly gripping, wryly humorous and deeply moving.

A profound tour-de-force for one actor, performed by Red Stitch ensemble member Joe Petruzzi, American Song asks: What could I have done differently? Can we ever know the moment when a good life turns irredeemably wrong?




Theatre, Drama


Suitable for audiences 14 and over. Infrequent coarse language.


85 minutes

Previous Seasons

2017 Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre

What people are saying

American Song is one of Joanna Murray-Smith’s most mature, refined and important works… interesting…individual and universal… Petruzzi is such a good fit for the role… powerful and so well directed by Tom Healey. The Australian

★★★★ Tom Healey’s assured and well-paced direction lends the play emotional and dynamic energy…Joe Peruzzi gives a nuanced but muscular performance. Herald Sun

Tragic and timely. The Age

Murray-Smith is at her best here…Petruzzi’s Andy is multi-layered…Healey paces his performance to perfection. Stage Noise

Joe Petruzzi commands and holds our complete attention…a commanding and extraordinary solo performance. TheatrePeople


2020 Tour Dates

Red Stitch at Cromwell Road
Limited Melbourne Return Season
11- 15 February 2020

National Tour:

21 – 22 February, Theatre Royal, Hobart
25 February, Latrobe Performing Arts, Traralgon
27 February, West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul
29 February, Riverlinks Westside, Shepparton
5 – 7 March, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre
10 March, Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool
12 March, Clocktower Centre, Moonee Ponds
14 March, Drum Theatre, Melbourne
18 March, Frankston Arts Centre
20 – 21 March, QUT Gardens Theatre
26 – 28 March, Glen Street Theatre, Sydney

More about American Song

Red Stitch’s 2017 best-seller, the play reached 92% capacity.

The topic of gun violence sadly never loses relevance. In this new work from acclaimed Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith’s play, this topic is given universal relevance in a heartbreakingly moving play that brings this topic very close to him. With the hook of an investigation of parenting and parental responsibility, the themes offer very broad interest.

Given Murray-Smith’s popularity and her recognition through internationally acclaimed works such as Honour, Female of the Species, Switzerland and Bombshells, the play has the potential to have broad appeal to theatre-goers of all ages.

In an article published just prior to opening, she wrote: “I wondered if any … Australian mainstages would have the vision …to stage American Song, probably the best thing I’ve written…we do not – thankfully – have guns to make it hyper-relevant. Yet who, this week, has not felt the ramifications of Las Vegas? Who doesn’t in a momentary fantasy put themselves or their gap-year kids on that bloody boulevard?”

Theatre Notes
Theatres have an opportunity to connect audiences who have previously seen a Joanna Murray-Smith play with this latest compelling work.

Excellent reviews from original Melbourne season at Red Stitch, as well as strong production images and interviews with Murray-Smith and cast and creatives.

Potential to build interest and engagement in communities around the broader themes of the work: parenting and gun violence.

Theatres participating in the 2018 Critical Stages tour of Red Stitch’s award-winning production Jurassica by Dan Giovannoni will be familiar with actor Joe Petruzzi, and the high standard of work the company produces, making this a very logical follow-up to Jurassica‘s 2018 tour, with the same producing companies and the same incredible lead actor.

Audiences may also be familiar with the very strong creative team, including director Tom Healey, whose work includes Girls in Grey (Critical Stages), The Shape of Things (Red Stitch Theatre), The Kid (Griffin Theatre), The Spook (Playbox Theatre) and more.