Skip to main content

Ruth Eckerd Hall President & CEO Zev Buffman Announced Today That Richard Rice Will Be The Director Of The World Premiere Of Mickey Spillane’s & Max Allan Collins’ Mike Hammer - Encore For Murder Starring Gary Sandy

Published: December 5, 2017

Ruth Eckerd Hall President and CEO Zev Buffman announced today that Richard Rice, St. Petersburg resident and previous Director of Theatre at Eckerd College, will be the Director of the all-new world premiere play, Mike Hammer Encore For Murder. Performances will be in the intimate Murray Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Please see below for a complete list of dates and times. Tickets and packages are on-sale now.

Richard Rice earned his Ph.D. in Theatre at the University of Utah in 1970 – since then, he has been the Director of Theatre at University of New Hampshire, New England College, University of Memphis and, St. Petersburg’s Eckerd College. Rice has directed over 95 plays during his fulfilling career. Starring WKRP in Cincinnati’s Gary Sandy, as the tough detective Mike Hammer, created by acclaimed crime novelist Mickey Spillane.   Co-authored by Max Allan Collins, a recent recipient of the Grand Master Award, the highest award bestowed by the Mystery Writers of America, Encore For Murder, an unfinished play by Spillane, features bullets, Broadway and babes in this lush tale of crime, romance and revenge. The cast will include 10 actors, with a wide range of theater acting-experience, performing18 different parts.

 “It's an exhilarating challenge to direct a Mike Hammer/Mickey Spillane script as a stage play given the historical popularity of the radio program and TV series,” commented Rice. “I plan to bring to our production of Encore for Murder all the best elements of the noir mystery genre – intrigue, colorful characters, crisp dialogue and suspense. Our incredible cast of 10 professional actors bring experience from Broadway, local and national theatre, film, TV and radio theatre, who will be led by Gary Sandy of WKRP in Cincinnati fame. I look forward to kicking-off 2018, celebrating Mickey Spillane’s 100th Birthday with this nod to his most popular character Mike Hammer.”

“THIS is where the greatest private eye in American folklore began, with Mickey Spillane and his character, Mike Hammer,” commented Buffman. “There have been thousands of films and novels in the private eye genre sweeping the world of TV, radio, movies and novels.  We are honored to present this all-new theatrical production as we celebrate the 100th birthday of Spillane in 2018 and we are so fortunate to have Richard as our director working with this terrific cast of talented pros, local and regional actors and the best up and coming talent in Tampa Bay,” Buffman concluded. 

The production will also feature state-of-the-art technology including a cinematic screen with continuous projections of Broadway and New York City locations, more than 200 stunning sound effects and an original music score.

Times, dates, performers, performances and descriptions of performances are subject to change. 

Below are the times, dates and performances for Mike Hammer Encore For Murder:

Thursday, January 18 at 7:30pm

Friday, January 19 at 7:30pm

Saturday, January 20 at 2 & 7:30pm

Sunday, January 21 at 2pm


Thursday, January 25 at 7:30pm

Friday, January 26 at 7:30pm

Saturday, January 27 at 2 & 7:30pm

Sunday, January 28 at 2pm

A limited number of VIP tickets priced at $100 are available which includes a premium, up close cabaret table reserved seat, commemorative VIP laminated pass and limited edition autographed show poster, champagne and light hors d’oeuvres prior to performance and a post-show exclusive look behind the curtain with a Q&A session with Gary Sandy and the cast, as well as a photo opportunity. In addition, single tickets priced at $75 are available which includes a general admission up close cabaret table seat, a pre-show reception with champagne and hors d’oeuvres and a post-show exclusive look behind the curtain with a Q&A session with Gary Sandy and the cast, as well as a photo opportunity. General admission tickets priced at $35 are also available. Tickets can be purchased at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office, by calling 727.791.7400 or visiting The Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm and one hour prior to show time.