History onstage: ‘Mayday’ brings

Skyway pilot John Lerro to life


ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - John Lerro, the harbor pilot in control of the ship that destroyed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in 1980, tells his story in Mayday: Captain Lerro and the Skyway Bridge, a world premiere one-person play June 25 and 26 at thestudio@620.

Directed by award-winning writer/actress Roxanne Fay, Mayday presents Michael Horn as Lerro, alone onstage, remembering scenes from his life both before and after the “day he checked into hell.”

Although he was exonerated by the courts, Lerro remained a pariah in the community, and as a lifelong Catholic was consumed by guilt over his role in the tragedy that claimed 35 lives.

Not long after he returned to work on Tampa Bay, Lerro was stricken with multiple sclerosis, the degenerative muscle disease; it left him unable to walk, and would ultimately lead to his death in 2002.

Mayday was written by Bill DeYoung, author of the book Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down, and much of the dialogue was taken  from Lerro’s court testimony, media interviews and personal correspondence.


LAB Theater Project

LAB Theater Project


LAB Theater Project is a non-profit 501(c)3 production company focused on producing new works in the Tampa Bay Community. Our belief in a "playwright first" focus is resolute and a core value of the company. Along with a focus on developing new works, we also focus on training new theater artists to join our growing community. 

We only produce works from emerging playwrights and develop, through education, new artists (Actors, Directors, Stage Managers, and Designers) for the continued growth of live theater artistry. 

We currently produce four new plays per year, often utilizing students in aspects of the production; thereby, giving students the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned while working side by side with established professionals in the community as well as enriching the collaborative creative process of the playwright.

Our Mandate: 

  • Bring the Playwright's vision to life.
  • Grow as artists.
  • Develop new theater artist: Actors, Directors, Designers, & Stage Managers.
  • Build a core of artists who desire a life-long practice of theatrical artistry.