June 22nd, 2010
Johnny Baseball Musical Gets Extra Innings at American Repertory Theatre
By Adam Hetrick, 11 Jun 2010
The world premiere musical Johnny Baseball, starring Colin Donnell, Stephanie Umoh and Burke Moses, has been extended through July 11 at the American Repertory Theater.
Tony nominees Robert and Willie Reale (A Year With Frog and Toad) penned the musical– about America’s pastime and the curse of the Bambino – that officially opened June 4 at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, MA. Performances were originally scheduled to conclude June 27.
Donnell (Jersey Boys, Wicked) is cast as Red Sox player Johnny O’Brien, with Umoh (Sarah in the Broadway revival of Ragtime) as African-American blues singer Daisy Wyatt and Moses (The Frogs, Beauty and the Beast) as Babe Ruth. The musical traces the American institution of baseball from “Curse of the Bambino” through the Red Sox 2004 World Series win.
Johnny Baseball also features Charl Brown (The Wiz) as Tim, Jeff Brooks (Beauty and the Beast, Guys and Dolls) as Tom Yawkey, Charles Turner (Dividing the Estate) as a fan, and ensemble members Joe Cassidy (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Paula Leggett Chase (Bye Bye Birdie, Curtains), Kaitlin Davidson, Alan H. Green (Play On), Carly Jibson (Cry-Baby, Hairspray), Robert McClure (Avenue Q) and Kirsten Wyatt (Grease, High Fidelity).
The musical features music by Tony nominee Robert Reale (Frog and Toad), lyrics by Tony and Oscar nominee Willie Reale (Frog and Toad, “Dreamgirls”), and a book by Richard Dresser.
Johnny Baseball has a creative team including Scott Pask (sets), Donald Holder (lights), Michael McDonald (costumes), ACME Sound Partners (sound), Peter Pucci (choreography), Wendy Bobbitt Cavett (musical direction/vocal arrangements) and Bruce Coughlin (musical arrangements).
Johnny Baseball, according to A.R.T., “traces the origin of the Curse to a collision of three orphaned souls: Johnny O’Brien, a hard-luck right-hander on the 1919 Sox; his idol, Babe Ruth; and Daisy Wyatt, a dazzling African American blues singer and the love of Johnny’s life. The entanglements of love, friendship, and betrayal in these lives contain both the reason for the Curse and the secret to its end off the bat of Big Papi in 2004. The musical is a thoughtful investigation of the issue of race in major league baseball as a mirror of American societal attitudes through the 20th century. With lively music and an engaging love story, Johnny Baseball celebrates the 2004 World Series victory under the new ownership in the context of the integration of the game. It packs an incisive commentary on American social history into a funny, heartfelt, and spirited musical that will bring cheers and tears to baseball fans everywhere.”
Click here for original.