Quote of the Day:  The unwritten rules run the deepest. Mr. Rickey in Jackie and Me, a play about breaking the color barriers in 1947 when Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, based on the book by Dan Gutman, adapted for the stage by Steven Dietz, and directed by Marion McClinton, playing through April 14, 2013 at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN.

Nine of us attended this show, and we give it 18 thumbs up! “A realistic view of the times,” said Pete who was going to college and playing baseball in the 1960’s. “It’s a good way to show children what it was like back then.”

Ansa Akyea as Jackie Robinson, photo by Dan Norman, CTC
The stage is set like a baseball diamond. Our seats are on the first-base line. The tension builds as the lights dim, the players take the stage, and we’re pulled into another time and place. Joey Stoshack has to write a report for his history class on an African American who’s made an important contribution to society. Joey, an avid baseball fan, chooses Jackie Robinson. With the help of a Bond Bread card with Jackie’s photo on it, Joey uses his special gift to travel back in time and lands in the office of Mr. Rickey the day he signs Jackie to the Brooklyn Dodgers, April 9, 1947.
Brandon Brooks as Joey Stoshack, photo by Dan Norman, CTC
How exciting to be present when history was being made! Joey was ready to celebrate. Mr. Rickey signed Jackie with a word of warning. “They will say all these awful things and more. They’ll threaten you and your family.” He asked Jackie if he was up to the challenge and if he was man enough not to strike back. Jackie said, “Yes, sir, I am.” They shook hands and changed the world of baseball forever, and Americans of varying colors and backgrounds started to play together.
photo by Dan Norman, CTC
Not all the players were accepting of the change. They signed a petition stating that they’d rather be traded than play with Jackie. He was told to use a different door to the clubhouse. He wasn’t allowed to stay at the same hotels as his white teammates, or eat at the same restaurants, drink at the same fountains, or be treated with the same respect. Jackie got hate mail and death threats. He was risking his life and the lives of his family to play baseball, to change the way people treat each other, and to pave the way for other players like him.
Ansa Akyea as Jackie Robinson, photo by Dan Norman, CTC
This is the first play where I’ve been so riveted to the story, that I was surprised when the lights came up for intermission. Certain scenes and lines from this play brought tears to my eyes.
Brandon Brooks as Joey Stoshack with Spencer Harrison Levin, and Braxton Baker
You don’t know how much you can learn from a baseball card!
Brandon Brooks (Joey) and Gerald Drake (Flip)
Jackie and Me shows us what it was like for someone to be the first to do something both brave and dangerous, to put aside personal fears, and dare to make a difference in the world. The entire cast does an amazing job of making this time and place feel so real. I want to encourage everyone to attend this show, for the history, the baseball, and the chance to travel back in time to understand what it might have been like for another person.
Go to Children’s Theatre Company for showtimes and tickets. Call Sundays, starting at noon, for a chance to score $10 tickets for the upcoming week’s shows. It is well worth the time and price of admission!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt:  If you could travel back in time, where would you go? Who would you like to meet?