Voices

This Week: Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

Play Ball!

Just in time for baseball season, Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing heads to the mound at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park,  running April 23 to May 21. The play is an inspirational new drama by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, whose collaboration about the Tuskegee Airmen, Fly, was a smash Playhouse hit in 2013.

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing finds the pitcher at the crossroads of his already legendary career. It’s the fall of 1947, and Paige’s fame is being eclipsed by Jackie Robinson’s historic inaugural season. Robinson was the first African-American player in the modern era to break Major League Baseball’s color line. Paige’s team is in the midst of the unofficial end-of-season barnstorming circuit, in which all-star black and white teams could play against each other. Bob Feller is the white pitcher he’s set to face on a rainy night in Kansas City.

Thanks to that rainout, much of the action takes place off the field in Mrs. Hopkins’ elegant black boarding house, where the players congregate to wait for the mud-washed roads to become passable. Mrs. Hopkins represents Kansas City’s cultured, successful if separate black middle class, while her teenaged daughter Moira strains against the segregated status quo. A story of passion and perseverance, this jazz-infused drama paints a vivid picture of America on the brink of great change — on and off the baseball diamond.

“I hope what audiences take from Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing is that there was a time in America when we had our own kings and queens within black communities,” says Khan, who is also directing the Playhouse production. “That’s what we were. I want us to be proud of those lost legacies and be inspired to a greatest sense of ourselves today. Although segregated, we were at the top of our game — not major and minor, just us.

“I hope we not only come out of this knowing a little more about the history, but also with knowledge and a sense of pride, along with an appreciation that segregation does not exist like that anymore. If we got through all that, I believe that the forces that try to tear us apart today are things we can also handle.”

The Playhouse is offering Freedom Center members an exclusive discount on tickets to Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing. Members can purchase up to four half-price tickets to performances from April 24 to May 5, excluding Saturdays. This offer is valid in Price Zone 2 and 3 section seating by using promotion code Freedom. It is not valid on previous purchases or with other discounts, including teen and student tickets.

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing is sponsored by Ohio National Financial Services and Fifth Third Bank. Tickets for the show are on sale now through the Playhouse Box Office. For details, call 513-421-3888 or visit www.cincyplay.com.

 

Christa Skiles, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Related Content:  The Thirteenth Amendment, King Records now a Cincinnati landmark, The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games

Images provided by Cincinnati Playhouse