If you read our Women’s History Month spotlight about Toni Stone last month, then you’re already familiar with the trailblazer. If not, then let’s recap.
Toni Stone was the first female baseball player to break into the all-male Negro Leagues in 1953. According to Biography, at about 32 years old, the young woman joined the Indianapolis Clowns (yes, that was their actual name). At the time, the team drew fans because of its rather talented second baseman, Hank Aaron. But when Aaron left the team, the team owner, Syd Pollack, believed that he needed another player to draw in big crowds. And he chose Stone, a woman with undeniable talent who had been playing the game since she was 10 years old.
But Stone was not met with open arms by her black male teammates. She suffered sexism from them, and then she had to endure sexism and racism from baseball fans. Apparently, she took this all as a challenge to shut up white people and black men.
As someone who had never heard of this black female hidden figure, I am excited to not only read more about her, but I’m looking forward to seeing her story told on stage.
According to Variety, Orange is the New Black star Uzo Aduba will be portraying the baseball icon in an off Broadway play entitled “Toni Stone.” Kudos to this casting choice!
Uzo Aduba, Janet McTeer Join Roundabout Theatre Company Slate https://t.co/7BD4evf2k2
— Variety (@Variety) April 9, 2018
You will be happy to hear that this production will be penned by a fellow black woman, Lydia R. Diamond, with her most popular play being “The Bluest Eye,” an adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel. And Pam MacKinnon, although not black, will be spreading more woman magic as the director. She is best known for work on “The Parisian Woman” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
And if you’re wondering whether this will be the first time Aduba will be on stage, it is not. The Emmy Award winner was last on Broadway in 2011 in the revival of “Godspell.”
Here’s the bad news – We will have to wait to buy tickets for the production. According to Broadway World, it is slated for preview performances in May 2019 at the Laura Pels Theatre in New York. In the meantime, checking out the book that the play will be based on is a pretty good alternative. It’s called “Curveball, the Remarkable Story of Toni Stone” by Martha Ackerman.
Will you be checking for this production when it hits the theatre?
Renese spends her early mornings writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
Follow Renese on Twitter: @reneseford