Much like the Washington National Opera is presenting Opera in the Outfield in late August, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is partnering with Nationals Park to host a free live simulcast of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Toni Stone on Sunday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m.
The difference is that Arena Stage won’t be broadcasting a previously recorded play, but rather a live performance inside the Kreeger Theater will simultaneously also play on the center-field video board at Nationals Park for thousands to experience, making this Arena’s largest audience in its history.
Tickets to the simulcast of Toni Stone are free and must be reserved.
Set in the 1950s, Toni Stone was the first woman to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, also making her the first woman to play in a professional men’s league. Against all odds, Stone blazed a path in the male-dominated sports world, shattering expectations and creating her own set of rules. Written by Arena alumna resident playwright Lydia R. Diamond (Arena’s Smart People, Stick Fly), this heroic, true story shines a light on one of history’s greatest trailblazers.
“What better way to come roaring back in the nation’s capital than with a story about perseverance and fighting the odds about Toni Stone, the first woman to play professional baseball with a men’s league. There is true beauty and synchronicity in a simultaneous showing of Toni Stone from Arena Stage to the Nationals ballfield on the video board,” shared Artistic Director Molly Smith in a release. “Toni Stone’s story is hidden history and needs to be told. To be able to tell this story in front of thousands at the ballpark and to celebrate Toni and the Negro League is an honor and a thrill.”
“The Nationals are so excited to partner with Arena Stage to help tell the trailblazing story of Toni Stone,” added Senior Vice President of Community Engagement for the Washington Nationals Gregory McCarthy. “Ever since our organization ceremoniously drafted Mamie Johnson in 2008, we have strived to raise up the legacy of both women in baseball and the Negro Leagues, both of which are incredibly important stories in American history. We hope that… we can help inspire the next generation of women in baseball.”
The cast features Gilbert L. Bailey II (Spec/Gabby), Aldo Billingslea (Alberga/Rufus), Deimoni Brewington (Jimmy/Father O’Keefe), JaBen Early (King Tut/Supervisor), Santoya Fields (Toni Stone), Kenn E. Head (Millie/Willie), Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. (Elzie), Sean-Maurice Lynch (Stretch/Syd) and Jarrod Mims Smith (Woody/Mother).
The stadium will open two hours before the performance. A variety of concessions and food will be available for purchase at the ballpark. Hundreds of Toni Stone commemorative bobblehead figures will be raffled off during the event. Also prior to the performance, the day will include a ceremonial first pitch on the field.
Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon, Toni Stone runs September 3 – October 3, 2021 in the Kreeger Theater.
Reservation for the free ballpark simulcast of Toni Stone are free and can be reserved here.