Talkin' Baseball and Titans & Tall Tales | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Talkin' Baseball and Titans & Tall Tales 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Talkin' Baseball and Titans & Tall Tales, Raven Theatre. The "titans" portion of this baseball-themed evening is a collection of tributes to diamond legends, adapted from a book by Kevin Nelson and presented in overlapping monologues and vintage-slide projection. The list of those profiled--Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Bill Veeck, Willie Mays, and Mark Fidrych--reflects the show's preference for character and anecdote over history and statistics, which helps keep it from devolving into a live-action newsreel. And the pacing, warmth, and delivery of this crack storytelling ensemble make a form that can seem stilted and talky look easy. Adapter-director Michael Menendian also deserves credit for selecting accessible yet somewhat surprising tidbits: Swaggering fat guy Ruth was actually in good shape until the twilight of his career. All's-fair competitor Cobb made a small fortune on the stock market after he retired (figures). Veeck and Larry Doby were neck and neck with Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson in breaking the color line.

Second up is Mitch Coleman's Talkin' Baseball. Taking Fidrych's famous on-mound cajoling of the ball as his point of departure, Coleman asks: What if the ball started speaking to the pitcher? And had powers? Again the cast shine, especially in their comedic timing (led by Leif Olsen as ill-starred hurler Carl Woodley), and the script has a fair number of sharp comic turns. But Woodley's refusal to accept his good fortune eventually grows wearisome, and the twist ending to Coleman's drawn-out conceit shows up a little late.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
March 21
Performing Arts
April 10

Popular Stories