by Lydia R. Diamond
Originally produced at Roundabout Theatre Company, New York, NY
May 23 to August 11, 2019
About the Premiere Production:
Synopsis: Based on the book, ”Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone” by historian Martha Ackmann, TONI STONE tells the story of the first woman to play professional baseball in the Negro League. Featuring a bullpen of players crossing age, race, and gender to portray all supporting roles, the play uses Toni Stone’s remarkable career, which overcame overwhelming odds, as a lens to explore the late Jim Crow era and early days of the Civil Rights Movement. Emmy Award-winning actress Uzo Aduba ("Orange Is the New Black," GODSPELL, THE WIZ) will play the title role in this world premiere, directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (CLYBOURNE PARK) with choreography with Camille A. Brown.
Artistic Statement: This play, TONI STONE, is more than just one woman’s biography – it is a microcosm of the larger story of African American persecution and triumph in mid century America that remains chronically under-told. We believe this powerful story, as told by this award-winning artistic team, will be a major contribution to the modern American theatre canon and a highlight of our 2018-19 Season.
Grant Statement: TONI STONE departs from linear narration and each scene is carefully crafted to create a multi-dimensional production that transcends the boundaries of a standard play. To create an immersive piece that helps audiences visualize Toni Stone’s astonishing life and the darkness of the Jim Crow era, including the minstrelsy that Negro League ballplayers had to perform to please their white audiences, Lydia is working closely with director Pam Mackinnon, choreographer Camille A. Brown, and Uzo Aduba who will star in the title role. The physical nature of the play and the large cast of nine actors make development of this project incredibly time consuming, and support from the Edgerton Foundation will support an additional week of rehearsal, ensuring the world premiere production is of the highest quality possible.
Director: Pam MacKinnon
Choreographer: Camille A. Brown
Additional funders: The Educational Foundation of America