Back in March, Austin Theatre Project had a very special guest in the audience of the musical Edges. New York playwright Tony Sportiello had just spent the day with ATP founders Barbara Schuler and David Blackburn and was taking in the critically acclaimed show. As soon as the show finished, Sportiello pulled Schuler and Blackburn aside and raved about the talent on the stage and caliber of the production. He then offered ATP the first preview production of his musical NATIONAL PASTIME which is expected to open on Broadway in 2014.
NATIONAL PASTIME takes place in Baker City, Iowa in 1933. As the country is coming out of the Great Depression, about the only business in Baker City that seems to be holding on (barely) is the radio station WZBQ. The last time they had made any kind of profit was before the Depression... when the team was home to the minor league baseball team, the Baker City Cougars. In order to save the station, the owners decide to broadcast Cougar baseball again... only there's no team to broadcast!
What do you do when decide to broadcast baseball without a team? Broadcast fake games of course! Incredibly, the entire scheme works and the station is rolling in the profits once again. All is well until a reporter from Life Magazine arrives to do a story on the incredible Iowa baseball team.
NATIONAL PASTIME features some of the best and brightest talent Austin has to offer. In the role of Barry, the station owner is Jim Lindsay ("Baby," "Blood Brothers," "Singin' in the Rain"). Haley Smith ("Baby," "I Love You Because") plays Karen, the Chicago attorney who arrives in Baker City to sell the station, but ends up fully immersed in the zany plot. Cast in the roles of station employees are Brandon Myers ("Blood Brothers," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"), Derek Smootz ("The Fantasticks", "Princess Ida"), Rachel Hoovler ("Avenue Q," "Rocky Horror Picture Show"), and Suzanne Orzech ("Baby," "Thoroughly Modern Millie"). In the roles of the bumbling mobster misfits are Erik Freisinger ("South Pacific", "A Few Good Men") and Matt Gauk ("Baby," "A Few Good Men"). Rounding out the exceptional cast is the jingle singing trio consisting of Kate Clark ("Princess Ida"), Wendy Jo Cox ("Baby", "South Pacific"), and Heather Anne Howes (making her Austin theatrical debut).
NATIONAL PASTIME features a book by Tony Sportiello and music & lyrics by Al Tapper. The musical is being directed by Barbara Schuler with music direction by David Blackburn. Choreography is by Meg Steiner. The set is designed by David Blackburn with Sound and Lighting design by Joel Mercado-See and Dustin Downing. Technical director for the production is Jim Schuler.
Center Stage Texas (View)
2826 Real Street
Austin, TX 78722