Lookingglass Theatre Company will present Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting, written by Ed Schmidt and directed by ensemble member J. Nicole Brooks. The production runs January 4 – February 19, 2012 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. The Press Opening is Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
April 9, 1947
Baseball’s Opening Day is one week away, and Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, will call up Jackie Robinson to break the color-barrier and play as the Major League’s first black ballplayer. If he agrees, Robinson will face loud and heated opposition from virtually every owner, manager, and player in baseball – and it won’t be a cakewalk with the fans, either. Who will be his allies be if he makes the most daring and important play of his life?
Award-winning Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks (Black Diamond, Fedra: Queen of Haiti) directs this dazzling fast-ball script by Ed Schmidt. When 1947’s biggest African American personalities – baseball great-to-be Jackie Robinson, boxer Joe Louis, entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, actor and activist Paul Robeson – meet, ideas and ideals clash and sparks fly, and America’s national pastime will never be the same.
Artistic Director Andy White comments, “When Nicky brought this play to us, and when we first heard it read aloud, we knew right away that it was asking all the right questions, ‘What is endured by those who break barriers, and at what cost?’ ‘Even when great progress is made, what gets lost along the way?’ ‘When, and what, do we compromise for the greater good?’ The fierce arguments made in the play, and the questions they pose to all of us, are as alive and present now as they were in 1947. Lookingglass is proud to give them voice on our stage.”
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting features Artistic Associates Kevin Douglas (Clancy Hope) and Anthony Fleming III (Joe Louis), Javon Johnson (Jackie Robinson), James Vincent Meredith (Paul Robeson), Larry Neumann, Jr. (Branch Rickey) and Ernest Perry (Bill "Bojangles" Robinson).
Designers include Sibyl Wickersheimer (scenic); Alison Siple (costume); Brian Bembridge (lighting); Josh Horvath and Rick Sims (sound); Ray Nardelli, (sound); and Maria DeFabo (properties); Tess Lauchaire is the stage manager.
Lookingglass is continuing its tradition of partnering with organizations in the community to enhance the audience experience with additional education and outreach programming. Season Community Partners include: Chicago History Museum, Chicago Architecture Foundation, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. Production community partners include The DuSable Museum of African American History and Facing History and Ourselves.
The Sara Lee Foundation is the Production Sponsor for Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting.
Additional Support by the STS Foundation. Arts Education Programs supported by JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Allstate is the Presenting Sponsor of the Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting Study Guide. United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Lookingglass Theatre.
About Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting artists
J. Nicole Brooks (Director/Ensemble Member) is a proud Chicagoan currently residing in Los Angeles with a career in film, television, radio and theatre. She is an award-winning actor, who recently traveled to China to perform at the International Theatre Institute as a delegate for the U.S. Writing credits include Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Haven Eaten, Fedra: Queen of Haiti, Kamala Master Class, Midway Liquors, and Shotgun Harriet. Nicky dedicates this production to its influences: The Negro Major Leagues, John Wesley Donaldson of the Chicago White Sox ball club, MR. Ellis Foster, Melvin Abston, Mami, LA and the many Blacks who were Red Listed.