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“National Pastime,” Now Playing

August 25, 2012

If you are looking for a real surprising, wonderful “sleeper” of a show, look no further than “National Pastime,” which is playing at the Peter Jay Sharp theater. The play was written by Tony Sportiello with music and lyrics  by Al Tapper. National Pastime is humorous with wonderful musical selections.

Times are tough in 1933 Iowa but WZBQ station manager Barry (Gil Brady) wants to keep going especially with people’s jobs dependent upon it. He teams with an at first, reluctant co-owner (Karen), played by the stunning Janice Landry, and devises a scheme to increase revenue. Baseball is the answer but how they do it is the question that sustains a plot that produces laughter and genuine emotions.

I remember 5 names from the team’s lineup and I wonder if Mr.Sportiello named them and their positions with some homage to actual major league players. One would think such names and positions as Weiss at shortstop (Walt Weiss ) and Lowenstein in left field (John Lowenstein ) were no coincidence. Continuing in a Baltimore Orioles vein, Hendricks or Hendrix is the catcher. Conceivably, this is in memory of good catcher Elrod Hendricks and not superb guitarist Jimmy Hendrix, (both men gone too soon with varying degrees of impact on our culture.) More common names, Miller in center field (Rick for sure, perhaps Bing?) and Sanders in right field evoking Reggie Sanders are more likely to be coincidence.

I truly enjoyed National Pastime for its likeness and legitimate simulation of the year 1933 and a radio station in that time. It brought out wonderful music, humor and some baseball. I suggest seeing it and I hope the play gains more publicity and a bigger spot. It certainly is good enough to warrant such progression and National Pastime just may do so.

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