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The A.R.T. presents Johnny Baseball beginning May 14

The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) is proud to present the world premiere of Johnny Baseball, the new musical about the Red Sox, with music by Robert Reale, lyrics by Willie Reale, book by Richard Dresser, story by Richard Dresser and Willie Reale, with musical direction and arrangements by Wendy Bobbitt Cavett. The design team includes Scott Pask (Sets), Donald Holder (Lights), Michael McDonald (Costumes) with Choreography by Peter Pucci. The production is directed by A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus.

The American Repertory Theater presents Johnny Baseball, a world premiere musical about the Red Sox, directed by Diane Paulus. After the Red Sox’s stunning collapse in the 2003 playoffs, a baseball-obsessed team of musical theater writers (one long-suffering Sox fan and two smug yet oddly sympathetic Yankees fans) began searching for the source of Red Sox’s infamous Curse. In Johnny Baseball, writer Richard Dresser, composer Robert Reale, and lyricist Willie Reale have embarked on a journey that has yielded surprising conclusions and a clever new musical — an exhilarating blend of fact and fiction that chronicles the stranglehold of the infamous curse and its ultimate, divine release.

Johnny Baseball begins May 14 and runs through June 27, 2010 at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street in Cambridge.

Johnny Baseball traces the origin of the Curse to a collision of three orphaned souls: Johnny O’Brien, a hard-luck right-hander on the 1919 Sox; his idol, Babe Ruth; and Daisy Wyatt, a dazzling African American blues singer and the love of Johnny’s life. The entanglements of love, friendship, and betrayal in these lives contain both the reason for the Curse and the secret to its end off the bat of Big Papi in 2004.

Johnny Baseball is not just about the “Curse of the Bambino.” The musical is a thoughtful investigation of the complicated issues of race in major league baseball as a bellwether for American societal attitudes through the twentieth century. At the heart of the play is a touching love story between a white baseball player and an African American singer. With lively music and an engaging story, Johnny Baseball celebrates the new ownership and the 2004 World Series victory in the context of the full integration of the game. It packs a thoughtful commentary on American social history into a funny, heartfelt and spirited musical that will bring cheers and tears to baseball fans everywhere.

Willie Reale (lyricist) and his brother Robert Reale (composer) have three Tony nominations and an Oscar nomination between them. Their musicals have been performed at Second Stage Theatre in New York, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and The Arden in Philadelphia. Their musical A Year with Frog and Toad, which was performed at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, the New Victory Theatre, and the Cort Theatre on Broadway, where it was nominated for best musical. It has been among the top ten produced plays in the America for nearly a decade.

Richard Dresser (playwright) has had his plays produced throughout the United States and Europe. His recently published trilogy of plays about happiness in America includes Augusta (working class), The Pursuit of Happiness (middle class) and A View of the Harbor (upper class).

Diane Paulus (director) is the Artistic Director of the A.R.T. She is the creator and director of The Donkey Show, which ran for six years Off-Broadway, toured internationally to London, Edinburgh, Madrid, and Evian, France, and is currently at the A.R.T. Recent theater work includes the Tony Award-winning revival of HAIR on Broadway; Kiss Me Kate at Glimmerglass Opera; Lost Highway, based on the David Lynch film, an ENO co-production with the Young Vic in London; Another Country by James Baldwin at Riverside Church; Turandot: Rumble for the Ring at the Bay Street Theatre; The Golden Mickey’s for Disney Creative Entertainment; Best of Both Worlds, a gospel/R&B adaptation of A Winter’s Tale produced by Music-Theatre Group and The Women’s Project; and The Karaoke Show, an adaptation of Comedy of Errors set in a karaoke bar, produced by Jordan Roth Productions. Also for Music-Theatre Group, she directed the Obie award-winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist Running Man by jazz composer Diedre Murray and poet Cornelius Eady; and Swimming with Watermelons, created in association with Project 400, the theater company she co-founded with her husband Randy Weiner. Other work Off-Broadway: Brutal Imagination, and the Obie-award winning Eli’s Coming, featuring the music and lyrics of Laura Nyro. Opera credits include Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Turn Of The Screw, Cosi fan tutte; and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Orfeo at the Chicago Opera Theater. She is a frequent collaborator with British conductor Jane Glover; in 2002, their critically acclaimed production of Orfeo was presented as part of The Monteverdi Cycle at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. Most recently she directed Best of Both Worlds at the A.R.T. part of the Shakespeare Exploded Festival and Il mondo della luna at the Hayden Planetarium in New York. Upcoming works include Death and The Powers, a new opera by Tod Machover in collaboration with MIT Media Lab and Opera Boston.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of the American Repertory Theater (website | profile | tag archive). Your source for news and information about Boston Theatre. Join our email list, follow us on Twitter @exploretheatre and become a fan on Facebook.

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