In early August, representatives of the DC Grays served as baseball consultants for the cast and staff of the play “Toni Stone”, which opens a 30-plus day run at Arena Stage starting Friday, September 3 and running through Sunday, October 3.
“Toni Stone” is a play based upon the true story of the title character, who was the first woman to play professional baseball with men, playing with the Indianapolis Clowns in the Negro Leagues back in the 1950’s. Arena Stage reached out to the DC Grays to get assistance working with the actors and staff to add realism and authenticity to the baseball movements in the play. DC Grays General Manager Chris Spera, 2021 Grays player and DC native Jake Davidson and 2012 Grays alumni Cory Spera all spent a busy afternoon on August 8 with “Toni Stone” director Pam MacKinnon and Stage Manager Elisa Guthertz and the entire nine-person cast.
“We started out with the cast as a group, then split into stations, almost like a youth clinic, with one of us working with a group of actors on swinging a bat, one of us working on throwing motion and one of us working on fielding mechanics,” Chris Spera said. “The actors rotated through all three stations. The actors took this very seriously and were really interested in the authenticity of their movements, asking very specific questions and requesting multiple demonstrations. It was extremely interesting approaching the mechanics of the sport from the visual arts perspective instead of the performance coaching perspective.”
After spending several hours on the mechanics of playing baseball, the cast asked the Grays reps to watch them run through some scenes so they could see how they applied what they had learned in the context of the actual play.
“We are so thankful for the Grays assisting us in our preparations,” stage manager Elisa Guthertz said. “All three of them – Chris, Cory and Jake – were so informative and helpful to both the actors and production staff.” In the finest DC Grays tradition, DC Grays gear was presented to the entire cast.”
More information about “Toni Stone”, as well as ticketing information, is available at https://www.arenastage.org/tickets/2021-22-season/toni-stone/.