Due to unanticipated logistics and resource issues, National Pastime has been rescheduled to spring 2023, exact dates to follow. Auditions are open on a rolling basis and callbacks will begin in the fall — more information below.
In 1997, 50 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball, Spokane Civic Theatre Playwright-in-Residence, Bryan Harnetiaux, was working on a new play for Civic’s 1997 – 1998 Studio Theatre Season. In the midst of this work, he picked up, for casual reading, Arnold Rampersad’s Jackie Robinson: A Biography. This book “grabbed him by the throat.” As a playwright, lawyer and life-long baseball fan, he was stunned at how little he really knew about the story leading up to this iconic event in American history. With the blessing of then-executive director Jack Phillips, Bryan abandoned the current play-in-progress and began intensive research to determine whether Jackie Robinson’s epic journey could be brought to life on the stage. What he discovered was a compelling need to tell the story of how this seismic shift in American culture came about.
The play National Pastime — which is more about race than baseball — premiered in the Studio Theatre on April 18, 1998, and recounted how Jackie Robinson, together with Branch Rickey, the white President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, overcame the intransigent racist culture of major league baseball, this country’s “national pastime.”
As it turns out, this was only the beginning of the development of National Pastime, which was ultimately published by Playscripts, Inc. in 2009. During this 11 year span, the play was substantially revised, benefiting from several productions, including Spokane’s Onyx Theatre Troupe’s 2003 production, along with professional productions in Pasadena, California (Fremont Centre Theatre, 2005) and Stamford, Connecticut (Stamford Theatre Works, 2006).
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s achievement, National Pastime returns to Spokane Civic Theatre April 2023, directed by New York City-based director and professor Pat Golden.
“Hey, see when Branch signed Jackie to that contract, that was the beginning of the civil rights movement.” — Buck O’Neil
AUDITION FOR NATIONAL PASTIME
Being that this production’s guest director is New York City based, auditions are open on a rolling basis, video submissions are welcome and callbacks will begin in the fall. If you have already registered to audition and provided a video submission, your registration will carry over and you will be contacted by Civic with next steps. Additional/updated video submissions are welcome. If you have not yet registered to audition, please click the link below for production and audition details.
AUDITION DETAILS AND REGISTRATION
Performance on the MARGOT AND ROBERT OGDEN MAIN STAGE