National Pastime

National Pastime

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 in April 2023.

“Hey, see when Branch signed Jackie to that contract, that was the beginning of the civil rights movement.” — Buck O’Neil

Rating: PG-13 for strong language and themes.


 In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s iconic and inspiring achievement

Dates and Times

Performance Dates

April 14 – 23, 2023

Curtain Times

Wednesdays – Saturdays: 7:30 pm
Sundays: 2:00 pm

Ticket Prices

Adults: $25
Students (5-25): $10




Presenting Partner

Season 75 Sponsor


Jackie Robinson
Branch Rickey
Walter “Red” Barder
Wendell Smith
Mallie Robinson
Pee Wee/Clyde
Rachel Isum Robinson
Jane Rickey
Lylah Barber
Leroy “Satchell” Paige
Dixie Walker, Bus Driver, Officer of the Day
Young Jackie
Trè Terry
Kim Berg
Matt Cardoza
Brian Little
Adell Whitehead
Kyle “KJ” Johnson
Janae Payne
Deborah Marlowe
Kelly Murphy
Corey Jenkins Jr
Brandon T. Jones
Andrew Biviano
Seti Sidibe

About the Director

Kimberly Ridgeway is a Bay Area based Director, Actor, Playwright and Producer.  Kimberly wrote,
produced and directed the stage plays No More Secrets,Prospect Place, Heavy Burdens, The Drowning Pool,
and The Gigolo Chronicles.  Kimberly has directed projects for Altarena Playhouse, Contra Costa Civic Theatre,
Dragon Productions Theatre Company, Ubuntu Theatre Project, Bay Area Performing Arts Collective, Bay Area
Drama Company, SF Playhouse, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, SF Playground, Theatre Rhinoceros,
3Girls Theatre and TheatreFirst. Some of Kim’s notable acting roles include The Human Ounce (World Premiere),
 Wonderland (World Premiere),  Doubt, All the Way, August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, Colman Domingo’s DOT,
and Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop for which she won the BroadwayWorld San Francisco Award for Best Leading
Actress in a Local Play. Kim makes her directing debut for Spokane Civic Theatre with Bryan Harnetiaux’
National Pastime.