Spring is synonymous with baseball so it’s only fitting that Selby’s Lennox Community Theatre’s next production would have a baseball-centric plot.
Tilted Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River, the Nelles Van Loon written comedy will run March 29, 30, April 4,5,6,11,12 and 13 at 8 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on March 31 and April 7.
Set in the late 1920s, the play revolves around a small town radio station competing with the local newspaper to become the premier source of information surrounding the 1927 World Series. Hysteria around New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth is at an all time high, as the Sultan of Swat is fresh off of shattering the previous single season home run record with 60.
“A former miner, named Roy, who was selling appliances, bought a shipment of radios and was selling those then thought on a dare that he’d set up a radio station,” explains director Richard Linley. “Then a woman named Jane, who is on her way from an unnamed large city, which I always assumed to be Toronto, to get a job in Winnipeg when she got on the wrong train and ends up in Pickle River.”
Jane, now out of money, becomes stranded in the small town and quickly becomes tangled up in Roy’s bid to become a successful radio station owner.
“The whole thing is really a hilarious, heart-warming, truly Canadian story,” said Andy Palmer, who plays the role of Roy. “It’s a great story and it’s a story that the people in town will come in and recognize scenes and people from their own lives.”
Co-star Shannon Donnelly, who plays Jane, agrees.
“Every single one of the characters, every person in the audience is going to say ‘I know her, I know someone like him, you know who that reminds me of?’ Every single one,” said Donnelly.
Part of the draw of producing the play is the fact that Pickle River shares a lot of the same qualities as Greater Napanee.
“There’s a newspaper in town, privately owned,” Linley said of Pickle River, which may sound a lot like another town’s local paper. “The fellow who runs the newspaper is one of the principle characters. His name is Percy and he’s on Roy’s case because he has always been the source of entertainment news. Now Roy is making noise about broadcasting the World Series games, featuring Babe Ruth. Percy, the newspaper owner, is anticipating that everyone will be hovering around the newspaper office for news of the game and how it’s progressing.”
Originally written with just two actors on stage playing a variety of roles, Linley made the directorial decision to expand the cast to eight. He also tweaked Van Loon’s script a bit to include an appearance by Ruth himself on stage-albeit as a figment of Roy’s imagination.
Rounding out the cast is Barry Brummel as Percy, Michael Wihse Green as Mel and Jack, Celeste Luery as Mabel, Abigael Roy as Mary Alice, James King as Babe Ruth and Scotty and Ronan Giguère as Nap LaPointe.
“This play is the perfect antidote to winter,” added Palmer.
Tickets for the show are available online at www.LennoxTheatre.ca/tickets. They are $18 regular admission, $12 for children 12 and under and $15 for seniors for the Sunday shows only.