Toni Stone is based on the book, Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League by Martha Ackmann. It was published by Chicago Review Press in 2010. In June of 2019, it opened off Broadway. And now, in February of 2023, it opens at the Goodman Theatre.
In the 1950s, Toni Stone becomes the first woman to play professional baseball. She plays for the Indianapolis Clowns. The coach pushes for the pitchers to go easy on her, against her wishes. She is also resistant to getting married, as her only love for the longest time has been baseball. The team is mostly accepting of her, except for one player. Toni’s best friend is Millie, an owner of a brothel, who is full of life’s wisdom.
The play is mostly a joyful historical look in the life of Toni Stone during her baseball career. She does encounter racism and sexism, but they don’t dominate the story. There is also plenty of humor mixed in.
Tracey N. Bonner is impressive as Toni Stone. She is front and center talking for the majority of the 2.5 hour play. Also, she capture’s Toni’s enthusiasm for the game expertly. Jon Hudson Odom (Ms. Blakk for President) is superb as the wise Millie. She turns her lifetime of experience into great advice. Kai A. Ealy is hilarious as the goofy King Tut. Victor Musoni (How We Got On, The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington) is charming and funny as Jimmy. The rest of the cast are also excellent in their supporting roles.
Cost of a ticket: $65 (Front Orchestra)
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Get tickets now for Toni Stone through February 26th!