Lessons learned from the life of Jackie Robinson

by Jordan Calgaro

In continuing to fulfill First Stage’s mission of transforming lives through theater, JACKIE AND ME presents many themes that offer strong insight into breaking societal barriers.  Breaking the color barrier, Jackie Robinson was the first black man to officially play in baseball’s major leagues.  He showed tremendous determination to succeed during his baseball career, leading the Brooklyn Dodgers to six National League titles and one victorious World Series.

He lived his life by following nine values: courage, teamwork, determination, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence.  These core values helped Jackie succeed beyond baseball as an author, activist, and peacemaker.

This production deals with historical racism in an honest manner and it creates an opportunity to talk about race.  Jackie’s courage enabled young people throughout the nation to dream of what might be possible by looking past the prejudice and racial harassment and finding the courage and determination to succeed. By looking to his core life values, anyone can find inspiration from Jackie Robinson to follow their dreams and find success.

JACKIE AND ME reveals proof that we can rise above the challenges and find ways to better ourselves and our country.  “This is a great chance to witness what it was like for Jackie Robinson to break barriers and become the first African American player in Major League Baseball,” said Rickie Weeks of the Milwaukee Brewers.  “It’s uplifting and I hope it inspires your family as much as Jackie Robinson inspired me,” Weeks continued. 

According to First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank, the play celebrates Jackie Robinson, baseball and ultimately America.  “Jackie played baseball. A game. But a game that America grew up with. A game that connects fathers and sons, friends and neighbors. A game that has the power to transcend political and cultural lines. A game where we can find our common ground. Whether we play baseball or not, we understand that while we will all make the occasional error, we are all also capable of a glorious hit. What ultimately matters is that we step up to the plate.”

Tickets are available now to JACKIE AND ME, April 12 - May 5, 2013 at the Todd Wehr Theater in the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

Young Joey Stoshack is a headstrong boy with the unique power to travel through time by way of a baseball card. When assigned to write a report on a legendary African American, Joey travels to New York City in the year 1947 to meet one of history’s greatest baseball players, Jackie Robinson. Through his adventures, Joey witnesses Jackie’s dedication and determination during this turbulent time of segregation.

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