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  Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting at Lookingglass Theatre

Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting

Lookingglass Theatre
821 N Michigan Ave Chicago

April 9, 1947- Baseball’s Opening Day is one week away, and Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, will call up Jackie Robinson to break the color-barrier and play as the Major League’s first black ballplayer. If he does, Robinson will face loud and heated opposition from virtually every owner, manager, and player in baseball – and it won’t be a cakewalk with the fans, either. Who will be his allies if he makes the most daring and important play of his life?

Thru - Feb 19, 2012

Price: $20-$68

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-337-0665

Running Time: 1hr, 20mins; no intermission

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  Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"..."Mr Rickey" certainly looks underneath the simplistic depiction of Robinson's Dodgerdom as a great moment in American history. But there's another scene in Brooks' production that shows the potency of sports mythology. This time it's Fleming's Louis, a powerful, angry, cautious fighter whom we see reduced to wide-eyed, grinning pride when he sees a fellow black athlete on the cusp of top billing. In such moments, it is easy — maybe desirable, maybe not — for all of us to forget who is running the show and why."
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Chris Jones

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Since its 1991 production at the now-defunct Chicago Theatre Company, Schmidt's text has been trimmed to a swift 90 minutes, but the Lookingglass Company's staging at the Water Works sacrifices none of the intimacy so crucial to the dramatic tension. The spacious room may allow for a more kinetically varied stage picture, but the action is still essentially that of men huddled around a table deciding the future of their country."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"...Go see this play. Larry Neumann, Jr. (Branch Rickey), Javon Johnson (Jackie Robinson), Kevin Douglas (Clancy Hope, bellhop), Anthony Fleming III (Joe Louis), Ernest Perry (Bill "Bojangles" Robinson), and James Vincent Meredith (Paul Robeson) are absolutely breathtaking in their roles. J. Nicole Brooks (director) wastes nothing, using stage direction, lighting, and sound to underline and heighten the status of individual characters. It is a smart, heartbreaking, beautiful show."

Oona O'Leary

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Schmidt’s script can be long-winded and repetitive, but director J. Nicole Brooks maintains a brisk pace. The ensemble takes on its historical roles with confidence and with an organic rhythm that suggests long-standing relationships among the characters. Javon Johnson beautifully captures Robinson’s love for baseball, revealing a man who’ll stop at nothing to achieve his dreams. Kevin Douglas is delightful as Schmidt’s one whole-cloth creation, a starstruck teenage bellhop whose sense of wonder underlines the scope of the meeting."
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Oliver Sava

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...“Mr. Rickey” is a talkative play, and yet director J. Nicole Brooks adroitly sustains the illusion of action and movement. That it’s also an almost mystical moment in America’s social evolution is pointed up by designer Sibyl Wickersheimer’s hotel room set, its green carpet framed like some field of dreams by the iconic lines that extend past first base and third, a place where one black man won equal footing on common ground."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"... Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting is a fine historical fictional drama based on real characters put into a “what if” scenario. Theshow is humorous, thought provoking and truthful as it attempts toaskunderlyingquestions as to the ramifications of a single ensuing historical event. The performances are strong and winning. Theplay highlights the multilevel consequences of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey’s bold move.In many ways,integrating Major League Baseball paved the way the Civil Rights Movement. Schmidt’s 80 minute one-act poses questions about race relations thatare still alive today. Thisis a terrific play-don’t missit!"
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"... What is easily gotten, however, is the stirring Lookingglass staging. This time the usual pyrotechnics consist of a lobby transformed into a batter’s cage and 1947 ballpark entrance and a set surrounded with infield dirt and stadium lighting, plus fireworks on stage from six actors at the top of their game."

Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...Lookingglass Theatre presents MR. RICKEY CALLS A MEETING. Jackie Robinson is about to become a Brooklyn Dodger. He would be the first Major League’s black ballplayer. His employment would break the color-barrier. To gain public support, General Manager Branch Rickey brings together influential black celebrities: Joe Louis, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Paul Robeson. Rickey wants to have some colorful back-up for his controversial act. On the surface, the decision seems black and white. The obvious perspective, especially with 60+ years of hindsight, is ‘Do it, Jackie, play ball!‘ But what about equal pay, the impact on the negro league, racial hatred in the stands and on the field??? MR. RICKEY CALLS A MEETING rounds all the bases before sliding into home."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... It is not often that a playwright gets an idea from an error in a biography, but Ed Schmidt’s powerful script,”Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting” , is a brilliant piece of work. Based on a paragraph in the Biography of Joe Louis, The Brown Bomber, Schmidt takes us to a time in history, the historical days before Jackie Robinson became the first Negro ball player in the Major Leagues and how he supposedly had a special meeting with Three of the most powerful and well known members of the African American community to get their approvals."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Somewhat Recommended

"... Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting is well acted, well-written and full of both smarts and heart. It also feels more like a rhetorical exercise or an academic debate than a drama intent on entertaining. In its examination of Jackie Robinson’s ground-breaking integration of professional baseball, Ed Schmidt’s talky, 90-minute piece slants toward the didactic rather than dramatic."

Catey Sullivan

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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