If you can’t get a ticket to see the Sox, the spirit and culture of Fenway Park can be experienced at a different venue. The A.R.T. has transformed the Loeb Drama Center into a mini ballpark for “Johnny Baseball,” which is doing so well that the theater extended its run. Complete with a replica of the Citgo sign and beer and hot dogs available, the atmosphere enhances the story.
Another aspect that draws you in is the charm and intrigue of actor Colin Donnell and his character, Johnny O’Brien. Hailing from St. Louis, Donnell has been playing “Baseball” for the past two years, at least a year longer than most of the cast.
“Any time you have an opportunity to start out at the very beginning of the process it’s a wonderful experience,” he says. “You get to not only create the character from the ground up with the writers, but you get to see where it comes from and where it goes.”
Donnell’s character, Johnny O’Brien, is a 1919 Red Sox pitcher and the love interest of a struggling jazz singer, Daisy Wyatt (Stephanie Umoh). In a show that deals with many tough issues of the time, Donnell hopes audiences will create their own perception of the story while taking in Daisy and Johnny’s relationship.
“I think the most important thing for us is to give the audience the experience of watching the love story,” he says. “We’re not trying to force anything upon the audience.”
And when you’re sitting with a cup of beer and a Fenway Frank, witnessing these stories and these characters unfold, you’ll know that they’ve done just that.