NATIONAL PASTIME Opens in Phoenix Tomorrow

Producer Jason Hewitt has announced the Phoenix opening of National Pastime, an original baseball musical comedy by Tony Sportiello and Al Tapper, starting March 7th and running through March 30th. The show, which originated at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater in Manhattan, has already had productions in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

The Phoenix production is being produced by Theatre Works and will run at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts before returning to New York. David Vining directs the latest show, which has music direction by Steve Hildebrand and choreography by Hilary Hirsch.

The show, set in 1933 Iowa, revolves around the struggling radio station WZBQ. The Depression has hit the area hard, and WZBQ is suffering along with everyone else. To increase ratings and boost the town's morale the station resorts to broadcasting the exploits of the Baker City Cougars - an unbeatable baseball team stomping on teams all throughout Europe. The only problem? The team doesn't really exist!

Hewitt has been thrilled at the reaction to the show from regional audiences. "The show played great in Manhattan," he says, "but we wanted to make sure it also appealed to a wide selection of Americana. So far the result has been a solid home run!"

Al Tapper is the writer/composer of the Off Broadway shows Sessions and An Evening at the Carlyle. Al is also the owner of several unique pieces of baseball memorabilia, including the original home plate from Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth's cap, Curt Schilling's bloody sock and the cleats Ted Williams wore in his final game.

The Theatre Works cast features Joe Kremer as station manager Barry Landis and Sarah Wolter as Karen, a slick talking lawyer from Chicago who owns half of WZBQ. Also in the cast are Tony Blosser, Ian Christiansen, Scott Hyder, Samantha Isley, Alanna Kalbfleisch, Anne Marie O'Reilly, Lee Pitts, Michael Schwenke, Lindsay Urbank, Alexandra Uxtpadel and Jason Washburn. Paris Rhoad is the stage manager. Thom Gilseth designed the set, Paul Black provides lighting design. Costumes were created by Tamara Treat with sound design by Stephen Christensen.

Tickets can be purchased by logging on to the theater website at http://theaterworks.org/

The show will finish March 30th before turning its sights back on Manhattan and hopefully the Great White Way.

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