Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Austin Theatre Project to Produce 'National Pastime' musical in September, 2013

Austin Theatre ProjectAustin Theatre Project Awarded Workshop Production of Broadway-Bound 'National Pastime'

Algonquin Productions and Austin Theatre Project are thrilled to announce that the producers of the Broadway-bound musical National Pastime have awarded the Austin-based theatre company one of three workshop productions. Artistic Director David Blackburn says, “We have always felt the Austin theatre community has an incredible level of talent and we are both humbled and thrilled to have been selected for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

National Pastime Tony Sportiello AUstin Theatre ProjectTony Sportiello, the musical’s author, recently visited Austin and spent the day with ATP founders Blackburn and Barbara Schuler and took in their production of Edges at the Dougherty Arts Center. After his visit to Austin, Sportiello remarked, “I thought everyone involved was terrific and the production values first class. I really look forward to working with such an amazing group of people on National Pastime."

National Pastime takes place in 1933. The country is trying to fight its way out of the Great Depression and no one has been hit harder than the sleepy burg of Baker City, Iowa. Its main industry, radio station WBZQ, is on the verge of going under and taking the town with it. The last time they had any ratings was when they broadcast the exploits of their home town baseball team but that team is long gone. So they create a new one, a fictional team that can't lose. They broadcast the fake games over the air and soon the ratings are soaring. All is well until Life Magazine shows up to do a story on the team.

The screwball musical, with book by Sportiello and music and lyrics by Al Tapper, was originally commissioned by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY as a one-act play. The score was added a year later and once again saw great success at the Hall of Fame. After a production in Washington, DC and brief Off-Broadway run, the production found the necessary backing for a Broadway production.

Austin Theatre Project’s production of National Pastime is scheduled to open September 19 and will run through October 6 at the Center Stage theatre. Open auditions for the production will be held online and will begin in late July. For more information, contact Austin Theatre Project at

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