St. Louis Park actor plays ‘The Babe’
St. Louis Park resident Zach Curtis will portray Babe Ruth in Park Square Theatre’s production of “Johnny Baseball.”
Curtis graduated from St. Louis Park High School in 1991. While in high school, he was in dozens of shows on the local stage. He moved back to St. Louis Park three years ago and bought a home. He has directed and performed on the Park Square stage and has performed at the Guthrie Theater.
He has performed in eight previous Park Square productions and has performed in as many as 18 shows in a year. Curtis studied Babe Ruth’s career in preparation for his role in “Johnny Baseball.”
The musical will run through Sunday, Feb. 10. It is based on a book by Richard Dresser.
The idea for Johnny Baseball began at the 7th game of the 2003 American League Championship. The Boston Red Sox were ahead of the New York Yankees, but choked in the last inning, ending the series.
Dresser, a diehard Red Sox fan, admitted, “I spent the night in the fetal position.”
The incident inspired a play based on the Red Sox “curse.”
Johnny Baseball had its world premiere in 2010 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., and will have its second performances at Park Square. The musical’s creators were in St. Paul in early January, working with the director, cast and crew during rehearsal and preview weeks to test new ideas in script development and musical interpretations, resulting in a new song for the show.
The playwrights have taken a few liberties with their story, bending history a bit in order to effectively tell a love story set in the backdrop of a racially integrating Major League Baseball League.
The story suggests it is racial issues, not Babe Ruth’s legendary sale to the Yankees, which is the source of the Sox’s 86-year dry spell – the “Curse of the Bambino.”
There is one chapter in the team’s history that provided the central theme of their show: The Red Sox were the last major league baseball team to sign an African-American player.
All performances are in the company’s intimate 340-seat theater in St. Paul’s Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place.
Tickets are $48 and $68. Discounts are available for seniors, those under age 30, and groups.
Tickets are on sale at the Park Square box office, 20 W. Seventh Place, by phone at 651-291-7005 or online at parksquaretheatre.org.
A baseball-style card depicts St. Louis Park resident Zach Curtis, who plays Babe Ruth in “Johnny Baseball.” (Submitted art)
St. Louis Park resident Zach Curtis, right, portrays Babe Ruth in “Johnny Baseball. He is accompanied by Greenfield resident Joshua James Campbell, who portrays Johnny, a member of the 1919 Red Sox team. (Submitted art)
St. Louis Park resident Zach Curtis, right, portrays Babe Ruth in “Johnny Baseball. He is accompanied by Greenfield resident Joshua James Campbell, who portrays Johnny, a member of the 1919 Red Sox team, and St. Paul resident Timotha Lanae as Daisy, a blues singer who steals Johnny’s heart. (Submitted art)