A new play by Lydia Diamond

In the 1950s, as the United States was poised between Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, a young woman, with a passion for baseball, wages her own battle against prejudice. Newspapers called her “the female Jackie Robinson”. Later in life, historians named her the “best ballplayer you never heard of.” When Hank Aaron left the Negro Leagues, she replaced him. TONI STONE, a new play by award winning playwright Lydia Diamond, tells the dynamic, true story of this extraordinary women as she navigates the tricky waters of sexism, racism and her own complicated personal life.


Lydia Diamond, playwright, TONI STONE

Lydia R. Diamond is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow and a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Her plays include Stage Black (Premiered at Arts Consortium of Cincinnati, 3rd Place Theadore Ward Prize), The Gift Horse (Premiered at Goodman Theatre, 2nd place Kesselring Prize, 1st Place Theadore Ward Prize); Stick Fly(Premiered at Congo Square Theatre Company, Joseph Jefferson Award recommended, BTAA Nominated); and The Inside (premiered at MPAACT Theatre Company), and recently published in TriQuarterly, where she is a contributing editor; Voyeurs de Venus (premiered at Chicago Dramatists, Joseph Jefferson Award recommended, BTAA Nominated, commissioned by Steppenwolf Theatre Co.) Ms. Diamond's adaptation of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre, won the Black Arts Alliance Image Award for Best New Play, and will be remounted at the Steppenwolf and moved to a co-production with New Victory in NY next season. Theatre Alliance, D.C., Playmakers Rep, N.C., and Plowshares, MI, will also mount productions The Bluest Eye this coming season. The Gift Horse is anthologized in 7 Black Plays, edited by Chuck Smith, Northwestern University Press. Ms. Diamond is currently working on her third Steppenwolf Theatre commission, a play based on Harriet Jacob's "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl", recently workshopped and presented at The Kennedy Center's New Visions New Voices festival. Ms. Diamond holds a B.S. in Theatre and Performance Studies from Northwestern University. She has taught playwriting at Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Loyola University, and Boston University.

Hallie Gordon, director, TONI STONE

For Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Hallie has created and facilitated many educational programs. She has produced serval plays at Steppenwolf including the Pulitzer Prize winning The Flick by Annie Baker. Along with selecting the young adult season, Hallie has directed the following for Steppenwolf Theatre: the world premiere of Animal Farm, The Book Thief, along with 1984, To Kill A Mockingbird, the world premiere of The House on Mango Street, and Harriet Jacobs adapted for the stage by Lydia R. Diamond. A new premier of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye also adapted by Lydia R. Diamond which won a Black Excellence Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, This production also transferred Off-Broadway to The New Victory Theatre. She has directed Eat Your Heart Out, Dry Land, for Rivendell Theatre and Eclipsed for Northlight Theatre and directed staged readings for The Goodman Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. And is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Achievement Award.



A new play by Rick Cleveland

Meet Badger, Bloodhound, Lummox, Hammer Girl, Parashurama, Miss Liberty, and Mister Twister, a motley crew of super heroes. What have they been up to since they last saved the world from total destruction at the hands of the evil Dr. Mephistopheles? They’ve been forced to hang up their capes, tights and cowls and lawyer up, that’s what. Welcome to super heroes in the real world. Currently being sued by the citizens of Los Angeles for billions of dollars in accidental damages suffered during their efforts to stop Dr. Mephistopheles and keep L.A. from being sucked into a giant black hole. Taken from the actual depositions filed with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, “The L.A. Seven” finally reveals what really happened on “Black Hole Day.” It ain't easy being a super hero.


Rick Cleveland, playwright, LA7

Rick Cleveland is an Emmy winning writer/producer whose television credits include "The West Wing," "Six Feet Under," "Mad Men," "Nurse Jackie," "House Of Cards," "Man In The High Castle" and "Archer." Rick's stage play "Jerry and Tom" was adapted into a feature film and was an official selection at both the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals, and he co-wrote the screenplay for the motion picture adaptation of John Grisham's "Runaway Jury," which starred John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman. Rick performed his one man show "My Buddy Bill" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and won the Best Solo Performance Award at the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen in 2006. He also performed the piece at the 92nd Street Y in New York City for a one hour Comedy Central special in 2007. As a playwright, Rick has earned playwriting grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays. Rick was invited to the National Playwrights' Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center twice, in 1991 and 1993, and is a Founding Member of American Blues Theatre, Chicago's second oldest ensemble based theatre company, as well as a Founding Member of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa's Playwrights' Workshop in 1995. Several of his plays have been published by Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service, and have been produced around the country, as well as in the UK, Germany, Scotland, Moscow, Mexico City and Istanbul. Rick has been a freelance commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered" as well as a contributor to Huffingtonpost.com, and as a freelance journalist his writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and Outside Magazine.