Best all-star team

Cast of "Cobb," A Simple Theatre

Lee Blessing’s fascinating play about Ty Cobb, a prodigious baseball talent with a pronounced ugly streak, examines Cobb at three stages of his life — the teenager just starting out, the middle-aged player near the end of his career, the bitter old man — by showing all three at once, squabbling with one another about what really transpired in the past. A fourth actor plays the Negro League star Oscar Charleston, known as “the black Ty Cobb,” whose presence threatens Cobb, a racist unwilling to concede that a black player could be his equal. The play lends itself well to the staged reading treatment given to it by A Simple Theatre this spring, and the reading benefited from its site, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, home to a noted baseball exhibit, Schrader’s Little Cooperstown. But the strongest suit was Cobb’s cast — Chris Jackson, Jim Sorensen, Bob Heitman and Kibwe Dorsey — who made each of the Cobbs distinct and mesmerizingly present, so much so that you forgot they had scripts in hand. If only the 2014 Rays had played this well… asimpletheatre.org

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