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…

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