‘Jackie Robinson: An American Dream’ at CSUSB through Jan. 26


The Cal State San Bernardino theatre arts department continues its 2013-2014 season of “Image vs. Reality” with “Jackie Robinson: An American Dream,” which will run from Jan. 22-26.

  “Jackie Robinson: An American Dream” flier.

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Written and directed by CSUSB faculty member Carol Damgen, the play will be held in the Performing Arts Building Black Box Theatre. Performances begin at 8 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee on Jan. 25, and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Jan. 26. Tickets are $6 per performance for all patrons. Parking at CSUSB is $5 per vehicle.

Through the eyes of a young batboy, a hero comes to life. On April 15, 1947, Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson broke the barriers of discrimination and became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. Side-by-side with Wesley “Branch” Rickey, Robinson moved from the minor league Montreal Royals, up to the “big show” with the Brooklyn Dodgers. American baseball and the number 42 would never be the same.

“As I thought about my next work, I remembered Langston Hughes poignant sentiment, ‘Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly,’” explained Damgen. “I thought of dreamers, explorers, pioneers and what makes a dream a reality? What makes someone a hero? Is the act of heroism simply doing that which is unknown or does it go much deeper than that?”

Damgen also thought of heroes. “Someone,” she said, “who in the face of extreme adversity says ‘I am going to do this, even if I am afraid and everyone around me is saying I am wrong or trying to stop me.’ It must, it has to be, bigger than the one. There was baseball and Jackie Robinson.

But the Jackie Robinson story is not a story of just one man’s struggle, said Damgen. It began with Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers owner who had his own doubts and faced criticism and roadblocks. “The relationship between both men is the center of the piece — told by an imaginary batboy who is also a dreamer.”

For tickets and information, call (909) 537-5884 or visit the theatre arts department website.