Bobby Norfolk was driving somewhere in 2009 when NPR's Fresh Air stopped him in his tracks. He remembers the interview with author Larry Tye as "the most compelling hour of listening" he's ever experienced. Tye's biography of Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige started Norfolk on a journey that's culminated in his latest one man show, Shadowball: The Negro Baseball Leagues.
Produced by Beverly Buck Brennan, "Shadowball" is a journey through the heyday of the Negro Baseball Leagues, described on Norfolk's website as "a time when this country was segregated by Jim Crow laws, and America’s “National Pastime” wore two faces." Norfolk portrays James "Cool Papa" Bell, of the St. Louis Stars and Leroy "Satchel" Paige, of the Kansas City Monarchs, switching between the two voices to tell the story of their lives.
Norfolk bills the show as a "living history performance" :
I'm not a baseball aficionado, but I am a student of history. I also have a background in stand-up comedy. So it becomes a historical program with a lot of comic relief.
You can catch "Shadowball" at 3pm this Sunday at the Kranzberg Arts Center. Beverly Brennan will also preform her cabaret show "St. Louie Woman."
If today's episode of St. Louis on the Air wasn't enough of a preview, here's another sneak peak: