Bobby Norfolk

Storyteller Bobby Norfolk's 'Take the A Train' opens Jan. 10, 2015.
Courtesy of Bobby Norfolk

To Bobby Norfolk, three-time Emmy Award-winning television host, standup comedian, living history park ranger with the National Park Service and storyteller on the national scene, storytelling is no laughing matter.

“It is missionary work,” Norfolk told Steve Potter on Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air.” If you go into storytelling, it is a serious, serious endeavor.”

Storyteller Bobby Norfolk's 'Take the A Train' opens Jan. 10, 2015.
Courtesy of Bobby Norfolk

It’s said that the arts can heal. Storyteller Bobby Norfolk is working on finding out if it’s true with Ferguson.

Norfolk is collaborating with producer Beverly Brennan on a yearlong series highlighting the talents of black and white performing artists starting with “Take the ‘A’ Train,” a tour of the Harlem Renaissance.

photo by Aaron Doerr

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.