Monthly Archives: March 2011

Interview with the Director of “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball”

Have you heard the great buzz about The Sweetest Swing in Baseball?

Want to learn more about the play and the creative process that goes into taking it from the rehearsal room to the stage? Be sure and check out this interview with Sweetest Swing‘s director, Shelly Urbane.

Remember, there is still one weekend left to see Actors’ Theatre’s fourth production.  For more information on other upcoming events or to order your tickets, go to

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GR Press Reviews “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball”

Check it out – THREE STARS for The Sweetest Swing in Baseball!

Ensemble cast gives ‘Sweetest Swing in Baseball’ enough energy for extra innings

Published: Friday, March 25, 2011, 7:47 AM

Photo Credit: Jon M. Brouwer | The Grand Rapids Press The Actors' Theatre's production of "The Sweetest Swing in Baseball" at Spectrum Theater.

By Sue Merrell | The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — Sometimes it’s not how you play the game — or even if you enjoy playing — but only whether you’re a winner.

And Thursday night at Actors’ Theatre, “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball” pulled it out in the end to leave the audience of about 175 on its feet and cheering. At first, the script seemed pretty far out in left field, but once it started connecting, it hit one homer after another.

Written by Chicago playwright Rebecca Gilman, “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball” is about that elusive opiate called success and its sometimes companion, satisfaction.  ()

Be sure and head over to and read the rest of the review!

There are still tickets available for this weekend!  Got to or click below:


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Meet the Cast of “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball”

Want to learn more about about The Sweetest Swing in Baseball by Rebecca Gilman?  Check out this video and hear what the cast has to say about the play and their characters in the show:

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The Passing of a Legend

Despite the joy that goes along with opening our 4th production of the season, we take a moment to acknowledge, with sadness, the passing of friend to Actors’ and all of Grand Rapids Theatre: Jim Drummond.


DRUMMOND – James W. Drummond, ageless, died on Tuesday March 22, 2011. He was a graduate of East Grand Rapids High School and the University of Michigan. He served as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II. He was employed by CBS television for over ten years and during that time he was affiliated with various programs including Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, the Gary Moore Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1970 he became Business Manager of the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and held that position until his retirement. He also served on the board of Directors of the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Actors Theatre, Circle Theatre, Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids and Community Concerts Association. James appeared in over 80 productions with the above organizations. Jim also won a Best Actor Award in 2004 and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grand Awards Committee in 2005. Jim also received the Mitchell Award for contributions to the Civic Theatre. He is survived by his nephew, Jim (Jeanne) Gainey and niece, Mary (Noel) Gainey-Sutton. He is also survived by a great niece and great nephews, Sara (Ray) Hochsprung, Brian (Amanda) Swets, Jim (Jenna) Gainey, Chad Sutton and Kyle Sutton; along with great-great nephews, Jake Gainey and Kellan Gainey. Visitation will be at the Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Home on Friday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday 11 a.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Jacob and Kellan Gainey Special Needs Trust at Chemical Bank, 4495 Wilson Ave., Grandville, MI 49418. The family is being served by: Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service

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“Sweetest Swing” Preview in the Grand Rapids Press

Be sure and check out this article about The Sweetest Swing in Baseball in The Grand Rapids Press:

Baseball, psychology mix in Actors’ Theatre production of ‘The Sweetest Swing in Baseball’

Published: Sunday, March 20, 2011, 11:00 AM

Photo credit: Katy Batdorff | Grand Rapids Press The cast for "The Sweetest Swing in Baseball," is from left, Lorna Torres, Ellie Gramer, Jolene Frankey, Kyle Los, seated on the floor, and Calin Skidmore.

By Sue Merrell | The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball,” a play opening Thursday at Actors’ Theatre, has nothing to do with batting averages and everything to do with that other national pastime — watching celebrities implode.

Taking a page out of the Charlie Sheen playbook, the dark comedy focuses on Dana, a contemporary visual artist, who loses her popularity, boyfriend and sanity in one fell swoop.

“It’s about a woman going through an identity crisis,” said director Michelle Urbane. “It explores how difficult it is being an artist when your self-concept is subject to other people’s approval.”

Dana suffers a breakdown in the opening scene and goes to a mental institution where she is so comfortable among the other patients that she doesn’t want to return to the outside world.

To convince her insurance to pay for an extended stay, she pretends to be delusional, taking on the persona of former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry, who faced his own battles with drug addiction and media attention in the 1990s.

The play was written by Chicago’s Rebecca Gilman, whose dark tale, “Boy Meets Girl,” was presented by Actors’ Theatre in 2004.

Gillian Anderson, an Actors’ Theatre alum who went on to international fame in television’s “The X-Files,” starred in the London stage debut of “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball” in 2004.

“That was when the play started getting attention,” Urbane said.

(Read the rest of the article on

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