Just in time for the opening of baseball season, tickets have gone on sale for the Mile Square Theatre troupe’s latest annual production of “Seventh Inning Stretch,” a series of ten-minute plays about Hoboken and America’s favorite pastime, baseball.
Chris O’Connor, the founder of the Mile Square Theatre, explained that this year marks the tenth time the troupe will put on the production. The play will feature seven shorts compiled from six accomplished playwrights, as well as a student writer.
“It’s the very first event that Mile Square Theatre did back in 2003,” said O’Connor, a professor at Rutgers, adding that the idea to feature short plays was conceived in order to follow the latest trend in theatre.
“The ten minute play, for the last 15 years, has become a very present and popular form of playwrighting in America,” continued O’Connor, “and I wanted to do it thematically, with a theme that really connected to Hoboken.”
“There are so many aspects to the game, and so many things to say about it.” – Chris O’Connor, founder
“It ended up having such longevity,” said O’Connor. “There are so many aspects to the game, and so many things to say about it.”
O’Connor said that past plays have included shorts about little league parents being overly competitive, players who are struggling with their careers, features on former greats such as Roberto Clemente and Babe Ruth, and even topical plays about steroids.
After the success of the first show, O’Connor and the troupe continued to hire playwrights and actors to write new shorts for each subsequent production, which has since grown in popularity.
Growing in support
“We have a faithful following of people who eagerly support [‘Seventh Inning Stretch’],” said O’Connor, adding that the popularity has attracted prestigious playwrights.
“We have playwrights who have written for Broadway, [have won] Tony Awards, and been nominated for Pultizer Prizes,” continued O’Connor, adding that each playwright and actor contributes without seeing a profit. “They’re really high-profile American playwrights.”
O’Connor said that this year’s line-up of writers includes Tony-Award winning Peter Ackerman, who co-wrote the movies “Ice Age” and “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs;” Tommy Nohilly, a former marine and accomplished actor featured in “Law & Order,” “Third Watch,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “The Believer;” and Pultizer-prize nominated John Ford Noonan, a writer with over 50 plays to his resume, including “A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking,” which starred Susan Sarandon, “Listen to the Lions,” and “All She Cares About Is The Yankees.”
“Seventh Inning Stretch” was also recently featured on “This Week In Baseball,” which can be viewed on MLB.com.
O’Connor said he founded Mile Square Theatre after coming to the realization that Hoboken did not have a professional theatre troupe.
“I had this crazy idea to start a theatre company in Hoboken,” said O’Connor. “There really wasn’t a professional [group].”
“I started the group myself and recruited a couple of people along the way,” O’Connor continued, “and now we have a really big core group of people who do all the heavy lifting.”
O’Connor said that the initial event was performed at the Stevens DeBaun Center for Performing Arts for the first 8 years, until the group eventually bought space in 2008 at the Monroe Center of the Arts.
The show, a “triple play gala,” will be held at the Monroe Theatre at 720 Monroe St. this June in honor of the first organized baseball game played in Hoboken on June 19, 1846. All earned revenue will fully go toward the troupe’s budget. The show will be held Friday, June 15, Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17th. Tickets are $25 for the Friday and Sunday shows, which will be held at 8 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.
Tickets for the Saturday event are $50, and include a dinner featuring food from local restaurants. The event will begin at 7 p.m. with an 8 p.m. show time.
Call (201) 683-7014 or visit www.milesquaretheatre.org for more information or to purchase tickets.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.