"All American Girls: A Negro League of Their Own" Off-Broadway Play Tix on Sale Now: Begins Oct 5th

by Vanessa Martinez
September 13, 2011 1:20 AM
10 Comments
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The new play from NAACP award winner Layon Gray, All American Girls: A Negro League of Their Own is a drama set during World War II, a time where women were called upon "to keep baseball alive." The off-Broadway play, beginning shows on October 5th (Wednesday and Thursday nights) at the Actor's Temple Theater in NYC, stars Alaina Dunn, Azariah Gunn, Jillian Walker, Kris Sidberry, Latonia P, Antoinette Henry, Celestine Rae, Noelle LuSane, Teniece Divya Johnson and Kimberlee Monroe.

As you will see from the accounts of a real life player of the team in the first video below, The Negro League was created after the players tried out for the all white All American Girls League. They were rejected due to racism and segregation of the time.

According to its website, the play is a soon to be motion picture!

Click HERE for complete schedule and ticket information.

Watch the inspirational videos below. The first is a historical overview of the league told by real life player Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, and the one below it is a backstage look of the play and its actors.

If I were in New York in October, I would definitely catch this!

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10 Comments

  • misha | September 13, 2011 12:26 PMReply

    @AccidentalVisitor Ha. Dreambuster? Nah, son. LOL Thanks for going the extra mile and doing some research but I still absolutely love the videos and am intrigued by the possibility of a movie.

  • AccidentalVisitor | September 13, 2011 7:55 AMReply

    Ha-ha! Guess I'm the dreambuster.

    So at of curiosity (and as a way to humor myself) I did some research of Layon Gray on IMDB of all places. I loved this one bit of info I came up with :

    "Didn't realize he had a knack for writing until a friend dared him to write a gospel play. Went to the library, and checked out a book on how to format a play. He wrote it in 2 days, and sold it the next week."

    Damn. That's a special talent right there. Dude went to his local library, picked up a book instructing readers how to write plays, cranked out his own play in 2 days and then found a buyer for it. I've must have been sleeping on this cat all along. Yes, sir.

    Look I don't mean to attack a guy who pursues his dream and gets farther along than 98% of the folks. He's an actor, a singer, a writer, a producer, a director. He writes his own material and sometimes stars in his own productions. He deserves congrats. He probably has goals of doing bigger and better things than simply off Broadway plays. More power to him. But even though he puts out a lot of work and can write, apparently, quicker than Stephen King the question remains is he any good?

    Looking at the list of his God-religious-themed plays (gospel plays) it would appear he is in the mode of Tyler Perry but hasn't achieved Tyler Perry's success. (He kinda looks like Perry as well). I'll admit that I don't think too highly of these gospel plays and tend not to find any of them well-written. But that’s me. Regardless of my bias towards this type of work my question comes back to whether this baseball play is on track to be a movie. Well, it is a bad sign when you go to the official site and it reads "soon to be a major motion picture" in smaller type without giving you any information or production plans to back that statement up. I can typically tell a fraudulent claim on a website and that one comes across as suspiciously phony as an ad that promises a free IPad if you click on a site.

    Could a movie get made? Sure. But a major motion picture? Not all that likely. Down the road perhaps but not now. A major motion picture would mean it is not an independent picture, and this movie would likely need more cash than most independents anyway because it would be a period piece. Unless Tyler Perry steps in I just don't see it. I could be wrong.

    Last thing....I saw there was an actual message board for him on IMDB and read some of the posts. Came across one in particular that is of some interest. It went:

    "I see that Layon has already had an impressive theatrical career. But what became of his two unreleased films, both listed in IMDb with 2004 release dates, but evidently never distributed? I see he directed a third film recently, but what happened?"

    Hmmmmmm....again. That doesn't sound good. Its possible he turns his own plays into films on his own but never pieces together work that can find distribution or the light of day. Could this be what his website means that the baseball play will be a major motion picture and could this film end up suffering the same fate as the other work alluded to in the post above that I copied/pasted? If so he too doesn't appear to understand what the term "major motion picture" is either.

    Oh, I can’t resist. One more thing. The official site has a quote about that baseball play that says “A Master Work!” It is placed in a spot where all eyes can see it and seems to be the type of claim that comes from a critic’s review of a given material. But which critic made the claim? There is no attribution of the quote to any specific individual. Instead the words just hang there, in quotes, by themselves. And shouldn’t it be “masterwork” instead of “master work”? Yeah, we Americans get stuff wrong like this all the time but it nonetheless smells fishy.

    Buyer, beware.

  • Julie | September 13, 2011 7:00 AMReply

    Oh yea - haven't seen it but I head this play he wrote may be going to Broadway next year. The reviews and response to it are off the charts.
    Black Angels Over Tuskegee.
    www.blackangelsovertuskegee.com

  • Julie | September 13, 2011 6:47 AMReply

    I love Layon! He is this generation's August Wilson. I Saw this play at the National Black Theatre Festival this year. WOW! The writing, directing, acting was incredible! I cant' wait to see it made into a movie in 2012. He mentioned it in a news interview in Winston-Salem. Can you say OSCAR! A powerful show about African American women. Thank you! Thank you!

  • Stacie | September 13, 2011 6:41 AMReply

    Layon was in my thesis short film "Like A Woman Should" years ago. He was great to work with and he always has some project going on. I have seen him perform in plays but I must admit I have never seen any of the plays he has written. I know he's been at it for a long time and I'm happy that he is getting more and more recognition with every effort.

  • misha | September 13, 2011 5:55 AMReply

    @AccidentalVisitor, nice try but you're not gonna dampen my enthusiasm. LOL

  • Vanessa Martinez | September 13, 2011 3:57 AMReply

    @Accidental Visitor

    Perhaps you're right, but I still love this concept as a feature film. I've been hearing about this play for months now. We'll see. :)

  • AccidentalVisitor | September 13, 2011 3:45 AMReply

    Hmmmm. Let's see. A new Off-Broadway play that is basically unknow to the general public already has a deal in place for financing for a movie? Not hoping to be a movie, but "soon" to be a movie. I have my doubts. We're not talking about "The Book of Mormon". This off-Broadway play, if it is new, still has to find an audience and make its way up from there. I'm sure they are hoping it becomes a film and maybe there have been talks with someone in the film industry. However I have the feeling someone either jump the gun with that announcement or it is wishful thinking by folks who want to see it as soon as possible on the big screen.

  • Karen | September 13, 2011 3:32 AMReply

    Yes I have seen this writer's work. He most definitely doesn't write Tyler Perry style. Do more research than imdb of all places. One of the best writers of this generation if you ask me. His play about The Tuskegee Airmen ( Black Angels Over Tuskegee) that is now playing Off-Broadway is the best play I have seen in my life. Im a 68 years young New Yorker, and I have seen just about everything that is worth anything that has come through this city. I have never been to a play that moved me as this. I've heard this baseball play is great. And from the video i cant wait to see it. It wont be long before he wins a Tony and oscar. You heard it first from me.
    Karen Sanchez

  • misha | September 13, 2011 3:00 AMReply

    Wow! LOVE those videos! And a motion picture? Oh, werd? As a big sports fan, I'm intrigued!

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