A Tribute to Jackie Robinson

You don’t have to be an avid baseball fan to know who Jackie Robinson was. He — like civil rights activists — challenged racial discrimination and completely transformed the way we interact with each other today.

Robinson was the first African-American baseball player to play in Major League Baseball. In honor of Black History Month, the Garner Performing Arts Center will host two theatrical productions about the baseball legend.

“It’s important for the Town of Garner to sponsor events like the Black History Month celebration,” said GPAC manager Debbie Dunn. “It’s a chance for the entire community to come together and honor the African-Americans who changed our world and hear the stories that inspire us to be better people.”

Mike Wiley’s play, Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart, is one of the two performances that carefully depicts Robinson’s trials and tribulations during his career transition from the Negro League to the Major Leagues; the show is billed as “a powerful lesson of courage, through dedication, perseverance and leadership.”

The play begins at 2 p.m. on Feb. 1 and admission to the performance is $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Be sure to stick around after the show, because Carl Long, Ken Free, Big Daddy Wooten and Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, from the original Negro League, will be on hand to share their stories and sign autographs.

If you can’t make the matinee, later that night GPAC will show the 2013 film, 42-The Jackie Robinson Story. The movie, starring Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman, has been acclaimed by the Denver Post as a story that “inspires and entertains with a vital chapter in our nation’s history.”

Admission to the screening is free and the show begins at 7 p.m.

“Black History Month is a wonderful time to pay tribute to the men and women that fought adversity and triumphed,” said Dunn. “The Jackie Robinson stories tell it best.”

Seating for most GPAC performances begins 30 minutes prior to the scheduled show time. Snacks and drinks are available, along with local art in the main lobby gallery.

For more information, visit garnerperformingartscenter.com.

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