Bleacher Bums


February 16-18, 22-24, 1996


Community Players Theatre


The Cubs are playing the Cardinals. In the bleachers at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the die-hard Cub fans root for their team. The group includes a rabid cheerleader, a blind man who follows the game by transistor radio and does his own play by play, a bathing beauty, a nerd, and various other bleacher denizens. As the game proceeds, they bet among themselves on every conceivable event, go out for frosty malts or beers, try to pick up the bathing beauty, and occasionally watch the game. The Cubs inevitably blow it in the ninth and the villainous Marvin, who always bets against the Cubs figuring he can’t lose, cleans up. The bleacher bums remain undaunted; they will be back tomorrow to root, root, root for the home team.

Conceived by Joe Mantegna, Written by Roberta Custer, Richard Fire, Dennis Frantz, Joe Mantegna, Josephine Peoletti, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Michael Saad, Keith Szarabajka and Ian Williams, under the direction of Stuart Gordon, additional dialogue by Dennis Paoli

Historian’s Corner

The third show of the season was a very unique play “Bleacher Bums,” billed as a nine-inning comedy with a seventh inning stretch. The show originated in Chicago and is a character study of loyal Cubs fans at a Cubs-Cardinals game. To gain a ballpark type of atmosphere, director Bruce Parrish, shot panoramic photos of the Cub’s bleachers while attending a Cub game. Gary Schwartz, scenic designer, brought them to life in a series of painted flats which brought home the illusion of a beautiful summer day at the ballpark. Ushers threw Bear Nuts peanuts to the audience and hawked pop corn, soda and candy prior to the game and at intermission (seventh inning stretch). This was one of the few times that food and drink were allowed in the auditorium during a show. The program included a scorecard so that the audience could keep score during the game. At the start of the game the audience rose to sing the “Stars Spangled Banner” and during the seventh inning stretch as a group sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” Since the game takes place in 1988, the Cubs organization was contacted and permission was secured to make color copies of a 1988 program to be used only on stage by the actors. The ‘Frosty-Malt’ guy had to be met at 5:30 in the morning on his way to Chicago to secure actual ‘Frosty-Malts before each show. The show was a great success with only 20 seats empty during the entire run. The ads for the show used clever phrases such as: “Cats and Dogs, Oil and Water, Cubs and Cardinals, Some things never change.”