This event was scheduled June 23-25, 2023.
So . . . it doesn’t matter if you aren’t familiar with terms like “the pinch,” “Rule 59,” or “low drops,” you will be mightily entertained by baseball aficionado and actor Eddie Frierson, who has brought his one-man show about one of the game’s greatest pitchers to Cambria Center for the Arts for three performances only June 23-25.
Sure, Matty: An Evening with Christy Mathewson tells the life story of the world-famous turn-of-the century New York Giants hurler who played major league baseball for 16 years at the beginning of the 20th century, and who was one of the first five members elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But Frierson, who also wrote the two-and-a-half-hour show (with intermission), doesn’t stop there. He regales us with some pretty insightful life lessons, and does it through his amazing ability to take on not just the role of Matty, but a score of others who inhabit his world: his team manager, some of the players who shared his spotlight, and many more.
Frierson is a professional voiceover artist in addition to being a renowned stage actor with a long list of stage and film credits, and he puts his skills to remarkable use exploring a game that he obviously loves. He played ball in high school and college, coaches high school athletes, and after Matty became the first outside event ever invited to perform at the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was made an “Honorary Inductee.” He says he has “gone farther in baseball on stage than he ever would have on the field.”
Guided by actor and screenwriter Kerrigan Mahan, a resident of Cambria, Frierson doesn’t miss a step in his portrayal, even in the second act calling the house lights up and asking the audience if they have any questions for a lively give-and-take about baseball and Matty’s life. Sound design by Joe Crowley and lighting design by Jane Lloyd are both so well executed that you won’t notice how complicated and exacting both are.
That this show–which played Off-Broadway, was on NPR’s Top Ten List, and was judged a “must see” by critic Clive Barnes–is playing in the Cambria Center for the Arts 100-seat theatre is extraordinary, and not one of those seats should remain unclaimed for the remainder of its too-short run.
Without a doubt, this evening of pure entertainment (as well as learning a lot about baseball and a little about life as well) is worth the price of admission—a bargain at only $25 ($20 for Cambria Center for the Arts members).