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Title:From the ball fields to Broadway: Performative identities of professional baseball players on the nineteenth and twentieth century American stage
Author(s):Stern, Travis W.
Director of Research:Kim Lee, Esther
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kim Lee, Esther
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Burgos, Adrian; Davis, Peter A.; Hohman, Valleri J.
Department / Program:Theatre
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):American Theatre
American Theatre - Nineteenth Century
American Theatre - Twentieth Century
Baseball Players - Nineteenth Century
Baseball Players - Twentieth Century
Adrian C. Anson
Michael J. Kelly
Christy Mathewson
Tyrus R. Cobb
Abstract:This study examines the theatrical careers of four professional baseball players who appeared in multi-act plays on the American stage in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century – Adrian “Cap” Anson, Mike “King” Kelly, Christy Mathewson, and Ty Cobb. As a player reached a level of celebrity in the game of baseball, theatrical producers were able to transfer the persona the player had built on the field onto the stage. The formation of each player’s persona is analyzed as well as how the persona was transferred to the stage and interacted with the changing nature of American identity. Anson’s appearance as a fictionalized version of himself in 1895 illustrated how baseball was attempting to appeal to a more respectable audience. Kelly’s performances based on his wealth and success from the game in the 1880s and 1890s transcended his image as solely a baseball player. A play co-authored by Mathewson in 1913 examined the real-life issue of club ownership by a woman in a melodramatic setting that uses Mathewson’s own persona to help model how baseball could deal with such a concern. Cobb’s 1911 performance in the lead role in a popular stage play was complicated by the villainous persona he had acquired through his playing.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Travis W. Stern
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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