A play in recognition of Toni Stone, the first Black woman to professionally play for the Negro Baseball League, will premiere on Sept. 7 at the Unicorn Theater, located at 3828 Main Street, KCMO.
The all-Black cast only includes one woman, Jaeda LaVonne, who will portray Stone.
actress Jaeda LaVonne, who will lead as Toni Stone.
Toni Stone professional career started with the San Francisco Sea Lions of the West Coast Negro Baseball League in 1946. Three years later, she moved east to play for the New Orleans Black Pelicans and the New Orleans Creoles of the Negro Southern League.
In 1953, Stone joined the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League. Stone replaced Hank Aaron, when he moved up to become the first Black player in baseball’s major leagues.
In addition, Stone also reportedly got a hit off the greatest pitcher in Negro League history, Satchel Paige.
LaVonne has been rehearsing for three intensive weeks, but she’s inspired to play Stone who was a resilent woman who loved to play baseball.
“She was willing to defy all odds, and go through any obstacles to play a sport that was not created for her,” she said.
LaVonne describes Stone as having an “encyclopedia mind of baseball”, because she was able to quote stats of players in the Negro and major leagues.
The play will be a combination of silly, fun and serious with a lot of real baseball playing.
“People can expect a lot of baseball and not just the stats of players but just the heart and feel of the game,” LaVonne said.
Racial slurs will also be used throughout the play, in which Black actors will switch their role to White characters.
LaVonne hopes that viewers leave the play with an appreciation of what Stone went through at the time to pave the way for other women.
Show runs are from Wednesdays through Sundays, with Wednesday and Thursday shows at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.
For anyone interested in purchasing tickets follow this link:
Simone Garza is a Report for America corps member based at The Community Voice covering Wichita’s African-American community.