A Real Cubs Fan Reviews Burien Little Theatre's "Bleacher Bums"

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by Janet Grella

While living in Chicago in the 80s, I was lucky enough to witness the Cubs win two Pennants and see a rained-out All-Star Game and the famous first night game at Wrigley Field, dubbed Opening Night on 8/8/88–also rained out. Back then, we all joked that God didn’t want night baseball in our Chicago mecca on the corner of Clark and Addison in Chicago.

When I entered Burien’s Little Theatre on Saturday night, the staging brought back so many happy memories of Wrigley and my life in Chicago. I will admit that I never sat in the bleachers…known to have a lot of ‘crazies’ and nuts out there. Right in front of my eyes, there they were–Wrigley’s famed bleachers. And can you believe there was drinking, smoking, pick-ups and gambling going on out there? Not in Burien, er Chicago!

You don’t have to be a diehard Cubs fan to enjoy BLT’s presentation of Bleacher Bums. My guests and I got right into the spirit of a springtime ballgame at Wrigley. The characters were quite wonderful–from the sexpot sunbather (yeah, I heard that went on out there), to the blind guy, who quite remarkably did the play by play from his radio, to the gamblers and somewhat questionable characters betting on everything and anything in the game.

The real scene stealer was the “Cheerleader”, played by Adrian Moynihan, who was not a cheerleader, but a young whacked-out Cub Fan whose upper body was painted in Cubs blue with a logo on his chest. He not only enticed the bleacher crowd to use some secret Cubs mojo on getting hits for the Cubs, and outs for the much-hated St. Louis Cardinals, but also got one of the St. Louis players so mad that he climbed the famous ivy in the outfield to try to shut him up (I have witnessed this happening on a few occasions at Wrigley, but it was usually because the bums in the bleachers were throwing beer on opposing outfielders). Mr. Whacked-out ended his performance offstage by climbing into the famous hand operated scoreboard that looms over center field. One of the characters had earlier stated that the scorekeepers “keep broads up there….they’re having sex.”

Among the ensemble cast my favorite was Greg, the blind guy (played by Dash Shearer). This handsome young newcomer to BLT, acted as the play-by-play guy, and because he was the nicest guy in this section of the bleachers…he just may have gotten the girl, who happened to be played by Chicago actress Dallas Milholland.

Rounding at the cast is Rose (Kate Brophy) who gave an hysterical performance as the long suffering wife of Zev (Don Speirs) who has blown a lifetime of income on stupid sports bets throughout the Chicago area. Through her crafty manipulations, she manages to stop the gambling..at least for the time being.

BTB Reporter Janet Grella (nee Garrott) got her name in lights at Wrigley Field in the mid-80s.

Another gambler, Decker (Alan Wilkie) and his nerdy gambling son Richie (Matt Boardwell) and the protagonist Marvin (Mark Burton) provide some fun baseball dialogues and big payoffs.

By my count Marvin walked out with over $2,000 of other peoples’ money by games’ end…and he did this with just about the worst Northside Chicago accent I’ve ever heard. I quizzed him about being at the wrong ballpark…Comiskey Park where the “other” team, the Chicago White Sox play.

A large man, Don Speirs/Zev was a combination of Norton and Kramden. If I closed my eyes, I heard Ed Norton and when I looked at him I saw Ralph Kramden.

What I loved was that we all got to stand and sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame at the 7th Inning Stretch, and then settled into the final innings of the game, which was apparently going to be won by the Cubs. Most die-hard fans know that ‘there’s always something’…

Here’s the remaining home schedule:

  • April 23 at 8:00 p.m.: Friday
  • April 24 at 8:00 p.m.: Saturday
  • April 25 at 2:00 p.m.: Sunday Matinee
  • April 30 at 8:00 p.m.: Friday
  • May 1 at 8:00 p.m.: Saturday
  • May 2 at 2:00 p.m.: Sunday Matinee
  • May 7 at 8:00 p.m.: Friday
  • May 8at 8:00 p.m.: Saturday
  • May 9 at 2:00 p.m.: Sunday Matinee – LAST OUT!

Ticket Prices & Packages:
Purchase online here and save.

Middle Weekends:

  • $18.00
  • $15.00

Last Weekend:

  • $20.00
  • $17.00


 General Senior/Student 
All Shows:

  • $20.00
  • $17.00

NEW THIS SEASON: SEVEN DOLLAR SUNDAY The first Sunday Matinee of every run is just $7.00!

PLAY with YOUR FOOD DINNER PACKAGE: This package includes a two-course meal at Mark Restaurant & Bar plus a ticket to the show; cost is $35 per person.

To Purchase Tickets:
Show tickets may be purchased online at www.burienlittletheatre.com or call 206-242-5180. Fabulous Four-Packs are available for the 2009-2010 Season.

Theater Location:
Burien Little Theatre is in the theater at the (old) Burien Community Center Building, which is located at 425 SW 144th Street
 in Burien; (206) 242-5180. The Community Center is located at the northwest corner of 4th Ave SW and SW 146th Street in Burien (directions available at www.burienlittletheatre.com)

Tickets for BLT’s “Bleacher Bums” are available online here.

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