Rockne All American to Friday Night Lights, baseball is what seems to fire the theatrical synapses. Last year the Purple Rose presented Honus and Me, and while this baseball season winds down, you can get your baseball-theater fix at Eastern Michigan University as the theater department reprises its revue Diamonds in the D, which premiered in June.
Inspired by Diamonds, a 1980s New York baseball revue, Diamonds in the D was written by Jeff Duncan (an English professor at EMU) and R. MacKenzie Lewis (a former EMU student who just last year turned faculty) as an homage to Tiger baseball. It's part vaudeville, part game show, and part history lesson, something old, something new, something borrowed (but nothing blue it's squarely in family-entertainment territory). Abbott and Costello's beloved "Who's on First" and Wayne and Shuster's "Shakespearean Baseball Game" are such rollicking and perfectly timed genius, you kind of wonder who let the air out of everyone's tires on some of the other bits like "Pickup Game" and "Bleacher Bums." The priceless archival pictures of Tiger Stadium (formerly called Briggs Stadium) projected on the set show you why baseball is almost (almost?) a religion in some quarters. The three-piece band led by the multitalented Lewis is stellar.