Take a second to wrap your mind around this: Basketball musical. Yes, that’s right. A musical that’s about basketball. OK, now that we’ve absorbed this concept, let’s talk about “Small Ball,” the current production at The Catastrophic Theatre.
Illustration courtesy of The Catastrophic Theatre.
The plot: Michael Jordan has some problems. First off, he’s not that Michael Jordan. Instead, he’s a melancholy journeyman basketball player who’s found himself bouncing around various obscure international leagues. Second, he’s recently become the star player for the Lilliput Existers — yes, Lilliput, the same one from Gulliver’s Travels. But his teammates are each six inches tall. Jordan finds it tough to pass a regulation size ball to a six-inch player (the ball is larger than the player so …) and the team isn’t doing too well. The post-loss press conferences are getting rough.
The Houston Press had a fun read on “Small Ball” following the premier a few weeks ago.
We had a sold-out world premier — complete with the attendance of Rockets players Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker, Ryan Anderson, and Coach Mike D’Antoni; writer Michael Lewis (author of several books, but “Moneyball” is most pertinent in this case); and Rico Rodriguez, a.k.a. Manny on the TV show “Modern Family,” who, I learned that evening, is from College Station and a big Rockets fan.
The person that connected basketball with musical theatre? That would be Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, who is also a member of Catastrophic’s executive board and someone who happens to love musical theatre.
We’ve got two more weekends of performances. If you’re in Houston — or will be by May 13 — please consider seeing a show. Tickets can be purchased here.
My friend CS got me involved with Catastrophic in 2016. I’d been to a couple of performances at her invitation but didn’t know much about the company itself. It was founded 25 years ago by Jason Nodler and Tamarie Cooper, first as Infernal Bridegroom Productions, which then as Catastrophic.
Our shows are unique to Houston; our plays feature up-and-coming playwrights and actors with stories that are thought-provoking, wildly funny (with a streak of black humor underneath), and something you won’t see anywhere else in Houston, or elsewhere in the nation, I would bet.
One of the things that I admire about Catastrophic is our “pay what you can” ticketing program. We want art to be accessible to everyone — regardless of ability to pay. Our suggested ticket price is $40 but someone can “buy” tickets for $0 if they really can’t afford it. Luckily, we also have a number of ticket-buyers who pay much more than that suggested price. Together, we’re building a unique theatre community both within and without Catastrophic.
Another thing about Catastrophic that you might want to know is we have one especially notable alumni: Jim Parsons. Even has he’s found success in Hollywood, Parsons remains a steadfast supporter of Catastrophic.