The soundtrack to 1992’s A League of Their Own may have included Madonna’s “This Used To Be My Playground,” but don’t expect a rendition of that track in the “Unauthorized Musical Parody” version of Penny Marshall’s all-star hit. (But do expect a hilariously overdone “cameo” by the recently passed director.)

Audiences can also expect another laugh-out-loud experience at LA’s Rockwell Table & Stage, which recently kicked off its next installment of the UMPO Series. The parody, like many of its predecessors, takes its inspiration directly from the movie: Two sisters, Kit (Amanda Kruger) and Dottie (Natalie Masini), join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry and the social impacts of World War II, a time when most young men were off fighting in the war. While remaining historically relevant, the performances and music in UMPO: A League of Their Own are given a modern, femme-pro twist. The production also features several impressive debuts on the Rockwell stage.

One of the standouts includes a twist on Kim Carnes’s “Bette Davis Eyes” in which the team’s coach, Jimmy Dugan (a magnetic Garrett Marshall), belts out an ode to Dottie that turns into a tribute to the filmography of actress Geena Davis. Meanwhile, an electric mashup of two versions of “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (from The Four Seasons and Fergie) works surprisingly well, and Katie Powers, who plays the hard-shelled Mae, combines her film star counterpart’s “Like a Prayer” with “Like a Virgin.” And anyone who’s a frequent visitor to these UMPO shows will recognize some recycles from past productions; both “Blackbird” from The Beatles and “We Will Rock You” from Queen pop up in a few medleys.

Directing UMPO: A League of Their Own is Broadway actress and Good Trouble star Emma Hunton, last seen at the Rockwell in The Fuse Project’s thrilling Scissorhands. She stages the action within the venue’s enclosed space like many before her, allowing for some fun interactive moments with the audience and using the center platform as a baseball diamond with a 360 view.

“I am beyond thrilled to have Emma as our esteemed director,” says UMPO executive producer and writer Kate Pazakis. “I have no doubt audiences will be fully engaged and intrigued by the unique way the parody tells this beloved story.”

Rockwell’s UMPO Series has become a mainstay of Los Angeles dinner theater; it’s as addicting as it is thought-provoking. Every show remains culturally relevant with a cast and crew that includes stunning and applaudable representation, and UMPO: A League of Their Own is no exception. According to Hunton, “the show encompasses diverse cast members and includes people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and backgrounds.” 

And since I’d be remiss not to touch upon the “dinner” part of this dinner theater experience, be sure to try one of the menu’s many movie-themed cocktails. The “Marla’s Hooch” is a mix of vodka, peach puree, and orange and apple juice, while “No Crying in Baseball” blends gin with blue curacao and muddle strawberries.

Rockwell Table & Stage is located in Los Feliz at 1714 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles. Tickets are on sale at https://rockwell-la.com/shows/. The show runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 8pm and Sundays at noon, until September 1, 2019. And again, every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm and Sundays at noon, September 6 to September 29, 2019. 

@TheFirstEcho