There's a moment in the terrific new show at Lookingglass Theatre when Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, throws a baseball uniform into the arms of Jackie Robinson (richly played by Javon Johnson). Robinson's face first registers pride, then fear. He will be a symbol and will be fought over. Robinson will get everything he wants, and lose himself in the process. The complexity is emblematic of many such moments in director J. Nicole Brooks' deftly cast and exceptionally engaging production ¿ that improves on a script by Ed Schmidt and imagines a meeting between Rickey, Robinson, boxer Joe Louis, actor Paul Robeson and Bill ¿Bojangles¿ Robinson on the eve of a moment in American history. There are a few clunky structural devices in this script you have to swallow, but this show is never boring for a moment and goes beyond the usual sports-drama cliches.
Through Feb. 19 at Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave.; $20-$68 at 312-337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org