‘Toni Stone’ takes some big swings in Arena Stage’s winning return to live theater

‘Toni Stone’ takes some big swings in Arena Stage’s winning return to live theater

Cautioning that “you don’t have to try and remember their names,” Stone promptly introduces the audience to the rest of the Clowns’ lineup, as inhabited by eight impeccable performers also playing countless other characters in Stone’s story. As Alberga, the smooth-talking tavern owner who takes a shine to Stone, Aldo Billingslea exudes a casual charm. Kenn E. Head steals scenes as both Willie, a stumbling drunk with a knack for timely hitting, and Millie, the crassly comic prostitute who lets Stone and her teammates crash at her brothel. Gilbert Lewis Bailey II stands out as Spec, the Clowns’ W.E.B. Dubois-espousing bookworm and etymology expert. And Sean-Maurice Lynch is sumptuously smarmy as the Clowns’ owner, Syd Pollock.

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