Joan Joyce – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Author Tony Renzoni is on a mission to champion the athletic achievements of a fellow Waterbury, Connecticut native Joan Joyce, a woman who excelled in soft ball but also in any sport she tackled, like baseball, volleyball, golf, bowling and basketball. He has thoroughly researched her achievements in his books about Joanie and is currently working to get her acknowledged in more than the 21 Hall of Fames she currently enjoys. More than a fan, Tony was her friend, a friend he sadly lost last year, but not before she attended a performance at Branford’s Legacy Theatre of “Joan Joyce! A New Musical” about her incredible life.

Now Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury is continuing to hold the banner high for this beloved personality until Sunday, October 22 and you have the unique opportunity to marvel how this young girl only 8 with the encouragement of her parents, the mailman and countless others took on the challenge of fighting her way to the top of the sports world against her male competitors. Come witness how Seven Angels is putting proof to the legend that Joan deserves the crown as the “greatest female athlete of all times.”

Based on the book “Connecticut Softball Legend Joan Joyce,” Keely Baisden Knudsen and Lauren Salatto Rosenay have fashioned a captivating book and lyrics with music by Brad Ross, and with additional music by Matthew Harrison and David Bell, that tell her story of courage and determination and her uphill battle to succeed. It is an inspiring tale for all young hopeful girls who strive to hit their stride. With Al Bundonis as Tony the author, Joan is beautifully portrayed as a child by Rylee Maxwell, as a teenager by Kiersten Bjork, and as an adult by Keely Baisden who also designed the costumes and directed this extraordinary story. Memorable people in her life are well played by Mitchel Kawash, Dan Frye and Jillian Millette.

Come witness this woman who can honestly claim to have stuck out legends like Hank Aaron and Ted Williams, who could pitch at an amazing 115 mph, had 150 no hitters and 50 perfect games, setting records no one has yet broken. She set championships for the Raybestos Brakettes, the Lionettes, co-founded the Women’s Professional Softball League with Billie Jean King, coached the Connecticut Falcons and Florida Atlanta University teams, earning her 1000th career win in 2022, the year she died.

For tickets ($42), call Seven Angels Theatre, 1 Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at Performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come bathe in the spotlight of this incredible woman and join this joyous salute to all her achievements. Perhaps pickle ball would have been next on her list of accomplishments.