Eight-year-old future Judge Adrian N. Bailey wins Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Jackie and Me Essay Contest

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winnerHow does Jackie Robinson’s story inspire you?


 Chicago, IL – More than 200 Chicago-area kids answered that question in 500 words or less as part of Chicago Children Theatre’s Jackie and Me Essay Contest in February, designed to celebrate Black History Month and the theater’s smash hit world premiere play Jackie and Me, a time-travelling adventure about baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

But it was Adrian N. Bailey, an 8-year-old from Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and a third grader at Chicago’s Plato Learning Academy, who most impressed essay contest judge Dan Gutman, author of the beloved children’s novel Jackie and Me from which the play is based, with this eloquent, Grand Prize-winning composition:

“The story of Jackie Robinson inspired me because it tells me you can do or be anything you want to if you just keep believing in yourself.  The story also inspired me because it lets me know that I do not have to be afraid to face my dream.  Even though I may be poor, I can still achieve my dream of becoming a judge.  I may be black, but I can still achieve my dream. There may be other barriers that I will be faced with, but I still can fulfill my dream of becoming a judge.  The story of Jackie Robinson inspired me because it lets me know if I have the mind to achieve my precious dream, there is no stopping me.  If I have the support of my grandma and other family members and friends, I will be Judge Adrian Bailey someday.  Finally, the story of Jackie Robinson inspired me because it lets me know after I have achieved my dream of becoming a judge, I must work hard to be a just and fair judge.  It lets me know the story of the famous Judge Adrian Bailey will be important in American history.  Someday, boys and girls will read and tell my story.” In addition to one Grand Prize winner, Gutman selected four more First Place winners:


Jessuly Ramos (11), Josephine Locke Elementary School

Caya Johnson (10), LaSalle Language Academy

Deryk Gonzalez (11), Josephine Locke Elementary School
Jesus Andrade (11), Josephine Locke Elementary School

All five winners were treated to complimentary tickets the Jackie and Me performance and post-show Cast Party on Saturday, March 5 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts.   In addition, the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Bash Sports Academy stepped up to the plate with fantastic prizes for each winner, including four box seat tickets to the White Sox vs. Angels game on “Jackie Robinson Day,” Friday, April 15, when each winner will be recognized on the scoreboard and participate in a pre-game photo opp on the field.

Of course, Jackie Robinson transcends any franchise rivalry, so the Chicago Cubs added four tickets each to the Cubs versus Padres game at Wrigley Field on April 19, including a pre-game photo opp.  As Grand Prize winner, Bailey also received one Bash Pro Annual Membership at Bash Sports Academy, a 15,000-square-foot indoor facility for year round youth baseball training, located on Chicago’s northwest side.  Bailey will be able to take advantage of complimentary use of the Bash batting and pitching cages up to three times a week, as well as discounts on lessons, clinics and special events and one free personal training session.

Children 15 years and younger were invited to participate in the contest. The contest entry forms with complete rules, deadlines and prize package details was posted on Chicago Children’s Theatre’s website, handed to children at every performance throughout February, with multiple copies shipped to schools, libraries, book stores, and children’s and sporting goods retailers throughout Chicagoland.   

Jackie and Me Update:  Weekend performances SOLD OUT!  Weekday matinee tickets still available

Chicago Children’s Theatre hit it out of the ballpark last month when it officially opened its world premiere play Jackie and Me about Jackie Robinson, the courageous athlete who broke baseball’s color barrier.  The play, adapted by acclaimed playwright Steven Dietz, based on the popular children’s novel by Dan Gutman, and directed by Jeff Award winner Derrick Sanders, was awarded 3-1/2 stars by the Chicago Tribune, and hailed as “smart, charming and tremendously engaging” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

With less than two weeks left in the run through March 27th, tickets to all weekend performances are now officially sold out.  However, seats are still available to select weekday matinees via CCT’s website, chicagochildrenstheatre.org, or the ticket hotline, (866) 811-4111.   For discounted group rates call (773) 327-3778 or visit GroupTix.net.    Jackie and Me is recommended for children ages 8 and older due to its honest depiction of historical racism.

For more information, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call 773.227.0180.

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