‘Bronx Bombers’ to swing for the Broadway fences
NEW YORK (AP) — A play about the New York Yankees that debuted off-Broadway this month has been called up to the major leagues — Broadway.
Producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo said Monday that they’ll take the show “Bronx Bombers” to the Circle in the Square Theater starting in January. The official opening is Feb. 6.
Written and directed by Tony Award nominee Eric Simonson, the play explores the Yankee’s legend and features actors playing Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Thurman Munson, Billy Martin, Joe DiMaggio and Derek Jeter.
The play debuted off-Broadway this month at an intimate 200-seat theater, produced by Primary Stages. Reviews were mixed.
It’s the third sports-related play from Kirmser and Ponturo to make it to Broadway. Their first, “Lombardi,” about football icon Vince Lombardi, turned into a modest hit, but the next play in the series — 2012′s “Magic/Bird,” about the friendship between basketball legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird — didn’t do as well, closing after only 37 shows. Simonson also wrote both previous works.
Among the changes for Broadway is the casting of Peter Scolari and Tracy Shayne as Yogi and Carmen Berra. The rest of the cast features Francois Battiste (Reggie Jackson), Chris Henry Coffey (Joe DiMaggio), Bill Dawes (Mickey Mantle), Christopher Jackson (Derek Jeter), Keith Nobbs (Billy Martin), John Wernke (Lou Gehrig) and C.J. Wilson (Babe Ruth).
While successful plays on Broadway have involved some element of sport, from “Damn Yankees” to “Take Me Out,” ″Golden Boy” and the upcoming “Rocky,” few producers have embraced the fusion of sports and drama with such vigor as Kirmser and Ponturo. In an interview this fall, they stressed that they’d learned from the disappointment of “Magic/Bird” and would work out the kinks of the new show before even considering a Broadway run.
Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits