NEW YORK -- Retired NBA superstar Earvin "Magic" Johnson will join the cast of Magic/Bird onstage at Broadway's Longacre Theatre for a post-show talkback with audience members following a special matinee on Friday, April 13.
Written by Eric Simonson and directed by Thomas Kail (In the Heights), the play chronicles the professional rivalry and enduring friendship between Johnson and fellow Hall of Famer Larry Bird as they battle it out for three championships and invigorate professional basketball in the 1980s. The iconic hoop stars are played in the production by newcomers Kevin Daniels and Tug Coker, respectively.
"We are very excited to be able to have Magic join us for this talkback,” said lead producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo. “We have seen already in previews that this story is one for all ages. We think hosting a special matinee that Friday, when many young people are off from school, will give parents a chance to bring their kids to experience the play and then hear Earvin himself talk, in a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Kirmser and Ponturo also teamed last season with Simonson and Kail on Lombardi, a play about legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi, which was produced with support from the NFL. Continuing that trend, Magic/Bird has the endorsement of the NBA and will tap that connection for other promotional opportunities.
Special events are planned during the run of the show, including "Legends of Basketball Night" on April 19, with a number of retired NBA stars scheduled to participate; and "Olympic Athlete Night," hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee on April 17.
Magic/Bird is currently in previews, with opening night set for April 11. Under their Kirmser Ponturo Group banner, the producers aim to continue developing original plays that mine the drama of sports entertainment, which is relatively uncharted territory for Broadway.
Johnson has recently been in the news again since the former Lakers point guard joined investors to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers.