Sports

New York Yankees and Major League Baseball Batting For Broadway

The untitled project from producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo follows two previous sports-themed plays, "Lombardi" and "Magic/Bird."

After bringing football and basketball to Broadway, producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo have turned their attention to baseball with the commission of a new play that draws on the history of the New York Yankees, to be developed in collaboration with Major League Baseball.

The theater project will be the third original play from Kirmser Ponturo Group to explore professional sports history in a dramatic context. It follows Lombardi, the 2010 bioplay about Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi, which starred Dan Lauria and Judith Light; and Magic/Bird, an account of the friendship and rivalry between NBA superstars Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird, which had a shortlived run earlier this year.

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While both those works were written by Eric Simonson, no playwright is officially attached to the new baseball commission at this stage. Given that sports is not standard-issue terrain for New York theater, the producers claim that their shows have introduced more than 100,000 new audience members to Broadway.

"The Yankees organization enjoys a rich history that spans two centuries, steeped by time-honored traditions, marked by major milestones, and defined most notably by the success of 27 World Championships," said New York Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost. "Just as generations of fans have been captivated in their seats at Yankee Stadium, theatergoers will be able to experience the same drama and joy. We look forward to opening our archives to the process and sharing our stories."

The as yet untilted project promises to "shine a light on the personalities, triumphs and private moments that have become the true accounts of legends," said Kirmser Ponturo in a release. The producers are aiming to present the play next season, either late 2013 or early 2014. 

Unlike football and basketball, America's favorite pastime has been the subject of a number of successful Broadway shows. Most notable among them are the 1955 Richard Adler-Jerry Ross musical, Damn Yankees, and more recently, Richard Greenberg's baseball-themed play Take Me Out, a Tony Award winner in 2003.

Via their Kirmser Ponturo Fund, the producers are currently represented on Broadway by the critically lauded revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and by the revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, starring Al Pacino and Bobby Cannavale, which is in previews and recently postponed its official opening night to Dec. 8.

 

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