Ben Gazzara Is Yogi Berra in Bay Street Play, Beginning May 20

News   Ben Gazzara Is Yogi Berra in Bay Street Play, Beginning May 20 Ben Gazzara will play baseball great Yogi Berra in Nobody Don't Like Yogi, a new play which will premiere at the Bay Street Theatre this summer. Paul Linke Directs. The play runs May 20-June 1.

Thomas Lysaght wrote the one-man work, which shows Berra stepping foot in Yankee Stadium, his old stomping ground, after a 14-year absence. Berra is the lovable one-time Yankee player and coach, and three time American League MVP, who is known for his nonsensical aphorisms as much as for his play on the field. Among his best remembered observations are "It ain't over til it's over," "It's deja vu all over again," "Nobody goes there anymore—it's too crowded," and "If the people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop them."

The title of the play notwithstanding, Berra's absence from Yankee Stadium was due to a long feud with the team's owner, George Steinbrenner, who hired him to manage the Bronx Bombers in 1984 and fired him in 1985.

Gazzara, a stage and film veteran, has starred in "The Spanish Prisoner" and "The Big Lebowski" as well as the original Broadway productions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Hatful of Rain.

*

Sag Harbor, Long Island's Bay Street Theatre will dedicate its 2003 summer season to Elaine Steinbeck, the widow of John Steinbeck, and William Pharaoh. Steinbeck, a longtime Sag Harbor resident and a former Broadway stage manager in a time when women rarely held such positions, died April 27 in Manhattan at the age of 88. Pharaoh was facilities manager at the theatre since its inception in 1992 until his passing in 2002. *

Aug. 5 to Aug. 31 are the dates for Julie Andrews' return to The Boy Friend, the 1954 musical that marked her Broadway debut. As previously reported, Andrews will direct a production of the Sandy Wilson musical.

Bay Street is run by Emma Walton (Andrews' daughter) and husband Steve Hamilton and Sybil Burton Christopher. There are hopes that the musical will find its way to Broadway.

Andrews, who recently completed a limited tour opposite Christopher Plummer in A Royal Christmas, told the industry paper, "I'm going places I never thought I'd go...The Boy Friend was the turning point in my career. I'm awed [at the prospect of directing], but I'm in friendly hands — it's a big family thing."

The season is rounded out by Earth to Bucky, a new play by Vanities author Jack Heifer (July 8-27) and two plays directed by Daniel Gerroll: The Lover by Harold Pinter and Bacchanalia by Arthur Schnitzler (June 10-29).