PHOTO CALL: Yogi Berra, Melissa Manchester, Robert Klein Among Guests at Opening Night of Yankees Drama Bronx Bombers

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09 Oct 2013

The Primary Stages world premiere of Eric Simonson's Bronx Bombers, a new drama about the New York Yankees, officially opened Oct. 8 after previews that began Sept. 20 at the Duke on 42nd Street.

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Yogi Berra and Richard Topol
Photo by Monica Simoes

Simonson (Lombardi, Magic/Bird) directs his play about baseball's most-notable team. Performances will continue through Oct. 19. The play was commissioned by Tony Ponturo and conceived by Fran KirmserRead's interview with writer-director Simonson here.

Bronx Bombers was originally scheduled to begin previews Sept. 17, but delayed the start of performances when Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano ("Sopranos"), who was to play Yogi Berra, departed the production due to creative differences.

Pantoliano later spoke out about his exit from the play.

Richard Topol (Broadway's The Normal Heart, The Merchant of Venice) replaced Pantoliano as Berra.

The cast also features Wendy Makkena (Side Man) as Carmen Berra, C.J. Wilson (Happy Now?) as Babe Ruth, Christopher Jackson (In the Heights) as Derek Jeter, Francois Battiste (Magic/Bird) as Jackson/Elston Howard, Chris Henry Coffey (Water by the Spoonful) as Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dawes (Lombardi) as Mickey Mantle/Thurman Munson, Keith Nobbs (Lombardi) as Billy Martin and John Wernke (The Lyons) as Lou Gehrig.

Here's how it's billed: "Ruth. Berra. DiMaggio. Jeter. The New York Yankees has never had a shortage of star players. In this world premiere from the creative team behind Broadway's Lombardi and the director of the Primary Stages hit String of Pearls, Bronx Bombers examines how baseball's most storied franchise has always remained focused on maintaining a great team, even when dealing with some of the game's most iconic and tempestuous personalities. How do they do it? Well, as Yogi always said, 'You can observe a lot by watching.'"

The production also features scenic design by Beowulf Borritt, costumes by David C. Woolard, lighting design by Jason Lyons and original music and sound by Lindsay Jones.