Magic/Bird Shoots Its Final Hoop on Broadway May 12
By Kenneth Jones
Magic/Bird, Eric Simonson's sports biography about the rivalry and friendship of basketball stars Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird, plays its final performance on Broadway May 12 at 8 PM at the Longacre Theatre.
The play did not receive any 2012 Tony Award nominations. By close, it will have played 23 previews and 38 performances.
Producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo said in a recent statement, "Magic/Bird was a story that we wanted to tell and an idea that we believed in. We wanted to attract both an audience which had never set foot in a Broadway theatre, and to satisfy the traditional theatregoer. We were honored to present Magic/Bird as a story of hard work, dedication, respect and love as the second piece in a series of sports stories. We are so proud that we were able to do this on Broadway, and though it ran a limited time, it attracted many new audiences to the theater as well as provided a vehicle for many young people to attend their first show."
The partners in Kirmser Ponturo Group, which also produced Broadway's better-received and longer-running Lombardi, another sport-centric play by Simonson, added, "We hope to inspire new audiences through future sports stories in the theatre. Like Earvin 'Magic' Johnson and Larry Bird, our incredible team created something special, worked tirelessly and left it all on the court."
Magic/Bird was directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail (In the Heights). Oscar winner Simonson's Lombardi, about football coach Vince Lombardi, has been (or will be) performed in Wisconsin, Florida, Long Island, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Washington, DC, Arizona, Arkansas, Ohio and beyond.
Joining producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo as a special producing partner was the National Basketball Association, marking the organization's first work on Broadway.
Starring Kevin Daniels as Magic Johnson and Tug Coker as Larry Bird, the cast also features Deirdre O'Connell (Georgia Bird/Shelly/Patricia Moore), Peter Scolari (Red Auerbach/Jerry Buss/Pat Riley), Rob Manning Jr. (Michael Cooper/Henry Alvarado/Frank) and Francois Battiste (Jon Lennox/Ron Baxter/Willy).
The creative team included David Korins (set), Howell Binkley (lighting), Paul Tazwell (costumes), Nevin Steinberg (sound) and Jeff Sugg (projections).
Magic/Bird began performances on March 21. Johnson and Bird attended opening night, April 11. Reviews were not enthusiastic, and the play struggled at the box office. The producers chose to handle their own press and P.R. for the show, a rare thing in commercial Broadway theatre.
For tickets and information for the rest of the run, visit magicbirdbroadway.com.
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