Triple Play! New Play About New York Yankees Being Developed by Lombardi Producers
By Kenneth Jones
Producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo will bring a third sports-oriented play to Broadway following earlier productions of Lombardi and Magic/Bird, and the subject is close to home: The New York Yankees.
Kirmer and Ponturo of Kirmser Ponturo Group are creating a "theatre project inspired by the New York Yankees, to be completed in collaboration with the storied franchise and Major League Baseball."
The yet-untitled work — for which no director, timetable, venue or creative team has been announced — "will shine a spotlight on the personalities, triumphs and private moments that have become the true accounts of legends."
"It is a thrill that two iconic American institutions, the Yankees and the Broadway Theater, are joining together," Lonn Trost, chief operating officer of the New York Yankees, said in a statement. "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. 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."
Tim Brosnan, executive vice president, business, Major League Baseball, said in a statement, "We look forward to experiencing Major League Baseball in the theater. With a rich history of success, the New York Yankees have been involved in many of the most memorable moments in sports history and have featured some of the best players and most colorful characters baseball has ever seen. They will be a fascinating subject matter."
Kirmser and Ponturo commissioned and developed Lombardi, by Eric Simonson, the biographical play about football coach Vince Lombardi. It starred Dan Lauria as Vince Lombardi and Judith Light as Marie Lombardi. Thomas Kail directed.
Kirmser Ponturo Group then commissioned and produced the 2012 play Magic/Bird, also by Simonson and directed by Kail, telling the story of the competitive relationship, rivalry and friendship between basketball stars Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird.
Lombardi (2010) has since been licensed to regional theatres.
Kirmser Ponturo Group "strives to build new, original plays and musicals and to build a wide, diverse audience of theatregoers, initially combining the drama of sports and entertainment."
Kirmser was a producer of the Tony Award-winning musical revival Hair, August Wilson's Radio Golf, and launched The Biography Project, a series of non-profit Off-Broadway plays that told the stories of artists in an effort to recognize their voice, archive their work and explore their influence on culture.
Ponturo, who was a producer of the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis, is a sports and entertainment marketer who led the growth of Anheuser Busch for more than 25 years.
The company recently formed Kirmser Ponturo Fund to support multiple productions across seasons and is currently co-producing on Broadway Glengarry Glen Ross, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and is represented in the musical Annie.
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