Thomas Lysaght wrote the bio 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'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."
Lysaght's play had an Off-Broadway run in 2003-04 (starring Ben Gazzara) and has toured and been produced in resident theatres.
Asolo artistic director Michael Donald Edwards will stage the play in the company's original performance space, The Historic Asolo Theatre at the Ringling Museum.
The play "celebrates Yogi Berra's humor, loyalty, and wisdom as he reflects on his baseball career and the great players that have worn pinstripes over the years," according to Asolo. "Berra's malapropisms, which we call 'Yogi-isms,' have become legendary. This play weaves together a portrait of a player, father, and friend, and demonstrates the importance of trusting your convictions." Resident actor David Howard has been with the Asolo acting company for 17 seasons. Last season he was seen as Richfield in Laughing Stock; Judge Biddle in Asolo Rep's acclaimed production of Trying; and Judge Taylor in To Kill a Mockingbird. Past seasons' credits include Broadway Bound, The Front Page and Tuesdays with Morrie. Howard holds an M.F.A. from Brandeis University and worked there as guest artist and acting teacher from 1967 to 1975. He appeared in over 40 plays in the historic Asolo Theatre when the acting company performed there from 1976 to 1982, and he returned to perform with the company in the new performing arts center in 1995 to appear in A Stone Carver and in 1997 for Beast on the Moon. Howard then rejoined the repertory company as an associate artist in 1997-98. On film, Howard was featured as Anthony Hopkins' friend Eddie Sloane in "Meet Joe Black"; Robin Williams' doctor in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry"; Doctor Kramer in "The Substance of Fire"; Irv in "Moonstruck"; Davis in "No Way Home"; and Sol Rosenthal in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors." He appeared on Broadway as Nat in "I'm Not Rappaport." He has worked in five Off-Broadway shows, Sam Waterston's Hamlet at Lincoln Center, and in a dozen regional theatres.
Michael Donald Edwards is the producing director of Asolo Repertory Theatre and former associate artistic director of Syracuse Stage.
Previews begin Jan. 5. Performances continue to Jan. 27. For additional information, visit www.asolo.org.
Asolo Repertory Theatre is one of only four theatres in the country to perform in true rotating repertory.