On Sept. 17 Primary Stages announced that Pantoliano departed the production "due to artistic differences." Previews, which were scheduled to begin Sept. 17, were delayed to Sept. 20; actor Richard Topol (Broadway's The Normal Heart, The Merchant of Venice) has stepped into the role of Yogi Berra. Simonson (Lombardi, Magic/Bird) directs his play.
Pantoliano ("The Sopranos") spoke out following his departure. "I regret to inform everyone that I am no longer a part of the play Bronx Bombers due to creative differences," he tweeted Sept. 16, adding on Sept. 17, "He wasn't a collaborator. Therefor I was over qualified for the job. I miss the people actors & the crew. [sic]"
The actor later spoke to fans via his Facebook page, explaining, "It's hard when there's creative deference. Because its not personalities, just different points of views. I love the proses of putting on a new work. Ill miss everyone on that job! I wish them great success. [sic]"
Representatives for the production did not immediately respond to Playbill.com's request for comment. Opening night remains Oct. 8 for a run through Oct. 19. The play was commissioned by Tony Ponturo and conceived by Fran Kirmser.
Read Playbill.com's interview with writer-director Simonson here. 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, lighting design by Jason Lyons and original music and sound by Lindsay Jones.