| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 7 Broadway's newest sports-based
play, "Bronx Bombers," opened to mixed reviews on Friday, with
some critics praising the casting of the New York Yankees drama
and others wondering if it will hit any home runs beyond the
Written and directed by Eric Simonson, who also penned the
football play "Lombardi" and the basketball drama "Magic Bird,"
"Bronx Bombers" focuses on difficult times during the 1977
baseball season when locker-room rivalries threatened to tear
the team apart.
The play, which opened at the Circle in the Square theater
on Thursday after some fine tuning following an off-Broadway
run, also features a dream sequence with long-departed Yankee
greats including Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey
"The formerly bipolar halves of the show - part drama, part
dream sequence - now fit better together," said the New York
Daily News newspaper.
But the New York Post called it "a shamelessly reverent
love letter to the Yankees - or rather the myths the Yankees
built around themselves."
The New York Times was more positive, describing the play as
"an affectionate celebration of Yankee greatness." But while
NBC News acknowledged the tuned-up Broadway version was better
than before, it thought it was still dubiously crafted.
"'Bronx Bombers' is a jock drama that will appeal to any
Yankee fanatic, but leave others restless in the bleachers," it
IMMORTAL YANKEE LEGENDS
Actor Peter Scolari, whose credits include the TV series
"Girls" and "White Collar" heads the ensemble cast playing Yogi
Berra, the team's lovable catcher and later manager famous for
"I may be nostalgic, but I don't like to live in the past,"
is one so-called "Yogism."
Berra is the heart of the play, trying to make peace among
the battling players and breaking bread at a dinner party in the
dream sequence with the Yankee greats.
"Peter Scolari, who helped conceive 'Bombers,' affects a
convincing-enough simulation of Berra's folksy quirks,' said the
newspaper USA Today.
Scolari's real-life wife Tracy Shayne, of TV crime drama
"Law & Order," plays Berra's wife Carmen, while Francois
Battiste ("The Good Wife" and "Person of Interest") has dual
roles as slugger Reggie Jackson and Elston Howard.
"There are colorful performances from the committed
ensemble, many doing double duty," said NBC News.
"Battiste struts like a peacock through the first act as
'the immensity that is Reggie Jackson,' then tones things down
later as Elston Howard, the first African-American to play for
the team," it added.
Although the play is packed with cameos by immortal Yankees
legends, including Ruth looking like a cuddly bear in a fur
coat, the trade magazine Variety said it lacks drama and could
be difficult to market on Broadway.
"With the exception of the baseball-crazy Japanese, can you
sell the Broadway tourist audience on this rah-rah cheer for the
home team?" it asked.
(Editing by Eric Kelsey and Tom Brown)