NEW YORK – November 15, 2012 - The worlds of baseball and Broadway will soon collide, as producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo today announced the commission of a theatre project inspired by the New York Yankees, to be completed in collaboration with the storied franchise and Major League Baseball.
The as yet untitled project, which will unite two of New York's most treasured past times, the New York Yankees and the Great White Way, will be the third work in a sports-focused series from Kirmser and Ponturo, whose previous credits include Lombardi and Magic/Bird. It 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," said Lonn Trost, Chief Operating Officer of the New York Yankees.
"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, "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."
Producers Kirmser and Ponturo began their first project in 2009 with the commission and development of Lombardi. Lombardi, which starred Dan Lauria as Vince Lombardi and Judith Light as Marie Lombardi, told the life story of the inspirational leader, Hall of Fame Football
Coach, and national icon Vince Lombardi. The company then went on to commission and produce Magic/Bird, telling the story of the competitive relationship, rivalry and eventual friendship between Hall of Fame athletes Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird.
Lombardi was the longest running play of the 2011-2012 Season and has since been licensed to regional theaters across the nation. Magic/Bird together with Lombardi introduced more than 100,000 new audience members to the Broadway stage.
Kirmser Ponturo Group strives to build new, original plays and musicals and to build a wide, diverse audience of theatergoers, initially combining the drama of sports and entertainment. Lombardi and Magic/Bird were the first two products of that vision. Sharing the tradition of The New York Yankees on Broadway will be the third.
Kirmser built a career working with artists developing and producing their work to stage. She 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. Believing that sports creates great human drama and is a major influencer on our culture Kirmser conceived a sports series for stage.
Ponturo, who was a producer of the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis, is one of sports and entertainment's most innovative and successful marketers, leading the meteoric 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.