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Bronx Bombers

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  • Bronx Bombers

    Has anyone seen Bronx Bombers, a new play on Broadway? I've seen this TV commercial and wondering if anyone has seen it.

    I think it's about the Yankees.
    The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.

  • #2
    I saw it today. One of the last performances as it turns out since it closes tomorrow due to poor sales. There was about 90% capacity at this performance but like me, some of that might have been due to the close notice which went out last week. Here's the review I wrote for some other forums I belong to.

    1-If you're not a Yankee fan, chances are you wouldn't find it appealing. It really requires the audience to know Yankee history to appreciate it since sometimes the info and stories can come out real fast and furious, especially in its second part. This may be the biggest reason why it couldn't last long on Broadway, though I felt there were a couple structural flaws even as I had a good time overall.

    2-The acting was superb. Peter Scolari ("Newhart", "Bosom Buddies") was a good Yogi, not going for the voice but going for the mannerisms and attitude and pretty much getting it. I didn't see that one-man play about Yogi with Ben Gazzara a few years back and wish I had so I could have compared. They also of necessity had the same actor playing Munson in the first act, Mantle in the second act, Reggie in the first act, Elston in the second act and in those cases the actors knew how to make them distinctive.

    3-Structure wise, it's very hard to explain. It plays better then I think it will read when I try to summarize. We start with a scene in Yogi's hotel room in Boston the morning after the BIlly-Reggie brawl. Yogi is acting as peacemaker to BIlly and Reggie, calling a meeting between the two with Munson also reluctantly appearing., Of course there was no such meeting in real life, it's just a dramatic device to get the personalities of the Bronx Zoo together to express to each other what they felt etc.what they actually said and Yogi, the symbol of the past is disheartened to see the team coming apart. Next scene is Yogi at home with Carmen as he ponders what's happening to the team and then in the midst of his misery he starts seeing visions of Babe Ruth as the intermission comes.

    4-Act Two we have in this apparent dream of Yogi's (never stated explicitly) a dinner in which all the Yankee greats of the past (Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Howard) show up and it's a time for learning more about the enduring greatness of the Yankees through the changing eras of history but we also see the reality of how Billy-Reggie was not the first time there was bad feeling among players (how it even existed with Ruth-Gehrig and DiMaggio-Mantle). Now this dynamic would work if we just have the dream explicitly be this is 1977 (which is what it's designed to be) and this dinner in Yogi's dream is a way to offer reassurance that the Yankees are not going to self-destruct and will go on, and will win in 77. But what ruins this structurally though is that Jeter shows up at the dinner too and that doesn't make sense even in the dream context. They give Jeter some lines about the things that will come that are great (like when Mantle points out how salaries are now in the thousands, Jeter gets a laugh by bringing the other greats to slack-jawed silence when he says "millions") but IMO I think they confused audiences as to whether this dream/dinner is still taking place in 77 or not. They should have given Yogi a line about "Who are you?" and Jeter should be answering about how he represents what's still to come, or else they should have left Jeter out of this scene altogether. But I think the writers felt Jeter *had* to be in the scene so the younger fans could feel a connection in this scene.

    5-Final scene has Yogi at the Stadium before its last game in 08 and Reggie returns and we now see how after the squabble of Scene 1, Reggie realizes the greatness of what it means to be a Yankee etc. and then Berra tells Jeter why its important for him to make the final speech before the ballpark closes and the ending is audio of Jeter's actual speech. Made for a great moment, but I think this scene could have been longer and the dinner shortened so Jeter could have had an expanded role in the final scene and appearing only in that final scene. Then it would have worked better.

    Like I said, I had a good time and most everyone did it seemed (lot of older men in Yankee hats and shirts, most of whom I think were Mantle fanatics. When the actor playing Mantle appeared wearing #7, he got the biggest applause after Yogi's entrance at the beginning of the play) It was 90% capacity in this little theater in the round (its an intimate thing not meant for a big stage) and I suspect they got some extra business like mine because of the close notice. Give them credit for still being professionals and putting on a good show even though they now have to carry the stigma of the play having failed. But it is a show strictly for Yankee fans, and I have to admit having read about my share of plays by Cub fans and Red Sox fans, I'm glad my team finally got one of its own.


    • #3
      Here's a Sports Illustrated piece about the production (also noting its closing). I do agree with them that it captures perfectly the human side of the Yankee greats even while maintaining their larger than life aura they exude for fans across the generations. While I think again the play had a couple flaws in it, it was still a solid and commendable effort.


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