Review Roundup: BRONX BOMBERS Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!
Bronx Bombers, a new American play by Eric Simonson, produced on Broadway by Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, and directed by Eric Simonson, officially opens tonight, February 6, 2014 at Circle in the Square Theatre.
Starring Peter Scolari as Yogi Berra, the cast also features Francois Battiste (Reggie Jackson), Chris Henry Coffey (Joe DiMaggio), Bill Dawes (Mickey Mantle), Christopher Jackson (Derek Jeter), Keith Nobbs (Billy Martin), Tracy Shayne (Carmen Berra), John Wernke (Lou Gehrig) and C.J. Wilson (Babe Ruth). The design team includes Beowulf Borritt (Sets), David C. Woolard (Costumes), Jason Lyons (Lights) and Lindsay Jones (Original Music & Sound).
Ruth. Berra. Mantle. DiMaggio. Gehrig. Jeter. The New York Yankees have never had a shortage of star players... or controversy. Bronx Bombers is a new American play from the team behind Broadway's Lombardi that follows beloved icon Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen through a century of the team's trials and triumphs, bringing generations of Yankee greats together on one stage.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: Strange though it may sound, this pinstriped pantheon sits down to dine together in a dream sequence from "Bronx Bombers," an affectionate celebration of Yankee greatness (with a smidgen of Yankee angst) written and directed by Eric Simonson...The drama inherent in clashing egos gives "Bronx Bombers" some natural juice in the early innings, but the suspense about whether Martin will be axed - and Berra will agree to replace him - more or less gets benched in the play's second act.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: The first sign a major knuckleball is coming in the baseball play "Bronx Bombers" is when the smoke machines crank up. Until then, Eric Simonson's script is an unremarkable behind-the-scenes look at a moment in 1977 when the New York Yankees were in crisis...Simonson...also directs "Bronx Bombers," and he does so with such reverence to the baseball franchise that it veers into fairy tale. Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees put money in the show, and it shows. The play played off-Broadway last year and has been tweaked since then, but not enough to make it more than Yankee advertising.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: The third in a series of sports-themed Broadway productions that are as much promotional as dramatic-the Yankees and Major League Baseball are among the presenters--Bronx Bombers offers little for those who are not already ardent fans of the venerable sports franchise...The effective cast of last year's original off-Broadway production is largely intact, with the exception of Scolari, who's touching and funny as the ever-awkward Berra. And the moving final scene, set in the Yankees locker room on the day of the final game at the original stadium, will surely strike a chord with nostalgists. But Bronx Bombers is ultimately too lightweight to score a theatrical home run.
Marilyn Stasio, Variety: So, what's next - golf? Scribe-for-hire Eric Simonson and producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo have this factory assembly-line thing going with pro sports organizations: First came "Lombardi," backed by the National Football League, then "Magic / Bird" with the National Basketball Association, and now, "Bronx Bombers," which has the blessing of the Yankees and Major League Baseball. Marketing this one might be more of a challenge, though. With the exception of the baseball-crazy Japanese, can you sell the Broadway tourist audience on this rah-rah cheer for the home team?
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: Early in the 20th century, a group of extraordinary men came together, devoted to providing lesser mortals constant examples of physical and spiritual excellence. In the years that followed, they endured all manner of tragedy and adversity to stick together, so that we, too, could survive as a nation. This is not a reference to some elite military unit or civil-service organization, but to the New York Yankees, the subject of Bronx Bombers (* * out of four stars), the new play/hagiography that opened Thursday at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre.