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Tug Coker Set to Lead Broadway's MAGIC/BIRD

Producers of MAGIC BIRD, Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, announced today the title role of Hall of Fame Basketball Player and Celtics Legend Larry Bird will be played by Tug Coker. Tug Coker will be making his Broadway debut with the role of Larry Bird. Tug has been seen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (American Repertory Theatre, Boston, MA), as well as various guest starring appearances in television shows to include; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, How I Met Your Mother, and The Office. He holds an M.F.A. from the Institute at Harvard University. Tug played NCAA college basketball before becoming an actor.

The complete six-character cast and additional production information will be announced shortly.

Joining Kirmser Ponturo Group as a special producing partner is the National Basketball Association, marking the organization’s first foray on Broadway. The NBA has authorized use of its logo and NBA entertainment’s film footage and general archives to support the artistic authenticity of the production. The league will also help promote and market the play. The NBA basketball season is scheduled to begin on December 25th ,2011 with a Celtics VS. Knicks at Madison Square Garden, NYC.

Larry Bird says, “I look forward to experiencing Tug’s portrayal of me during that fun and exciting time in my life. I am fortunate to be working with great professionals such as Fran, Tony and Eric to create this story for the Broadway Stage.”

“Having grown up a Celtics fan I am extremely excited, humbled and privileged to play Larry Bird.”, says Tug.

MAGIC BIRD, directed by Tony Nominee Thomas Kail (Lombardi, In The Heights) will reunite with Lombardi playwright and Oscar Winner and Emmy Nominee, Eric Simonson on MAGIC BIRD, a New American Play chronicling the intertwined life stories of two of the most influential figures in sports and pop culture of the past 25 years, basketball Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. The creative team is David Korins (Set), Howell Binkley (Lighting), Paul Tazewell (Costumes), Nevin Steinberg (Sound) and Wendell K. Harrington (Projections), who will weave historic NBA film footage throughout the play.

Johnson and Bird themselves have participated in the creative process of this completely original play.

At the heart of one of the fiercest rivalries in sports history, two of the greatest basketball players of all-time battled for three championships, bragging rights, and the future of their sport in the 1980s. Johnson and Bird electrified the nation on the court, reinvigorated the NBA, and turned their rivalry into one of the greatest and most famous friendships in professional sports. The play, with a six actor cast, will premiere at a Broadway theatre TBA in Spring 2012.

This is the second original project undertaken by Kirmser and Ponturo. Together they share a common vision of bringing new, original plays to a wide, diverse audience of theatergoers, initially combining the drama of sports and entertainment through Kirmser Ponturo Group. Lombardi, and now MAGIC BIRD are the first two products of that vision.

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