Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are heading to Broadway

18 Feb

Basketball has long been a staple of Hollywood films and television. The sport is full of so much inherent drama that it lends itself extremely well to narrative art — just stick on a love interest and some kind of emotional arc and you’ve found a hit. Think “Hoosiers,” “Coach Carter,” “One Tree Hill,” or “Hang Time.” Someone even tried to make Shakespeare’s “Othello” into a basketball story.

For the most part, though, basketball doesn’t fare very well in the theater, mostly because the stage doesn’t allow for the five-man artistry of the game unless you’re performing in the round. Nevertheless, Broadway will tackle the NBA soon with a new play about two of its greatest stars. From Chris Jones on (and first seen on Howard Beck’s Twitter):

The Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Eric Simonson appears to have found a viable new niche: plays about sports figures.
Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, the producers of Simonson’s “Lombardi,” currently telling the story of Vince Lombardi on Broadway, announced Thursday that they will produce a new play called “Magic/Bird,” a piece telling the “intertwined life stories” of the basketball greats Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Just as “Lombardi” was produced with the help of National Football League, “Magic/Bird” will have the backing of the National Basketball Association. Bird and Johnson will also participate in Simonson’s new project, scheduled to debut on Broadway in 2012.

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