By Ernie Palladino
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Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo must really need a gimme at this point.
The producers of the Broadway plays “Lombardi” and “Magic/Bird” are now contemplating a show about the Yankees. They’ll collaborate with the team and the Major League baseball on the as yet untitled project.
There is no timeline, but if the two are really serious about this, the whole thing from concept to writing to production should take, oh, about 15 minutes, tops. After all, what team in sports has produced more zaniness, more drama, more theater over more eras, than those crazy people in pinstripes.
They may have to dig a little deeper for something to throw up on the marquee, however. “The Bronx Zoo?” Nope. Already taken. “Curse of the Bambino?” Too dated, and who was that Babe Ruth guy, anyway? “Look Homeward Jeter?” Eh!
“Life of A-Rod?” Now that’s a possibility.
Perhaps the ticket is “The Pinstriped Menagerie.” Got a Tennessee Williams kind of lilt to it, don’t you think? And so appropriate, because you just can’t produce a play about the Bronx Bombers without including some of the real characters that peopled its World Series-mongering history.
Start with that Ruth fellow back in the early 1930s. Yeah, sure, talk about his homers. But Kirmser and Ponturo, who plan to take the history from that point until the present, can also use him to give their production a “Hair”-like flavor. Remember how the cast all came out butt-naked in the end? Well, they could re-enact that old saw about Ruth busting in on the reporters’ card game on the train, stark raving bare, with an equally flesh-flashing woman chasing him with a knife.
True story. A bunch of drunken sportswriters would never lie about a thing like that.
The producers would probably have to include Reggie Jackson to keep the show credible, but they’d also do well to throw in a Steve Sax character. Throw a first baseman out there on a stage diamond, put Sax at second, and let him throw balled-up T-shirts symbolizing an easy ground ball into the crowd, the first baseman looking aghast as Sax misses him by 10 feet.
The Mick and Joe D? Yeah, they’re all in there. But for incisive, interesting dialogue, they’ll need Yogi Berra, too. And Ol’ Casey Stengel. Easy stuff. Grab any book on their ‘isms and go to town.
But who should they get for a leading man?
Jeter, perhaps. Squeaky clean. Handsome. Find a couple of starlet types — not ingenues, mind you, because they’re too inexperienced in THAT way. Jeter could probably give the guys a couple of phone numbers, strictly for research purposes, of course.
Can’t do without an owner. Mitt Romney as Steinbrenner? Maybe. Fired enough people in his day. He may be a little too wooden, though. Trump, if he’ll tone down that hair.
Should be a good show. Kirmser and Ponturo say they plan to have it out by next year, or 2014 at the latest.
No word on ticket pricing yet. But if they really want to add some realism, they’d sell the rear orchestra and mezzanine for $125 a shot and leave Rows A-L uninhabited, just like those special club seats behind the plate.
Have any great ideas for the Yankees play? Be heard in the comments below!