Magic/Bird: new 'sports' play by Eric Simonson

Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, the producers of 'Lombardi' (currently running on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre) have announced their next Broadway collaboration, Magic/Bird.

A new play by Oscar winner, Steppenwolf Theater Company member, and 'Lombardi' playwright Eric Simonson, Magic/Bird chronicles the intertwined life stories of basketball Hall of Famers 'Larry Bird' and 'Earvin "Magic" Johnson.'

The play will be produced in association with the National Basketball Association and Johnson and Bird themselves will participate in the creative process of this completely original play."

PRress notesdescribe Bird and Johnson as being "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 1980's. 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 character cast, is scheduled to debut on Broadway in 2012. The director, casting and the show's creative team are still to be announced.

Larry Bird says, “I am fortunate to be working with great professionals such as Fran, Tony and Eric. I am looking forward to working with them to create a story for the Broadway stage about such an exciting and important time in my life.”

Earvin "Magic" Johnson says, “I have great love and respect for Larry Bird, and am elated that our personal and professional relationship will now be exposed to an even larger audience through this dramatic production. Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo have a proven record not just of creating a successful production, but in making sure the story depicted is historically correct and impactful to a wide audience, and I am looking forward to assisting and supporting this effort in any way possible.”

“Many know Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as phenomenal athletes but there lies a fiercely competitive relationship, great love and respect between the two men forged from the trenches of professional basketball. At a time when we’ve recently seen so many unhealthy competitive relationships, Magic/Bird will tell the story of how these two men - one from the midwest, White, a privatte person and one from urban America, African-American, and extremely outgoing - entered into a healthy yet fiercce competition and exhilarated basketball fans across the nation,” said producer Fran Kirmser.

“The play will be fast-paced, mirroring the game of basketball, and will utilize film and photos from their historic competitive days. These men worked hard and pushed one another, transforming the sport of Basketball and beyond, and significantly touching our popular culture,” added producer Tony Ponturo.

David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA states, “The NBA is proud to support Magic/Bird, highlighting their rivalry from rookies in the NBA to Olympic Dream Team as a story for all ages, and one that we expect to be great theater on the Broadway stage as it was on the basketball court.”

Larry Bird and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson