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'Magic/Bird' to finish its Broadway run May 12

May 01, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • Tug Coker, left, and Kevin Daniels star as Celtics forward Larry Bird and Lakers guard Magic Johnson in "Magic/Bird."
Tug Coker, left, and Kevin Daniels star as Celtics forward Larry Bird and… (Joan Marcus / Associated…)

"Magic/Bird" -- the Broadway production for those basketball fans who watched those great Lakers and Celtics games from the '80s and thought, "I bet that will make a great play someday" -- has announced it will close only a month after it opened. 

Focusing on the rivalry and friendship that developed out of the different styles and personalities between the Lakers' Earvin "Magic" Johnson and the Celtics' Larry Bird, the play looked to follow in the sports-meets-theater footsteps of director Thomas Kail's "Lombardi," a play about the Green Bay Packers' coach Vince Lombardi that ran for seven months despite middling reviews.

Though written with the involvement of the real-life stars, "Magic/Bird" failed to capture the same -- sorry to say it -- magic. The critics were less than impressed, with many simply noting the difficulty in capturing the excitement of professional basketball in the theater. The New York Times' Charles Isherwood noted that the achievements of two athletes at the story's center "can probably never be dramatized in any truly engaging manner onstage."

In a statement released Tuesday, producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo said, "'We are so proud that we were able to do this on Broadway, and though it ran a limited time, it attracted many new audiences to the theater as well as provided a vehicle for many young people to attend their first show. . . . Like Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird, our incredible team created something special, worked tirelessly and left it all on the court."

The play's final peformance is scheduled for May 12.


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