In this somewhat dull albeit affectionate tribute to The Yankees – past and present, alive and dead, famous and not as famous that Eric Simonson has written (first strike) and directed (second strike) called BRONX BOMBERS that is running out of steam at the Circle in The Square, Yogi Berra (Peter Scolari – in a part that fits him like a catcher’s glove) is trying to settle a rift between arrogant new comer Reggie Jackson (Francois Battiste), team captain Thurman Munson (Bill Dawes) and cry baby, wild man manager dressed like a cowboy Billy Martin (Keith Nobbs) in the summer of 1977.
There is a lot of pep talk from Yogi about team spirit and the great tradition of The Yankees – peppered with a few funny Yogi-isms that have become famous…but there is more to the rift than meets the eye as Munson resents Reggie’s color and higher salary. Not much is resolved.
Mrs. Berra (Tracy Shayne) descends in a bed from above for the second scene and we wonder if she has been waiting up there all this time. At least I did. She tries to calm our tiger in a cage who paces around wearing out the carpet that has now covered the Yankees logo on the stage like arena designed by Beowulf Boritt as he begins to see players from the past in his dreams.
Bringing us to Act II where fantasy reigns as Mrs. Berra scurries around setting a very formal dinner table for their guests in pin stripes that include: Mickey Mantle (Bill Dawes) drinking heavily, Lou Gehrig (an excellent John Wernke) drinking milk, Mr. High-and-Mighty Joe DiMaggio (Chris Henry Coffey) dapper in suit and tie, Elston Howard (Francois Battiste) the first black man to play for The Yankees, a boisterous Babe Ruth (C.J. Wilson) with fur coat, cigar and booze – and to bring us up to date Derek Jeter (Christopher Jackson).
They all have some rifts to resolve too – but really don’t. We do get some bits and pieces of historical data about each of the players and Yankee Stadium and that the fans are to be thanked for their success.
There is also a running gag concerning potatoes (strike three).
BRONX BOMBERS is like a collection of baseball cards attempting to come to life but ultimately striking out with only one three dimensional home run performance given by Mr. Scolari as Yogi Berra as he says his sentimental good-byes to the old stadium in a locker room in 2008.
Photos: Joan Marcus
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