More Yankee Drama: 'Joey Pants' to Play Yogi in New Play

Jerry MilaniContributor IAugust 2, 2013

Joe Pantoliano (photo by Justin Hoch photographing for Hudson Union Society)
Joe Pantoliano (photo by Justin Hoch photographing for Hudson Union Society)

As if A-Rod hasn’t caused enough drama in the Bronx these days, the production team that brought the popular “Lombardi” and “Magic/Bird” to the theater is stirring up some more.

This week they announced the cast for their latest go-around, this one starting off-Broadway, September 17 through October 19 at Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd St. in N.Y., with plans to potentially go to Broadway later in the year.

Written and Directed by Academy Award-winning director Eric Simonson, Bronx Bombers will take fans through the history of the Yankees, through the eyes of some of its biggest stars. For Sopranos fans—or fans of The Goonies or Risky Business—popular character actor Joe Pantoliano will play the role of Yogi Berra, who along with Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Elston Howard, Reggie Jackson and even Derek Jeter, will take fans inside the lives of one of the world’s most powerful sports brands.

In addition to “Joey Pants,” theater-goers who enjoyed Lombardi will recognize Bill Dawes, who played Paul Hornung, and Keith Nobbs, who played the reporter in the drama of the legendary Green Bay Packers coach. Dawes will take on the dual roles of Mickey Mantle and Thurman Munson (talk about a juxtaposition of personalities), while Nobbs will play the late Billy Martin.

Francois Battiste (Broadway’s Magic/Bird), Chris Henry Coffey (Off-Broadway’s Water by the Spoonful), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s In the Heights, Memphis), and John Wernke (Broadway’s The Lyons) will round out the announced cast.

Two other roles—Carmen Berra and Babe Ruth—were not announced as part of Thursday’s lineup.

Lombardi ran for eight months at Circle In the Square Theater and helped re-ignite the careers of Dan Lauria and Judith Light, who played Vince and Marie Lombardi, respectively. Lauria is currently on the TBS series “Sullivan and Son” and had a key role in the Tony-nominated play A Christmas Story, while Light has garnered a pair of Tony awards in the past few years since Lombardi (which she also had a Tony nomination for her role).

Magic/Bird had a much shorter run on Broadway, chronicling the lives and the friendship of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Both those shows were straight to Broadway, while this drama, which could be the best baseball news in New York if the Mets and Yankees continue their summer malaise, could be the salve for a sore New York baseball fan's heart come the fall.

No plans seem to be in the works to add the star-crossed Rodriguez, who may have plenty of time to do other things should his suspension take hold.