When Magic Johnson first heard that some producers wanted to make a play about his relationship and rivalry with Larry Bird, he thought they were crazy. Bird was just as skeptical.
“I said ‘Larry, they want to do this play,’ and there was silence on the phone. He said, ‘What?’ But he warmed up to it and when Fran and Tony talked to him, he was really impressed with them. We decided, let's do it and it has been great.”
Fran and Tony are Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, who also responsible for surprising Broadway with Lombardi , a play about Packers coach Vince Lombardi which defied odds to become the longest running play on Broadway in the 2010-11 season.
How have they translated sports plays into a viable business?
By bringing a different demographic into the plush seats.
“The usual theater goer is female and 35 to 65 years old, that go with their gal friends to the theater,” Kirmser said. “That's the typical consumer. What's happening with this, is they're all grabbing their husbands and their boyfriends and saying, ‘Come on, you gotta come and see this.’ The content of the show is drawing all the sports fans, all of us that remember watching them play.”
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