I have to warn you from the beginning this review is completely biased. I am a die hard Yankee fan. I'm pretty sure when I was a baby my diapers had pin stripes and a big blue NY logo in the front. Having disclosed that, I can tell you I truly enjoyed this production. The story begins with a hotel meeting between Yogi Berra (the story's protagonist), Thurman Munson, Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson over the clubhouse ruckus stemming from Martin's pulling Jackson off the field in the middle of an inning of a Red Sox game for what he viewed as Reggie dogging it on a fly ball. Continuing on we get to see our old Yankee heros again, Mickey Mantle, Elston Howard, Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and of course the Babe himself. The dialog is based on actual occurrences on and off the field. What I enjoyed most about the play is it gives you the feel of each legend's personality and how he acted and reacted to his team mates. It also gives you insight on Yogi and his wife Cora's beautiful partnership in their marriage. In addition, the play lets you in on why some of the players felt the way they did especially in the early days of black integration into baseball and the lack of recognition they were due. The dialog also reveals aspects of big league baseball that unfortunately everyone knows, particularly, today's inflated salaries and egos, selfish ball playing for player's own records rather than thinking of their team, player jealousy, team infighting and all the rest of the problems that stem from big money, high pressure and public exposure. It also brings out the differences in the attitudes of the modern day players and their predecessors. ( Did you ever watch the movie "When It Was A Game"? You should ). Don't get me wrong, I still love baseball and most of the players are upstanding gentlemen but the money aspect of the game sure gets in the way of having fun. The playwright/director, Eric Simonson, who also penned the play Lombardi, seems to have done his homework regarding the Yankee players and the Yankee organization's pride and philosophy. Mr. Simonson gives his play great dialog and good (although not very challenging) direction. I think anyone will (or should) enjoy this play however you will enjoy it much more if you are a Yankee fan and the bigger the fan the more you will enjoy it. However if you are a Red Sox fan, as we say in the Bronx-- Fugetaboutit!!!
The Duke on 42nd Street
229 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036Click for map and directions
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