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October 1, 2014

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Magic Johnson & Larry Bird Play Set For Broadway

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As NBA Allstar weekend is upon us, it was announced that two of the league's all-time greats, Larry Bird and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson will be the subject of an upcoming Broadway play aptly titled,'Magic/Bird.'

The developing theater piece, which is being produced by Fran Kirmser, Tony Ponturo, and Eric Simonson -- the creative minds behind 'Lombardi,' is set to chronicle the parallel careers of sport's most memorable rivalries.

"Many know Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as phenomenal athletes but there lies a fiercely competitive relationship, great love and respect between the two men forged from the trenches of professional basketball," professed Kirmser. "At a time when we've recently seen so many unhealthy competitive relationships, Magic/Bird will tell the story of how these two men – one from the midwest, White, a private person and one from urban America, African-American, and extremely outgoing – entered into a healthy yet fierce competition and exhilarated basketball fans across the nation."

In addition to Bird's and Johnson's involvement, the National Basketball Association will also lend a hand in the play's creative process, which will mirror the game of basketball mixed with a combination of film and photos captured from the height of the hall of famer's respective careers.

For Bird, recreating his on court competitiveness for the Broadway stage is more than exciting.

"I am fortunate to be working with great professionals such as Fran, Tony and Eric," said the Bostin Celtics Hall of Famer. "I am looking forward to working with them to create a story for the Broadway stage about such an exciting and important time in my life."

As for Johnson, the innovative project is a chance to expose his personal and professional relationship with the Indiana native to a larger audience.

"I have great love and respect for Larry Bird, and am elated that our personal and professional relationship will now be exposed to an even larger audience through this dramatic production," he said. "Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo have a proven record not just of creating a successful production, but in making sure the story depicted is historically correct and impactful to a wide audience, and I am looking forward to assisting and supporting this effort in any way possible."

'Magic/Bird' is set to debut on Broadway in 2012.



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Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
On the big screen, he's best known for voicing the character of Darth Vader in the 'Star Wars' franchise, but Mississippi-born James Earl Jones is an accomplished stage actor. Over his career, he's won seven Tony Awards since his 1969 breakout role in 'The Great White Hope.' Some of his notable performances include Oberon in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' and more recently as Big Daddy in the 2008 revival of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.' In October of 2010, he returned to the stage in 'Driving Miss Daisy' opposite Vanessa Redgrave.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
It takes some serious vocal chops to be the youngest winner of 'American Idol.' Given that's how Jordin Sparks got her start, it would come as no surprise that the 'No Air' singer would nail the role of Nina in the musical about growing up in Washington Heights, 'In the Heights.' Sparks made her Broadway debut late summer of 2010.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
After years of toiling on TV shows and films, acclaimed actors Ernie Hudson (of 'Oz' fame) and LaTanya Richardson Jackson (previously seen in 'The Fighting Temptations') made their Broadway debuts in the critically acclaimed revival of the August Wilson play 'Joe Turner's Come And Gone,' which opened at the Belasco Theatre on April 16, 2009. The story is set in a Pittsburgh boarding house circa 1911 and features a colorful cast of characters played by Chad L. Coleman, Roger Robinson, Aunjanue Ellis, Andre Holland, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arliss Howard, Danai Gurira, Michael Cummings and Amari Rose Leigh.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
Fans of Disney's 'High School Musical' franchise headed to Broadway to check out Corbin Bleu's Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning musical 'In the Heights.' The 21 year-old thespian, who is a native of Brooklyn, New York and trained under Debbie Allen's tutelage, took over the lead role of Usnavi in the spring of 2010.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
Hollywood heavyweight Cedric The Entertainer joined Tony Award nominee John Leguizamo and Academy Award nominee Hayley Joel Osment in a November 2008 revival of David Mamet's classic play, 'American Buffalo,' which played a short riun at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway. Following three small-time crooks who wax philosophically about society while conspiring to steal a rare and valuable coin from a neighborhood collector, the Oscar Joyner produced production marked the funnyman's debut on The Great White Way.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
'American Idol' Season 1 finalist Tamyra Gray blazed a new trail on Broadway when she revamped the look of lead character Mimi, a drug addicted HIV positive spitfire in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical 'Rent.' It wasn't the first time around the track for the former Georgia pageant queen; she previously starred in the Indian inspired outing, 'Bombay Dreams.'

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
Patti LaBelle joined the cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical 'Fela!' on Sept. 14, 2010. The Grammy Award-winning diva took over for Lillias White, who originated the Broadway role of the African musical pioneer's mother. The musical's big-name producers, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith came out to cheer on Patti for her first performance.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
Having already criss-crossed the world as a member of the most successful girl group of all-time, Destiny's Child, and appeared on Broadway replacing Toni Braxton as the title character in 'Aida,' in 2003, Michelle Williams took her return to The Great White Way seriously. She first played the lead role of Roxie Hart across the pond in the West End production of 'Chicago' in July of 2009 before shaking it up on Broadway.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
Academy Award winning film veteran Morgan Freeman made a return to The Great White Way in April 2008. The last time the 'Million Dollar Baby' actor appeared on the Broadway stage before: 1988's 'The Gospel at Colonus.' As Frank Elgin, the Memphis native took on a roll traditionally played by a white actor in the Mike Nichols-directed revival.

Black Famous Faces In Theater

Black Stars Light Up The Great White Way
Hip-hop superstar Sean "Diddy" Combs won rave reviews as Walter Lee Younger in the 2002 revival of the classic play 'A Raisin in the Sun.'

Black Famous Faces In Theater



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