By FRANK RIZZO, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hartford Courant
April 27, 2014
How many musicals can you name that have been centered on a sport? And how many succeeded? "Damn Yankees" remains the champ with 1,019 performances, but there have been other attempts at making sport figures sing.
>>"Lysistrata Jones" in 2011 centered on a basketball team. Alas, the run double dribbled, despite a witty book by Douglas Carter Beane. It ran 30 performances. Could be a good booking at UConn though.
>>"The First" in 1981 was about Jackie Robinson's breakthrough into the big leagues of baseball. It starred David Alan Grier just out of the Yale School of Drama. But it was a swing and a miss with only 37 performances.
>>"Good News" with the big football game at its center was a hit the first time out in 1927 with a 557 performances; less so in the 1974 revival with 16.
>>"All American" in 1962 — also about football — starred Ray Bolger, had music by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, directed by Josh Logan, book by Mel Brooks. It dropped the ball. Lasted 86 performances.
>>Boxing had a few shows as inspiration. "Golden Boy" was a vehicle for Sammy Davis Jr. in 1964 and lasted 568 performances. "Rocky" just opened on Broadway and is now playing.
>>Though 1978's "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" centered on the title location, its plot involved a football team performing a show-stopping number. A big win at 1,584 performances, though not technically a sports musical.
>>Though never making it to Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber took a kick at soccer in "The Beautiful Game" in England and the Red Sox got another batter's up with "Johnny Baseball" first in 2010 at American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. (directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus) and then in a separate production in 2013 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
>>And, of course, there's "Chess."
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