PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Bronx Bombers — Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

By Harry Haun
07 Feb 2014

"Since the original Off-Broadway run, I feel like I rewrote a lot," he said. "What I've done is I've asked a lot of people who saw the Primary Stages production and this production, and said, 'What have you noticed?' What they told me is that it's gotten better. Which is a step in the right direction, right?... I've included Babe Ruth more in the first act, but I did most of the work in the second act, finessing this long and complicated scene that involves all the Yankees. I was trying to do five things at once with this scene. Seeing it over and over again at Primary Stages and hearing the audiences' reaction allowed me to go over and really tinker with that. I think that's where most of the changes came in."

John Wernke is aware that his role in the proceedings — "Iron Man" Gehrig — has an undisguisable saintly side. "It's always fun to play bad guys, but sometimes it's fun to make a really good guy," he said. "I think that Eric is really focusing a lot on Lou and Thurman Munson — guys who did not get to live out their legacy."

Francois Battiste and C.J.Wilson
photo by Monica Simoes

C.J. Wilson brings plenty of gruff bluster and outsized chutzpah to The Babe. "I've loved studying him and getting to know so much about him. It's been a labor of love researching him." And, yes, he knew whose birthday it was. "I don't look a day over 118."

On your way out of Circle in the Square, in the lobby, you can see the 1977 World Series Trophy that the New York Yankees won after Yogi's weird dream.

The bill of fare at the Edison Ballroom after-party showed the ballpark influence: Jumbo hotdogs, meat and chicken sliders, several pastas and mac and cheese.

First-nighters were a festive mix of sports and showbiz: Gregg Edelman, off next week to film "Air Disturbance," an in-flight horror-show; "The Television Voice of the Yankees," Michael Kay, and his newscaster-anchor wife, Jodi Applegate; Big Fish's Kate Baldwin and Mamma Mia's Graham Rowat, sans their Little Leaguer; Yankee outfielder from 1965 to 1979, Roy White; the Bullets Over Broadway contingent (Karen Ziemba, six-foot-five Nick Cordero, Lenny Wolpe and Betsy Wolfe); a trio of MLB Network hosts/reporters (Brian Kenny, Heidi Watney and Greg Amsinger); Leap of Faith's Jessica Phillips; Twister Sister singer Dee Snider and his wife, Suzette; MLB pitcher Dan Plesac; Lysistrata Jones' Josh Segarra; sportscaster Dave Valle; Dan Grimaldi of "The Sopranos" and his sister, Louise; Yankee infielder from 1962 to 1968, Phil Linz; Rock of Ages' Rebecca Faulkenberry; Fox entertainment reporter Tom Murro; and Natalie Roy of "Conduct Unbecoming."