I know the Magic Johnson/Larry Bird story. A lot of us do. So when I walked into Broadway's Longacre theater last night, I was really curious to see how they pulled off telling me a story I already know in their production of "Magic/Bird."
Here's the thing. I didn't know it like this.
This might have been the last, untold dimension of the story. It's not just the first-hand account of the story. Most of us have heard Larry and Magic talk about their relationship. But we have only heard Larry and Magic tell the stories after the fact. What Magic/Bird does is transport you back in time so you can see things as they happened.
For example, I knew that Larry and Magic started to become friends during the filming of their Converse commercial. In the play, you got to hear the conversation. You got to see Larry Bird's mom talking to Magic, embarrassing Larry, and then the two megastars with opposite personalities and upbringings realize they were, in many ways, also exactly the same.
Tug Coker hooked me on his performance of Larry Bird early on in a scene where he was talking to Red Auerbach about an injured finger. Red said "shoot"… and Coker assumed a picture perfect Bird shooting form. For a hardcore fan like me, it was a little detail that nailed it for me.
I'm not going to get into a full review of the show other than to say I really liked it. It was funny when it had to be, serious when needed, and slickly produced by interspersing actual footage. As a pure sports fan who had never been to a broadway show before, I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the show.
The most important thing for those of us who know the story inside and out is that it's a glimpse into how these guys reacted to each other, and what each of them were doing on their respective teams. It's as close to being there as I've been. I've read, seen and heard the accounts of the story, even the first hand accounts. But I've never seen it like this before. Magic/Bird just gets it all right.
To purchase tickets, click here.
To see more about the cast, click here.
More photos from the production after the jump