Basketball legend (and new owner of the LA Dodgers) Earvin “Magic” Johnson advised the actor who’s portraying him in the Broadway musical “Magic/Bird” to smile more. “I’m the smiling, fun-loving guy,” he said. No doubt. The play, about the rivalry turned friendship between Magic and Celtic superstar Larry Bird, is slated for the venerable Longacre Theatre. Despite the subject matter, the actors will not play basketball on stage. Could be a trend: rumor has it that the upcoming James Bond musical will contain no espionage.
Sports and Showbiz have long been interlinked – think Marilyn and DiMaggio – and Beantown loves to trod the boards. Legend has it that Boston Red Sox owner (and Broadway aspirant) Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 in order to finance the musical “No, No Nanette,” which was also staged at the Longacre Theatre. The Babe was sold for $125,000, a devil’s deal that included a near century of losing. Magic bought the Dodgers for $2 billion, smiling all the way.