MAGIC BIRD COMBINES THEATER WITH CHILDREN’S PHILANTHROPY
I was lucky enough to attend the performance at the invitation of The MOMS, Denise Albert & Melissa Gerstein, along with Kids Foot Locker who teamed up with The Max Cure Foundation “Dunk Your Kicks.”
The “Dunk Your Kicks” program provides a chance for kids to discover the joys of philanthropy. They “dunked” their old sneakers into recycling bins to help find a cure for pediatric cancer and giving support to local families dealing with the disease. For every pair of sneakers “dunked,” Max Cure receives $1, which goes directly towards local families battling pediatric cancer. Out of every dollar collected for cancer research, only three cents goes to pediatric cancer research. Max Cure is the remedy:
Sated with sushi, I sat down in the theater and watched the ceiling with the bright lights come down, shining on the parquet where that allows for dribbling and fancy footwork in this Kirmser Ponturo Production that also brought Lombardi to Broadway. Jerseys hang on the wall. A locker room is at the left. All through the show, there was a thrilling interplay between footage from the 1980’s that gave the story line and the stage performers. Minimum staging that maximally delivered!
Magic Bird is the story of the unlikely friendship between Larry Bird (Tug Coker) of the Celtics and his rival, Michael Jordan (Kevin Daniels) of the Lakers. Larry Bird who is Caucasian and a man of so few words that most of the drama is in his gestures and African-American Michael Jordan who has a gift for quick thinking and snappy dialogue on stage as well as in life.
The play really began, for me, toward the middle when Dinah Bird (Deirdre O’Connell) has her son invite Michael to lunch and she praises Michael and other basketball greats, everyone except her own son. Michael sees how simply Larry lives, how he does all his own work on his property, like his father did before him, hurting his hands, his back, instead of hiring someone when he can easily afford to. While Larry keeps to himself and his mother, Michael loves the public eye off the court, and the ladies besides his woman, Cookie.
We all know what happened after Michael Jordan got the HIV virus. It was Larry who supported him when no one else wanted to play basketball with Michael. He not only helped him financially (which isn’t stressed in the play), but also believed in him, and was at his side at the Olympics when they both brought gold medals back to the U.S.
This is probably a play more for basketball fans. People were laughing at remarks about basketball that whizzed right over my head without a slam dunk. And for those who know the story already, it will probably bring up material that never made it into the play, but will pull at tug at your heartstrings nonetheless.