Ciaran Sheehan, one of the truly great stars of Broadway and the man who has played the lead in " The Phantom of the Opera" for over 1,000 performances, will play the part of Bobby Murcer in my off Broadway show, "Batboy — A Yankee Miracle."
The play is the story of a batboy and his love affair with the Bronx Zoo Yankees of the 1970’s.
Even though people say that they resembled a dysfunctional family, through the eyes of the batboy he found the family that he had been craving for.
In Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer he had two big brothers who made him feel like a man. In Reggie Jackson he had a brother that made him understand that it was okay to try and reach for the stars.
Even though I was a Latino man of color, George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin always wanted me to feel like I belonged anywhere and to always be a positive influence for all.
When picking the man that would play Bobby Murcer I had to get someone that could truly deliver the love that one brother truly had for another. When I saw Ciaran in "Les Miserables" and saw one of his four sold out shows at Carnegie Hall years ago, I knew that he would someday be my Bobby Murcer.
About Seven years ago, I actually mentioned this project to Ciaran and being the Yankee fan that I know he is, I knew I had him!
I have known Joey Gian for just about most of my life.
We did our first film together in 1982, "Blue Skies Again," for Warner Brothers.
We actually costarred in the film with Andy Garcia.
Joey went on to fame and fortune by being a five time champion on the television talent show, "Star Search," the "American Idol" of that era.
He starred with music mega star Diana Ross in two of the biggest music videos of the 1980s. He went on to become detective Tom Ryan opposite Nicolette Sheridan in one of television’s all-time great series, "Knots Landing."
He wrote most of the music in the wonderful film "Return to Me" which happened to be the last film that Carroll O Connor (Archie Bunker of television's "All in the Family") would do.
The thing that most people didn’t know about Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer was the fact that they both loved music so much. Thurman was especially fond of Neil Diamond, idolizing him.
I remember the first time I was driving him to Teterboro airport and he put an 8-track music tape of Diamond on. I asked Thurman, "What’s with this corny music?"
He slapped me on my Afro and said, "Don’t let your mouth get you in trouble."
When I saw that he was serious, I apologized. In the clubhouse he was always singing a Neil Diamond song. He also liked soul music — and could he dance!
Joey Gian is the perfect Thurman Munson in this play and I think the Munson and Murcer family will feel proud.
Mickey Rivers will portray himself in the play. I wanted a Yankee that lived the era and since Mickey still looks like he did in the 1970s and he understand the love that we all had for each other I knew that he had to be involved in this project.
(Artwork by John Pennisi. Used with permission)
"Batboy — A Yankee Miracle" will premier Sunday June 24 at the Argyle Theatre, Babylon Village, in New York. For tickets you can call the box office or order tickets online.
Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, "Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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