A Musical Tribute to the Red Sox
The Associated Press story of the musical hit the national wire in mid-April, which led to coverage in papers from Bangor, Maine to York, Nebraska. The Chicago Tribune, whose Cub fans have their own curses to worry about, also ran the story, as did MSNBC.com and the CNN/SI web site.
'Curse of the Bambino' a Musical
By LISA LIPMAN
BOSTON (AP) — Former Red Sox owner Harry Frazee is fast asleep when Babe Ruth appears to him in a dream — the start of a recurring nightmare for Boston fans.
``With me goes the gaiter that held up your Sox and will leave wrinkles that you'll never ever steam,'' croons the Babe.
Yes, sports fans, ``The Curse of the Bambino'' is now a musical.
Amateur playwright David Kruh and composer Stephen Bergman have set to stage and music the saga of the Boston Red Sox, who have not won a World Series since 1918, just before Frazee sold the Babe to finance a musical of his own, ``No, No Nanette.''
The play opens Friday at the Lyric Stage Co. in Boston. It's a musical told as a Greek tragedy with four fans as the chorus.
``I'm fascinated by the fans,'' said Kruh, who grew up a New York Mets fan. ``They love this team. They will root for this team. They will spend money to watch this team. But they all expect that at some point ... that something will happen that will break their hearts.''
And it all goes back to the supposed curse of the Bambino.
The legendary hitter was sold in 1920 to the New York Yankees for $100,000 cash and a $300,000 mortgage on Fenway Park.
The Yankees went on to dominate baseball for decades, winning 26 World Series. The Red Sox, who had won five of the first 15 World Series, have not won since the Babe. They've been in four Series, agonizingly losing each in the seventh and final game.
The musical begins and ends in a man's living room as he watches the sixth game of the 1986 World Series between the Red Sox and the Mets. It was in that game that a ground ball went through Bill Buckner's legs with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, allowing the Mets to score the winning run. Two days later, the Mets won the series.
The musical flashes back to other low points in Red Sox history, all tied to or blamed on the curse.
Kruh came up with the idea several years ago, but he envisioned it as a serious work about the meaning of life and the significance of the sports world. Then he read a book about the Greek theatrical device of using a chorus and had a vision.
``I swear to God it was like that,'' Kruh said. ``But instead of a Greek chorus, I saw four men in raccoon coats. They were the royal rooters (a cheering section dating to the early 20th century), and I saw them standing behind a couch in which a man in suburban New England, in 1986, lamenting the sixth game of the World Series. And I knew I had a musical.''
Bergman, who grew up a Yankees fan in Miami, knew that a baseball musical might attract both theatergoers and sports fans. He uses various styles of music to represent the different Red Sox eras, including doo-wop, psychedelia and disco.
Once Bergman and Kruh finished the songs and had a working script, they hooked up with Spiro Veloudos, the artistic director of the Lyric Stage. Veloudos changed the script and the music but gave the show a shot.
It helped that Veloudos was a big Red Sox fan.
``There are three major events that I remember where I was when they happened: the Kennedy assassination, the Challenger explosion and the ball going through Buckner's legs,'' Veloudos said. ``I put my hand through the wall after that.''
Though the show is a love letter to the team, the real Red Sox haven't shown any desire to be involved, Bergman said.
``We made a couple attempts to contact them, but the name (of the show) is a forbidden phrase around their organization,'' Bergman said. ``So they expressed no interest whatsoever.''
LET IT GO
April 22, 2001
First there was "Damn Yankees." Now comes "The Curse of the Bambino."
The new musical, which opened Friday in Boston, is the saga of the post-Babe Ruth Red Sox set as a Greek tragedy.
The Red Sox have not won a World Series since 1918, just before Harry Frazee sold the Babe to finance a musical of his own, "No, No, Nanette," leading to the, ahem, curse.
The Inside Track (Boston Herald, May 1, 2001)
And finally, Babe Ruth's great-grandbambino, Chris Herrlein, who lives in the Back Bay, took in the Lyric Stage Company's performance of ``The Curse of the Bambino'' the other night and just ``loved it.'' The musical, which runs through May 19 and may be extended into June, is a humorous take on the Red Sox' plight, which, as all Sox fans know, started with the sale of the Babe and is currently manifested whenever Derek Lowe takes the mound.
Some press hits from before the show was produced...
Most exciting lineup for next season
Boston Sunday Globe, Sunday, June 18, 2000
Spiro Veloudos at the Lyric Stage Company... [is] back... with an engaging and exciting lineup for next year that includes a bunch of New England premieres: "Sideman," the farce "Inspecting Carol" and an ambitious-sounding musical about the ill-fated Red Sox called "The Curse of the Bambino."
Lyric Stage tackles tragedy: Sox history
Boston Herald, Monday, April 10, 2000
Can the Lyric Stage Company finally undo the curse of the Bambino? The trade that sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees, and the 80 years of Red Sox futility that followed (with a sure nod to a not-so-sure-gloved Bill Buckner) will be the subject of David Kruh and Steven Bergman's new musical ``The Curse of the Bambino,'' which will have its world premiere during the company's 2000-01 season
The season also will include the New England premiere of Warren Leight's 1999 Tony Award-winning play ``Side Man''; the Boston premiere of ``Inspecting Carol,'' a comic fusion of works by Gogol and Dickens; ``The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,'' a zany take on the playwright's work; and the Boston premiere of the musical ``No Way to Treat a Lady.'' Dates haven't been announced. Here's hoping a certain baseball-themed musical plays before October.
Names and Faces
Boston Globe, Tuesday, October 19, 1999
Two local playwrights could be excused for having divided loyalties during the Red Sox/Yankees series. Writer David Kruh and composer Steven Bergman have been working for two years on a musical about the Red Sox' misfortunes, called "The Curse of the Bambino." Local director Spiro Veloudos directed a staged reading at the Lyric last [sic] year, and hopes to present it there sometime in the next few years. 'It would be kind of wierd, if the Red Sox won the World Series, to do a play about how they never won the World Series," Veloudos said.'
Finally, in 2003 the musical was featured in HBO's
special on The Curse of the Bambino.