"A father-and-son play. It's 'Field of Dreams' on stage." - New York Times
In 1985, 16 games into the baseball season, George Steinbrenner fired Yankee manager Yogi Berra and insulted Berra's ballplayer son. Some people say baseball needed Steinbrenner the way Jesus needed Judas. Not Yogi. He never says anything bad about anybody. So he wouldn't reveal what George said, but he vowed never to return to Yankee Stadium so long as Steinbrenner owned the team. And he didn't, not even for Old Timers' games — until 1999. In relief of the recently deceased Joe Dimaggio, Yogi returned to the Stadium to throw out the first pitch of the new season.
What so hurt that Yoda of a Yankee that he held a grudge for 14 years? And what really brought him "home"? That is the dramatic question. Wrapped in the chocolate of comedy Yogi's tough questions about fathering and family get chewed on as he nervously prepares for his homecoming speech — and re-lives his face-off with George. He's arrived where he started — in the catacombs of the clubhouse of Yankee Stadium, that cathedral of baseball — but comes home for the first time.
While the ghosts of Yankee greats whisper in his head, Yogi comes to grips with what sent him into exile and what really brought him back. This play recreates the drama of how the past — and the timeless — informs one day in time. Many people know Yogi for his Hall of Fame baseball playing, others for his wise, albeit wacky sayings, but with this play most people know why "Yogi Berra is a national treasure," as a former MLB commisioner once said. "Every time I see him, I feel a little better about the human race." Ben Gazzara starred in New York.
"Yogi is one of a kind, and it's too bad." - Joe DiMaggio
"He's one of those Christmas Eve guy... He'd do anything for you." - Joe Garagiola
"Talking to Yogi Berra about baseball is like talking to Homer about the gods." - A. Bartlett Giamatti
"If you don't like Yogi Berra, you don't like your wife." - Don Zimmer
"Emotionally rewarding and terrifically entertaining." - Variety New York Times
"A home run.'" - New York Post
"Comical and tender, capturing the sensitivity and rare sensibility that made Berra such a popular public figure.'' - Associated Press
"A one-man tour de force.'' - The New Yorker
Nobody Don't Like Yogi opened Off-Broadway at the Lambs Theatre in New York City on October 26, 2003. It was directed by Paul Linke. It was previously presented at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York, and at Syracuse Stage in Syracuse, New York. In 2004 it toured nationally with Ben Gazzara, who created the role.