Downtown Theater Puts Derek Jeter Plays in its Lineup

By Julie Shapiro on August 25, 2011 11:15am 

SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — The lineup is in, and it's Jeter, Jeter and more Jeter.

The Algonquin Seaport Theater, which is planning a Derek Jeter-themed one-act festival next month, revealed on Wednesday the plays that made the cut from the call for the competition last month, made shortly after Jeter reached his much-heralded 3,000th hit.

One is "I'm Derek Jeter" by Bo Wilson, in which a protagonist who bears no resemblance to the Yankees' superstar shortstop pretends to be Jeter as a way of picking up women in bars.

Also on deck are mini family dramas like "Hardball" by Mike Folie, in which a teenager and her soon-to-be-stepmother trade barbs while attending a Yankees game.

"We're very excited about this," said Tony Sportiello, the Algonquin Seaport Theater's artistic director who is organizing the show. "It's a little more fun than your normal one-act festival."

Sportiello is a Baltimore Orioles fan — but nevertheless admires Jeter as a player.

The call for submissions drew more than two-dozen pieces, ranging from some that only mentioned Jeter in passing to others that featured the entire Yankees bench as characters.

Other one-acts that Sportiello selected include "Pasta Diving Jeter" by Paul Buzinski, in which a fanatic's fantasies of Jeter are fulfilled; "3000 Reasons" by Robin Rothstein, in which the ball Jeter hits to reach the milestone sparks an argument between a couple; "The Jeter Report" by Susan Barsky, in which a girl writing a paper about Jeter bonds with her father; and Sportiello's own "Instant Replay," set 30 years in the future, in which retired Yankees recall a much less flattering side of Jeter that only came out when the cameras were off.

To kick off the show, actress Wende O'Reilly will sing "Screw Loose," which she adapted from the original by Adam Schlesinger and David Javerbaum to describe her adoration of Jeter.

The Jeter festival will run Sept. 29 to Oct. 8 in the Algonquin Seaport Theater's space on Pier 17, with the exact dates and show times to be announced soon.

Sportiello plans to do another Jeter series in late fall or early winter, to highlight another round of one-acts that didn't make the initial cut.

Sportiello said he still hasn't heard from Jeter or any Yankees representatives since launching the theater competition last month, and he doesn't expect to.

"I think they've got their own concerns right now as they're headed toward the playoffs," he said.

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