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Dan Lauria and Judith Light in "Lombardi" at Circle in the Square
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Dan Lauria and Judith Light in "Lombardi" at Circle in the Square

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Fran Kirmser, Tony Ponturo,
Friends of Lombardi

In Association With:
The National Football League

Dan Lauria and Judith Light

(Lombardi Website)
(Vince Lombardi Bio)

By Eric Simonson
Directed by Thomas Kail

Based on the Book:
When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi
By David Maraniss

Circle in the Square
(Circle in the Square Website)
50th Street, at 1633 Broadway

Also Starring:
Keith Nobbs, Bill Dawes, Robert Christopher Riley,
Chris Sullivan, Javon Johnson, Henny Russell,
Brad Schmidt, Jeff Still

Scenic Design: David Korins
Costume Design: Paul Tazewell
Lighting Design: Howell Binkley
Sound Design: Acme Sound Partners
Projection Design: Zachary Borovay
Hair Design: Charles LaPointe
Dialect Coach: Stephen Gabis
Technical Supervisor: Peter Fulbright
Press: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Production Stage Manager: Tripp Phillips
General Management: 101 Productions, Ltd.
Executive Producer: Red Awning
Casting: Laura Stanczyk, CSA
Marketing: HHC Marketing

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 27, 2010

Lombardi, the play, at Circle in the Square, was riveting and compelling. Dan Lauria, as Vince Lombardi, infamous coach of the Green Bay Packers, who catapulted himself from small town coaching to winning coach at the Super Bowl, looks every bit the part. He seethes in the lonely spotlight, at the sight of even the tiniest error on the field. Heís a man obsessed and driven by his work, no different from a workaholic lawyer, doctor, or stockbroker, with almost no downtime. He remains obsessed with his team in the locker room, on the field, and in his living room. With his equally obsessed wife, who follows at the games or remains by the fire (martini in hand), Lombardi can howl, swear, sob, or coil into his repetitive mental replays. Judith Light, as Marie Lombardi, brings down the house with her ďNew YorkeseĒ one-liners. Marie tells the audience about Vince, through a series of interviews with sportswriter Michael McCormick (Keith Nobbs). After McCormick gets an earful and a notebook full of valuable material for his story, Lombardi growls that itís off the record, not a surprise from a private guy.

Robert Christopher Riley, Bill Dawes, and Chris Sullivan respectively play three Packers stars, Dave Robinson, Paul Hornung, and Jim Taylor. Issues of race, contract negotiations, and wildcard plays bring these characters to life, with Lombardi insanely furious about Taylorís agent allowed into the mix. But in protecting Robinson from racial slurs and in turning the rambunctious Hornung from barfly to award-winning hero, Lombardi is at his best. Dan Lauria is a natural, embodying the mannerisms of 50ís and 60ís sports machismo. You could sense the underlying insecurity, especially with revelations of Lombardiís early career rejections in making it into the big leagues, no matter his level of success. In the 50ís, being Italian carried burdens not so different from the burdens of blacks in the 60ís. Dan Lauria, as Lombardi, adds texture and nuance to his condition of stormy distress. Perhaps it was just this level of spleen, as they say, that precipitated Lombardiís early demise, a losing battle with colon cancer. Knowing Lombardiís ultimate fate enhanced an interest in Marie, who literally lived for her husbandís career, because thatís all she had. The rest of him was left on the field.

Eric Simonsonís play, based on David Maraniss' book on Lombardi, creates distance in this theatre in the round, the Circle in the Square expansive oval stage, but thatís a good thing, as the audience is tiered like fans in a football stadium, a coincidental benefit. Thomas Kail directs to evoke the power of this historical team, and Zachary Borovayís projections bring the audience into the era and exhilaration. Paul Tazewellís costumes, in the game or by the martini bar, are period authentic, and David Korinsí sets are skillful as well. Kudos to Vince Lombardi.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at