Eric Simonson Adapts Vince Lombardi Bio for New Play at Madison Rep

News   Eric Simonson Adapts Vince Lombardi Bio for New Play at Madison Rep Eric Simonson, recent winner of the 2006 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, will be a participant in Madison Repertory Theatre's fourth annual Madison New Play Festival in fall 2006.
Eric Simonson
Eric Simonson Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Simonson has been commissioned to adapt "When Pride Still Mattered," a biography of famed Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, written by Pulitzer-Prize-winning author David Maraniss.

According to Madison Rep, the book "takes an in-depth look at the man behind the myth, from his tattoo-adorned father Harry Lombardi, to his formative years as a player and coach at Fordham University, to the NFL titles and Super Bowl victories that earned him his place in sports history."

The Madison New Play Festival is scheduled for Sept. 24-Oct. 2 in The Playhouse in the Overture Center for the Arts.

Simonson, a director and playwright, and a member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, won the Oscar for the documentary "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin," which he directed and co-produced. The film re-examines a 1945 radio program, "On a Note of Triumph," directed by broadcasting legend Norman Corwin. It will be broadcast on HBO in August.

This was Simonson's first Oscar win, following a 2000 nomination in the same category for the short film "On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom," a profile of the South African singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who he directed in the Broadway show The Song of Jacob Zulu. Simonson has also been nominated for Emmy and Tony Awards.

When Pride Still Mattered will be performed twice at the 2006 Madison New Play Festival. After the first performance, "Simonson will revise and polish his script, using the feedback that he receives from the audience," according to Madison Rep. "At the second performance, patrons will see how their questions and ideas helped to guide the development of the script."

Richard Corley, Madison Repertory Theatre's artistic director said in a statement, "This script, focusing as it does on one of colorful personalities that helped shape Wisconsin into a fascinating, vibrant, exciting place to live, reflects Madison Repertory Theatre's commitment to remaining tied to this unique community and telling the stories of our great state through the art of theatre."

For information on Madison Repertory Theatre and the Madison New Play Festival call (608) 256-0029 ext. 12 or visit Madison Repertory Theatre’s website at www.madisonrep.org.

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