Lombardi Will Have a Wisconsin Homecoming, Making Regional Premiere at Milwaukee Rep

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17 May 2011

Playwright Eric Simonson
Playwright Eric Simonson
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Lombardi, Eric Simonson's biographical Broadway play about Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi and his relationship with the game, his players, his wife and his fans, will make its regional theatre debut in a locally produced staging at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in the fall.

Rep Resident Acting Company Member Lee E. Ernst will take on the iconic role of Vince Lombardi in the Oct. 11-Nov. 13 staging on The Rep's Quadracci Powerhouse stage.

The play is based on the book "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi" by David Maraniss. The Broadway production closes May 22; the Rep staging is independent.

Playwright Eric Simonson said in a statement, "I grew up in Wisconsin, so [Lombardi] was always a part of the ether. When I started doing a play on him, it was not just to recount a famous man's life story, it was really to find out and unearth the reasons why this man was famous. He's a fully dimensional man, a complicated man, more complex than people realize."

Simonson, a Steppenwolf Ensemble Member, created an earlier version of the play entitled Lombardi: The Only Thing, which premiered in 2007 with Madison Repertory Theatre at the Overture Center. The play then had a successful run at Next Act Theatre in Milwaukee the following year. After some interest surfaced in a Lombardi play for Broadway, Simonson developed an entirely new play leaving only one five-minute scene from the original script.



The Broadway run opened Oct. 21, 2010, with Dan Lauria as Coach Lombardi and two-time Emmy Award winner and former Milwaukee Rep actor Judith Light as his wife, Marie. Light has been nominated for a Tony Award for her work in the play. Thomas Kail (In the Heights) directed.

The resident Milwaukee Rep production will be directed by Sanford Robbins, who directed Lee E. Ernst in The Rep's 2007-08 production of Cyrano.

Other members of the creative team include Linda Buchanan (scenic designer); Holly Payne (costume designer); Thomas C. Hase (lighting designer) and Lindsay Jones (sound designer).

"The Rep is planning a range of activities in addition to the stage production to celebrate the Lombardi legacy, The Packers and the homecoming of this hit Broadway play to Wisconsin," according to a statement.

Tickets for Lombardi (and the rest of The Rep's 2011-12 season) are currently available by subscription only. Subscription prices range from $60-$468. Single tickets will go on sale this summer.

For additional information, contact The Rep's Ticket Office at (414) 224-9490 or visit www.milwaukeerep.com.