Director Thomas Kail (a Tony Award nominee for In the Heights) uses shafts of light, video projections (still shots, sports footage, animation) and the entire breadth of the venue's in-the-round stage to tell the tale of the passionate Brooklynite who led the Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl victory more than once.
Lombardi is drawn from the best-selling biography "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi" by David Maraniss. The play is set over a week in 1965 — five years before Lombardi's death from colon cancer at age 57. The play shifts back and forth in time.
Here is a look at the opening night:
In a gruff but lovable tone, Dan Lauria (TV's "The Wonder Years") plays the late coach — and is something of a lookalike, with gap tooth and fireplug stance. Judith Light (TV's "Who's the Boss" and "Ugly Betty," Off-Broadway's Wit) plays his understanding, supportive and conflicted wife, who deeply misses the East Coast. Her feelings for home are aroused when a young (fictional) reporter, played by Keith Nobbs (Off-Broadway's Stupid Kids, Four, Fuddy Meers), comes to stay with the Lombardis for a week, to write a profile for Look magazine.
Nobbs' Michael McCormick is the audience's way into Lombard's world, which is populated by three representative football players: Jim Taylor (played by Chris Sullivan), Paul Hornung (played by Bill Dawes) and Dave Robinson (played by Robert Christopher Riley). The understudies are Jeff Still, Henny Russell, Brad Schmidt and Javon Johnson. Tickets can be purchased online at www.telecharge.com, by phone at (212) 239-6200, or in person at the box office (50th Street, west of Broadway). Visit www.lombardibroadway.com.