Game Over: That Championship Season, With Kiefer Sutherland, Ends Broadway Run
By Andrew Gans
The starry Broadway revival of Jason Miller's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning 1972 drama That Championship Season, which boasted the Broadway debut of screen star Kiefer Sutherland, plays its final performance May 29 at 3 PM at The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
Directed by Gregory Mosher, the production began previews Feb. 9 and officially opened March 6. When it closes, the limited engagement will have played 28 preview performances and 97 regular performances.
In addition to Sutherland, the cast also includes Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Noth and Jason Patric (whose late father wrote the play). Cox (Rock 'n' Roll, Art) portrays the retired basketball coach in Miller's Scranton, PA-set drama about a team of high school basketball players who reunite to hash out the past on the anniversary of their winning game.
The former champs include comedian Gaffigan ("Flight of the Concords," "My Boys") as George Sikowski, Golden Globe nominee Noth ("Sex and the City," "The Good Wife," Farragut North) as Phil Romano, Patric (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, "The Lost Boys") as Tom Daley and Golden Globe Award winner Sutherland ("24") as James Daley.
When asked whether he had been looking for a property in which to make his Broadway debut, Sutherland previously told Playbill.com, "Well, yes and no. I mean, it's always something in the back of your head, if an opportunity comes around, you certainly are open to taking it. I hadn't read the play in a very, very long time, and I was taken, when I looked at it again, by a number of things. Very rarely will you find a play — certainly I don't know of one — that has five parts so beautifully balanced. That's something: To be part of an ensemble like that was very attractive to me. And I find the play unbelievably relevant. There are lines of dialogue that, literally, you would think, … he sat down and wrote … yesterday, whether it's talking about a defeated army coming home from war, constant references to the recession and lack of jobs and this and that. There were aspects of '71, '72, that really do reflect unbelievably strongly to 2011. Coach has a wonderful line in reference to progress — 'Nothing changes but the day.' This play is an absolutely affirmation to that," he laughed, "for all of those reasons. And then the cast and Gregory Mosher — there are so many reasons that you would have to do this play, at least for me, and they all kind of came at once."
Mosher received a 2010 Tony nomination for his direction of the revival of A View From the Bridge.
The design team includes Michael Yeargan (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lights) and Scott Lehrer (sound).
That Championship Season premiered at the Public Theater on May 2, 1972, starring Charles Durning, Richard A. Dysart, Walter McGinn, Michael McGuire and Paul Sorvino, under the direction of A.J. Antoon. The production, with the original cast intact, transferred to Broadway's Booth Theatre on Sept. 11, 1972 and ran through April 1974. Playwright Miller later directed the 1983 film. The Broadway production won the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and the Tony Award for Best Play.
Producers are Robert Cole, Frederick Zollo, Shelter Island Enterprises, The Shubert Organization, James MacGilvray, Orin Wolf, The Weinstein Company, Second Chance Productions, Brannon Wiles and Scott M. Delman/Lucky VIII.
According to producers, "On the anniversary of their victory in the Pennsylvania state championship game, four members of the starting lineup of a small-town Catholic high school basketball team gather with their coach to re-live their youthful glory. As the night progresses, the long buried grudges and secrets of the once-confident players surface, threatening not just their solidarity, but the meaning of their victory. With savage humor, That Championship Season probes the darkest aspects of the American dream of success at all costs."
Tickets, priced $61.50-$129, are available through Telecharge.com, by phone at (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250 or in person at The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 W. 45th Street) box office.
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