Rockne, New Musical About Inspirational Notre Dame Coach, to Premiere in IN

News   Rockne, New Musical About Inspirational Notre Dame Coach, to Premiere in IN
Sports and musical theatre don't always mix, but Rockne of Notre Dame, a new musical about the famed football coach, will have its world premiere in 2008 in Munster, IN, at Theatre at the Center.

The tale of the late, beloved, legendary Knute Rockne of Indiana's University of Notre Dame will preview starting April 3, 2008, and open April 10 for a run to May 11.

Rockne of Notre Dame is based on the play and mini-series by Buddy Farmer, with music and lyrics by Michael Mahler and David Bell. No casting has been announced by the Equity company that operates 35 minutes south of Chicago.

It's billed as "a biographical musical chronicling the life of beloved Notre Dame icon Knute Rockne." The coach was immortalized in the 1940 film "Knute Rockne, All American" starring Pat O'Brien, and featuring Ronald Reagan as player George Gipp (as in "win just one for the Gipper").

According to production notes, "Rockne, the legendary football coach known for his sportsmanship, was one of the most innovative and charismatic coaches of his era, and the musical recounts his many accomplishments and milestones at the helm of America's most famous football team. From his childhood as a Norwegian immigrant playing football on the sandlots of Chicago's Logan Square to his 13-year coaching tenure at Notre Dame, Rockne revolutionized the game and led his team to five undefeated seasons and the 1925 Rose Bowl championship. The inspiring production tells the story of a man with profound drive, determination and passion for the game of football and life — both on and off the field."

David H. Bell is an award-wining director, choreographer and writer who penned and directed the Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired Hot Mikado, and (with Craig Carnelia) Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief. Rockne is part of a 2008 season that includes Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's La Cage aux Folles, Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit's Phantom, The Producers and Sheldon Harnick and Joe Raposo's A Wonderful Life.

Founded in 1991, Theatre at the Center has grown into a year-round professional, Equity theatre at its home, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN. It's 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.

William Pullinsi is artistic director Theatre at the Center. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit


Damn Yankees is a baseball-minded musical that became a Broadway hit; Strouse and Adams' All American focused on football player characters, as did a number of musicals from the 1920s and '30s (Good News and Too Many Girls among them).

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