From Green Bay to the Great White Way.
The life of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi is coming to Broadway in the form of LOMBARDI, a new play set to open Oct. 21 at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre. Dan Lauria, the gruff dad from the Emmy Award-winning TV series “The Wonder Years,” will take on the title role of Lombardi, one of America’s most inspirational and mercurial personalities. Like Lombardi, Lauria is a former football coach, and he began acting while attending college on a football scholarship.
The play is being written by Academy Award-winning playwright Eric Simonson, based on the best-selling biography “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss.
Producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser announced Wednesday that LOMBARDI will be directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail. Previews will begin Sept. 23, 2010, following a July 22-28 engagement at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass.
The NFL is making its first foray on Broadway, joining Ponturo and Kirmser as special producing partner. The NFL has authorized use of its logos and NFL Films’ footage and music. The league will also help promote and market the play.
Tracy Perlman, the NFL’s Vice President of Entertainment Marketing and Promotions, said, “Football and Broadway are both iconic American forms of entertainment, and the NFL is proud to bring these two unique and passionate audiences together under one roof. Lombardi’s charisma and coaching style were legendary — and intensely theatrical. Football fans will learn more about the dramatic private life of the sports hero for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named, and Broadway audiences will be captivated by the story of a family chasing the American dream.”
Mr. Kail said, “Circle in the Square is a uniquely intimate arena that will allow every audience member to feel like they have an all-access sideline pass to Lombardi’s life, both on the field and off. I’m excited and honored to bring the drama that plays out week after week on the field to the stage, and to a new audience on Broadway.”
Tickets will be placed on sale to the general public next Monday, April 19, by phone at 212-239-6200 or online at www.telecharge.com.