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Lombardi to Open at Circle in the Square on October 21, 2010, Starring Dan Lauria & Directed by Thomas Kail


A New American Play
OCTOBER 21, 2010

Producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser announced today that LOMBARDI will be directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail and will open Thursday, October 21, 2010 at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway. Previews will begin Thursday, September 23, 2010, following a July 22-28 engagement at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Dan Lauria, star of the beloved Emmy Award-winning TV series “The Wonder Years,” will take on the title role of Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi, one of America’s most inspirational and mercurial personalities.  Like Lombardi, Mr. Lauria is a former football coach, and he began acting while attending college on a football scholarship.  

The complete six-character cast and additional production information will be announced shortly.
Joining Ponturo and Kirmser as special producing partner is the National Football League, marking the organization’s first foray on Broadway.  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.”
Circle in the Square Theatre operates under the direction of Theodore Mann and Paul Libin, who said, “A talented group of theatre professionals has come together to dramatize the legendary football hero Vince Lombardi.  We are thrilled that this play will be presented at the Circle in the Square Theatre.”
LOMBARDI, a new American play from Academy Award-winning playwright Eric Simonson, is based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Maraniss.
Mr. Simonson is an Academy-Award winning documentary film maker and an ensemble member of the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company as a playwright and director.  Mr. Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and the author of five critically acclaimed bestselling books about history, sports, and politics.
One of the most influential figures in sports and entertainment in the last 20 years, Tony Ponturo is the head of Ponturo Management Group LLC, the New York-based sports and entertainment management, investment and marketing company.  Fran Kirmser, a fixture in the arts community who produces both non-profit and commercial projects, met Ponturo while collaborating on the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Hair.  Mr. Ponturo and Ms. Kirmser said, “The NFL brings a powerful force to Broadway with their incredible fan support and a huge respect for the Lombardi legend.”
Tickets will be placed on sale to the general public on Monday, April 19 by phone at 212-239-6200 or online at www.telecharge.com.

For more on LOMBARDI, log onto www.lombardibroadway.com,
or follow LOMBARDI on Twitter a@LombardiPlay.

Thomas Kail was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for his direction of In the Heights. Off B’way: In the Heights (Callaway Award, Drama Desk nom., Outer Critics nom.) New York City Center: The Wiz. Lincoln Center Theater: Broke-ology (Mitzi Newhouse). Williamstown: Broke-ology (World Premiere). National Tour: In the Heights. Co-creator and director of the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme, which played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, US Comedy Arts Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival and Melbourne Comedy Festival. Artistic director and co-founder of Back House Productions. TV: Directed Oprah Winfrey’s 2010 Primetime Oscar Special for ABC; directed pilot episode of Storymakers for AMC; Co-Music director and consulting producer of PBS show The Electric Company. Recipient of the 2008 Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center. Graduate of Wesleyan University, CT.

Dan Lauria is known to millions as the gruff Dad on the Emmy Award-winning ABC series “The Wonder Years,” and he has played more than seventy roles on television, including “CSI,” “The Ghost Whisperer,” “ER,” “The Bronx Is Burning,” “From Earth to the Moon” (miniseries), and “Law and Order: SVU.” In addition to his recent starring role in The Spirit, Dan’s score of film credits includes the blockbuster Independence Day, both Stakeout films (starring Richard Dreyfuss), Big Momma’s House 2 with Martin Lawrence and the cult hit Alien Trespass. Dan is a familiar face on the theater scene, having performed, written or directed over fifty professional productions.  His New York area appearances include Ears on a Beatle, The Winning Streak, Inspecting Carol, and most recently the title role in A Stone Carver. Regionally he has appeared with Jack Klugman in Arthur Miller’s The Price, and with Charles Durning in Men In Suits, as well as Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies and The Value Of Names by Jeffrey Sweet. Dan continues to appear—most often with friend Wendie Malick—in benefit performances of The Guys, writer Anne Nelson’s tribute to the brave firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. For ten years Dan served as the Artistic Director of The Playwright’s Kitchen Ensemble (PKE) of Los Angeles. PKE produced over 450 public readings of new plays with the finest actors in the business, in order to promote the development of the new American playwright.

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