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LOMBARDI featured on the front page of the Green Bay Press-Gazette

LOMBARDI

The Broadway-Bound New American Play

FEATURED ON THE FRONT PAGE

OF THE GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE

Dan Lauria and the creative team of LOMBARDI recently travelled to Green Bay, Wisconsin to introduce the production to Packers fans and speak candidly about the play with those who knew Vince Lombardi.

LOMBARDI will be presented at Circle in the Square Theatre this fall by producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser.  Starring Dan Lauria and Judith Light as Vince and Marie Lombardi, LOMBARDI is written by Academy Award winning playwright Eric Simonson and directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail.  Joining Ponturo and Kirmser as special producing partner is the National Football League, marking the organization’s first foray on Broadway.   LOMBARDI is based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Maraniss.

The cast features Keith Nobbs as Michael McCormick, Bill Dawes as Paul Hornung, Robert Christopher Riley as Dave Robinson and Chris Sullivan as Jim Taylor.   It will open Thursday, October 21, 2010.  Previews will begin Thursday, September 23, following a July 22-28 engagement at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 

The production was featured on the front page of the Green Bay Press-Gazette this morning.

‘Lombardi’ creative team plans fitting tribute to legendary Green Bay Packers coach

Green Bay Press-Gazette

By Warren Gerds

June 22, 2010

Toward the end of “An Evening with Lombardi,” actor Dan Lauria rose and enacted the opening lines to the coming Broadway play, “Lombardi.” After brief portrayal of Vince Lombardi’s flint in a locker-room speech, the audience cheered and gave Lauria a standing ovation after he closed with, “We only want winners.”

There were smiles all around on a stage at Legends Club at Lambeau Field, where the “Lombardi” creative team gathered to tell about 300 listeners the ins and outs of their production that’s due to premiere Oct. 21 on the Great White Way.

The team spent the day visiting places and people important to Lombardi during his years in Green Bay, including Lambeau Field, St. Willebrord, his home and widows of three coaches.

“It really is important for us to treat this topic really correctly,” said producer Tony Ponturo, who envisions two levels of expectation.

“Think of it as this side of the room as the normal theater fan who goes to theater, who doesn’t really see sports theater and wants to see great characters, great acting, great directing and really be absorbed by the story,” he said.

“This (other) side of the room is the NFL football fan, who’s probably never walked into a theater — not everybody — and asks, ‘What am I about to see? But it better be exciting and it’d better be the story of Vince Lombardi and football that I expect.”

The play, which is designed to run 90 minutes without intermission, is by Eric Simonson and based on the book, “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi,” by David Maraniss.

Maraniss read a passage from his book and filled the audience in on numerous details. He recounted his line to his wife, “How would you like to move to Green Bay for winter?”

Maraniss spent parts of 1996 and ’97 living in the area and “interviewing as many people as I could.”

Simonson wrote two previous plays based on Maraniss’ book. When he met with Ponturo and co-producer Fran Kirmser about a year ago, Simonson said he realized they wanted a new play.

“I said, “I could write five plays about Vince Lombardi. I think the subject is boundless,’” he said.

When the production was announced in the New York Times, Thomas Kail jumped at the opportunity to direct.

“It’s a privilege and honor to be working on a play that has such humanity,” he said.

The play is set in 1965. A fictional reporter helps move the story. From real life, star players Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor are in their later years. Dave Robinson is in his second year. They’re all characters in the play, as is Lombardi’s wife, Marie.

During the daytime touring with an NFL Network film crew in tow, the creative team met with three women who were friends of Marie Lombardi. A New York Times reporter asked Ruth Canadeo, widow of Packers star and TV broadcaster Tony Canadeo, what she thought of the choice of Lauria to portray Lombardi.

She glanced at Lauria. He was seated next to her and participated in the session for about an hour. “Perfect,” she said.

To read the rest of the feature, click here.

For more on LOMBARDI, log onto www.lombardibroadway.com,

or follow LOMBARDI on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LombardiPlay.

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