In The News
The hit Broadway play LOMBARDI, starring Dan Lauria as the legendary Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi and Judith Light as his wife Marie, opened on Thursday, October 21 at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail, LOMBARDI is an original play 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 winner 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. Joining producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser as special producing partner is the National Football League, marking the organization’s first foray on Broadway.
The production has been featured in the news recently.
Inside the NFL comes to Broadway to interview the cast of LOMBARDI, catch some rehearsal, and take a back stage tour of Circle in the Square. Click above to watch video.
Judith Light joins us in the studio to talk about being on Broadway in the play Lombardi and how it’s not just for football fanatics. Click above to watch video.
BY JOSEPH V. AMODIO
Dan Lauria sits with a bowl of mushroom barley soup at a diner near the Circle in the Square theater, where he stars in “Lombardi,” a new play that opened last week.
The famous gruff TV dad – from “The Wonder Years” – plays legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, with a famous TV mom – Judith Light, of “Who’s the Boss?” – as his ever-patient, wisecracking wife. The play reveals the fragile, complicated relationship they maintained while he did the impossible: transform a lousy NFL team into a winning machine that nabbed five league championships in seven years. No other coach has come close to that feat.
Lauria, who has played 70-plus TV roles, also served as artistic director of L.A.’s Playwright’s Kitchen Ensemble and has performed, written or directed many theater productions around the country. The Lindenhurst native sat down with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio.
Everybody says this is the perfect role for you – you look like him, sound like him, you played and coached football. So … how are you not like Vince Lombardi?
You’re the first one who’s asked that. Well, I don’t have the temper he had. But I’m as dedicated to acting as he was to coaching. Ask the other actors in the cast [he chuckles].
BY BENJAMIN SOLOMON
Commen | Add Yours
Watching kids get bullied isn’t a new phenomenon to Judith Light. The actress, perhaps best known for her TV work on Who’s the Boss, One Life to Live and most recently Ugly Betty, first understood the effects that gay bullying can have on children during the filming of the made-for-TV movie The Ryan White Story, which told the true tale of 13-year-old hemophiliac Ryan White, who contracted HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and was kicked out of his school. During filming, White told Light how he was called a “fag” and that people would spit on him. “I was so unnerved and upset,” she remembers. “I’m not doing anything, [I thought]. I’m making a movie? Not enough. Not enough,” she told BigThink.com in June 2010 about the experience.
Since those days over twenty years ago, Judith Light has been a dedicated advocate for gay rights, especially for kids and teens bullied or kicked out of their homes. Through her role on the board of The Point Foundation, the national LGBT scholarship fund, she has helped kids overcome bigotry and achieve success. Additionally she has been instrumental in bringing to light organized religious bigotry through Mitchell Gold’s LGBT advocacy group, Faith in America, and her notable role as the leader of an ex-gay church in the independent film Save Me.
“These things have been happening forever. I mean, it’s Matthew Shepard all over again,” Light said to us about the recent surge in hate crimes, suicides and gay bulling. “What happens is we all tend to forget. You can’t walk away from it anymore; it is in everyone’s face. We have to look at ourselves and say, ‘What kind of human beings are we that we see these things and we don’t do anything about it?’”
BY SCOTT HINDERER
Metro New York
Chris Sullivan didn’t make a name for himself on the football field. Instead, the actor made his reputation on the Chicago stage and during a national tour of “Defending the Caveman.” But now he’s ready for the big leagues — you can currently catch him in his Broadway debut as Jim Taylor, the Hall of Fame-worthy running back in “Lombardi,” which is based on the life of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi.
Not only is this your first Broadway production, but it’s also the first play to have the NFL as the producing partner. How’s it going so far?
The show is going very well. The audiences have been reacting in amazing fashion every night. We have been surrounded by football fans and theater fans alike. The NFL’s involvement has been as a production entity. They have provided us with all of the research material we need.
Have you spoken to Jim Taylor about portraying him?
I met Jim Taylor on opening night and he is thrilled with the play and with my portrayal of his character. That is the only review that mattered to me. I’m glad I was able to do him justice.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.telecharge.com, by phone at 212-239-6200, or in person at the Box Office (50th Street, West of Broadway).
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