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a Drama
by Eric Simonson

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4532

SHOWING : January 16, 2014 - February 09, 2014



Although football’s Super Bowl trophy is named for
him, few know the real story of Vince Lombardi — his
inspirations, his passions and his ability to drive
people to achieve what they never thought possible.
Diligent young reporter Michael McCormick
takes us inside the life of this legendary icon.
Featuring Bart Hansard as Coach Lombardi.

Director Justin Anderson
Marie Lombardi Carolyn Cook
Vincent Lombardi Bart Hansard
Michael McCormick Chris Moses
Dave Robinson John Stewart
Paul Hornung Brody Wellmaker
Jim Taylor Jacob York
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


In the End Zone
by playgoer
Sunday, January 19, 2014
"Lombardi" is the stage equivalent of a biopic, telling us about coach Vincent Lombardi during his stint with the Green Bay Packers. The framing device is that a Look magazine reporter has been assigned to write a piece about Lombardi, with week-long, unfettered access to the practice field and the Lombardi home. An Esquire magazine article in 1965 has recently been critical of Lombardi, and Look intends to counter it with a puff piece (although the reporter hasn’t been informed of this). The play moves about in time, with flashes back as far as 1958 and a recap of Lombardi’s life after 1965, but the action concentrates on that reporter’s week with the Lombardis.

The play is being given a thoroughly professional production at Aurora Theatre. The three main characters of Lombardi (Bart Hansard), his wife (Carolyn Cook), and the reporter (Chris Moses) are played beautifully. In particular, Mr. Hansard gives us a gruff, intense Lombardi and Ms. Cook gives us a stylish, internally strong Marie that play wonderfully against one another. The three football players we see (Brody Wellmaker, John Stewart, and Jacob York) are also played well, although their characters are included mostly to provide a reflective surface off of which Lombardi’s outsize personality can shine.

Director Justin Anderson has set the action against a huge set designed by Isabel & Moriah Curley-Clay, with André C. Allen’s lighting moving smoothly from transition to transition, as monologue turns to dialogue and memory turns to present-day 1965. At the start and end, there’s a football spotlighted down center, with stadium lights above, behind a screen that’s mesh above (allowing viewing of a projection screen behind it) and solid below, filled with Green Bay Packers panels that look like a wall inside an athletic facility. To the sides, there are lockers. Behind the screen, there’s the Lombardi’s living room. All transitions are as fluid as the flow of memory.

There are a couple of missteps in the living room set. The sheer curtains at the back don’t seem to be hemmed, giving the room an unfinished feel, and the wood paneling around the room adds a point of possible confusion. There’s early mention of post-game parties in the home’s rec room, and the paneling, phonograph, and bar in the room would be right at home in a stereotypical 1960’s basement rec room. That it isn’t a rec room comes through only in dialogue, not in the design.

Sound is fine, and Mr. Allen’s projected video sequences provide the requisite on-field motion. Ms. Cook’s costumes (also by the Curley-Clays) and wig (by Monty Schuth) add a touch of style to the proceedings. It’s all very professional and substantial. I only wish there were some notification, either verbal or in the program, that this is an intermissionless show. Its 90 minutes begin to wear when the approach of the ending has not been communicated clearly to the audience.


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