Let me preface this by saying I see a lot of shows. I also need to say Ido not know or care much about sports. That being said, here is my review. The actors were phenomenal. They were captivating. The storyline, however, was BORING and way too slow and drWn out. I think they were trying to get in as many of his famous quotes as they could. Despite what some others have said, if you do not like sports or know any history, either research the guy before you go or do not go. My husband was in HEAVEN, but he was a collegiate football player at the Division 1 level. My conclusion, if you lobe sports, go. If you do not, stay away and spend the money on a better show.
Opened Oct 21, 2010
I am not a football fan and I loved this play. The acting was great and the story was moving and interesting. I loved this play.
So far as Im concerned Dan Luria as Lombardi did as much with the role than any other actor could have done. There is never a moment that Dan loses the impact of watching the great Lombardi. I look forward to seeing him again in future productions of which Im certain will be memorable.
My wife doesnt know the difference between a first down and a down comforter - she LOVED it. The intimacy of the theater made it feel like we were sitting in the Lombardi living room. Its not just a story about football, its a story about the joys and successes, the failures and frustrations of life. Its a story about winning and a story about losing - the battle that each of us secretly fears facing . . .
Judith Light lit the stage. Dan Luira knew his lines...but was like the king who had no clothes...the playwright left him to assume a role without a foundation. I saw the what and who but other than hearing Lombardi went to a Catholic school...never knew why and how he became the man he was.
There are enough gratifying aspects to Lombardi to make it 90 minutes well spent. The very thin play by Eric Simonson, is based on a biography. I dont know enough about sport to comment on the accuracy of the football history. Lets be frank, what I know of sport I learned from Damn Yankees. There are beautiful moments in this play that are by no means the result of Thomas Kails In The Heights, Brokeology direction. Having now seen Lombardi and Brokeology I am left believing that Mr. Kail is adept at knowing his audience and creating a format that will appease. What he is not necessarily skilled at is helping his actors connect resulting in a complete lack of dramatic tension. But he does know his audience. This production, at Circle in The Square, is filled with lighting cues, videos and sound effects. But what a joy to see theatre in the round! While one of the actors Keith Knobbs seemed to have a bubble over his head reading "pivot, pivot, pivot," most of the actors seemed entirely comfortable in the venue. Theatre in the round can be such a wonderful method of drawing the audience into the experience, and I do believe the format helped this production a great deal. It is difficult to asses performances when there simply isnt that much with which to work, but there was one clear stand-out. Judith Light plays Vince Lombardis wife Marie and steals the show I would use a football metaphor, but who are we kidding. Ms Light while known predominately for her soap opera and sitcom work, is a very accomplished stage actress Wit. She owns the stage for every moment she is on. She manages to do so without any cheap tricks which would be simply disastrous in such a small venue but by the sheer force of her embodiment of her character. Dan Lauria plays her husband Vince, and from what people tell me, Mr. Lombardi was ferocious? I wouldnt know that from Mr. Laurias performance. He was likable enough which is probably not helpful for this role but the stage is clearly not his home. I have decided that he was saving his voice I saw a matinee and I have no issue with that, however, he seemed to also be relying on his voice to do all the work for him. That can be a problem. Even so, how wonderful to see an un-miked play!! I was almost dizzy listening to sound actually change as actors moved! How novel. How wonderful. The size and style of the theatre, and the lack of amplification was joyous enough for this reviewer, but added into the equation was the fact that the majority of the audience were first time theatre goers. Now, this might have been the ONLY time they were to venture into a theatre, but thats okay too. Much has been made of the website tutorials that existed for Lombardi fans "it is customary to applaud for performances that please you." but I say "hurray." Come to the theatre to see the football memorabilia in the lobby. Take photos of yourselves in football regalia next to full size Lombardi photos. Flip through the Playbill declaring, "Id see the Blue Man Group in anything." Come one, come all. There is a whole lot of things theatre should be affordable, magical, etc. but what it should never be is elitist. The only downside to this "theatre for beginners" phenomenon was the high school class sitting behind me who arrived 15 minutes late. Their behavior would have appalled you. When the curtain calls concluded, and the house lights came up, I dear reader, had my own curtain speech to give. Please picture if you will, my 5 foot 7 self looming over slumping sitting sullen teenagers. Ahem. "Ive listened to you for 90 minutes, now you are going to listen to me. This is not your living room, this is a theatre, and that is not YouTube it is a play. Those are real people down there performing. They deserve your respect and you will give it to them." I think I lifted some of that from Herbies speech to the stage manager in Witchitas only burlesque theatre.
This is a fine play and it is remarkable how playwright Eric Simonson has managed to catch the spirit of a man who is considered the greatest pro-coach the N.F.L. ever produced and in Dan Laurias remarkably life-like performance Vince Lombardi emerges as a man of great honor and dignity. I think the play would have been more effective in a standard theatre rather than the in the round production it has now with the audience surrounding the stage,but this matters little. This is a solid peice of theatre and you dont have to be a football nut to be affected by it. It is very much worth seeing.
I LOVED IT!!! I was so impressed that I called family and friends and told them they had to see this show!! Im originally from the midwest and grew up around the Chicago Bears culture always aware of their rivalry with the Packers. This show brought me back to my childhood - good times. From a theatrical viewpoint, this show was impressive. I love tight pacing with the delivery of lines and thats what we got. Nothing like great acting. Judith Light was fabulous and flawless. Dan Lauria was exuberant yet tender, all in one, in the title role. Keith Nobbs was outstanding as the your reporter. The rest of the cast kept pace with the main three providing an evening of unexpected delight from Broadway. Loved the way the flat screen and stage showed actual footage of football games which made you feel like you were really there. Awesome idea and very creative. LOVED IT!!!
I LOVED IT!!! I was so impressed that I called my friends and family and told them they have to see this. I cant wait to see it again. I am originally from the midwest and grew up around the Chicago Bears culture always aware of the rivalry with the Packers. This show brought me back to my childhood. From a theatrical point of view the acting was impressive. I love tight pacing in shows and thats what they all delivered. Nothing like great acting. Judith Light was fabulous and flawless. Dan Lauria was exuberant and tender all in one. Keith Nobbs was outstanding as a the young reporter. The rest of the cast kept pace with the main three. This was a night of unexpected delight form Broadway!!! LOVED IT!!1
If you are a football fan, see this show. If you are not a football fan and think you will be completely bored with the material, you are wrong. Lombardi tells the story of how Vince Lombardi the man, not the coach, changed the Packers and how that affected his life. How putting your heart and soul into any job can affect your life. Plus you get to see terrific performances by Dan Lauria and Judith Light in an intimate in-the-round setting. Serious moments and plenty of laughs. Dont pass this one by.