For Lombardi On Broadway, Winning Is The Only Thing
You may think that Broadway and football go together about as well as chocolate and tuna fish.
So how do you inspire football fans to seek out a Great White Way production? Very craftily, as it turns out.
In her insightful Theatre Development Fund (TDF) story, Linda Buchwald examines the dilemma facing the marketers for Eric Simonson's Lombardi, which is hoping to score a winning touchdown on Broadway this fall. The show is using advertising on sites like the NFL's, along with social networking via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as cheerleaders capable of bringing football fans into a new, albeit significantly smaller "arena" -- Broadway's intimate Circle in the Square Theatre.
Simonson's new play is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss' biography "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi." The gridiron drama stars Dan Lauria ("The Wonder Years") in his Broadway debut as the iconic Green Bay Packers coach and stage veteran Judith Light ("Who's The Boss") as his wife Marie.
Coached by director Thomas Kail in a most unlikely follow-up to his Tony-nominated work for In The Heights, Lombardi's team also includes Bill Dawes as Heisman Trophy winner and future Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, Keith Nobbs as Michael McCormick, Robert Christopher Riley as Packer Dave Robinson and Chris Sullivan as Hall of Famer Jim Taylor.
The Lombardi Web site describes the play as follows:
Sport produces great human drama and there is no greater sports icon to bring to theatrical life than Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi, unquestionably one of the most inspirational and quotable personalities of all time. Dan Lauria ("The Wonder Years") and two-time Emmy Award winner Judith Light head the cast of Lombardi, a new American play by Academy Award winner and Steppenwolf Theatre Company member Eric Simonson. Though football’s Super Bowl trophy is named for him, few know the real story of Lombardi the man -- his inspirations, his passions and ability to drive people to achieve what they never thought possible.
To any naysayers, I'd just remind you that as the New York Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez demonstrated at this year's Tony Awards, the respective fan bases of Broadway and football need not be exclusive. We'll see next month whether Lombardi can score with critics and audiences alike. But as a proud cheesehead myself, I'm certainly game to be cheering on Lombardi.
Previews for this open-ended run begin September 23, 2010, with opening night slated for October 21.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
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