Some people watch football on Sunday afternoons, others go to the theater. Why not do both? Watching this intense new play about legendary coach Vince Lombardi, you can do just that! The History Theatre in St. Paul has mounted a stellar production of the play, “Lombardi”. It runs through November 4th.
Vincent (Vince) Lombardi has been proclaimed as one of the greatest football coaches of all time. He is best known for his impact coaching the Green Bay Packers, a team he brought from last place to first. Under his direction the team won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles for Green Bay. Vince passed away from colon cancer in 1970 at the age of 57. Due to his profound impact on the sport, the Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor.
“Lombardi” follows the Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi for one week in 1965. Michael McCormick, a reporter, approaches him to learn about the team and figure out what key elements they have that allows them to win. The players on the team are somewhat standoffish and it takes time for him to break the ice with them. On the other hand, Vince’s wife, Marie, is more of a chatter box. She gives Michael more information for his story.
James Detmar plays Vince Lombardi and what an outstanding job he does. Last year I saw him in “Spring Awakening” with Theatre Latte Da and I was excited to see him again. His tone playing Vince was great. He was sharp and rough which is right on the money. Peter Middlecamp played Michael McCormick. His gestures, facial expressions, and comedic timing were wonderful. Norah Long who plays Marie Lombardi does a fantastic job holding down the fort as the only woman in the show. Her banter with Vince was very believable and I enjoyed her accent. Her hairstyle and costumes were phenominal as well. There were three men who played the Packers major players: Sam Bardwell plays Paul Hornung; Eric Knutson is Jim Taylor; and Darius Dotch is Dave Robinson. They all worked well together to portray the teammates and build the story line.
Chris Johnson was the lighting designer for the show. I enjoyed seeing the spotlights on Vince when he was giving a big speech. It made these scenes more memorable by shifting the lights from full to partial. It also allowed the audience to focus on him. The set (designed by Michael Hoover) was precise. The living room of the Lombardi house was front and center. To the back left of the stage was the coaching room and the back right was the players’ locker room. There was a staircase that acted as the upstairs of the home as well.
Even if you are not a football fan, the acting in this show is so stellar that anyone could appreciate it. For those that are, you will love how this cast brings to life the legendary football coach and his players. For more information contact the History Theatre:
Phone: (651) 292-4323