Play on... (Playa')
I recently got a call from a fellow PR diva inviting me to see and then share my thoughts on a new Broadway play about NFL coaching legend, Vince Lombardi. Here's the catch, though, tickets were for that night (meaning I had about 8 hours to find a date... YIKES!). I accepted, went solo and had a great experience (yeah, I'm one of those girls who enjoy football... AND plays... and who doesn't mind enjoying either experience alone). The story, narrated by a young journalist-cum-author Michael McCormick (played by Keith Nobbs), took the audience on a journey from Coach Lombardi's days in New York, through his career in Green Bay, and then to his death.
Lombardi's showing at Circle in the Square, a theater with stadium style seating and a rounded stage in the middle (kinda like a football field). They made awesome use of the space, using projectors and minimal-yet-apropo props to move the story along. At one point, they projected footage of on old game onto the floor, as Coach Lombardi (played by Dan Lauria, whom you may remember as the dad from The Wonder Years) paced and yelled at his team. Although Lauria was alone on the stage, he was in the middle of the action (dope).
My inner romantic (I know, I lost G-points for that admission) got caught up in the relationship between Vince Lombardi and his wife, Marie (played by Judith Light, the mom from Who's the Boss). It was one of love, support, understanding and gentle chiding (I want a love like that! *Tony Thompson voice). The loving gazes they exchanged, the willingness to sacrifice for each other, the fighting back tears in this scene or that... all beautiful and well-acted. (I wouldn't mind having Marie's fur coats or beaded sweaters.)
My lecherous eye got a treat at Lombardi, too. Robert Christopher Riley (who played Dave Robinson) was a nice piece of eye candy (word to Lombardi *Drake Voice*). Yeah, yeah, he was a good actor, too. But I kept getting caught up in that magnetic smile and smooth stride of his.
Then there were the speeches Coach Lombardi gave his team (how many famous inspirational quotes have come from this man?). Seriously, I wanted to go take over the world right then and there... or at least tackle someone, or score a touchdown. I wondered as I watched if the guys I've worked with, like Calvin Pace, Vernon Davis and others feel that way when their coaches talk to them. (I've heard that Rex Ryan is great at motivating the guys.) Oh, and I can't forget they way he went to bat for his players, when it came to fair pay and when it came to racism. With the potential lockout looming over the NFL, I could only think about my guys and their coaches. (Let's all just hope they get what's fair... guess you can tell whose side I'm on.)
Football politics aside, I suggest going to see this play whether your a fan of sports, love, laughter or plain old good acting.