By Eric Simonson
With the end of its 41st season, The Group Rep at The Lonny Chapman Theatre brings us a winner!!! LOMBARDI by Eric Simonson based on the book When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss, and directed by the phenomenal Gregg T. Daniel.
It’s 1958 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, home to Cheese Heads and the Green Bay Packers, and remembering Schlitz and Miller High Life Beer, the “Champagne of Beers”. Green Bay is ALL about football, and the Packers have a dismal winning record. They recruit Vince Lombardi (Bert Emmett) from the New York Giants to move to Green Bay, and the rest is history.
Bert Emmett as Lombardi photo by Doug Engalla
The gruff, take no prisoners Lombardi sets out to make the Packers winners calling the game “A game for madmen”.
In 1958, the Green Bay Packers were owned communally by the town of Green Bay, and it was a very different time in football. And, you have to remember… This was a time of cocktails to relax at the end of a hard day, and wives greeting their husbands at the door dressed in pretty little frocks. A young reporter from Look Magazine, Michael McCormick (Troy Whitaker), has been assigned to write an article on Vince Lombardi, the guy everyone is talking about, and he comes to stay at the Lombardi home for a week to get the “real” story. Greeted by Vince’s wife, Marie Lombardi (Julia Silverman) who is just as tough as Vince, Michael has the chance to see what others don’t. Vince is a man on a mission to make the Packers the “Yankees of professional football”. Vince is aggressive, demanding, and taking every opportunity for a drink, and Marie knows exactly how to handle him. His players on the team Dave Robinson (Steve West), Paul Hornung (Ian Stanley) and Jim Taylor (Christopher Hawthorn) show us internal team dynamics, and treat us with football plays on stage. You get a real sense of the game of football.
Julia Silverman Bert Emmett Troy Whitaker photo Doug Engalla
LOMBARDI has a superb cast.
Bert Emmett is sensational as Vince Lombardi, and Troy Whitaker and Julia Silverman (as usual) give us fantastic performances. Steve West, Ian Stanley and Christopher Hawthorn round out a wonderful cast. As usual Gregg T. Daniel’s direction gets us thoroughly involved in the play. I have to give special mention to Angela M. Eads, whose Costume Design brought 1960’s couture to Marie Lombardi. What fabulous and feminine clothes they had back then!!! The usual ensemble of wonderful people contributed to this play. Chris Winfield Set Design, J. Kent Inasy Lighting Design, Steve Shaw Sound Design, and a special shout out to Glenda Morgan Brown’s Dialect Coaching.
“Pride makes us winners”, as Vince would say. The Group Rep and Gregg T. Daniel should have great pride in LOMBARDI. You will want to see this play.
It is a WINNER.
Be sure to stay tuned for the Group Rep’s 42nd Season. It looks like another winner.
Cast: Bert Emmett, Christopher Hawthorn, Julia Silverman, Ian Stanley, Steven West and Troy Whitaker.
Director: Gregg T. Daniel
Producer For the Group Rep: Drina Durazo
Assistant to the Director: Haley Miller
Assistant Director: Mikel Parraga
Set Design: Chris Winfield
Lighting Design: J. Kent Inasy
Costume Design: Angela M. Eads
Sound Design: Steve Shaw
Videographer: Christian Ackerman
Dialect Coach: Glenda Morgan Brown
Public Relations: Nora Feldman
Graphic Design: Doug Haverty + Art & Soul Design
Program: Drina Durazo
The Lonny Chapman Theatre
10900 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
www.thegrouprep.com or (818) 763-5990
Appropriate for: Ages 12+
July 24 - September 6, 2015
Fridays/Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sunday Matinees at 2:00 pm
Talk-back Sundays: August 9th & August 23rd after 2:00 pm matinee.
$25; Seniors-Students $20; Groups 10+ $15
Please allow 15 minutes. Free street parking on Burbank Blvd. and on Cleon Ave. just west of the theater building.
Seats 90 people. AC/Heat. Wheelchair accessible.