The play looks at the ideas and people who made the great Packers football coach Vince Lombardi the complex, charismatic and extraordinary icon he was.
“Lombardi” is a 90-minute one act at Circle in the Square about Vince Lombardi, for whom the Lombardi trophy is obviously named. Anybody who knows football knows that he had an incredible career and that he liked to yell a lot. He died at age 57 of colon cancer. He is played by Dan Lauria, who looks very much like him. Michael McCormick is a fictional reporter from Look Magazine who is doing a story on him, and Judith Light plays his wife Marie. There are three other characters who play, football players. The acting was okay. The problem is that you don’t know anything more about Vince Lombardi at the end of the play than you did at the beginning which is that he told his players to leave everything on the field and play with heart and excellence, yada yada, and that he yelled a lot. There are three or four light comments in the play that will make you giggle. One is that he, apparently, at one point, though about being a banker. But by in large, we don’t know anything about his relationship with his son, which was clearly a very troubled relationship. We don’t know anything about his relationship with his daughter, who is a cipher in this. We don’t know anything about why before Green Bay hired him, that he’d had winning seasons every place but that nobody wanted to make him a head coach. All we know is that his wife loved him in spite of him being kind of gruff and that to the extent that Mike McCormick, the fictional, I assume, reporter says he was going to call the book “Shut Up, Marie”. The performances are all okay, although as I said, you don’t know anything more about the character at the end of the play than you did in the beginning, and everything you know, you know from newspapers. It was more caricature than theatre, which was sort of disappointing, because among other things, I’m curious about him and like football. So, I give it two stars on the acting, but only one as a drama which isn’t the least bit dramatic..