'Lombardi' Debuts on Broadway

By Alex Weprin 

Yesterday “Lombardi” officially opened its doors on Broadway. The one-act play, which was written by Eric Simonson and directed by Thomas Kail, opened to mixed reviews from the major critics.

The New York Times writes:

“Lombardi,” a biographical drama by Eric Simonson that opened on Broadway Thursday night at the Circle in the Square theater, seems to depend heavily on a playbook that emphasizes the importance of team effort. In examining the life of the title character, played with pugnacious energy by Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”), this workmanlike drama often keeps him offstage for long stretches, almost relegating Lombardi to a supporting role in his own story.

The Wall Street Journal:

I know nothing about football and less about the Green Bay Packers, but “Lombardi” held my attention from start to finish, and when it was over, I went home feeling properly entertained.

USA Today:

Fortunately, director Thomas Kail and his cast don’t pretend that this is anything more than a well-intended diversion, and they serve that diversion with spirited professionalism. In the title role, The Wonder Years alum Dan Lauria can seem a little overheated; a couple of his faster, louder rants verge on the unintelligible. But he captures the unvarnished grit that inspired awe and affection in players and fans alike, and manages the character’s too-obvious soft side with grace.

SportsNewser attended the play during previews, and found it to be an entertaining escape for an evening. Football fans, who may not otherwise be interested in attending a Broadway show, will likely enjoy themselves, as will theater veterans. Judith Light, who plays Lombardi’s wife Marie, has perfect deadpan delivery, and stole the show the night we attended.