NFL to help produce Broadway play
The NFL is taking Vince Lombardi to Broadway.
For the first time, the league will help produce a Broadway
play, its first venture into live theater. The league will serve as
a special producing partner of “Lombardi,” which will star Dan
Lauria, a regular on the TV show “The Wonder Years” and former
college football player and high school coach.
“Lombardi” is scheduled to open Oct. 21 at the Circle in the
Square Theatre. It will be directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas
“Football and Broadway are both iconic American forms of
entertainment, and the NFL is proud to bring these two unique and
passionate audiences together under one roof,” said Tracy Perlman,
NFL vice president of entertainment marketing and promotions.
“Lombardi’s charisma and coaching style were legendary – and
intensely theatrical. Football fans will learn more about the
dramatic private life of the sports hero for whom the Super Bowl
trophy is named, and Broadway audiences will be captivated by the
story of a family chasing the American dream.”
Although the NFL is not putting up any money for the play, it
will promote and market “Lombardi” through NFL Network, nfl.com
and its teams, specifically the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi won
five NFL titles, including the first two Super Bowls, with the
Lauria, who played at Southern Connecticut State, will be at
next week’s draft and will journey to Green Bay at some point this
offseason. The actor hopes to “get a sense of what Vince Lombardi
meant and continues to mean to the fans, particularly in Green
Bay,” said Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of corporate
The original concept for the play was brought to NFL
commissioner Roger Goodell by Tony Ponturo, who was behind
Anheuser-Busch’s heavy involvement in sports sponsorship and now
runs a sports and entertainment management and marketing company.
Ponturo will serve as producer of “Lombardi,” which is based on a
book by David Maraniss. Academy Award winner Eric Simonson has
written the Broadway adaptation.
The league also is involved with a film project on the Hall of
Fame coach that will star Robert De Niro.
“There are few actors who could accurately portray the fire,
passion and grit of Lombardi,” said Charles Coplin, NFL vice
president of programming, “and we’re thrilled to have Robert De
Niro on our team.”