Riverside Theatre, led by Producing Artistic Director/CEO Allen D. Cornell and Managing Director/COO Jon R. Moses, continues its 44th season with an exhilarating new play, Lombardi, focusing on the life of legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi. Presenting sponsor for Lombardi is The O’Haire Group-Merrill Lynch Wealth Management with additional support from Riverside Theatre’s Patron Producers’ Group. Lombardi plays the Stark Stage at Riverside Theatre from January 30 – February 18, 2018.
Concentrating on one of the most inspirational figures of our time, Lombardi deals with the ambition and passion Vince Lombardi exuded as the NFL coach who led the Green Bay Packers to five national championships, including the first two Super Bowls. Written by Eric Simonson, the play is based on David Marniss’ Pulitzer Prize winning biography, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi.
Born in Brooklyn in 1913, Lombardi was the eldest of five children of Italian immigrants. He had a strict Catholic upbringing, and briefly studied for the priesthood. He attended St. Francis Preparatory HS and Fordham University where he played football. His first coaching job was at St. Cecilia HS in Englewood, NJ. He went on to coach at Fordham and West Point, where he learned his most important coaching skills from the famous Red Blaik. From 1954 to 1958, he was Offensive Coordinator for the New York Giants. He was recruited by the Green Bay Packers in 1959, and stayed until 1967.
When he arrived in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the team was failing financially. The games were poorly attended, and the team’s performance was abysmal. He insisted on absolute dedication from his players, and led the team to their first winning season in years, securing financial stability. He was also named NFL Coach of the Year his rookie season.
In 1969, Lombardi moved on to coach the Washington Redskins, but was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1970. The three constants in his life were football, family and religion. He attended mass daily throughout his life. He was ahead of his time in social tolerance. While most football players were white when he began coaching, he admonished his players that anyone displaying racial discrimination would be kicked off the team. He was also tolerant about sexual orientation, teaching that loyalty, hard work and teamwork were the only things that counted.
Playwright Eric Simonson, a writer and director of films, theatre and opera, was born in 1960 and grew up in Wisconsin at the time Green Bay was a football powerhouse. He is one of only a handful of directors who have received Tony, Emmy and Oscar nominations. He won the Academy Award for short documentary in 2005 for A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin.
Lombardi opened on Broadway on October 21, 2010 at the Circle in the Square starring Dan Luria as Lombardi and Judith Light as his wife, Marie. The play ran in New York through the summer of 2011 and had its regional premiere in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater in the fall after it closed in New York.
Riverside Theatre’s production of Lombardi is Directed and Scenic Designed by Allen D. Cornell and stars Richard Zavaglia (Vince Lombardi), Denise Cormier (Marie Lombardi), Greg Fallick (Michael McCormick), Terrell Wheeler (Dave Robinson), Jack Fellows (Paul Hornung) and Erik Gullberg (Jim Taylor).
The production crew includes: Anna Hillbery (Costume Design), Julie Duro (Lighting Design), Craig Beyrooti (Sound Design), and Audrey M. Brown (Production Stage Manager). Casting was done in New York by Wojcik / Seay Casting.
Lombardi performs January 30 – February 18, 2018 on the Stark Stage at Riverside Theatre. Tickets start at $35. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at http://www.riversidetheatre.com.
Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30pm; Opening Night, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm; with matinees on Wednesdays, select Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm.
January 30, February 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17@ 8pm
January 31, February 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 17 @ 18 @ 2pm
January 31, February 1, 7, 8, 13, 14 @ 15 @ 7:30pm
Lombardi is sponsoredby The O’Haire Group-Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and is presented by Riverside Theatre’s Patron Producers Group: Brad & Fran Anderson, Lois Appleby, Linda Aronberg, Anita Astrachan^, Carol Atkinson, Barbara M. Baldwin, David & Cynthia Bardes, Paul & Jayne Becker, Sam & Susie Bell, Dick & Sue Bergeman, Ted & Debbie Berghorst, Jerry & Anne Blatherwick , John & Anita Brennan, Peter & Susie Brinckerhoff, Bill & Laura Buck, Tim & Carol Buhl, Bill & Karen Campbell, Don & Rose Ciampa, Dottie Currie, John & Sue Dobbs, Bill & Laura Frick, Mary Jane Grant, Herb & Ann Gullquist, Bill & Eva Gurley, Duke & Gael Habernickel, Robert & Pat Hemingway Hall, Dick & Rosemary Haverland, Calvin & Sally Hills, Dave Horner, Ronald F. Hunt, Fred & Susie Kasten, John & Pam Kean, Paul & Nancy Knapp, Judy & Lou LaFage, Bill and Joy Lane, Whitney & Betty MacMillan, John & Marilyn McConnell, Ray & Sonia McGowan, Brooke Megrue, Ted & Dawn Michael, Bob & Susan Morrison, Wally & Peggy Nelson, Bobbie Olsen, Don & Connie Patterson, Ed & Pat Pavlish, Michael & Kathie Pierce, Connie Pitcher, Helen Post, Ted & Carol Price, Michael & Anne Rhoades, John Roberts & Juli Blunt, Ron & Nancy Rosner, Bill & Judy Schneebeck, Van Schreiber, Bill & Marlynn Scully, Ned & Emily Sherwood, Joe & Mary Alice Smith, Stephanie Smith, Dick & Stephanie Solar, Charlotte Stifel, Dick & Barbara Stockton, Doug & Dhuanne Tansill, John & Tobey Taylor, Marge Turley, Lorne & Heidi Waxlax, Pat & Carol Welsh, Ken & Liz Whitney, and Gail D. Williams. ^ Bequeathed
The 2017-2018 Season is sponsored by: Wilmington Trust, Fidelity Investments, Dale Sorensen Real Estate, The O’Haire Group – Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Sea Turtle Real Estate, Northern Trust, Indian River Press Journal, Vatland Honda, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Nelson Morgan Wealth Management – Merrill Lynch and Treasure & Space Coast Radio(WGYL, JACK FM, Ocean FM, B94, WTTB).
Riverside Theatre is located at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963. Riverside Theatre programs are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Riverside Theatre is a member of the Cultural Council of Indian River County, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, and the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce.