LOMBARDI Continues Winning Tradition at Colonial Playhouse

by Lisa Panzer

LOMBARDI, as directed by Sam Barrett, is an excellent dramatic depiction of the man and the motivation machine behind the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi (personified to a ‘T’ by T.J. Deluca); the man who refused to lose. The play, written by Eric Simonson and based on David Maraniss’s book When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, gives an overview of the legendary coach, incorporating many of his winning philosophies and methods, but it is the superb acting and character development in Colonial’s production that imbues the audience with the sense of the era, attitudes of the time, and of Lombardi in particular. It is evident that not only has the cast and crew put into play Lombardi’s axiom “…Perfect practice makes perfect.”, but have added the magic ingredient, the infamous coach’s counsel that “…more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart.” This show demonstrates heart.

T.J. DeLuca as Lombardi, Shanna Massad as Marie Lombardi.

T.J. DeLuca as Lombardi, Shanna Massad as Marie Lombardi.

Through Michael McCormick (deftly, insightfully delivered by Adam Corbett), a young journalist sent to cover a story on Lombardi, and through his chain smoking wife, Maria (made loveable via actress Shanna Massad) the audience is given a glimpse of a “perfectly imperfect” Vince Lombardi as a man, husband, friend and father. The scenes between Maria and her husband, belted out in glorious tones of ‘North Jersey’, are intense, belying an intricate intimacy that is increasingly rare. The interrelationships of the players to the game, their coach, each other and the times are brought forth beautifully through the interplay of Packers, Robinson (strong presence and portrayal by Branden Lipford), Taylor (well wrought by Brandon Young) and Hornung (excellently delivered, physically and emotionally by Jack Kramer). Lombardi (brought to life in mannerisms, physicality and that voice! by T.J. Deluca), the coaching phenomenon who knew how to inspire his team to greatness, plays the field of interactions with all the players above in a never-a-dull-moment roar of energy and conviction. The small details incorporated into these roles, the tight dialogue and the repartee between characters, kick up it up from a decent production to an excellent one.

Good use is made of available stage space. Various scene locales are cleverly delineated by using varied levels for the set (Sam Barrett and Ron Hill) and utilizing the stage apron for field scenes. Lighting (James Meinel) and sound (Alex Plasmeier), smoothly executed, also helped with scene transitions Costumes (Michael Geignan) are period appropriate, and Marie’s attire is fabulous. Colonial Playhouse scores big time with LOMBARDI!

by Eric Simonson
Directed Sam Barrett
March 7 – 22, 2014
Colonial Playhouse
522 W. Magnolia Ave.
Aldan, PA 19018-0091

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