'Lombardi' scores big at Not Another Theater Company


Who Not Another Theater Company. When Through April 7 Where The Locker Room 528 Hiawatha Boulevard, Syracuse Runtime 105 minutes, with 15 min intermission. Review by Lauren Smart

For some people a good Sunday afternoon requires cold beer and football.

Thanks to Not Another Theater Company, you can have your good Sunday afternoon Friday or Saturday night this week, in a theater.

The latest production to take the stage at the aptly named Locker Room sports bar is Lombardi, a theatrical glimpse into the character of one of football's greatest coaches. It's not often that sports meet theatre and this show will make you wish the two events were more well acquainted.

Told through the perspective of a young journalist named Michael McCormick (Jordan Glaski), who has been assigned to do a story for Look magazine on Vince Lombardi (Roy van Norstrand), this play pushes through the intimidating figurehead to look at the man behind the legend. Like any good reporter Michael follows coach to practice, interviews his wife Marie (a charming Anne Fitzgerald) and defies Lombardi's tempestuous temper to understand who it is turning "perpetual losers into perennial winners," as he puts it.

Navroz Dabu's scenic design sets the playing field for Dustin Czarny's directing victory. The backdrop of yard markers and a green pitch with hints of a wet bar, locker room, and living room allow Czarny to focus the play on the performances, which he has regulated to a consistent, easygoing pace opening up the play's humor and depth.

Lombari was a man of character. A man who ran his team according to his Jesuit principles and demanded excellence. Van Norstrand embodies both the compassion and the rage associated with the coach, staccato yelling and all.

And Glaski's passive journalist emphasizes the giant shadow Lombardi casts. As he talks to Green Bay players,  a full portrait of the coach is revealed. In Dave Robinson (Stephfond Brunson), we see Lombardi as the man without prejudice; in Paul Hornung (a jovial performance by Dan Rowlands) we see Lombardi's discipline; and in Lombardi's unwillingness to let Jim Taylor (Matt Nilsen) speak to the press we see his steel-headness.

Eric Simonson wrote a show that's sure to delight football fans and theatre-goers alike. This might be the only chance you will ever have to say you've been in the Locker Room of Lombardi.